Empire Company Ltd.

13 December 2018

Empire Company’s cost-saving initiatives and corporate transformation appear to be paying off with the company reporting its “strongest quarter since we began the transformation of Empire,” says Michael Medline, president and CEO.

In its filings for the second quarter of fiscal 2019, Empire reported same-store sales increased by 2.5 per cent and a second consecutive quarter of tonnage growth. And it surpassed market expectations, reporting a profit of $103.8 million in its second quarter results compared to a loss in the same period last year.

"In what has been our strongest quarter since we began the transformation of Empire, we are extremely pleased with the top and bottom line numbers...Our trajectory and momentum continue to trend in the right direction with strong sales and tonnage growth, stabilized margins, a significant decline in our costs, and a 48 per cent earnings improvement," Medline said in a statement.

"We have a ways to go, but we are setting ourselves up for long-term success through strategic moves such as Project Sunrise, FreshCo 2.0, our Ocado-driven e-commerce platform and the recent acquisition of Farm Boy."

Project Sunrise, the corporate transformation plan Medline launched last year, is on track and expected to generate at least $500 million in annualized benefits by the end of fiscal 2020. Empire says it realized about 20 per cent of these benefits during fiscal 2018, and anticipates up to a further 30 per cent will be realized during fiscal 2019, principally during the second half of the year.

Dollarama

13 December 2018

Dollarama has launched a pilot of its first e-commerce website in Quebec. The pilot will offer delivery to home addresses in the province, and customers will also be able to place orders online and then pick up their merchandise at a third-party location.

The company has partnered with UPS, which means customers will be able to have product shipped to any UPS location for pickup. While this service is free of charge, there is still an $18 shipping fee for every order, a company spokesperson told CTV News.

Dollarama’s e-commerce pilot applies to bulk items only and is targeted at small businesses and people looking to buy in bulk, the spokesperson added. The pilot covers about 1000 items regularly sold in stores and does not cover Dollarama’s full product range.

Dollarama will decide on a Canada-wide rollout based on the results of this pilot. The company says no definite timeline has been set for the pilot project.

Ferrrero aims for Campbell's international business

12 December 2018

Ferrero SpA is interested in buying Campbell Soup Co’s international business, according to sources close to the story.

Reuters reports that Ferrero, with Rothschild advising, is working on a deal that could be worth as much as $2 billion.

Campbell started selling off its international and fresh refrigerated foods units in August after a strategic review of its whole business. It says the units put up for sale have been attracting strong interest.

The international business includes biscuit brand Arnott’s, Kelsen Group, and manufacturing operations in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as businesses in Hong Kong and Japan.

Both Ferrero and Campbell declined to comment for the Reuters report.

Grocery leaders poised for massive growth

12 December 2018

The world’s leading 20 global grocery markets are set to generate an additional US$1.9 trillion (Cdn$2.5 trillion) in sales by 2023, according to new figures from IGD.

Canada is ranked #18 on IGD’s top 20 list, with grocery sales of US$102.7 billion (Cdn$137 billion) in 2018. That is predicted to rise to US$120.2 billion (Cdn$160.4 billion) by 2023, a 17 per cent increase.

New forecasts predict that sales in the top 20 could grow by 28 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

Key details:

  • Nearly half (44 per cent) of the extra sales will be created in Asia, which will add more than Africa, Europe and Latin America combined
  • Asia as a region will contain seven of the world’s largest grocery markets by 2023, with a combined market size of US$3.8 trillion (Cdn$5 trillion).
  • Europe will be the second most important region in terms of additional sales between 2018 and 2023. It is forecast to generate US$322 billion (Cdn$429 billion) in new sales in the timeframe.

Commenting on North America, IGD Canada programme director Stewart Samuel says “the US market heavily influences the region’s performance given its size. The outlook is for a fairly low growth scenario, meaning that retailers and manufacturers need to focus on the growth opportunities provided by the online channel and discount retail, as these will be the fastest growing channels over the period.

“The North American market is seeing significant investment in online grocery retail, particularly in terms of supply chain and fulfilment. There is a big focus on making the channel more efficient which involves lots of testing of different solutions. Albertsons and Ahold Delhaize have partnered with Takeoff Technologies for hyperlocal fulfilment, Kroger partnered with Ocado. These investments suggest that retailers view the channel as being materially more important in the future.”

Walmart's Flippy fry cooking robot

12 December 2018

Walmart has started to test what’s being called “the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant.”

More colloquially known as Flippy, the AI-powered robot fry cook was designed by Miso Robotics, a two-year-old startup, reports Yahoo Finance. So far Flippy is being tested at Walmart’s Bentonville, Arkansas HQ to see if it can be deployed at Walmart in-store delis.

Watch the video report.

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