Iconic UK retailers Marks & Spencer and Debenhams are striving to restore themselves to their former glory in the face of shifting consumer habits and an increasingly digital environment. You only need to look to Asia to see how e-commerce giants continue to change the game with innovative new alliances to entice discerning consumers. Enjoy the weekend and feel free to share.
Marks & Spencer has announced a five-year turnaround programme involving the closure or downsizing of 75 stores as the chain aims to adapt to changing consumer habits. Meanwhile, further changes are afoot for struggling Debenhams, but this might put jobs at risk as stores are marked for closing.
X5 Retail Group is on a winning streak in a challenging environment. The company has reported a double-digit increase of net sales to US$ 5.16 billion in the first quarter. Competitor Lenta reported a like-for-like increase of 1.7% and confirmed to open 80 new outlets this year.
Unilever buys US mayo maker
The Anglo-Dutch consumer product giant has agreed to acquire Sir Kensington's, a New York-based condiment producer. The deal is said to be worth US$ 140 million. Unilever also reported quarterly sales results that beat estimates, however, mainly in its personal-care unit, not in the food division.
Asia & Australia
Amazon Japan is expanding its same-day delivery offerings in the market to include cooked food and other items. The online giant is teaming up with a number of players including department store Mitsukoshi to ensure its success.
The e-commerce operator is betting on growth in Singapore, creating a loyalty programme for shoppers in the region. The Alibaba-backed company is joining forces with Uber and Netflix in a first for the companies.
Battleground Down Under
Supermarket leader Woolies has been given the go-ahead to sell its failed DIY venture Masters’ without the consent of its former partner Lowe’s. Meanwhile, competitor Wesfarmers reckons that Amazon is not the greatest threat to the industry, but gets battle-ready for the mother of all retail disruptors.
Walmart starts green initiative
The US big-box powerhouse has launched an ambitious 'sustainability platform' to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain. A toolkit was given to suppliers with the aim to cut one gigaton of emissions by 2020.
As part of its ongoing drive to boost its health reputation CVS Pharmacy is expanding its healthy food offerings to cater to shifting consumer demand. Meanwhile a heavily speculative piece detailing the benefits of a Kroger-Whole Foods alliance has been issued by market analysts Credit Suisse.
Central Grocers woes
Potential sale of the embattled supplier is being blocked as the union representing the company’s workers sues over a lack of job security the deal would provide. Sources say the company is considering filing for bankruptcy as it struggles to come to grips with its debt.
Payment by fingerprint
The humble credit card could be in for an overhaul, with Mastercard saying it has successfully completed two trials of a new biometric credit card system and has plans for more. The card includes a small fingerprint reader and can store two fingerprints on its chip.
A recent study has found that millisecond delays can impact customer engagement in e-commerce. Performance was identified as so critical that even a 100-millisecond delay in load time can hurt conversion rates by 7%.