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Lidl boosts its fruit and vegetable sales in Eastern Europe, Alibaba closes a billion-dollar deal to consolidate its healthcare business and Johnson & Johnson slash their full-year forecast. Read these stories and more in today's RetailUpdate.

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asia & australia
Alibaba to consolidate online pharmacy   In a US $2.5 billion deal, Alibaba Health will buy 100% of online pharmacy operations from a wholly owned subsidiary of its group and another investor +++ Meanwhile, Chinese direct sales company JD.com Inc. is launching JD Worldwide, a new cross-border e-commerce platform that directly challenges Alibaba. ▪
Global players continue rollouts     H&M has set the opening date of its second Queensland store. The Australian rollout follows that of fellow international fast fashion brands Zara, Topshop and Uniqlo. ▪
Flipkart shelves controversial plans   India’s biggest online retailer, Flipkart, has jettisoned a deal with Bharti Airtel that would have provided free access to its mobile app. Critics have criticised the e-tailer saying the deal would have given them an unfair advantage. ▪
europe
Lidl boosts fruit sales   With over 100 suppliers filling the shelves of Bulgarian chain stores with fruit and vegetables, Lidl reports a 40% increase in sales for the two categories. The range is said to have tripled in size. ▪
London gets another Waitrose store   By opening its fifth shop in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Waitrose continues to increase its presence in the capital. They now have 28 convenience stores within Greater London. ▪
Tesco buys bakery   Despite reports that it would back away, the British retailer has purchased the remaining shares of Euphorium Bakery. Tesco first went into partnership with the company in October 2012. ▪
usa & canada
Johnson & Johnson slashes forecast   Despite strong results, the pharmacy multi has lowered its full-year forecast. The group expects the strong US dollar to continue to affect its international operations. ▪
Loblaw click & collects with Uber   The Canadian retailer and contraverial transport company Uber announced a promotion whereby Uber will provide a free ride for shoppers to and from click-and-collect shops operated by Loblaw. This move comes despite criticism from the local taxi industry. ▪
Walgreens freezes wages    Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has frozen pay for senior U.S. executives as the drugstore chain undertakes a US$ 1.5 billion cost-cutting programme. ▪
consumer trends
Pasteurised milk grows rapidly   According to a KMPG study, China’s consumption of pasteurised milk will grow faster than ultra heat treated milk. This is due to the development of cold-chain logistics and the expected availability of more milk sources in years to come +++ Meanwhile, Chinese retail sales cooled in this year’s first quarter causing the country's conomic slump to deepen. ▪
US teens like dining out   According to a survey, US teenagers have a massive $75 billion of discretionary spending. It was found that teen spending is shifting from possession-based categories, like fashion, to experiences, such as events and dining out. ▪

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