Digital payment options enjoy increasing popularity. Google is set to tap into the lucrative Indian market with a mobile wallet, South Africa's Pick n Pay is experimenting with bitcoins. No longer that popular seems to be the iconic toy retailer Toys 'R' Us. The company has filed for bankruptcy protection. Read these stories in today's issue and feel free to share.




Tuesday, 19 September 2017





Hello dear reader,

Digital payment options enjoy increasing popularity. Google is set to tap into the lucrative Indian market with a mobile wallet, South Africa's Pick n Pay is experimenting with bitcoins. No longer that popular seems to be the iconic toy retailer Toys 'R' Us. The company has filed for bankruptcy protection. Read these stories in today's issue and feel free to share.




USA & Africa


Game over for Toys 'R' Us? ▪ The iconic, but debt-ridden US toy retailer Toys 'R' Us has filed for bankruptcy protection. The company is struggling with fierce competition from online retailers and discounters. Its stores and e-commerce sites remain open.



Payment offers ▪ As part of its omnichannel strategy, US home goods retailer Williams-Sonoma is about to accept peer-to-peer money-transferring service Venmo. Over in South Africa, supermarket chain Pick n Pay has started testing Bitcoin payments at its stores.



Seeking survival ▪ US shoe retailer Aerosoles is filing for bankruptcy. As part of its restructuring, the company plans to close up to 74 retail stores. Like many retail casualties before it, the company claimed declining mall traffic, industrywide markdowns and a shift toward online shopping.



Tuskys to the rescue ▪ Kenya's biggest retailer has reportedly signed a merger deal to help revive struggling Nakumatt Supermarket. The two companies are looking into ways of aligning their operations including management changes that will give Tuskys considerable power.




Europe


Polish ventures ▪ Eurocash continues to grow through acquisitions - Poland's largest wholesaler has just purchased supermarket company Mila, which owns a network of 188 stores. French retailer Auchan is keeping up with its competitors in the Eastern European country and pilot's click & collect in Warsaw.



Aldi's brand policy ▪ The German discounter Aldi Nord aims to make purchasing processes more efficient across borders and will buy its brands centrally. In Britain, Aldi is looking to challenge more upmarket labels with the launch of a premium range of ready meals, claiming they will cost 50% less than comparable offers.



Challenging Starbucks ▪ Two of Italy’s biggest coffee houses are getting ready for the arrival of the US coffeehouse chain in the country. Lavazza has opened its first flagship cafe in Milan, close to where Starbucks will launch. Top brand Illycaffe bets on a luxury cafe in the city's most fashionable street.




Asia & Australia


Money matters ▪ Google has launched its first major payments service outside the US. The company launched mobile wallet Tez in India, where the digital payment sector is said to be worth US$ 500 billion by 2020. Over in Europe, the tech giant has offered to auction off shopping ad spaces to rivals in a bid to fight its antitrust fines.



Investments in Indonesia ▪ Abu Dhabi-headquartered Lulu Group, which opened its first hypermarket in Jakarta last year, is on track to launch 10 more outlets, while Italy’s Massimo Zanetti has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in coffee company PT Caswells Indonesia.



Improving supplier relationships ▪ In the final stages of a restructuring process, Australian supermarket major Coles has introduced a more collaborative framework for its suppliers. The move is regarded as a signal that the industry is turning a corner after several years of strained relations.




Growth strategies


Alibaba's vision ▪ In an interview with Bloomberg, Jack Ma revealed that his company is set to change its mindset to move away from its asset-light approach and grab a bigger share of global trade. In its latest move, the online powerhouse is eyeing department stores as an investment.



Big likes small ▪ Quirky start-ups with organic, hipster or ethical credentials are in great demand by global behemoths. Companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, L’Oreal or Diageo are paying ever more for tiny labels. The challenge is to integrate the new acquisitions appropriately.