E-commerce rivals Amazon and Alibaba are busy conquering new territories with the former stepping up its play in the grocery sector, and the latter getting into rental properties. Meanwhile, UK retailer Wilko capped off a brutal week for British retail workers. Enjoy the read.




Monday, 14 August 2017





Greetings!

E-commerce rivals Amazon and Alibaba are busy conquering new territories with the former stepping up its play in the grocery sector, and the latter getting into rental properties. Meanwhile, UK retailer Wilko capped off a brutal week for British retail workers. Enjoy the read.




USA


Aldi US teams up for delivery ▪ The German discounter has entered a partnership with Instacart to deliver groceries in three US cities, a move that comes amid intense competition and disruption in the industry. Aldi will launch a pilot starting the end of this month with the potential of expanding to more cities in the future.



Cool down ▪ Amazon continues to close in on the lucrative grocery market, with ready-made meals that don’t require refrigeration. If the technology is a success, it would be a big step forward for the company’s food ambitions. On the flip side, Kraft Heinz says refrigerated foods are on the way up, and has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey to launch a line of retail comfort foods.



Arrivals and departures ▪ Southeastern Grocers has appointed Anthony Hucker CEO and president, effective immediately. Costco has named long-time director Hamilton James to the position of Chairman. Petsmart has announced that its president and board member Michael J. Massey has resigned.




Asia


Alibaba eyes rentals ▪ The e-commerce giant has signed an agreement with its hometown, Hangzhou, to use its technology in an official online platform for property rentals. The deal covers apartments across all sources – government, individuals, real estate developers and agents. It is hoped the project will help resolve fraudulent deals and volatile disputes, which are rife in the sector.



Taking on Amazon ▪ Indian rival Flipkart has secured another US $2.5 billion in funding, from SoftBank. The deal will bolster the online retailer’s firepower against Amazon and comes days after attempts at a deal between Flipkart and Snapdeal fell flat. Sportswear brand Li Ning will re-work its bricks-and-mortar strategy in the face of e-commerce challengers, with fewer, but larger, stores.


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Japanese ambitions ▪ Clothing retailer Uniqlo is stepping up its overseas operations, with ambitious plans to have 1,000 stores in China within two and a half years, eclipsing the number of stores in its home nation. Retail giant Aeon is betting on the country’s ageing population, with plans to open at least 100 stores catering to the segment by 2025.




Europe


More job cuts ▪ High street homewares chain Wilko has become the latest UK retailer to make staffing cuts. The company has placed nearly 4,000 employees under consultation as it looks to simplify its team structure, following claims the government’s minimum living wage has dented its profits.



How convenient ▪ British grocer Sainsbury’s is stepping up its collection game (paywall), piloting a 30-minute click and collect service in south London, the first supermarket in the UK to do so. Dutch retailer Spar has opened its first convenience store in Austria, although LZ Retailytics questions whether the nation is ready for the format.



Responsible retailing ▪ Aldi Nederland is the latest to stop selling single-use bags, opting instead for a newly designed reusable bag. Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd announced they would no longer offer disposable bags in Germany last month. Italian grocer Coop is introducing antibiotic-free pork, which the retailer says will affect more than 14 million animals a year and improve consumer health.




Analyses and Expectations


David edges out Goliath ▪ There are growing concerns that technology newcomers like Snap and Blue Apron are failing to live up to expectations ahead of their IPO offerings. Tech giants with deep pockets like Amazon and Google are squeezing the life out of the start-up economy.



Bright outlook ▪ It’s expected e-commerce giant Alibaba will deliver sterling results this week, thanks to Chinese consumers (paywall) who like to spend up large. The nation’s burgeoning middle-class is behind the predictions, which have investors rubbing their hands together in anticipation.