ESL Investments to buy Sears Holdings for $5.2bn

US-based Sears Holdings chairman Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments is to acquire the department store chain for approximately $5.2bn.

The investment firm will take control of all of Sear’s assets, including the ‘Go Forward Stores’ on a going-concern basis.

The department store chain Sears Holdings selected ESL Investments as the winning bidder in the company’s auction on 17 January.

Walmart announces plastic waste reduction commitments

Walmart announced a set of plastic waste reduction commitments that are expected to impact more than 30,000 stock keeping units (SKU).

Under the plan, the company will focus on its private brand packaging, enhancing efforts to reduce plastic waste in Walmart US and Sam’s Club operations. It will also encourage other national suppliers to set similar packaging goals.

As part of the commitments, the retailer intends to transform the packaging of its private brand to 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging, as well as achieve at least 20% post-consumer recycled content in private brand packaging by 2025.

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Kroger and Nuro to offer autonomous delivery service in Houston

Supermarket chain Kroger and robotics company Nuro announced they are to launch an autonomous delivery service for grocery in Houston, Texas, this spring.

The Houston autonomous delivery service comes after the successful pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona, and will be available through two Houston Kroger stores and will service customers living in four Houston zip codes.

Customers across Greater Houston will continue to have access to the current Kroger delivery service. Customers using the new grocery service can shop via or the Kroger app.

Orders will be accommodated based on slot availability and delivered by Nuro’s fleet of self-driving Prius vehicles.

Spar UK to trial self-checkout app in Northern Ireland stores

Spar UK Partner, the Henderson Group, announced plans to trial the ‘scan, pay and go’ app of British retail technology start-up Ubamarket, using its EDGEPoS system, across select stores in Northern Ireland.

Henderson Group will initially test the scan, pay and go app in a small number of Spar and Eurospar Supermarkets. The app will also be integrated with Henderson Technology’s new self-checkout systems, currently installed in stores across Northern Ireland.

Customers can use the app around the store to find and add items to their shopping carts, scan goods while shopping, and pay using their phone.

Ontario Government to introduce bill to end Beer Store MFA

The Government of Ontario is planning to introduce legislation to end a 2015 Master Framework Agreement (MFA) with the Beer Store, a Canadian privately owned chain of retail outlets.

The Beer Store is currently owned and controlled by three major firms, Molson (51%), Labatt (45%) and Sleeman (4%).

Under the agreement, the Beer Store has effective control over 70% of the beer retail, including exclusive right to sell 12 and 24 packs of alcoholic beverages, in most of their local markets, until 2025. Consumers are required to buy from the Beer Store if they want to purchase in bulk.

Asda to eliminate plastic bags for online deliveries

Asda announced that it will stop offering single-use plastic carrier bags with online grocery orders.

This move makes Asda one of the first supermarkets to eliminate plastic bags from all of its operations, having removed them from stores last year. It supports the company’s commitment to removing around 85 million plastic bags from production annually.

After a trial period in South West England, the company will eliminate the option for customers to have a bagged delivery on all grocery home shopping and collect-in-store orders across the country from 31 July. This is expected to save more than 500t of plastic.

Meijer expands Shop & Scan checkout service to all Ohio stores

US supercentre chain Meijer announced plans to expand its Shop & Scan mobile shopping checkout service to its stores in Ohio.

The company initially introduced Shop & Scan to 23 stores in Chicago and Northwest Indiana in March.

According to Meijer regional vice-president Tom Wilson, the company’s mobile app has registered more than 1.1 million downloads since the pilot launch of Shop & Scan in Michigan last year.

Miniso to open first store in British Columbia, Canada

Low-cost retailer Miniso is set to open its first British Columbia store at the Victoria Walmart Supercentre on 5 October this year.

Located at 3460 Saanich Road within the Walmart store, the new location will offer a range of new products for ‘both the price-conscious and affluent customers.’

The store opening continues Miniso’s long-term partnership with the American major retailer.

Starbucks expands presence with first store in Turks & Caicos

Global coffeehouse chain Starbucks partnered with Caribbean Coffee Traders to open its first store on the Grand Turk Cruise Port in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.

The new store marks the brand’s entry into the islands of Turks & Caicos, making it the 81st market for the company globally and 20th market in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Starbucks Caribbean markets operations director Tim Grever said: “We are delighted to open our first store in the tropical and exotic island of Turks and Caicos.

LVMH enters agreement to acquire Tiffany & Co for $16.2bn

Luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton agreed to acquire American luxury jewellery and specialty retailer Tiffany & Co for $16.2bn or $135 per share.

LVMH said it believes the acquisition will boost its presence in the US and complement its 75 distinguished houses.

Approved by the boards of directors of both companies, the deal is expected to close in the middle of next year, with Tiffany & Co added to LVMH’s Watches & Jewellery division.