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Asda reshuffles board of directors Friday, 9th September 2011
Asda has made two promotions to its board.
Karen Hubbard, currently operations director for Asda’s Supermarkets division, is stepping into a new role as executive director of store proposition.
Ellie Doohan, Asda’s general counsel, will join the grocer’s leadership team.
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said: “Any successful business needs to combine the right blend of skills and experience and these changes will put us in an even stronger position to realise our strategic business goals and fulfil the simple customer ambition we set for ourselves – to save people money every day.”
Tesco to quite Japan after 8 year struggle Wednesday, 31st August 2011
Reuters reports today that Tesco Plc, the world's No.3 retailer, has put its loss-making Japanese business up for sale, abandoning an eight-year attempt to break into a tough retail market and underscoring its new boss's commitment to investor returns. The British supermarket group said on Wednesday it would start a sale process in the coming months for its 129 small-format Japanese stores in the greater Tokyo area. Read more on Reuters here
Sainsbury's introduces price comparison scheme Tuesday, 16th August 2011
The supermarket giant is set to trial new price comparison technology in stores across Northern Ireland.
Under the “Brand Match” price promise scheme, Sainsbury's will refund the difference in price of branded groceries if customers find they could buy the same products at lower price points at rival supermarkets.
The supermarket claims to price match its rivals on more than 12,000 products.
The trial will use the same technology as the retailer's Nectar loyalty programme. Sainsbury's said that independent price data would be updated daily and would also take into account special offers available in its rivals' stores.
Sainsbury's group commercial director Mike Coupe said: "We've always been committed to offering the best price on brands and by developing and installing innovative technology in our stores we can reassure every customer that they're paying the same every time they shop with us."
If the trial proves to be successful, it will be rolled out across the UK.
Top grocers fined for dairy price fixing Wednesday, 10th August 2011
Some of the biggest supermarkets in the UK have been fined by the Office of Fair Trading for price fixing on dairy products.
Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's have been fined a total of £49,51 million for price fixing in 2002 and 2003. Safeway, now owned by Morrisons, was also fined. It is understood that Tesco's fine accounts for £10 million of the overall fine.
Three infringements of the Competition Act 1998 were committed: price fixing on cheese in 2002; cheese in 2003; and on fresh liquid milk in 2003.
The OFT found that the price fixing co-ordination was achieved by supermarkets "indirectly exchanging retail pricing intentions with each other via the dairy processors."
The three grocers, as well as some suppliers, admitted liability for the infringements and agreed to a "streamlined procedure enabling parts of the case to be resolved more quickly, thus reducing the costs of investigation."
OFT chief executive John Fingleton said: “This decision sends a strong signal to supermarkets, suppliers and other businesses that the OFT will take action and impose significant fines where it uncovers anti-competitive behaviour aimed at increasing the prices paid by consumers.
Suppliers that were also fined were Arla, Dairy Crest, McLelland, The Cheese Company and Wiseman.
Morrisons hires new fresh food director Monday, 8th August 2011
Morrisons has hired Andrew Pleasance as its new commercial director for fresh food.
The supermarket said that Pleasance was the driving force behind Morrisons' Fresh Lab concept which looks at new and innovative ways of retailing fresh foods. Pleasance will now be responsible for commercial operations in bakery, meat, fish and produce.
Pleasance has recently introduced a number of changes to the Fresh Lab concept which resulted in sharp sales increases in the produce, butchery, flower and deli departments. He will replace Chris Walker who will leave the supermarket next month to join Boparan Foods.
Morrisons group retail director Mark Harrison said: "The innovations developed by Andrew at our Fresh Lab have delighted our customers in Leeds and it is now time to take these to our other stores in the UK. In his new role, Andrew will be instrumental in developing our fresh food offer throughout our store network.”
Supermarket construction rises 42% since 2008 Tuesday, 26th July 2011
Supermarket development has surged 42 per cent since the first half of 2008 with 41.22m sq. ft. of new space under construction at the end of the first quarter 2011 according to research from CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).
According to the research carried out by CBRE, supermarkets are the only sector to see a sustained increase in construction activity.
CBRE director Christopher Keen has said: “Supermarkets, because of the high levels of shopper footfall that they can generate, are emerging as a potent anchoring alternative to strengthen failing areas.”
Despite the recent stagnation of non-food sales growth, the demand for additional supermarkets in out-of-town locations remains exceptionally strong and the primary focus of grocers’ expansion plans according to CBRE.
“New Normal” threatens big grocers Thursday, 21st July 2011
Analysts at Citigroup this week suggested that Tesco, J Sainsbury and Morrisons may be struggling to deal with “the new normal”: low GDP growth, tightened consumer purse strings and low population growth.
A Citi broker said on Wednesday that “Not one of the Big Four players is behaving as if this outlook is even a remote possibility.” In fact, all are adding new space while growth is deteriorating and cheaper competition threatens.
The broker also said that the biggest supermarkets “assume a return to historic norms of growth and consumer behaviour [will happen] in the near future.”
There appears to be nominal evidence for the “new normal” theory. J Sainsbury share prices fell 0.90 per cent to 313p, Morrisons was 0.3 per cent lower at 294p, and Tesco only fractionally up. However, given the stagnant nature of economic growth in the UK at present, the theory appears to hold more than a kernel of truth which should register with the Big Four if they are to keep a foothold on their pedestals.
Grocery prices rise as online sales flourish Wednesday, 20th July 2011
Grocery prices in the UK have risen 4.8 per cent over the 12 weeks to 11 July compared with the same period last year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Kantar also said that grocery inflation is likely to exceed 5 per cent this year.Spending in supermarkets overall has risen by 4.6 per cent to £23.8 billion over the three months compared with 2010, suggesting a 0.2 per cent drop in sales volumes over the period.However, online sales are growing at a rate which healthily outstrips sales in physical stores. June in particular was a bumper month for e-tail with £5.3 billion pounds spent – 21 per cent more than last year. Again, the Royal wedding has been touted as a key factor in sales successes over the last few months as spending on beers, wines and spirits increased by 10 per cent year-on-year.The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index also revealed a better-than-expected performance for online sales during the first six months of 2011. IMRG Capgemini said the sales growth was the result of struggling high streets which drove shoppers online for better deals, hot weather which boosted spending on summer clothing and regular downpours which have recently increased the appeal of shopping from home.Clothing sales are up 31 per cent year-on-year and spending on travel also increased 14 per cent year-on-year and 4 per cent on May.
Tesco opens new South Korean academy Friday, 8th July 2011
Supermarket giant Tesco has opened a retail academy in South Korea to train 100,000 Asian staff.
Tesco has invested £300 million in the school and is the first FTSE 100 company to launch such an establishment in Asia.
Interestingly, the location of the school was decided after feng shui analysis was carried out. Apparently the academy "is an ideal location with mountains at the back and water in the front, in the shape of a golden hen sitting on eggs.
This symbolises 'making a fortune' which means a great business." Tesco group chief executive Phil Clarke said: "We have plans to expand across Asia in the years to come. We need to develop our local talent."