British online supermarket Ocado has finally sealed a long-awaited licencing deal with an international customer - but it cannot say who. Walmart fights on several fronts in the US, and experts warn that Amazon will spell doom in Australia. Get informed and have a great start to the week.




Monday, 05 June 2017





Hello, dear reader,

British online supermarket Ocado has finally sealed a long-awaited licencing deal with an international customer - but it cannot say who. Walmart fights on several fronts in the US, and experts warn that Amazon will spell doom in Australia. Get informed and have a great start to the week.




Europe


Overseas deal ▪ Ocado has revealed that it has won a contract with a 'regional European retailer'. The unidentified partner will pay the UK-based online grocer for access to website software and other technology. Ocado works with Morrisons and Waitrose in Britain and became profitable in 2014.



More partnerships ▪ Swedish retailer Axfood is about to create an online synergy bonanza. After it acquired Matse earlier this year, it has now purchased meal-kit firm Middagsfried. Also on a shopping spree is Russia's X5 Retail Group (paywall) - the company is reportedly eyeing the 'Monetka' neighbourhood store banner in Moscow.



Good intentions ▪ French retailer Groupe Casino has signed a partnership with three animal-rights groups to maintain high standards of animal welfare in its supply chains. UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a new sustainability plan that will convert the company into a zero-waste business within the next eight years.




USA & Latin America


Tech efforts ▪ Walmart is testing an automated kiosk (registration) for online shoppping. The technology allows customers making grocery orders at the store to pick up their purchases with a confirmation code. Meanwhile, Macy's has hired two key leaders to align the company’s digital initiatives.



Dollar dispute ▪ Giant dollar-store retailer Dollar Tree and its unit Family Dollar have been accused of driving smaller rival Dollar Express out of business. The latter, whose stores were spun off two years earlier as part of a merger deal, has filed a lawsuit.


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Cargill acquires in Columbia ▪ Minneapolis-based global agribusiness Cargill marked its first entrance into the Columbian protein market with the acquisition of Pollos El Bucanero, a major local producer of chicken and processed meat products. The company has around 5,000 employees.




Asia


Accelerating abroad ▪ Japanese convenience store giant Lawson is set to speed up the expansion of its chain in Thailand via franchise. It expects to hit 1,000 branches within the next few years, up from just 89 at present. Around 10 have opened since January. The company expects its sales to grow 10%.



Selling in China ▪ US retailer Office Depot has sold its stores in the People's Republic to Shanghai-based M&G Colipu Office Supplies. Meanwhile, Chinese online marketplaces are busy preparing for a mid-year shopping event, initiated by e-commerce platform JD.com




What to watch


Australia gets ready for Amazon ▪ The Seattle-based online giant is attempting to crack one of the biggest and most sparsely populated nations, where bricks-and-mortar retailers are still king. But analysts expect that the arrival of Amazon is likely to have a big impact. Leading DIY retailer Bunnings might have to revise its decision not to sell online.



Walmart fights on several fronts ▪ The world's biggest retailer is being assaulted on two fronts. It must simultaneously keep defending itself against Amazon, while beating back the European attack with the arrival of discounter Lidl. Meanwhile, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is touting the company's traditional retailing roots as a competitive advantage.