Sobeys, Fresh & Easy market specialty burgers.

 With yesterday’s holiday marking the unofficial kick-off to summer, grilling is on the minds of many consumers. At the same time, this year’s record-high beef prices may push more customers to switch to ground beef or other ground meats.

Several retailers have used social media to promote more sophisticated burgers, whether value-added options sold in stores or recipes for consumers to try at home.

As part of its partnership with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, Sobeys launched a better burger social media contest and features value-added products created by the chef.

Señales muy positivas de repunte económico en Estados Unidos.

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La economía de EE.UU. parece inclinada a acelerarse este trimestre y tal vez podría crecer más de 4 por ciento luego de un invierno muy desalentador, según expertos.

Una encuesta hecha por el diario The Wall Street Journal a 48 economistas arrojó que el consenso es que el crecimiento del producto bruto anualizado sea de 3,3 por ciento.

Nueve de esos economistas dijeron que su predicción es que la economía crezca 4 por ciento o más en el segundo trimestre del año.

La semana pasada el Departamento de Comercio reportó un crecimiento de solo 0,1 por ciento del producto interno bruto en el primer trimestre.

Pero datos sobre construcción y exportaciones en marzo divulgados con posterioridad han hecho pensar a los economistas que durante ese período la economía realmente se contrajo.

Sin embargo, informaciones preliminares del mes de abril confirman que como muchos previeron la economía está repuntando.

No solo las nóminas no agrícolas mostraron en abril una sólida ganancia de 288 mil nuevos empleos sino que también la manufactura y los servicios dieron señales de crecimiento.

Fuente: Abasto Online.

The Fresh Market not worried about price competition.

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The Fresh Market store (Miami Beach).

The Fresh Market isn’t particularly worried about the more competitive price positioning of Whole Foods Market, executives said in an earnings conference call Thursday.

“Our view is that people are coming to us for the quality of the service, the quality of the food and a different shopping experience,” said Jeffrey Ackerman, CFO of The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C. “They don’t see us as an organic, all-natural retailer. There’s a couple others out there that are organic, all natural retailers. People are coming to us for something different.

“So we think that gives us a little different platform on which to compete and may make our customers less prone to price sensitivity of what our competitors do.”

The company continues to test new promotions, however, using themed offers that highlight specific departments. In March for example, The Fresh Market implemented a weekly “meal deal” event that the company said has seen a “growing response. It is also continuing to ramp up its private-label and prepared-foods offerings.

On the real estate front, the fast-growing company said it expects to complete an assessment of its opportunities in the Southeast in the next 90 to 120 days. Plans for fiscal 2014 call for 23 or 24 new stores in total, seven of which will be in Florida.

After a failed expansion effort in Sacramento, Calif., and struggling in its debut in Houston, The Fresh Market said its newest store in Houston is faring better. It plans to open one store in Laguna, Hills, Calif., this summer, and it has three stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area slated to open in the next 12 months.

In the first quarter, comparable-store sales rose 2.5%, with average transaction volume increasing 1.8% and transaction size up 0.7%. Net sales increased 17.6% to $431 million.

Net income was down slightly, to $16.6 million, reflecting store closure costs. Adjusted operating income was $34.6 million, compared with $35.4 million a year ago.

Whole Foods: Competition drives change

10rwholefoods“I think it’s important to understand that competition has accelerated, there’s no question about it,” John Mackey, Whole Foods’ co-CEO.

That natural and organic foods are no longer the exclusive domain of retailers specializing in the niche has been confirmed — by none other than the category’s leading player.

Officials of Whole Foods Market acknowledged that growing competition for sales of natural and organic products has slowed its rate of growth and forced it into what could be a prolonged period of price investments and internal cost reductions — sure symptoms of competing with conventional food retailers. As a result, officials said they expect profits could be under pressure for the next several years, and some analysts were predicting a rocky road ahead, citing inflation and the potential for complications as Whole Foods’ store count rises.

 “I think it’s important to understand that competition has accelerated, there’s no question about it,” John Mackey, Whole Foods’ co-CEO, told analysts during an earnings conference call earlier this monthsupported in part by internal cost reductions.

