Christmas is well and truly over and it delivered mixed results, however, not for Aldi in Britain, where the German discounter enjoyed bumper sales over the festive season. Other retail giants such as Debenhams or drugstore chain Walgreens in the US weren't that lucky and the situation stays dire for department store chains Macy's and Sears.




Friday, 05 January 2018





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Christmas is well and truly over and it delivered mixed results, however, not for Aldi in Britain, where the German discounter enjoyed bumper sales over the festive season. Other retail giants such as Debenhams or drugstore chain Walgreens in the US weren't that lucky and the situation stays dire for department store chains Macy's and Sears.




Europe


Record performance ▪ Aldi staff in Britain are in for a pay rise after the German discounter enjoyed its busiest-ever Christmas season, posting sales of over GBP 10 billion in the UK and Ireland, 15% more than in the year before. Salaries are about to increase by 4.6% and the minimum hourly rate will go up as well.



Mixed results ▪ British department store Debenhams issued a profit warning and will cut jobs as well as close stores after a disappointing Christmas period. Thanks to a growing supplier network, convenience chain Nisa is in a better position. Sales rose 17.7% to GBP 277 million in the season.



Going urban ▪ Lidl has revealed plans to enter city centre locations in Greece and is set to roll out its new international store concept. Being the only discounter in the country, LZ Retailytics notes that Lidl's exceptional position can help the German company to steadily expand its market share.




USA & Canada


Survival struggles ▪ Sears is set to close 103 unprofitable stores as it continues to assess its operations. The department store operator has seen 24 straight quarters of sales declines. Although fellow retailer Macy's enjoyed 'solid' sales over the holidays, more store closings and massive job cuts are still on the agenda.



Ups and downs ▪ Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance has reported a double-digit fall in quarterly profits. Net earnings decreased to US$ 821 million. Wholesaler Costco, on the other hand, enjoyed an increase in net sales of 14.3% to US$ 14.9 billion in December.



Private label boost ▪ Kroger plans to expand its Simple Truth natural and organic brand this year. The line currently has more than 1,400 products. The Cincinnati-based retailer wants to offer affordable items that align with consumer trends.




Asia & Australia


Surf merger ▪ Queensland-based surf brand Billabong is about to accept a takeover bid from the US owners of Quiksilver worth about US$ 198 million. The deal will combine two of the largest active sports labels, forming a chain with US$ 2 billion in annual sales (paywall).



China debut ▪ British retailer Topshop is reportedly going to open its first Chinese bricks-and-mortar store in Shanghai this year. The news comes after parent company Arcadia Group’s recent announcement that it will open up to 80 stores in the country and has partnered with e-tailer Shangpin.



Fashion team ▪ Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will set up a joint venture with online fashion retailer Meili to develop a new model of voice messaging in a bid to reach female shoppers, particularly in smaller cities. The platform is said to be launched in February.




Thought-provoking reads


Voice potential ▪ Smart speakers are now the fastest-growing consumer technology, according to a new report. Analysts expect the market to grow by US$ 56.3 million this year, with both Amazon and Google leading the way. Plus, with some devices adding screens, there is more potential.



Privacy challenge ▪ Chinese companies are increasingly criticised for the way they handle personal data. The scrutiny over privacy is likely to haunt tech giants such as Alibaba or Tencent. Despite the odds, China's leading companies are determined to try to crack the American market.