The looming threat of Amazon appears to have spurred the pharmaceutical industry into action. Chemist CVS is mulling a major acquisition, in what could be the biggest deal of the year. Meanwhile a major Australian drug chain is getting into voice activation. Enjoy the read, and we’ll be back on Wednesday, due to tomorrow’s public holiday in Germany.




Monday, 30 October 2017





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The looming threat of Amazon appears to have spurred the pharmaceutical industry into action. Chemist CVS is mulling a major acquisition, in what could be the biggest deal of the year. Meanwhile a major Australian drug chain is getting into voice activation. Enjoy the read, and we’ll be back on Wednesday, due to tomorrow’s public holiday in Germany.




USA & Latin America


Heading off Amazon ▪ Analysts are nodding in approval over news that pharmacy giant CVS is looking to buy health insurer Aetna for US$ 66 billion. The blockbuster deal would make it a one-stop shop for healthcare needs, which is seen as a smart move for a business vulnerable to Amazon’s impending arrival.



Highs and lows ▪ Retailer J.C. Penney endured plummeting shares after slashing its profit and sales forecast. The news once again put the spotlight on issues facing deparment stores, with Macy's, Kohl's and Nordstrom all taking a hit. Meanwhile, the source of many of the sector’s woes – Amazon – helped power the Nasdaq to its best day in nearly a year.



New and improved ▪ Target plans to revamp its beauty section in a style resembling cosmetics giant Sephora. The new look will feature open floor plans, better lighting and improved accessibility. Meanwhile, fellow discounter Walmart is launching a new supermarket concept, Walmart Supermercado, in Brazil.




Europe


Drastic measures ▪ German grocer Bünting told LZ Retailytics it’s back on track after two years of extensive restructuring and staff reductions. Lloyds Pharmacy will close almost 200 stores across England, blaming difficult market conditions created by changes in government policy.



Executive exits ▪ Marks and Spencer’s clothing boss Jo Jenkins is leaving the struggling retailer just weeks before the crucial holiday season, to become CEO at clothing chain White Stuff. Ahold Delhaize’s head of e-commerce, Hanneke Faber, is leaving the grocer to join consumer goods giant Unilever.



Trick or treat ▪ British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat is expecting to cash in on the rising popularity of Halloween in the UK, gearing up for a 40% surge around the end of October. The holiday continues to grow in popularity with the retail value expected to crack GBP 320 million this year.




Australasia


What’s in a name ▪ Fast food giant McDonald’s is getting a name change in China – but on paper only. While its brand name remains, the company’s registered name will change to ‘Golden Arches’ after the chain agreed to sell most of its China and Hong Kong business to CITIC Ltd and Carlyle Group.



Trials and tribulations ▪ Australian pharmacist Chemist Warehouse is piloting new voice-activated technology to drive efficiencies with its in-store fulfilment. Just days after opening its first Australian store, Debenhams Indonesia will close by Christmas, citing changing global trends.



Cashing up ▪ Chinese search engine Sogou, which is backed by Tencent, is looking to raise up to US$ 585 million through a US IPO. Singaporean e-commerce startup Carousell is in the money after apparently raising an impressive US$ 70-80 million in funds.




Insider insights


Talking shop ▪ Dr Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, talks retail, politics and Europe with Lebensmittel Zeitung. In this interview he explains why his organisation opposes the European Parliament’s push to regulate unfair trading practices, saying it will not bring any extra benefit for farmers.



Shoppertainment sells ▪ Department stores are increasingly turning to theatrics to compete with the might of online retailers and lure customers away from their digital devices, whether it’s an immersive Alice in Wonderland experience or potato peeling workshop.