Mackey said the competition “affirms our mission for the past 36 years and speaks to the increasing growth opportunity” in natural foods, but that it has also put a drag on its rate of growth.

“We’ve seen the conventional supermarket companies like Kroger and Wegmans and H-E-B, they certainly have upped their game in natural and organic foods,” Mackey added. “We’ve seen new entrants get public money such as Sprouts, Fresh Market, Natural Grocers, and they’re expanding more rapidly. Trader Joe’s continues to expand.

“We still remain the leader in this category, I think by a significant margin,” he added. “And the markets continue to expand which is why all these guys are jumping into it. They see the sea change, that natural and organic foods are continuing to penetrate the larger marketplace and everybody wants in on it. I think for a long time Whole Foods had the field to ourselves pretty much. That was nice. But we don’t any longer.”

Observers noted that Whole Foods — while experiencing sales, profits and a market opportunity wildly successful by conventional supermarket standards — was confronting a similar dilemma Kroger faced when it first addressed its pricing strategy more than a decade ago. While ultimately successful in growing earnings and market share, Kroger’s transformation took years.

“Nobody knows how much price investment it’s going to take to stabilize the picture for Whole Foods,” Andrew Wolf, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, Boston, told SN in an interview. “They’re still gaining market share but at only half the rate they used to be. Same-store sales have gone from high single digits to mid-single digits, and that’s probably not good enough for them.

“They are not going to have to do anything on the order of magnitude that Kroger had to do,” he added, noting that Whole Foods’ nonunion status provides a more flexible cost structure, and it has the comparative benefit of competing in a natural-foods industry that is continuing to grow. “But it’s not known at this point how long or how much price investment they will need.”

España: Costco abre sus puertas en Sevilla y ya busca ubicación en Valencia.

zoido-costco-abierto--644x362El alcalde, Juan Ignacio Zoido, con la directora de Costco España este jueves.

Cotsco Wholesale abrió ayer su primera tienda en Europa continental, en Sevilla para su desembarco. En el edificio de más de 13.000 metros cuadrados que han construido en el Higuerón Sur -donde también están instalados Brico Depot y McDonalds-, este miércoles se celebró la preinauguración. No solo estaba llena la tienda de curiosos, proveedores y trabajadores celebrando la apertura. También las cajas para hacerse socio tenían cola, lo que da una idea de la expectación por este nuevo negocio en Sevilla.

Costco Sevilla abre este jueves su puertas con más de 15.000 socios

La preinauguración

Costco, un club de compra en el que el socio, explican desde la compañía, es la «pieza fundamental», exige que quien quiera ir a la tienda pague una cuota anual. Unos 30 euros de media en el caso de España (el precio varía si se trata de un mayorista o de un particular). Han superado los 15.000 socios, lo que supone unos 30.000 carnés, puesto que cada membresía tiene derecho a dos tarjetas de acceso. Este dato es especialmente relevante si se tiene en cuenta que nadie en España conocía su modelo de negocio. Es decir, quienes se han asociado ni siquiera saben de primera mano cómo funciona Costco.

Costco incluye Valencia en sus planes de expansión de aperturas.

La multinacional de EE UU invierte alrededor de 36 millones en cada establecimiento y elige centros comerciales para su ubicación.

La multinacional norteamericana Costco un gigante mundial en el negocio de la distribución comercial ha puesto su foco de atención en España para expandir su exitosa fórmula de hipermercados de bajo coste en el Viejo Continente al inaugurar ayer en Sevilla su primer establecimiento en territorio español, donde también prevé abrir tiendas en Valencia, así como en Madrid y Barcelona, según contemplan los planes de Costco Wholesale Corporation. La firma de capital estadounidense, que apuesta por implantarse en grandes centros comerciales, ha invertido 36 millones de euros y generado 275 puestos de trabajo directos en la puesta en marcha de su centro andaluz, cuya superficie de venta es de 15.000 metros cuadrados.

