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This week in FMCG

As another week comes to a close, we take a look back at the stories that dominated the headlines. From supermarket giants re-opening online to a classic soap brand making a comeback in Australia, read below the major headlines this week.

Coles and Woolies re-open online

Coles and Woolworths have re-opened online grocery delivery and pick-up to all customers after a five-week suspension in which they prioritised vulnerable shoppers and got a handle on the increased demand for online grocery due to COVID-19. Coles Online relaunched Home Delivery, Click & Collect Service Desk and Click & Collect Concierge services on Wednesday, while Woolworths has doubled its capacity with partners, Sherpa and Drive Yello couriers.

Lifebuoy returned to Australia

Unilever’s is producing aerosol hand sanitiser to meet the surge in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. The FMCG giant halted the production of Lifebuoy seven years ago in Australia, but is now producing 150ml alcohol-based hand sanitisers in NSW, which will hit supermarket shelves by the end of May.

Drakes hires AI to create personalised experiences

Drakes Supermarkets has overhauled its IT infrastructure to support self supply and test AI technology to provide personalised experiences to customers. Drakes separated from Metcash last September after opening its own $125 million state-of-the-art automated distribution centre with advanced robotics technology.

Amatil flags $140 million in cuts due to COVID-19

Coca-Cola Amatil will cut costs by A$140 million due to a drop in demand for its products in the last quarter due to the COVID-19 and bushfires. Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins said that while the company has been able to “produce and distribute and protect jobs” to date, there has been a major impact on volumes and shifts in the channel mix. It placed cost saving measures such as “significant reduction in incentives, recruitment freezes, reduced marketing expenditure and minimising discretionary spend”. It also deferred all non-critical projects reducing capital expenditure for FY2020 from A$300 million to A$200 million.

Metcash seeks to raise $330m

Metcash is seeking to raise A$330 million to strengthen its balance sheet as it weathers the COVID-19 restrictions. The equity raising consists of a A$300 fully underwritten placement to institutional investors at A$2.80 a share, a 7.9 per cent discount to Friday’s ASX closing price, and a share purchase plan to retail shareholders that will be offered in May at a 2.5 per cent discount. Metcash also expanded its debt facilities by A$180 million from existing lenders.

That’s it for this week!

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