COVID-19 latest news from around the world

15 April 2020
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expanding its SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme) online pilot to two more states: Florida and Idaho. Amazon and Walmart participating in all pilot states The pilot programme enables recipients of SNAP benefits, often referred to as food stamps, to purchase items through designated online retailers. The pilot is live in Alabama, Iowa...
15 April 2020
In response to the high demand for its existing online grocery services in Quebec and British Columbia, Sobeys is accelerating the planned launch of its Voilà service in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Initial testing planned for end of April The Voilà by Sobeys service is being developed in partnership with UK-based Ocado and will be the retailer’s first ecommerce business in the Ontario m...
15 April 2020
Taiwan has been widely recognised to have, so far, contained the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) well. However, the risk of community transmissions remains high, likewise a second wave of infections could be caused by returning residents from other regions. We look at how businesses in Taiwan have responded to the pandemic. Looking after everyone Carrefour Taiwan is providing disposable...
14 April 2020
We look at some of the latest developments from Amazon in the US as it looks to address the challenges created by coronavirus. Waiting list for new customers Amazon has created a waiting list for new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery and pickup customers. The retailer is temporarily asking customers to sign up for an invitation to use its online grocery delivery and pickup soluti...
14 April 2020
Ahead of releasing Q1 results on 30 April, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski issued an update on the company’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and performance since the beginning of 2020.  Key messages The statement focussed on three key points: The current situation has had a significant impact on business: started 2020 in a strong position, with global like-for-l...
09 April 2020
In this article, updated daily, we summarise the latest responses to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK: Multiples update: Tesco releases annual results and updates on COVID-19: More normal shopping behaviour has resumed after a surge in demand for certain items in the first few weeks of the crisis caused sales uplifts of c.30%. Grocery home shopping capacity has been in...
09 April 2020
We recently wrote about some ways that supply chains have shown flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic .  Similarly, this article looks at supply chain flexibility but with a focus on resource optimisation. Human resource sharing arrangements While the use of automation in supply chains is becoming more widespread, supply chain operations remain largely dependent upon human labour. The C...
09 April 2020
Walmart China announced at the Cloud Supplier Conference that it plans to invest CNY3bn (US$426m) in Wuhan, where the pandemic first started, over the next five years. Plans include the opening of four Sam’s Club stores, 15 shopping malls and more community stores. Strengthening its presence in Wuhan Wuhan is strategically important to Walmart. It is the capital of Hubei province, where t...
09 April 2020
As countries implement social distancing measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus, foodservice operators have been forced to close their doors. Whilst some have been able to use government support to effectively hibernate operations, others have reacted with agility to adapt to the situation and bring new purpose to their businesses. The changes they have made fall into three main areas...
09 April 2020
We look at how needs are changing and how this has impacted on retailers’ assortments during the pandemic and how this could evolve in the future. We review the effects on local sourcing and private labels and other areas that should be considered when assessing product ranges. Evolving needs With lockdowns in place and closure of all non-essential businesses, people’s shopping habits have ...
09 April 2020
Amazon is due to suspend its third-party delivery service in the US, starting from 5 June, for an unspecified period. In direct competition with FedEX and UPS The delivery service, called Amazon Shipping, was available in a small number of US cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and consisted in drivers picking parcels up from third-party businesses and delivering them to co...
09 April 2020
To help boost consumption and accelerate the economic recovery from the pandemic, China’s Suguo supermarket chain, owned by CR Vanguard, issued CNY100m (US$14m) worth of promotional coupons last week. Bringing tangible benefits to customers Between 25 and 29 March, customers who are Suguo members could receive a CNY100 (US$14) voucher for any amount they spent with the retailer. Non-Suguo...
08 April 2020
SPAR stores in England are to be the first convenience retailers to partner with the Royal Voluntary Service on its NHS Volunteer Responders programme. This will enable volunteers to shop on behalf of vulnerable community members and make payments in store for them. Service accessible in over 700 stores The Volunteer Responders Programme has been put in place to support those referred to th...
08 April 2020
Tesco has released robust full year results for the year to 29 February 2020, together with an update on how it is supporting customers and colleagues through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Headline results (actual exchange rates, 52 week change) Group sales: -0.7% to £56.5bn UK & Ireland sales: +0.1%, +0.2% LFL Tesco UK: -0.6%, -0.3% LFL Booker sales: +5.0%, +3.3% LFL Ce...
08 April 2020
Alibaba’s Taobao Live is helping more industries in China digitise their operations. Live streaming in agricultural and retail sectors Alibaba is increasing Taobao Live’s reach and accessibility. Taobao Live announced that it would offer training to 200,000 farmers in ongoing efforts to increase business in rural areas across China. The livestreaming platform aims to generate CNY15bn (US...
07 April 2020
Booths has launched a next day click & collect service at three of its stores. The retailer also recently launched a limited delivery service for those unable to get to one of its stores. Next day click & collect With its new click & collect service, Booths’s customers can order online from a range of more than 150 products, which can be collected from the retailer’s Garstang, Lytham or Kir...
07 April 2020
Major UK convenience retailer, McColl’s is teaming up with restaurant delivery expert Deliveroo to offer home delivery. The service aims to help support vulnerable customers during their coronavirus isolation. Initial availability in 120 stores, to be rolled out to 300 Offering a range of food, grocery, cleaning and hygiene essentials, as well as news and magazines, shoppers will be able to...
07 April 2020
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, declared a month-long state of emergency on 7 April in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government has also approved a record stimulus package worth JPY108 tn (US$990 bn) to support the economy State of emergency until 6 May Abe told a televised news conference, “We are not at a stage where rapid nationwide spread is being observed, b...
07 April 2020
To help local restaurants during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, H-E-B is stocking a selection of local products in its stores. Popular local meals H-E-B already stocked selected restaurant branded products, however this pilot is the first time it is bringing ready made meals into its stores. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, the retailer is working closely with local restaurants to...
07 April 2020
Spar Croatia is increasing its collaboration with an additional 60 small-scale agricultural producers, who are facing challenges marketing their produce due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “Gardens of Croatia” Spar Croatia is appealing to small producers who cannot market their produce to get in touch with the retailer directly so products can be packaged and delivered through its n...