En medio de una fuerte competencia y del contínuo aumento del número de hipermercados y supermercados en España, Costco todavía no ha concretado la fecha de sus próximas aperturas en Valencia, Madrid y Barcelona, según explicaron ayer a Levante-EMV fuentes próximas a la mercantil. La compañía quiere evaluar con detalle el funcionamiento de sus primeras aperturas para continuar a partir de 2015 su expansión en varias autonomías.

Apuesta por las marcas
La cadena de EE UU, constituida en Seattle hace tres décadas, opera como un club de compras dirigido tanto a profesionales como a particulares, un modelo mixto que permite a sus socios ya cuenta con 17.000 en España beneficiarse de una serie de descuentos y ventajas en los precios de los artículos de Costco a cambio de pagar una cuota anual.

El catálogo de ofertas de productos de Costco es muy variopinto y con precios realmente competitivos, que aboga por la reducción de márgenes comerciales a cambio de generar grandes volúmenes de ventas en sus establecimientos. En Estados Unidos, los productos de alimentación que distribuye esta cadena, representan el 34% de las ventas totales. El resto de la facturación corresponde a comercialización de gasolinas, tabaco, belleza, textil, muebles, viajes y electrónica.

El gigante estadounidense, sexto en el «ranking» mundial del sector, rechazó su implantación en Francia por los problemas burocráticos. Además, la empresa se ha aliado con Sipay Plus para gestionar el sistema de cobro, firma de desarrollo de soluciones de pago para el comercio. Así puede reducir los intermediarios en el proceso de compra y las comisiones, al poder trabajar directamente con varios bancos, sin incrementar el coste. En 2013 Costco alcanzó unas ventas de 75.544 millones de euros, un 6% más que en 2012. A esta hay que sumar 1.656 millones de euros que ingresan sus miembros. La firma de la distribución está presente en Estados Unidos, Canadá, México, Puerto Rico, Reino Unido, Japón, Taiwán, Corea y Australia.

Inforetail España; Vidal Supermercados sigue creciendo en Valencia.

vidalíndiceLa cadena Vidal Tiendas Supermercados, perteneciente al grupo Kuups Design International, ha inaugurado un nuevo supermercado en Alzira (Valencia), ubicado en la Zona Comercial de Alzira, Carretera Albalat-Oest.

Este establecimiento dispone de todas las secciones habituales de bazar, droguería y limpieza, alimentación, bebidas, congelados, panadería, fruta y verdura y sección de carnicería y charcutería tradicional.
Asimismo, está dotado de una zona de aparcamiento exterior y de un gran parking subterráneo con acceso directo a la tienda. Su horario comercial es de 09:00 a 22:00 horas, de lunes a sábado.
Con esta inauguración Kuups Design International continúa con la ejecución de su plan de crecimiento y expansión diseñado para 2014. En la actualidad, Vidal Supermercados cuenta con 23 puntos de venta repartidos por las provincias de Valencia y Alicante.
Esta es la segunda apertura que realiza la cadena valenciana en lo que va de año, tras la que llevó a cabo el pasado mes de febrero en la localidad de Sueca (Valencia).
Asimismo, a lo largo de estos cinco primeros meses de 2014, la compañía ha incorporado la sección de Carnicería y Charcutería Tradicional en tres de sus activos situados en Valencia, Cullera y Pobla de Vallbona.
La cadena Vidal Supermercados, perteneciente desde 2011 a la empresa Kuups, cuenta actualmente con 24 puntos de venta repartidos entre las provincias de Valencia y Alicante, y su plantilla está compuesta por cerca de 430 personas.

The 14 best supermarkets in America (…and Part II)

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Reader score: 83
Location: Iowa, Neb., Ill., Minn.
Year founded: 1983

This Midwest chain received top scores in service and price satisfaction and above-average scores on cleanliness and perishables. Earlier this year, the company named a new CEO: Reynolds Cramer, who started out as a stock boy on the supermarket floor at age 16.

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Raley’s

Reader score: 83
Location: Calif. and Nev.
Year founded: 1934

This family-owned chain received the top score on cleanliness and perishables, an above-average score on service, and a below-average score on price satisfaction. Current CEO Michael Teel is the grandson of the Raley’s founder; he ran the company from 1996 to 2002 and returned to the helm in 2010 in an effort to keep the company private.

