Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Monday, 21 March 2016

The winds in the retail world have turned quickly again: Steinhoff has left the bidding table for Home Retail Group, paving the way for Sainsbury's to acquire and scoop up French white goods retailer Darty instead. In other news, the Indian e-commerce market is getting even tighter, WeChat out-competes Paypal, and the planned Staples and Office Depot merger enters yet a new round. Have a good start into the new week and enjoy the read.

Asia & South Pacific
Alibaba to enter India   The Chinese e-commerce behemoth is planning to enter the Indian market in 2016 +++ Bhushan Patil, former head of Alibaba’s wholesale business, has been hired by Indian online payment startup Paytm as vice president. ▪
Chinese growth phases   China’s largest social network and online entertainment firm, Tencent, has become one of the world’s largest payment systems, with transactions through WeChat payments possibly totalling more than US$ 500 billion this year, out-competing Paypal +++ Chinese technology giant Lenovo announced a major leadership revamp. ▪
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Success Down Under   Clothing and stationery retail group Premier Investments reports a big profit lift and accelerates a further expansion of its core brand Smiggle in the UK and Asia +++ In New Zealand, retailers are bracing themselves for the arrival of international brands like H&M and Zara.  ▪
Steinhoff's new moves   Trumping a rival bid from French Fnac, Steinhoff subsidiary, home furnishings retail chain Conforama, buys Paris-based Darty in a deal valued at GBP 673 million (US$ 975 million). At the same time, the South-African group dropped out of the race for UK's Home Retail Group, leaving the way clear for Sainsbury's, which confirmed its offer of GBP 1.4 billion ▪
Strategic changes    German discounter Lidl invites its UK customers to become members of its online community 'myLidl', which launched last week. +++ Sweden's key grocery retailer ICA is reconsidering its ownership in eCommerce business inkClub. ▪
On the road   The strike of 700 lorry drivers of British Co-op Group, which was announced to start this Monday and last for two days, has been suspended and a conciliation service has been engaged. ▪
Buying and selling   US paint company Sherwin-Williams acquires competitor Valspar for about US$ 11.3 billion +++ Google eyes possible acquisition targets, such as Canadian e-commerce company Shopify, to bolster its cloud computing platform and work-place applications, while Google holding company Alphabet has put its robotics unit, Boston Dynamics, up for sale. ▪
A merger continues   The planned merger between Staples and Office Depot continues with a hearing on the authorities' preliminary injunction to keep the merger from closing. In an open letter to their customers, the two companies accused the US government of being “simply wrong”. ▪
On the exec merry-go-round   George Stathakopoulos, formerly vice president of information security at Amazon, has been hired by Apple as vice president of corporate information security +++ Amazon’s UK boss Chris North will resign from the internet giant to join California-based image publishing etailer Shutterfly as President and Chief Executive as well as a board member.  ▪
Industry insights
E-commerce in India   Quartz takes a closer look at recent and future developments at Flipkart and Snapdeal and predicts repercussions on the entire e-commerce sector in India, while The Times of India examines the frenetic activity around payments among Indian internet companies. ▪
Reviving Morrisons   The fourth largest UK supermarket chain returned to sales growth for the first time in four years and Marketing Director Andy Atkinson reveals some underlying strategies. ▪
Shedding their skin   Two US icons have followed the path of reinventing themselves, GE as a player in the Internet of Really Big Things and IBM by daring cutting-edge projects, such as 'Watson' and 'Celia'. ▪

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