Weekly Roundup... 20 May, 2020

By Donna Ahern
Weekly Roundup... 20 May, 2020

Walmart Inc's first-quarter US comparable sales rose 10% and the retailer reported a 74% rise in online revenue as stockpiling of groceries and other staples drove consumers to its stores and website during the coronavirus-related lockdowns, reports Reuters.  The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer, like many other essential businesses, has seen an unprecedented spike in demand late in March and early in April as 'shelter-in-place' orders made consumers stock up while limiting their trips to the grocers.

Spar retailers all over Ireland are going above and beyond to serve their customers, their local communities and crucially the most vulnerable in our society. They are doing this in many ways including home deliveries, telephone orders and a number of other initiatives designed to make life easier for our customers. For Louis Byrne, owner and operator of Spar Caherslee, Tralee and Spar Oak Park, Tralee, this included making a special delivery of Spar water, baked goods and some sweet treats to the heroes working on the front lines in University Hospital Kerry recently. Louis and Spar are keen to take a moment to show our appreciation for the tremendous work those working in our healthcare system are doing in the most challenging of circumstances.

South African retailer Massmart said that sales in the 19 weeks to 10 May fell 11.9%, hit by a five-week coronavirus lockdown that prevented the company from selling most of its general merchandise, home improvement and liquor products. Group sales for the 19 weeks ended May 10, when restrictions were partially lifted, fell to 28.2 billion rand ($1.53 billion) compared with the same period last year, Massmart, majority owned by Walmart said in a statement. Comparable store sales were 12.1% lower than last year, with comparable sales from South African stores falling 13.2%. Sales in the rest of Africa edged up 1.3%.

The European Commission is seeking to halve the use of chemical pesticides by 2030 to halt the decline of pollinators, in a plan likely to draw criticism both from those urging a phase-out of the substances and from farmers who say crop yields will suffer. The Commission, the EU executive, wants to commit the European Union to a halving of the use of chemical and "high-risk" pesticides by 2030, a draft document seen by Reuters and set to be published on May 20 showed. It did not explain what it meant by high-risk or how it would enforce the reduction.

Colruyt Group has announced that it plans to cultivate Belgian mussels in the North Sea for sale in its retail outlets. It aims to cultivate the mussels in the Westdiepzone (Western deep zone), five kilometres off the coast of Nieuwpoort in Belgium, reports esmmagazine.com The company has applied for an operating licence and an environment permit before it can commence work to install the mussel lines. Director of quality and production at Colruyt Group, Stefan Goethaert, explained, “We're taking it one step at a time and the first hurdle is obtaining an operating licence and environmental permit. “These kinds of procedures take time, so we're not expecting a mussel harvest that's ready for sale until the summer of 2022 at the earliest."

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