A Market Basket Supermarket, courtesy of Market Basket via Facebook, www.facebook.com/MarketBasketFoods
Market Basket

Reader score: 83
Location: N.H., Mass., Maine
Year founded: 1962

This New England-based, family-owned discount grocer competes hard for price-conscious shoppers. In January it announced a 4 percent year-long discount for customers.

A Sprouts Farmers Market in Los Angeles © Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters
Sprouts Farmers Market

Reader score: 84
Location:  Ariz., Calif., Colo., Nev., N.M., Okla., Texas, Utah, and Kan.
Year founded: 2001

A newcomer to the list this year, Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) specializes in fresh and whole-grain foods. With more than 170 stores and 1,400 team members, the chain went public last August; shares have fallen about 20 percent since its market debut.

A shopper pushes a cart outside Costco Wholesale in Danvers, Mass. © Elise Amendola/AP
Costco

Reader score: 84
Location: Nationwide
Year founded: 1983

The warehouse chain received the top score in price and perishables, an above-average score for cleanliness, and a neutral score for customer service. Of course, Costco’s (COST) model minimizes service and quick cashiers in exchange for the deals it can offer customers on a daily basis.

A Publix supermarket © Sean Pavone/Alamy
Publix

Reader score: 85
Location: Fla., Ala., Ga., N.C., S.C., and Tenn.
Year founded: 1930

The largest employee-owned supermarket in the United States, Publix is also the most profitable. The chain was the only grocer to appear on J.D. Power’s list of 2014 Customer Champions, which recognizes outstanding customer service.

A pedestrian walks past a Trader Joe's Co. store in San Francisco © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Trader Joe’s

Reader score: 87
Location: Nationwide
Year founded: 1967

This offbeat supermarket chain, which features a limited assortment of goods and specializes in store brands and unusual foods, has gained a rabid fan base. Its Hawaiian shirt-clad workers cater primarily to gourmands and high-end shoppers.

The Wegmans grocery store in Rochester, N.Y. © age fotostock/Alamy
Wegmans

Reader score: 88
Location: N.Y., N.J., Pa., Md., Mass., and Va.
Year founded: 1916

Wegmans received the highest possible ranking on perishables, service, and cleanliness, and the second-highest ranking for prices. Wegmans has been recognized not only for taking care of its customers, but also for taking care of its employees: The chain ranked fifth on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

The 14 best supermarkets in America (Part I)

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Great grocers

The supermarket as we know it is changing. A wave of consolidations is sweeping the industry, and the largest chains are changing focus as they face increasing competition from more niche stores. Online-only competitors like Amazon (AMZN) Fresh and FreshDirect are also gaining market share.

The changes could be good news for consumers, many of whom have qualms about the current in-store shopping experience. A survey of more than 27,000 subscribers in the May issue of Consumer Reports finds that although most consumers are satisfied overall, more than half had at least one complaint about their current store. Almost a third of customers had two or more problems with their grocer.

The survey revealed that a few stores are doing a great job of satisfying their customers. The magazine graded 55 major chains based on the consumer survey and found that east-coast chain Wegmans ranked the best, with a score of 88 out of 100 possible points.

At the other end of the list, retail behemoth Wal-Mart (WMT) scored the worst, receiving a paltry 67.

Consumers are becoming far less loyal to their supermarkets and are increasingly willing to visit more than one store, picking up the basics at one supermarket, traveling to another for ethnic or gourmet foods, and filling out the rest of their needs with online shipments.

hebDBCF7274B561819EF04D19ED73DE4_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteH-E-B

Reader score: 81
Location: Texas, northern Mexico
Year founded: 1905

H-E-B appeals to the Texas pride of its customers, with private labels often referencing the Lone Star State and “Hill Country Fare.” The chain received above-average rankings on all categories on the survey.

harris29EC63FB614C15786FE114F849C631_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteHarris-Teeter

Reader score: 81
Location: N.C., S.C., Va., Ga., Tenn., Fla., Md., Del., and D.C.
Year founded: 1939

In January, supermarket giant Kroger (KR) finalized its purchase of this southeastern chain for $2.5 billion. The combined company will operate more than 2,600 stores and employ more than 368,000 workers.

