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Competition between Australian supermarkets intensifies, and analysts expect Tesco to reveal declining UK sales ahead of meeting investors. How does designing a burger using a tablet sound? Well, that’s what customers at McDonald’s in San Francisco can now do. Read these stories and more in today’s RetailUpdate.


asia & australasia
Alibaba's cloud ambitions get a boost   This week, Alibaba won a deal to build a cloud computing centre in China’s north-eastern city of Dalian. This alliance will help the e-commerce giant’s cloud unit, Aliyun, build scale and gain experience before going global. ▪
Flipkart hires Unilever executive   India's largest internet company has added top Unilever executive Sudhir Sitapati to its four-member advisory board. Mr Sitapati will act as a mentor and coach for Flipkart's marketing team +++ Meanwile, Snapdeal has taken a shot at Flipkart’s "Acha Kiya" campaign. ▪
 Australian competition intensifies   Aldi is considering bypassing supply chain operators by supplying Australian stores directly from farms. This would enable the German supermarket chain to provide fresher produce and better customised store assortments +++ Meanwhile, Coles will purchase most of supermarket chain Supabarn's stores. ▪
Tesco expected to reveal decline in sales   As they prepare to face investors angered by "excessive" boardroom pay, Britain’s largest retailer is expected to reveal a decline in UK trading this week. Analysts forecast a fall in like-for-like sales of between 2% and 3% during the 13 weeks to 30 May. Meanwhile, Tesco has signed a deal with HMV to allow the British entertainment retailing company to operate in 80 of their 149 stores in Ireland. ▪
Price war bites margins of the big four   Global market research firm Euromonitor says that lower inflation is increasing pressure on the UK's big four grocery retailers and is now affecting their profit margins. The comments follow on from British supermarket chain Sainsbury's reporting a sixth straight drop in quarterly same-store sales last week with sales at stores open at least a year falling by 2.1%, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to June 6. ▪
M&S in the centre of Waterloo   The largest station-based Marks & Spencer store has just opened in the centre of Waterloo Station. The new 9,500 sq ft store was created by extending a former M&S Simply Food into Waterloo’s new retail balcony. ▪
Supermarket chain extends omni-channel reach   Kroger’s King Soopers division has launched a new website offering customers in and around the Denver metro area over 36,000 natural and organic products. Each product is free from more than 101 artificial ingredients and preservatives that many customers prefer to be left out. ▪
Rutter’s director to retire   Jerry Weiner, foodservice director for York-based Rutter’s Farm Stores, will retire at the end of August. Mr Weiner has held roles in the foodservice industry for more than 40 years. ▪
retail technology
Barneys on Instagram   On June 23, the luxury retailer will enable customers to purchase directly from a link embedded in its Instagram account. The feature, which utilises technology from Like2Buy, will link customers to shoppable Instagram images that connect to the Barneys e-commerce site. ▪
Design your own burger   Now McDonald’s customers can really get their way. In San Francisco, as an expansion of its "Create Your Taste" programme, the fast-food giant has launched a customised burger building system.  Customers can order from a tablet-like kiosk and customize everything from buns and cheese to toppings and sauces. ▪

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