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Russia, Australia and Vietnam are preferred destinations for two iconic European retailers, while Amazon invests heavily in India. Sainsbury's experiments in the UK, Waitrose reveals food trends and toymaker Lego is in for a challenge this Christmas. Enjoy these stories and don't forget to share them with your friends and coworkers. RetailUpdate subscription is FREE.

asia & australia
Woolies in talks   Global buyout firms have approached the Australian supermarket giant to talk about acquiring its Big W discount store chain, valued at about AU$ 1.5 billion. In other news, Woolworths is said to replace its Quantas loyalty programme and to introduce an exclusive range of healthy frozen meals. ▪
Westland reviews structure   New Zealand's second biggest dairy cooperative is in a sound financial position despite a difficult season. The Hokitika-based company is reviewing its capital structure after profit soared on cheaper milk prices and increased sales of its value-add products. ▪
Amazon invests in India and Diwali   The e-commerce giant  continues to invest "very heavily" in the Indian market, encouraged by its expanding seller base. The company sees India as a big export hub and has announced it will open a Diwali Store on its US and UK websites this year. ▪
Targeting markets abroad   Supermarket operator Auchan has started developing a convenience store chain in Russia. Just recently, the French retailer opened its first store in Vietnam and plans 17 more before the end of 2016. The Vietnamese market is also a target for department store company Debenhams as well as Australia, where the British company is set to launch next year. ▪
Ahold teams up with startup   The Dutch retail giant has announced a partnership with startup accelerator Startupbootcamp. The deal will see Ahold support young firms that have been selected in the latter's e-commerce programme and might offer the retailer early access at online trends and innovations. ▪
Sainsbury's trials new concepts    The British retailer is testing a “microstore” for shoppers in a hurry that could enable it to open small outlets in more than 1,000 locations. In its new strategy, Sainsbury's experiments with different supermarket layouts and an increased range of checkout options to respond to changing shopping trends. ▪
usa & canada
Walmart and Ifco strengthen forces   The US retail powerhouse and the leading provider of reusable packing solutions are to expand their partnership. Ifco will provide Walmart with a new generation of Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) for wet and dry produce. The new 'wood look' is part of several improvements Walmart is making in the produce department. ▪
Department stores under pressure   JC Penney will cut 300 jobs at its headquarters in Texas as part of its initiative to revamp the stores, image and sales. Meanwhile, Lord & Taylor, one of the nation’s oldest department stores, plans to start an off-price chain for its namesake brand, and men's clothing retailer JoS.A.Banks is ending a popular pricing promotion. ▪
Westfield hires tech talent   The multinational shopping centre developing company, founded in Australia with a large presence in the US, has named Raghav Lal as its new chief data and analytics officer to develop the company’s data strategy. ▪
developments to watch
Food  and  retail trends   A recently launched Waitrose report uncovers key shopping, eating and drinking habits in Britain, while Canada-based product intelligence company 360pi  announced six retail product and pricing predictions for the Holiday 2015 shopping season. ▪
Lego in short supply   The Danish toymaker has predicted a holiday shortage. With the new Star Wars film fast approaching, demand is exceeding supply. Lego’s first-half revenue was up by nearly 20%, while profit jumped by more than 30% versus a year ago. ▪

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