DDC8A47069D1D47EF8EEBD22BA632F_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteHy-Vee

Reader score: 81
Location: Ill., Iowa, Mo., Kan., Neb., S.D., Minn., Wis.
Year founded: 1930

At this supermarket, customers never have to shop hungry: They can sit down to a full meal before stocking up their carts. The Midwestern chain has announced plans to remodel 75 of its stores in the next three years to feature a full-service restaurant and bar.

aldiE30B11B8DB34F259B1F3674F861AE_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteAldi

Reader score: 81
Location: Nationwide
Year founded: 1913

Owned by the same German company that owns Trader Joe’s, Aldi has been expanding rapidly, adding more than 80 new stores annually in recent years.  The store’s fans love the low prices so much that they’re willing to pay a quarter to use a cart in the store.

C19DD4A95BAB569DC04F8E2DE53EA_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteWin-Co

Reader score: 81
Location: Ariz., Calif., Idaho, Nev., Ore., Utah, Wash.
Year founded: 1967

This employee-owned chain has garnered a huge reputation within the supermarket industry for its rock-bottom prices, which often even undercut the deals offered by Wal-Mart (WMT). However, unlike Wal-Mart, which is often criticized for its treatment of employees, Win-Co is an employee-owned chain, and offers most staffers, including part-time employees, pension benefits and a health plan.

5CF7FC10ED93DB984993397D61D5E3_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhiteStater Bros.

Reader score: 83
Location: Calif.
Year founded: 1936

Stater Bros. is the largest privately owned supermarket chain in Southern California, with more than 18,000 employees and nearly $4 billion in annual revenue. The store received the highest rating in price satisfaction, and an above-average rating on service, cleanliness, and perishables.

 

Q2 sales rebound for Ingles.

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Sales and profits at Ingles Markets during the fiscal second quarter “rebounded nicely” from a slow start to the year, officials of the retailer said.

For the three-month period ended March 29, Ingles net income increased by 29.2% to $10.5 million on $947.8 million in sales, a 2.9% increase. Same-store sales, when adjusted for the timing of the Easter holiday, improved by 2.5%, Ron Freeman, CFO of the Asheville, N.C.-based retailer said.

In a conference call discussing results, Freeman said Ingles gained some sales benefit as a result of harsh winter weather. He also said holding the line on prices despite increasing costs in the meat department helped to win sales there — but cautioned that he wasn’t certain how long Ingles could do that, or whether prices would continue to rise.

“We are absolutely committed to passing along the best prices that we possibly can to our customers, and we definitely demonstrated that by taking a little bit of reduced margins in those [meat] price increases so far,” Freeman said. “But it would be reckless of me to predict how we’ll behave with that if this [inflation] continues for another six, nine or 12 months.”

Profits and sales at Ingles were down in the first quarter.

Carrefour, Nestlé, Unilever y Primark vuelven a crecer en el mercado español.

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Carrefour: El grupo francés lleva dos trimestres consecutivos subiendo las ventas. Carrefour, que no elevaba los ingresos desde 2008, facturó un 1% más en el primer trimestre de 2014


Nestlé: El gigante suizo de la alimentación reseñó durante la presentación de las cuentas trimestrales que percibe “signos alentadores de recuperación” en el mercado español.


Unilever: El grupo anglo-holandés de productos de gran consumo subrayó “la vuelta al crecimiento de su filial española y griega, lo que percibe como una mejoría del sur de Europa.


Primark: La compañía textil aumentó los ingresos a doble dígito en España y Portugal a tiendas constantes, lo que impulsó las ventas de Primark un 14% en el primer semestre. Tiene 39 tiendas en España.



LLEGADAS: Ante la expectativa de recuperación del gran consumo, varias filiales están llegando al mercado español para abrir tiendas, como SportsDirect y Costa Coffee. Incluso Marks & Spencer se plantea volver a Madrid y Barcelona.