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Today’s news in brief-3/4/24

Amazon is reportedly discontinuing its Just Walk Out checkout system in US Amazon Fresh stores, opting instead for Dash Carts, which allow shoppers to pay as they shop. The move, announced by Tony Hoggett, Amazon’s senior vice president of grocery stores, aims to enhance customer experience by integrating features like nearby product location and real-time receipts. The shift will not impact Amazon outlets in the UK. This decision follows the closure of Amazon’s first UK Amazon Fresh store last July due to weak sales and economic conditions.

UK supermarket sales surged by 5.4% in March, driven by a 3.7% drop in food inflation compared to last year. Increased spending during Mother’s Day contributed to the growth, with produce and meat, fish, and poultry sales seeing uplifts. Sainsbury’s and Tesco led in supermarket growth, while Morrisons saw a sales increase and Asda experienced slower growth. Despite the positive growth, weak consumer confidence persists due to rising household bills.

Topps Tiles sales fell by 5.9% to £122.6m in the first half of 2024, attributed to subdued demand in the Repair, Maintenance, and Improvement (RMI) sector. Like-for-like sales dropped by 11.3% due to lower footfall and volume. However, the retailer saw strong sales in its online businesses, with positive progress in Pro Tiler and Tile Warehouse. Topps Tiles plans to acquire the remaining 40% shareholding in Pro Tiler Limited to leverage its market position.

Secret Sales has acquired German online retailer Dress-for-Less in a strategic move to expand its off-price retail portfolio in Europe. With Dress-for-Less boasting a turnover of Є100m in 2023, this acquisition solidifies Secret Sales as a dominant player in discount fashion and beauty across six European territories. The deal will enhance inventory and market reach, with Dress-for-Less leveraging Secret Sales’ backend technology platform while maintaining its brand identity.

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Aldi pledges to invest over £380m in price cuts in 2024, building on its initiative to lower prices on 500 products earlier in the year. This commitment aligns with Aldi’s strategy to offer the lowest prices and remain competitive in the market. The supermarket chain plans to open 35 new stores in the UK, creating 5,500 new jobs and reinforcing its commitment to British suppliers. Aldi was named the Cheapest Supermarket for February by consumer group Which?, further affirming its dedication to affordability.

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