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Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung

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CVS Health, which recently bought Target's pharmacy operation, announced plans to transform the health care sector through digital technology and Alibaba wants to put robots in your home. Some major German companies face allegations over price fixing and in Britain an unprecedented investigation into food waste is on the way. Check it out.

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asia & australia 
Alibaba invests in robots   The Chinese e-commerce powerhouse and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group will invest in SBRH, a robotics company under Japan’s Softbank. The Japanese company says its chatty humanoid robot Pepper will go on sale this weekend. ▪
Australia and China trade free   The two countries just signed a landmark free-trade agreement which is anticipated to provide the ‘catalyst for future growth’ across a range of areas including goods, services and investment +++ Mergers and acquisitions in China have risen to a record high both in value and volume in the first half of the year. ▪
More worries for Woolies & Co.   While the departure of Woolworths chief executive Grant O'Brien clears the way for a change in strategy, shareholders fear a full-blown price war. This comes as all major Australian supermarkets brace for the possible arrival of German discounter Lidl, which still has to confirm its foray into the country. ▪
europe
Poundland breaks billion barrier   The British discount chain cashed in on consumers’ love of bargains. Sales climbed nearly 12% to GBP 1.1 billion in the year to the end of March. The company said that total sales were up just 4% in the 11 weeks since March, but played down fears that its growth is slowing down. ▪
Top level announcements and takeover plans   Loraine Woodhouse will become the new finance director of British supermarket chain Waitrose +++ US technology giant Google is considering teaming up with British private equity firm Permira to launch a bid for Dunnhumby, the business that runs Tesco’s Clubcard. ▪
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NorgesGruppen revamps stores   Norwegian market leader NorgesGruppen has made a series of recent announcements, including a partnership with Esso Norway AS and the conversion of some of its Ultra superstores into the Meny stores. The retailer is doing this to better utilise (paywall) marketing synergies. ▪
usa & canada
McDonald's downsizes   For the first time in its history, the burger giant says the number of its US restaurants is shrinking. McDonald’s didn’t specify by how much its total 14,300-store count would decline.  The chain closed 350 poorly performing stores in Japan, the US, and China earlier this year on top of the 350 planned store closings globally. ▪
CVS changes health care   The US health-care retailer, which bought Target's pharmacy operations recently, is set to transform the health-care service with the help of digital technology. At the opening of its innovation lab in Boston, Brian Tilzer, CVS senior VP shared this vision. Analysts think the Target-CVS deal could be the future of retail. ▪
Kroger reports profit jump    The Cincinnati-based retailer continued its longstanding momentum. Identical store sales without fuel were up 5.7% for the first fiscal quarter ending May 23. The company also reported a big increase in its first quarter profit. ▪
Investigation issues
German watchdog issues fines    German retailers Aldi, Edeka and Rewe and manufacturers Alfred Ritter and Haribo are among the companies to be hit with fines after a probe into allegations of price fixing. The Bundeskartellamt, the country's competition watchdog, said yesterday it had completed "most" of the cartel proceedings, the largest in the German consumer goods industry. ▪
Food waste under scrutiny   The food and drink industry in Britain has launched an unprecedented investigation to identify the sources of an estimated 400,000 tonnes a year of food waste. Wrap is to probe practices at suppliers and retailers across the country to try to pinpoint where better redistribution systems could be brought in. ▪

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