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Israeli technology firm, CommonSense Robotics, has opened its first micro-fulfilment centre (MFC) in Tel Aviv, Israel. The unit occupies 550 square metres in a city centre location, a footprint which is comparable to a small convenience store and contains a similar number of items.

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It’s been a big year for Ocado, having struck agreements with several international retailers to implement its online fulfilment solution. It also scooped the IGD Online Store the Year award!

Alex Harvey, Head of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Ocado will be speaking at November’s Supply Chain Summit. Check out the full programme.

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Getting to know Ocado

The UK Competition and Markets Authority has revealed the issues it will scrutinise for its in depth investigation into the proposed Sainsbury's - Asda merger. The investigation will consider how the merger may affect competition in each of the product markets in which it operates, at both a national level and in each local area.

Focus on outcomes for shoppers

Central to the inquiry will be an assessment of whether the removal of one of the competitors could lead to a worse outcome for shoppers. The CMA identifies three types of possible adverse effect from the removal of a competitor, namely:

  • the impetus it would give the merged entity to act against shoppers' interests (e.g. through higher prices, a reduction in a store's range and reduced incentive to innovate);
  • coordinated effects (i.e. make it more likely for grocers to co-ordinate / align their behaviour) and
  • the potential for a negative impact on suppliers from the concentration of buying power and the knock on impact this could have on shoppers, for instance from suppliers being less able to innovate of having to charge higher prices at retailers that compete with the combined Sainsbury's - Asda.

The inquiry will assess the impact on competition separately for in-store groceries, online grocery, general merchandise and fuel.

Aldi and Lidl included in market definition

The CMA has decided that Aldi and Lidl should be considered as competitors in its assessment of local and national competitors and the extent to which customers treat them as close alternatives to different types of shopping missions.

The CMA expects to publish its provisional findings early next year, ahead of the statutory deadline for its final decision on 5 March 2019. Any responses to the Issues Statement must be made by October 30th.

Sainsbury's - Asda to set out 'pro-competitive case'

Reacting to the release of the Issues Statement, Sainsbury's Asda said “We recognise that this is an important merger and welcome the detailed and thorough review by the CMA. We look forward to working constructively with the CMA and inquiry panel during this second phase of the process and to making our case that the proposed merger is pro-competitive. Customers will be the big winners from the combination. By bringing our two businesses together, we will be able to invest further in more convenient ways of shopping while lowering prices and reducing the cost of living for millions of UK households.” 

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Customers are evolving faster than ever. Truly understand the customer and use this to drive action that pulls the supply chain forward.

We explore how the UK's second and third largest retailers intend to combine their businesses.

Auchan Retail is launching its first pedestrian Drive in France.

Meeting rising shopper expectations

Auchan France's pedestrian Drive in Lille promises to “meet the expectations and lifestyles of an active urban clientele, keen to shop quickly, at the best price".

Price incentives to customers

The 130 sq. m Drive is open from 09:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday. Orders are placed using the Auchan app, auchandrive.fr and auchan.fr and are ready for collection within three to five hours. The Drive will offer 10,000 products that are between 5% to 10% cheaper than the nearby Carrefour City and Le Petit Casino stores. The Auchan Englos Drive will prepare and deliver orders four times a day to the pedestrian Drive.

800 orders a week

The pedestrian Drive will offer additional services, such as free coffee, newspapers, wi-fi and charging points for phones. Customers can also collect tickets booked on www.auchanbilletterie.fr and use the Drive’s recycling facilities. Auchan hopes the Drive will complete 800 orders per week at an average basket size of €40.

Low-investment solution

The solution, which is a comparatively low investment way of meeting shoppers’ desires to order online, but not have to be in for home delivery, is becoming increasingly prevalent in France. Using an existing supply chain and empty shop space, pedestrian Drives are a potential new solution for retailers to meet shoppers’ online missions.

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