China's Alibaba pumps another billion in Lazada, while Spar International reveals ambitious growth plans in Thailand. British frozen food specialist Iceland and online grocer Ocado experiment with smart technology. In the US, office supply retailer Staples will soon be sold in a billion-dollar deal. Enjoy the read and feel free to share.




Thursday, 29 June 2017





Hello, dear reader,

China's Alibaba pumps another billion in Lazada, while Spar International reveals ambitious growth plans in Thailand. British frozen food specialist Iceland and online grocer Ocado experiment with smart technology. In the US, office supply retailer Staples will soon be sold in a billion-dollar deal. Enjoy the read and feel free to share.




Europe


Tesco continues to turn around ▪ A week after announcing 1,100 staff redundancies at its call centre, the British supermarket leader has revealed that it will slash a further 1,200 jobs at its head office as part of its turnaround plan that aims to reduce costs by GBP 1.5 billion.



Multichannnel approach ▪ Frozen food retailer Iceland has emerged as one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK and demonstrated it can be innovative in terms of store concepts. LZ Retailytics thinks that key to this success is the company's strategy to differentiate and reinvent itself.



Embracing technology ▪ British e-commerce supermarket Ocado has started trials of a self-driving truck that aims to become the UK’s first autonomous delivery system and it might beat Amazon. Meanwhile, Italian online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter invests GBP 440 million in a state-of-the-art tech hub in London.




USA & Canada


Staples gets sold ▪ Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners is nearing a deal to buy the office-supply retailer for more than US$ 6.5 billion, a bold bet on a company whose sales are shrinking. The buy-out comes after US regulators last year squashed Staples' US$ 6.3 billion merger with rival Office Depot.



No appetite for Blue Apron ▪ The meal-kit delivery start-up has cut its projected valuation from US$ 3.2 billion to US$ 1.89 billion in the wake of Amazon’s deal to buy Whole Foods. Potential investors are also concerned about the company's sky-high marketing costs.


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Online offer for Canadians ▪ Speciality lamps retailer Lamps Plus debuted with an e-commerce website in Canada, making purchases easier. The new site specifically targets the Canadian market with prices displayed in the currency of the neighbouring country.




Asia & Middle East


Alibaba gets Lazada ▪ The cashed-up Chinese e-commerce giant is set to invest another US$1 billion into Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada, after the other shareholders except for Singapore's Temasek, have chosen to exit the platform. Germany's Rocket Internet has sold its remaining 8,8% stake for US$ 276 million.



Spar partners for Thai growth ▪ German logistics giant DHL has teamed up with the international retail giant in Thailand to help establish up to 300 convenience stores. The partnership will see DHL support Spar with distribution and warehousing services across the country.



Shinsegae eyes overseas ▪ The South Korean retail conglomerate has tied up with the Fawaz Alhokair group (paywall) to enter the Middle East through Saudi Arabia with its cosmetics banner. In its home country, Shinsegae said that its discount banner, E-Mart, will focus on online shopping malls.




Unusual and remarkable


Lidl's innovative moves ▪ The German discounter grows its convenience expertise with start-up Kochzauber by offering 'cook bags' in selected stores. The bags include recipes and ingredients to prepare a meal at home. Over in Italy, Lidl is experimenting with a 'green' concept in Bologna (paywall).



Instore farms ▪ Bringing the joy of growing to the urban population is the aim of Infarm, a start-up based in Berlin, which is developing an 'indoor vertical farming' system. The innovators want to partner with supermarket chains, online food retailers or wholesalers.