RETAIL NEWS

Supervalu completes acquisition of Associated Grocers of Florida

BY Gisselle Gaitan

Supervalu has completed the previously announced acquisition of Associated Grocers of Florida, in a transaction valued at approximately $193 million. This marks the second completed acquisition for Minneapolis-based Supervalu whose national distribution center continues to expand with annual sales of approximately $560 million reported in its last fiscal year.

The Associated Grocers of Florida which was founded in 1945, supplies full lines of groceries and general merchandise to independent retailers and regional chains throughout Florida, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

“The addition of Associated Grocers of Florida is another important step on our journey to becoming the wholesaler of choice for grocery retailers,” Mark Gross, Supervalu’s president and chief executive officer, said. “AG of Florida has a tremendous retailer base across central and south Florida and we’ll immediately gain a vibrant group of customers as well as an ability to expand internationally with AG’s customers in territories that include the Caribbean, and Central and South America.”

“I’m also thrilled that Christopher Miller, AG’s former president, will continue with us in a similar role as president of Supervalu Florida going forward. Chris has built a great team and we’re very excited that they’re now a part of our Supervalu family. Between the Unified Grocers and AG of Florida acquisitions, we’ve added substantial talent that will help us meet the rapidly changing needs of the markets we serve, including the growing specialty, organic, Latino and Hispanic markets,” Gross said.

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Walmart makes big push for same day in-store pickup service

BY Marianne Wilson

The discounter, which said 84% of Americans are still shopping for the holidays, is making a big push for its same day in-store pickup service. It’s made more items eligible for the service than ever before. Also, customers will be able to shop for qualifying items, notated with “Free Pickup Today,” online until 4 p.m. local time on Dec. 23. The items can be picked up in stores until 6 p.m. on Dec, 24.

Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, making its pickup service a fast and convenient option for customers—and a service that Amazon, even with its Whole Foods acquisition, still doesn’t come close to. The discounter said demand for “Pickup Today” orders double during the last two weeks of the season when its network of stores turn into pickup points for millions of online orders.

“We started the season by promising more,” stated Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer of Walmart U.S. “We know the vast majority of our customers are still shopping and there is no more important time to deliver on our promise than the final days before Christmas.”

In a new twist this holiday season, Walmart is placing unloaded gift cards in select boxes of orders placed online, encouraging shoppers who need a last-minute gift to go online and load them with amounts starting at $5. The cards will appear in Walmart.com packages for orders placed up until Dec. 17, and through Dec. 24 for Pickup orders.

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WBA takes 40% stake in China’s leading pharmacy chain

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens Boots Alliance on Wednesday extended its retail pharmacy acumen into China by taking a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores in a deal worth approximately $416 million.

“We are very pleased to become a strategic investor in GuoDa,” stated Stefano Pessina, WBA executive vice chairman and CEO. “It is China’s leading pharmacy chain and we believe that we can positively contribute to its continued successful development with our global pharmacy expertise. We have had a presence in China for around 10 years, initially through Alliance Boots, and we are excited about the opportunity to further invest in the country’s fast growing retail pharmacy sector.”

GuoDa is a leading retail pharmacy chain in China, and has been pursuing its vision for expansion across the country in the context of the ongoing healthcare reforms and increasing importance of the pharmacy channel in the country. Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, as a global pharmacy-led enterprise, believes it is well positioned to provide its significant expertise to GuoDa and support its growth ambitions.

The transaction is subject to regulatory review and approval, and other customary closing conditions. Upon completion, Walgreens Boots Alliance would account for this stake as an equity method investment.

 

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