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Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Thursday, 23 March 2017

Hello, subscribers
Amazon is about to crack the e-commerce market in the Middle East through its latest acquisition, while its Chinese counterpart Alibaba is active in Southeast Asia, mainly in Malaysia. Over in the US, Starbucks ramps up its hiring spree, and Sears is facing tough times. Have a great day, and if you enjoy this edition of RetailUpdate, please share.

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ASIA & MIDDLE EAST
Amazon buys Souq   Following on from walking away from talks in January due to a dispute over the asking price, the US online powerhouse agreed in principle to purchase the Middle Eastern online major. The deal will enable Amazon to access a majority of the e-commerce market in North Africa and the Middle East. ▪
Malaysia works with Alibaba   The Chinese online behemoth has entered a joint partnership with Malaysia’s government to facilitate international e-commerce in the country for small- and medium-sized businesses. This comes after it was reported that Alibaba is setting up a regional distribution hub in the country.  ▪
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Records for Tencent   The Chinese internet giant, known for messaging app WeChat, has announced its total revenue for 2016 was US$ 21 billion, the best since 2012. According to the latest ranking, Tencent remains the country’s most valuable brand.  ▪
Flipkart fights back   The Indian e-commerce major has closed its latest funding round, which included investments from eBay and Microsoft, worth US$ 1 billion. Flipkart needs the money to fight off rivals amid intense competition.  ▪
EUROPE
Bids for Brantano   A Brexit-induced collapse of the Sterling has led the British footwear chain to enter administration, putting the future of 73 stores and 1000-plus jobs at risk. The bidding war for Brantano has escalated with rival Shoe Zoe aiming to buy out its competitor.  ▪
Kingfisher worries   Although the British multinational DYI retailer reported a robust year end result, it warned that the Brexit vote and the French election could hit trade in its two markets. Pre-tax profits rose 8.3% to a better-than-expected EUR 743 million. The company also announced the departure of its chairman Daniel Bernard.  ▪
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Lidl backs British   The German discounter has joined other retailers, including Aldi and the Cooperative, and signed up to the National Farmers’ Union’s “Back British Farming charter,” which states that retailers must stock more British food.  ▪
USA
Bleak outlook for Sears   Amid rising concerns about a potential bankruptcy, suppliers of the struggling chain are doubling down on defensive measures, such as reducing shipments and asking for better payment terms, to protect against the risk of nonpayment. ▪
Starbucks powers ahead   The US coffeehouse chain ramps up its hiring spree and wants to open 3,400 new stores, creating more than 240,000 jobs worldwide. This was announced during the annual shareholder meeting, where CEO Howard Schultz officially handed over the company keys to his successor, Kevin Johnson. ▪
Online measures   Social media titan Instagram is moving into retail and will introduce a shopping feature in the US +++ Due to losing about US$ 200 million over the past four years, US women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores hopes to turn business around by closing its 170 stores and focusing on e-commerce.  ▪
Unusual & remarkable
Consumers want control   A study conducted by Oracle found that most consumers are willing to use new technology to engage with brands so long as they can control the experience. If brands over step, the reaction can be visceral, Oracle warned.  ▪
Who likes robots   51% of shoppers in the 16-24 age group would visit a robot-operated store, while the majority of those over 55 are apprehensive about the idea. This is according to a study by Censuswide, which surveyed 2,000 consumers in Britain. ▪

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