Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

4.06 Kroger unveils location of new Ocado CFCs

American grocery giant Kroger has confirmed the location of two new customer fulfillment centres that it is launching as part of its ongoing partnership with Ocado. 

Kroger said the two new CFCs will be hosted in Central Florida and the Mid-Atlantic.

Ocado and Kroger finalised a partnership in October 2018, with the American company committing to building 20 CFCs in the US.  

It was confirmed in November last year that the first warehouse would be constructed in Monroe, Ohio. 

Chief executive of Ocado Solutions, Luke Jensen said: ”This announcement marks another important step towards combining Kroger’s long-standing dedication to innovation and world-class gorcery services with Ocado’s unique, indsutry-leading technology.” 

3.05pm F Hinds saves Chapelle jewellery outlet stores from administration

High street jeweller F Hinds has rescued Chapelle from administration.

Family run F Hinds has acquired 12 Chapelle stores to add to its portfolio of 116 F Hinds stores.

The high-profile outlet locations include McArthur Glen, Realm and Land Securities.

Managing director David Hinds said: “We are delighted to be able to take on many of the Chapelle outlet stores as well as their website. We are also very pleased to be saving over 80 jobs.

“We believe that Chapelle complements our existing F Hinds business and that we will be able to share our experience and to offer increased operational efficiency.”

11.24am John Lewis Partnership’s weekly sales slump

John Lewis Partnership total sales declined 0.6% in the week to February 19 compared to the same period last year.

Waitrose & Partners saw a slight 0.9% increase in total sales for the same period driven by Valentine’s Day flowers and cards.

John Lewis & Partners total sales for the week were down 3.4% compared to the same week last year.

Fashion sales were up 1.2% driven by women’s accessories and beauty, wellness and leisure sales both up by 10.9% and 7.2% respectively.

Home sales slumped 7.6% and electricals & home technology declined 3.1% both hindering John Lewis Partnership’s total sales.

7:26am Walmart facing 100 gender discrimination lawsuits

Walmart is facing nearly 100 gender discrimination lawsuits, less than a decade after the supreme court blocked the business from the largest ever gender discrimination case in the States.

Almost 100 current and former employees filed the lawsuits on February 1, alleging that they were denied equal pay for retail and management positions.

One plaintiff, Francine Radtka, alleges that she was paid less than her male colleagues despite taking on the management of another category in store.

Another, Jenny Hicks, said that she was told she was not eligible for promotions despite training male colleagues for the position that she wanted.

The lawsuits come after the supreme court rejected a class action lawsuit brought by 1.5 million female employees, saying it was too big to constitute class action. Plaintiffs from that caseare now filing regional suits with more expected over the coming months.

7:12am John Lewis selects JLab finalists

John Lewis & Partners has chosen six start up businesses for its JLab technology accelerator after over 160 businesses applied to the scheme.

The startups, who have been selected to help the department store chain navigate how consumers can find their way around stores with a mobile phone or interact with digital screens without needing to touch them, are now in discussions with John Lewis about potential partnerships.

The startups are as follows:

  • Seloy Live, based in Helsinki, transforms shop windows into interactive displays which customers can control.
  • Oriient, from Tel-Aviv, allows customers to find their way to products via their smartphone and gives customers who use the technology further in-store experiences.
  • London-based Ruuby lets customers book beauty treatments at home or any other location.
  • Memomi from Palo Alto lets customers try on fashion and beauty virtually and gives personalised recommendations.
  • Makers Cafe in London allows customers to personalise products through 3D printing and laser cutting.
  • Bristol’s Lettus Grow allows communities to grow plants without soil and wants to use retail spaces as community gardening spaces.