The battle of the online titans intensifies with Alibaba taking a lead over rival Amazon in market value and aiming to become a worldwide AI leader. Meanwhile, traditional grocers such as Kroger in the US, Magnit in Russia or Canada's Sobeys are working hard to stay on top of their game. Enjoy the read!




Thursday, 12 October 2017





Hello ,

The battle of the online titans intensifies with Alibaba taking a lead over rival Amazon in market value and aiming to become a worldwide AI leader. Meanwhile, traditional grocers such as Kroger in the US, Magnit in Russia or Canada's Sobeys are working hard to stay on top of their game. Enjoy the read!




USA & Canada


Exploring options ▪ Kroger is considering the sale of its nearly 800 convenience stores, as it revamps its business amid fierce competition between online and traditional retailers.The Cincinnati-based supermarket giant also unveiled a series of strategic moves, including investing more in technology and less in stores.



Office Depot acquires again ▪ The office supply retailer has purchased fellow industry operator Complete Office Solutions for US$ 150 million. The company has been sold on October 2, in the same week as Office Depot bought IT specialist CompuCom for US$ 1 billion, which was regarded as bold and risky.



Sobeys cuts jobs ▪ The Nova Scotia-based national grocer is giving the axe to dozens of its executives across Canada in a much-anticipated move to reduce costs and pursue its restructuring dubbed Project Sunrise. More job cuts are expected. Investors reacted positively.




Europe


Takeover deals ▪ Russia's Magnit is in talks to acquire the operations of Siberian multi-format retailer Holidey Klassik, which could be a major comeback for the grocer, says LZ Retailytics. Meanwhile, Irish food firm Kerry Group broadens its tech portfolio with the purchase of US probiotic ingredient manufacturer Ganeden.



Booth joins Amazon ▪ The US online powerhouse has inked a deal with Britain's northern heritage supermarket Booths which will see items of the latter available for purchase on AmazonFresh. A selection of ready meals and deli products are amongst hundreds of other articles that are now available at the grocery delivery service.



Streamlining operations ▪ Unilever has taken measures to simplify its corporate structure with the launch of an EUR 450 million buyback of Dutch preference shares. The consumer goods giant is said to be shifting UK jobs to Rotterdam to create a new global headquarter and merge two of its main food units in the Netherlands.




Asia


Boosting research ▪ Alibaba plans to invest US$ 15 billion to build overseas research hubs around the world, including one in Tel Aviv and Singapore, as it looks to compete with global leaders in e-commerce, cloud technology and artificial intelligence. The Chinese giant has just surpassed its US rival Amazon in market value



Beijing's push ▪ Wary of the increasing power of private businesses, Chinese government regulators want to have a stake (paywall) and a direct role in corporate decisions in some of its biggest tech companies, including Tencent, Alibaba's Youku Todou and Weibo, reports Wall Street Journal.




What to watch


Talking future ▪ Artificial intelligence dominated the retail conversation at the first ever Shoptalk Europe conference which wrapped up on Wednesday in Copenhagen. Keynote talks ranged from machine learning to visual search, natural language processing and more.



Mobile on the rise ▪ American consumers are spending nearly 50 minutes in shopping apps per month, or 10 hours per year, according to a report from App Annie. Digital-first shopping apps, like those from Amazon, Etsy, Wish and others, are growing more quickly compared to those from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.