While AmazonFresh pulls back domestically its rival Alibaba takes a big step beyond its home turf. The e-commerce major is among many retailers jostling for position in the fierce battleground of Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, European food producers are busy buying and selling, including Unilever who spent up large in the name of tea. Enjoy the read and feel free to share.




Monday, 06 November 2017





Hello ,

While AmazonFresh pulls back domestically its rival Alibaba takes a big step beyond its home turf. The e-commerce major is among many retailers jostling for position in the fierce battleground of Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, European food producers are busy buying and selling, including Unilever who spent up large in the name of tea. Enjoy the read and feel free to share.




USA & Canada


Amazon shifts ▪ AmazonFresh will be pulled from a number of locations across the country. Analysts say the online behemoth is realigning its grocery business as it integrates Whole Foods. Vancouver will get its second corporate office, with spokespeople at pains to differentiate it from the highly sought-after second HQ.



Open and close ▪ Sears will close another 63 stores following the end of the holiday shopping season as the retailer struggles to cut costs and return to profitability. German retailer Aldi attracted hundreds of shoppers keen for a discount to the opening of its first store in the Austin metro area.



Sealing the deal ▪ Sources believe the mega merger between pharmacist CVS and health insurer Aetna could be finalised as early as next month. While the US$ 70 billion deal provides some protection from the much-publicised threat of Amazon, industry experts say the danger posed by UnitedHealth was likely a major driver of the deal.




Asia & Australia


Alibaba moves in ▪ The retail giant has launched an online trading platform in Malaysia, the first outside its home country. Together with a new regional logistics centre, the move aims to help users (mostly SMEs) conduct cross-border trade with fewer bureaucratic hurdles to manage.



Turning Japanese ▪ A number of Japanese food brands have Singapore in their sights. Tokyo snack brands The Maple Mania and Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory are both setting up shop. Confectionary chain Morozoff has opened a standalone store there (paywall), with ambitions to expand into five countries in Southeast Asia.



International exchange ▪ Pakistan is the newest location for Dutch retailer Spar under its global expansion plans. Australian retailers have begun to count down to the entry of global disrupter Amazon, tipped to officially start business there at the end of this month.




Europe


Buy and sell ▪ Unilever will buy Starbuck’s Tazo tea business for nearly US$ 400 million. Ireland’s Total Produce hopes to cement its presence in America with the 50% acquisition of fruit company The Fresh Connection. Russian retailer O’Key is mulling the sale of its supermarket business as it looks to focus on hypermarket and discount stores.



Uncertain investment ▪ Bakkavör, one of the biggest providers of ready meals to UK supermarkets, has axed its plans to float on the London stock exchange, citing volatility in the market. Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has reportedly threatened to cut investment in Britain over the proposed sugar tax.



Responsible producer ▪ Food heavyweight Nestlé plans to source only cage-free eggs for all its food products by 2025.




Weird & wonderful


Up in smoke ▪ Ontario has become the first Canadian province to have a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational marijuana. It has confirmed the first 14 cities to host government-run pot shops. The industry is worth a potential CA$ 23 billion and entrepreneurs are racing to cut deals as the country nears full legalisation.



Bizarre bids ▪ Amazon’s quest to find perfect location for its second HQ has captured imaginations as cities vie for its attention. The request for proposals attracted 238 submissions, including some slightly quirky bids. One included the offer to de-annex 345 acres of land to form the city of Amazon, while one took out a full-page ad in the New York Times and another sent Bezos a giant cactus.