Hello, dear reader,
Competition between Amazon and Walmart for the consumer's wallet continues. Wars like this are rarely without casualties. And in this case, the big losers might be the suppliers of the very goods that the battle is being fought over. Read about this threatening development and and a lot more in this issue. Our best wishes for a productive week ahead.
USA & Canada
Walgreens Boots Alliance wants to push its proposed merger with Rite Aid through a declaration of “certified compliance”. Meanwhile, French dairy company Danone agreed to sell its Stonyfield organic yogurt brand to win the nod from US antitrust authorities for its US$ 10 billion acquisition of soy-milk maker WhiteWave.
Europe & Africa
Plastic bag ban
Kenyan supermarket majors Nakumatt and Uchumi plan to start selling recyclable bags to their customers, supporting the new directive by the Ministry of Environment to ban plastic bags. Other supermarkets such as Naivas and Tusky's may also be supporting the move.
Alibaba's new Thai hub
In its ongoing quest to expand outside China, e-commerce giant Alibaba is expected to start investing in its logistics hub in Thailand later this year. The centre will be used for distribution of goods to the Asean region, particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Success in Southeast Asia
Hong Kong-based beauty retailer A.S. Watson reported a strong online growth for 2016, but also an increased number of shoppers in their stores. In a bid to export to the neighbouring regions, French food giant Bel is set ramp up its cheese production and has opened a huge factory in Vietnam.
What to watch
As e-commerce takes big chunks out of traditional retail and redefines customer expectations, retailers are hard at work developing seamless links between their online and brick-and-mortar offerings. Here is how they can speed up to meet rising customer demands.
Return rules required
Whilst the online retail industry is growing, companies need to make a concerted effort to establish an efficient returns policy, says British marketplace Onbuy. Consumers’ unwanted online purchases are reportedly costing up to GBP 8,324.