Following the footsteps of rival Amazon, Chinese e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba ventures offline by launching an unstaffed convenience store. Surging sales have prompted Aldi to accelerate its UK expansion, challenging competitor Lidl and the Big 4 yet again. Get informed and have a productive Wednesday.




Wednesday, 12 July 2017





Hello, dear reader,

Following the footsteps of rival Amazon, Chinese e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba ventures offline by launching an unstaffed convenience store. Surging sales have prompted Aldi to accelerate its UK expansion, challenging competitor Lidl and the Big 4 yet again. Get informed and have a productive Wednesday.

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Asia


Going offline ▪ Alibaba has opened a futuristic 'smart store' near its headquarter in Hangzhou for a five-day pop-up event, equipped with big data and facial recognition technology. Customers scan a QR code with the Taobao app. The Chinese e-commerce giant has also announced that it will reshape its executive team.



More physical moves ▪ Indian online marketplace Flipkart is planning to enter the brick-and-mortar space as a master franchisee for foreign brands and is reportedly in advanced talks with Hong Kong retailer Giordano. Over in China, French retailer Auchan has launched its first miniature 'Auchan Box' convenience store in Shanghai. The outlet is completely digital.




Europe


Aldi ramps up UK expansion ▪ Just after rival Lidl announced a GBP 1.45 billion expansion plan in Britain, Aldi pledges to create nearly 4,000 jobs in the country. This follows a recent “sales surge” which saw an extra 900,000 new customers visit its 700 stores last year. The German discounter is on track to increase its network to 1,000 outlets by 2022.



Kaufland overhauls stores ▪ The big box retailer, owned by Germany's Schwarz Group, has earmarked around EUR 1 billion annually for the refurbishment of its 650 stores in its home market. LZ Retailytics reckons that comprehensive store upgrades will make Kaufland grow again and could set new standards in discount retailing.



Eyes on Siberia ▪ Russia's X5 Retail Group has unveiled two new state-of-the-art distribution centres in Yekaterinburg and Kosulino to boost logistics operations and local sourcing in the Ural, Volga and Siberian Federal Districts as well as provide the best available prices to customers in the region.



Twenty One shuts down ▪ The struggling British discount fashion chain has collapsed into compulsory liquidation with the loss of 900 jobs. The clothing retailer will close its remaining 122 shops. Sales at Twenty One have declined in recent years with sustained losses.




USA & Canada


Couche-Tard acquires Holiday ▪ Quebec-headquartered retail giant Alimentation Couche-Tard has signed an agreement to buy Minnesota-based convenience store player Holiday. The transaction will see the former acquire 374 stores operated by the latter and 148 franchisees.



Focus on grocery ▪ In a bid to bolster its fresh distribution resources, Amazon will open a 100,000 square-foot grocery warehouse in Houston. Meanwhile, the expansion of Whole Foods 365 concept has been stalled as new owner Amazon could question the smaller format's future.



Healthy profit for Pepsi ▪ The soft drink giant reported better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by higher pricing of its sodas and snack foods sold in North America. Revenue from the company's Frito-Lay business, rose 3% in the quarter. Sales volumes climbed 1% and net pricing 3%.




Freshly picked


Flowers and plants ▪ British grocer Morrisons wants to become the country’s biggest florist with its premium website flowerworld, and French retailer Carrefour plans to launch its first 'vertical garden' in the Paris region. The plants are grown without the use of soil.



Eat fresh buy local ▪ Five Utah grocery chains are making it easier for shoppers to get fresh fruit and vegetables. Macey’s, Lin’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market and Fresh Market are partnering with farms and growers across the state to offer a variety of local produce in their stores.