Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung

Hello, dear reader!
Business doesn't get any easier for supermarket operators. Latest Kantar figures are once again proof of the enormous success of the discounters in Britain and in Germany, a surprising ministerial takeover approval puts rival retailers on edge. Competition in China's e-commerce market is heating up and in the US, Aldi is set to introduce healthier check-outs. Enjoy the read and share the news. 

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asia & south pacific
Commitments in China   US coffee giant Starbucks plans to open 500 new stores in the country, with a goal of 3,400 stores by 2019, an ambitious 70% expansion from the 2,000 stores it has now +++ Meanwhile, competition in China's e-commerce sector intensifies with fashion start-up Mogujie taking over rival Meilishuo in a US$ 3 billion deal. ▪
Investments in India   Chinese internet search giant Baidu is looking to buy "strategic stakes" in Indian startups such as food retailer Big Basket, while local e-commerce company Shopclues claims it has reached a valuation of US$ 1.1 billion after a new round of funding. Now an IPO could be in the cards. ▪
Slowdowns in Japan and Australia   Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo chain, posted its first decline in net profit in five years and Australian vacuum cleaner retailer Godfreys announced a big drop in profits. The shares of the latter have tumbled and its chief executive has stepped down. ▪
europe
Edeka gets takeover approval    Germany's economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has overruled antitrust authorities and cleared the merger between the country's largest supermarket corporation, Edeka, and grocery chain Tengelmann under strict conditions. It looks like Edeka is set to accept his ruling (in German). ▪
Lidl excels in Britain   Figures released by Kantar Worldpanel have shown that the German discount powerhouse was the fastest growing retailer. Walmart-daughter Asda suffered the toughest Christmas, while Morrisons is to close seven stores with the potential loss of nearly 700 jobs despite achieving a surprising increase in sales. ▪
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Metro gains momentum   The Düsseldorf-headquartered international retail giant reported a solid set of results for its fiscal first quarter. Overall sales were down 1.5% to EUR 17.1 billion, but met the analysts estimates. Metro expects to return to growth this year. ▪
AB Inbev offers billions in bonds  The brewing giant is planning to sell roughly US$ 30 billion in bonds, backing its takeover of Sabmiller. Over in Belgium, AB Inbev and other multinationals were ordered by EU regulators to pay back a combined sum of EUR 700 million from improper tax breaks. ▪
USA & Canada
Aldi removes temptation   The German discounter will introduce healthier options such as nuts and dried fruits instead of chocolate at the check-outs of its expanding network of 1,500 stores in the US. The initiative comes as Aldi prepares to enter the Californian market in March. ▪
Focus on the future   Teen retailer Aéropostale plans to eliminate 100 corporate positions, as part of a cost-cutting effort to save US$ 35 to 40 million. Meanwhile, sporting goods retailer Sportsman’s Warehouse is expanding its operations and will open more stores. ▪
africa
Shoprite improves sales   While revenue growth slowed in the first half, Africa's largest grocer could increase its turnover in the second half, driven by a good festive season. The Christmas holiday was also good for fashion retailer Foschini with its shares surging after beating expectations. ▪
Silvertree supports startups   Cape Town-based Internet platform Silvertree and entrepreneur Kevin Tucker will complete the acquisition of Pricecheck, a leading South African online price comparison platform, this week. Silvertree just revealed that it plans to invest US$ 10 million in African startups. ▪

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