GERMANY: Metro Group has sent a plane containing 125 tonnes of goods to Haiti following the earthquake last month. The cargo plane contained €1m worth of donations by the group.

Chief executive Eckhard Cordes saw off the flight at Düsseldorf airport along with the president of hunger relief agency Welthungerhilfe, Bärbel Dieckmann. A second flight is planned for early March.

"This support is extraordinary and remarkable," said Dieckmann. "Especially now, when many reporters have already left the country, the population needs our sustained support over the next months."

BRAZIL: Carrefour's chief executive has said he expects sales in Brazil to surge in the next five years on the back of a growing South American economy and buoyant consumer demand. Lars Olofsson told Brazilian newspaper Estado that Brazil was likely to account for 20% of Carrefour's global sales within five years double its current level.

France, Italy, Spain and Belgium were the focus in the short term, Olofsson said, but the biggest opportunities in the long term would come from Brazil and China. Carrefour had no intention of selling its business in Brazil, he insisted, responding to last year's rumours of a sale.

EASTERN EUROPE: Lidl has agreed to buy more than 100 Plus stores from Tengelmann in Romania and Bulgaria. The discounter will take over 23 stores in Bulgaria and 96 in Romania, and will take on the 3,000 staff affected by the acquisition. The move will see Lidl enter Bulgaria for the first time, following Penny Market, a rival discounter, which opened its first Bulgarian stores last November.

US: The US government has launched a programme to encourage food retailers to operate supermarkets in poor areas in an attempt to make healthy food more widely available. The Obama administration said it would provide $400m for its Healthy Food Financing Initiative. It is modelled on a successful scheme in Pennsylvania that has led to more than 80 supermarkets being set up in 'food deserts' in the past five years.