Upmarket retailer Waitrose & Partners has announced that it will close seven loss-making outlets in the UK. Director of shop trade at Waitrose, Mark Gifford, said that the decision was not taken lightly. "Thanks to the hard work of all our Partners we’re making good progress and Waitrose & Partners is on track for profit growth this year but, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, we haven’t been able to find a way to make these shops profitable in the long term," he explained.
Supermarket chain Iceland has announced plans to relaunch plastic-free packaging in the UK after it was forced back to the drawing board on two key trials. Earlier this year, Iceland launched paper-band packaging for its bananas as well as a plastic-free greengrocer trial in Liverpool which saw 35 items sold loose and 27 lines sold in packaging such as compostable punnets, paper bags and cellulose nets.
According to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, online sales rose by 8.5% in June, recovering from a disappointing May when the sector suffered its worst growth on record (+1.9%). June’s results represent the strongest growth so far this year, and are well ahead of the 3-month, 6-month and 12-month rolling averages (respectively -0.5%, +5.4%, +6.9%). In terms of standout category, clothing recorded the highest growth so far this year with a rise of 15.7%. However, accessories and footwear did not fare as well, with accessories sales declining to their lowest ever June growth (-7.4%) and footwear also falling by -8.8%.
Food giant Barilla has announced that it has switched to cage-free eggs for the entire group's supply chain. The Parma-based company will only source eggs from farms that house free-range hens. It has completed the changeover to cage-free eggs a year ahead of schedule in all countries where it operates including the USA, Turkey, and Brazil.
Domino's Pizza Inc has reported its slowest US same-store sales growth in at least three years in the second quarter, raising doubts about its strategy for fighting off competition from delivery apps. UberEats, DoorDash and GrubHub Inc have all pushed into the delivery business. The company has responded with a strategy it calls "fortressing", which aims to speed up delivery times by opening more stores near existing ones.
Premium British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has announced £132 million revenue in its trading update for the 52 weeks ended 30 June 2019, a 14% increase compared to the 52 weeks ended 1 July 2018. Operationally, the Hotel Chocolat Group opened 16 Hotel Chocolat store locations in the year, contributing 5% to Group sales year-on-year. Two of the new openings were in the USA. In addition, the Group entered into a joint venture in Japan which opened two locations in Tokyo.
US retail sales of plant-based foods have risen 11% in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion, according to data from the Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA). During this same period, the total US retail food market increased only 2% in dollar sales and showed flat unit sales, demonstrating that plant-based foods are a key growth driver for retailers nationwide, the research indicated.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.