The hotly contested battle for health chain Holland & Barrett has come to a close, with a surprising victor. Amazon reveals an exciting new design for the housing of its drones. It was a busy week for the tech giant whose CEO, along with compatriot Apple, fired warning shots to their competitors in the potentially lucrative Indian market.




Tuesday, 27 June 2017





Greetings!

The hotly contested battle for health chain Holland & Barrett has come to a close, with a surprising victor. Amazon reveals an exciting new design for the housing of its drones. It was a busy week for the tech giant whose CEO, along with compatriot Apple, fired warning shots to their competitors in the potentially lucrative Indian market.




Europe


Russian billionaire gets market leader ▪ Investment fund L1 Retail is now the proud owner of Europe's largest health food chain, Holland & Barrett. The fund snapped up the 1,300-store strong chain for GBP 1.77 billion, beating out super drug company AS Watson. The fund is controlled by Russian business man Mikhail Fridman.



Digital dollars ▪ German retailer Metro has lead funding of UK-based digital wallet start-up Yoyo Wallet as it looks to drive sales via digital innovations. Meanwhile, Italian retailer Esselunga plans to offer its customers smartphone payment options by the end of 2017, with the Satispay app.



Landmark pay deal ▪ UK grocer Tesco is offering its staff a 10.5% pay hike over the next two years in its biggest investment in pay in a decade. 97% of employees will benefit from the deal, which the retailer says rewards existing staff while also attracting new talent.



Product expansions ▪ UK grocer the Co-operative’s private label goods are set to be stocked by convenience chain McColl’s. The three-month trial will see a selection of its products sold in about 25 stores. French frozen food retailer Picard has launched a ‘Plan 2020’ scheme which will see it expand its product range among other initiatives to maintain sales.




USA


Amazon ups its drone game ▪ The e-commerce behemoth has revealed its patent for beehive-shaped centres to house its drones. The structures would mean aerial devices could operate in dense urban settings allowing the company to move away from traditional large single-story warehouses.



Distressed sales ▪ There is mounting speculation that struggling clothing retailer Eddie Bauer could be up for sale. The company is exploring all options as it struggles to keep pace with mounting debt and declining sales. Bankrupt food operator Central Grocers has started a liquidation sale.


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Drugstore shares surge ▪ Shares in pharmacy chain Rite Aid soared on speculation that its merger with Walgreens would gain approval. Fred’s Pharmacy shares also jumped as a successful merger opens the doors for its intended purchase of Walgreens and Rite Aid. The drug chain is firing on all cylinders with plans to ramp up its analytics strategy to optimise business.




Asia & Australia


Supermarket wars ▪ German discount department chain Kaufland has bought up land in Australia reinforcing its commitment to the country. The chain, part of Schwarz Group, is targeting Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane while leaving out the saturated Sydney market – where Coles has just opened its 800th store.



All eyes on India ▪ Joint Tesco-Tata venture, Trent Hypermarket, has announced sweeping plans to expand its network across India, which will see it more than quadruple the number of stores. Meanwhile the high-powered CEOs of Amazon and Apple have both publicly reaffirmed their commitment to the region.




Developments to watch


End of fixed prices in Britain ▪ UK supermarkets are reportedly working on plans to install ‘surge pricing’ systems in their stores to allow prices on goods to rise and fall in line with demand. It is already commonplace in Europe and the US but is likely to cause a stir if introduced in the UK.



Chinese tech for the win ▪ Latest findings suggest Chinese smartphone brands are rapidly dominating the market in India. Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi make up more than half the country’s sales in the first quarter of the year – an astounding jump from 15% a year earlier.