Hello, dear reader!
Millions of people across the globe will celebrate Chinese New Year today, local online giants are set to spoil customers with incredible cash gifts. Meanwhile, American Apparel emerged out of bankruptcy and children electronics maker Leapfrog has been bought by a Hong Kong-based enterprise. Enjoy the read and share the news. Helau and Alaaf!
asia & Australia
Cutting debts Groupe Casino has agreed to sell its stake in Thai hypermarket operator Big C for US$ 3.46 billion to TCC Holding, marking a major step in the French grocer’s plans to cut its debt +++ A smaller deal is taking shape in Hong Kong with VTech acquiring Leapfrog, a California-based maker of children's electronics, for about US$ 72 million.
Cash gifts for the Chinese Internet giants such as Alipay, Tencent and Baidu are ramping up handouts of coupons, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cash, in the annual effort to buy customers on China’s biggest public holiday, New Year. Alibaba's Alipay announced it would give away US$ 121 million.
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Developments Down Under Consumer electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi expects continual expansion of its home appliance business despite a competitive market and has reported a rise in first half profit, and a shake-up is in progress at the board of Woolworths with the announcement of two new directors and one resignation.
Iceland hires chefs The frozen food chain wants to present its products in a more upmarket style with the help of renowned chefs Neil Nugent and David Lennox. The latter is to take over the role of Development Chef, whilst Nugent will head up the newly-created private-label product development team.
Axfood grows with Willy The Swedish retailer, which reported a 7.2% rise in net sales, has announced plans to launch e-commerce for its Willys and Hemköp banner this year. All of Axfood's banners reported positive results, with a very strong performance from its discounter unit.
usa & canada
Yoghurt maker rejects Pepsi Chobani, a New York-based producer of Greek-yogurt, has reportedly turned down an offer from the beverage giant and other investors. The yogurt maker wanted to sell a minority stake while Pepsico was looking for the majority.
Lululemon redefines transparency The Vancouver-based athletic apparel company has plans to open its first US design incubator “lab” format in downtown Manhattan. It’s only the second location for the unusual concept. It will be part design centre and part retail store.
Ikea loses in Indonesia The Swedish furniture giant has lost a trademark dispute in Indonesia after its highest court ruled that the name Ikea was owned by a local company. However, the country will reportedly relax foreign ownership rules (paywall) in some retail sectors.
Big data and merger decisions Consumer data held by big Internet companies should be scrutinized in merger probes, says the German competition watchdog and has set up a task force which is working on drafting plans on how German law can be adapted to the Internet age.