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In India, e-commerce giant Amazon is poised to introduce a seller lending programme; changing consumer spending habits in the UK are blamed for a decrease in products purchased from supermarkets, and US retail chain Staples is one step closer to merging with Office Depot after receiving approval from the European Union. Enjoy the read, and don’t forget to share.

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asia & Australasia
Pepsi and Coke downsize   It seems less is more for the two cola giants. In response to Indian consumers cutting back on sugary drinks, softdrink giants Pepsico and Coke plan to boost sales by introducing smaller cans, which are priced lower than standard bottles. ▪
Innovations Down Under   To attract more customers, Myer department store chain has introduced a new products-exchange policy. Dubbed the “No Regrets Policy,” customers have 30 days to return their purchases for an exchange or refund +++ Australian appliance retailer Godfreys plans to capitalise on the clean and green trend and has purchased New Zealand eco-friendly products firm The Service Company. ▪
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Amazon lends a hand   In an effort to grow their business online, the Indian arm of the e-commerce behemoth, along with Mumbai-based finance company Capital First Ltd, will introduce a seller lending programme. ▪
europe
Tesco buys coffee chain   The UK retailer has now purchased coffee chain Harris + Hoole outright, despite having divested assets over several months. The purchase comes three years after first investing in the business. Meanwhile, Poland’s retail tax may wipe out Tesco’s profits in the country, according to a report by rating agency Moody’s. ▪
Healthy profits   Dutch brewer Heineken has reported a 16% growth in profit for 2015, and it expects more increases due to growing demand for its brand in the United States +++ Meanwhile, driven by strong sales in curtains and bedding, British retail chain Dunelm's profits were up 10.3% in the first half of its financial year. ▪
Fish & poultry save the day   Despite price reductions, UK grocery sales were up 0.2% during the 12 weeks to January 31 thanks to sales of fresh produce, white fish and chicken +++ Meanwhile, the volume of items bought from UK supermarkets continues to decrease. This is due to consumers changing their habits and switching supermarkets in search of deals, according to Nielsen. ▪
usa
Buying back shares   On Wednesday, Amazon’s board authorised the buyback of $US 5 billion in shares. This will replace the US$ 2 billion repurchase programme approved in 2010. Additionally the e-commerce giant announced that Wendell P. Weeks, the CEO of Corning, would join its board. ▪
Staples merger gets closer   After agreeing to sell Office Depot’s contract distribution businesses in the EU and Switzerland, Staples has received approval from the European Union to merge with Office Depot. To win over the US Federal Trade Commission, similar compromises may be needed. ▪
US consumer will spend less   The National Retail Federation forecasts that US retail spending will grow 3.1% in 2016,  less than what they predicted a year ago +++ Meanwhile, Whole Foods Market experienced a drop in sales at established locations during its fiscal first quarter. They predict sales to be down 2% for the year. ▪
developments to watch
Indian e-commerce to grow fivefold   According to a report from Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India, e-commerce sales will increase about five times by 2020. Travel will account for about 60% while electronics will account for about 30%. ▪
Beauty meets technology   Consumers of beauty products are increasingly using mobile and social technology, according to a study from Mintel. In fact, 45% of consumers prefer to search for product information on their mobile devices in store rather than ask for assistance. Another 39% would like to use or have used store-provided tablets. ▪

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