One of Israel’s biggest supermarket chains has sought inspiration from British shores for a radical makeover.
Blue Square, which owns 165 stores, has recruited refit and marketing consultants Astound to give its retail empire a totally new feel. Astound has just completed a pilot refit at a 25,000 sq ft outlet in Tel Aviv.
Changes have included introducing the retailer’s first own PoS material, overhauling pricing softwear, emptying the store of clutter and centring the whole retail concept around customer service.
Astound is also in the process of redesigning Blue Square’s logo.
Wal-Mart has reported stronger than expected sales figures for October, as cold weather and lower petrol prices encouraged US consumers to shop. Wal-Mart said its like-for-like sales for the month had increased by 3.9%, with food sales stronger than general merchandise sales. It has forecast sales growth of 3-5% for this month.

US food maker Sara Lee Corporation has reported a 2% drop in first-quarter net sales from $4.4bn to $4.3bn. The group said although sales grew in its North American retail meats, international beverage and bakery sectors during the quarter to October 1, sales had fallen in retail bakery, household and body care and branded apparel.

Baltic Beverage Holding, a 50/50 joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Carlsberg Breweries, has reported a 21% increase in third-quarter net sales. BBH, which operates in six countries in Eastern Europe, also recorded a 10% increase in beer volumes and a 1% increase in its market share in Russia to 36.9%

Members of Poland’s new cabinet have criticised the role that hypermarkets play in the economy. In an interview, Polish finance minister Teresa Lubinska said: “Hypermarkets such as Tesco are not investments. I mean they are not vital for economic growth.” Her comments were backed by Polish prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

Spar International has signed a licence agreement with Chinese retailers Henan Star Chain Commercial and Hubei Yasi Chain Commercial to open 115 hypermarkets and supermarkets over three years.
n Wal-Mart strong
n Sara lee drops
n BBH sales up
n Tesco criticised
n Spar in china