While Walmart, JD.com and a number of other high profile players are tackling food safety issues in China, local leader Alibaba is about to create futuristic vending machines for cars. Sweden's ICA Gruppen and Russia's X5 are getting ready for upcoming online challenges and another international player closes down in Germany.




Friday, 15 December 2017





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While Walmart, JD.com and a number of other high profile players are tackling food safety issues in China, local leader Alibaba is about to create futuristic vending machines for cars. Sweden's ICA Gruppen and Russia's X5 are getting ready for upcoming online challenges and another international player closes down in Germany.

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USA & Canada


Canadian takeovers ▪ Anglo-Dutch group Unilever pushes deeper into the beauty market with the acquisition of Schmidt’s Naturals, a personal care company based in Portland, Oregon. In a bid to offer better data tools to its third-party sellers, online retailer Ebay has announced to buy Toronto-based start-up Terapeak.



Managing money ▪ Just in time for Christmas, Walmart is trying to ease the financial strain of its employees, allowing them to receive wages before their next payday with the help of a new app, created with two financial start-ups. The platform provides a number of services to help staff plan ahead for bills and saving goals.



Meal space ▪ Cincinnati-based supermarket giant Kroger is determined to ramp up its foodservice initiatives in the coming year. Last month, the grocer debuted with 'Kitchen 1882', a new restaurant concept. Have a look inside the eatery here. A culinary innovation centre will open 'very soon'.




Europe


Good bye Germany ▪ Albert Heijn is joining a long list of international retailers failing to access the German market. The Dutch supermarket chain, which entered the country in 2012 with a trendy and unique concept, will leave by the end of March 2018.



Online focus ▪ With its e-commerce turnover already surpassed EUR 105.6 million, Ica Gruppen plans to open central e-commerce warehouses around large Swedish cities. Sweden's grocery leader also wants to strengthen its store network, with a focus on urban areas and convenience.



Tie-ups on track ▪ Italian eyewear maker Luxottica and French glasses group Essilor are about to get the unconditional approval for their US$ 57 billion merger. Meanwhile, Russia's X5 Retail and Mail.ru Group have partnered to measure the impact of targeted online advertising on offline sales.




Asia


Food safety alliance ▪ In a further move to apply Blockchain technology for food traceability, Walmart, JD.com and IBM together with Beijing-based Tsinghua University have announced a collaboration to improve food tracking in China. This marks an extension of the work initiated by Walmart and IBM earlier this year in the US.



Redefining retail ▪ After the announcement of its partnership with Ford, online powerhouse Alibaba has disclosed its idea of a 'car vending machine', which looks a bit like a gigantic toy. Meanwhile, rival JD.com plans to open hundreds of "unmanned" convenience stores, utilising facial and recognition technology.



Financial flexibility ▪ Li & Fung, the struggling Hong Kong trading conglomerate, is selling off its sweater, furniture and beauty products business to a consortium for US$ 1.1 billion. The company hopes that the disposal will help streamline its business and give it extra capital to invest in its digital supply chain.




Africa


The trouble continues ▪ The resignation of Christo Wiese, which was announced on Thursday, is the latest blow for embattled South African retail giant Steinhoff. Wiese has seen his net worth plunge by more than US$ 2 billion since the accounting scandal deepened last week.



Help for Uchumi ▪ The debt-ridden Kenyan supermarket operator will receive a financial injection from an undisclosed strategic investor. The restocking of its Nairobi stores ahead of the Christmas season is regarded as a near breakthrough in the negotiations with the investor.