Following its unexpected decision to close Sam's Club stores, Walmart is realigning its management team. Rival Kroger is interested in buying an online wholesaler, and a long-standing German clothing retailer is set to offer investment opportunities in emerging markets. Enjoy your Monday bulletin and have a great start to the week.




Monday, 15 January 2018





Hello ,

Following its unexpected decision to close Sam's Club stores, Walmart is realigning its management team. Rival Kroger is interested in buying an online wholesaler, and a long-standing German clothing retailer is set to offer investment opportunities in emerging markets. Enjoy your Monday bulletin and have a great start to the week.




USA & Canada


Bad timing ▪ Walmart is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 corporate jobs, mainly at the company's headquarters in Bentonville. The move follows the retailer's announcement about raising its starting wage and overshadows its surprising decision to close Sam's clubs stores, which prompted analysts to label the timing as 'ridiculous'.



Start-ups in demand ▪ Supermarket giant Kroger has bid to acquire New York-based Boxed, an online bulk-products retailer that seeks to compete with the likes of Costco. Meanwhile, grocery delivery marketplace Shipt expands its footprint across Texas in cooperation with H-E-B Stores.



Activist on board ▪ Investor D.E. Shaw has built an active stake in Lowe’s amid concerns about the home retailer's performance. The company has lagged behind its biggest rival Home Depot in sales growth. For now, the activist investor does not plan to agitate for changes at Lowe's.




Asia


Exploring options ▪ German clothing retailer C&A has set its eyes on China for partnerships and investments as it develops a turnaround plan. The family-owned business, which is operated by Swiss-based Cofra Holding, runs more than 1,500 stores across Europe, Latin America and Asia.



Fighting fakes ▪ US authorities put shopping platform Taobao on their blacklist for the second year in a row over suspected counterfeits. The move offended parent company Alibaba, who called the accusations a "politicised process to create a scapegoat in a trade row between the two biggest economies on earth".



Closing down ▪ Marks & Spencer plans to end its online operations in China, citing the complexity and cost of trading on the mainland. The British retailer has been grappling with declining sales in some of its key international markets and closed its bricks-and-mortar stores in the country in 2016.



Dairy closure ▪ French foods giant Danone has announced plans to shut down its loss-making dairy operations in India and rationalise its product portfolio. The company, which entered the country in 2010, said that it will put a sharper focus on growing its nutrition business in the country.




Europe


Sustainability matters ▪ Tesco has pledged its support for a plastic bottle deposit return scheme to reduce waste. The move has been met with praise from environmental groups. Last Friday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has laid out her environmental plan, in which she urged supermarkets to create plastic-free aisles.



Leadership changes ▪ Conviviality, the owner of Bargain Booze and Matthew Clark, has announced organisational changes and the departure of one of its key executives, following the integration of its recent acquisitions. The group’s managing director Mark Aylwin is set to step down this month.



Digital decisions ▪ In a bid to push social interaction, Belgian market leader Colruyt has launched Apporto, a social app designed to be used by less mobile customers. Jerónimo Martins subsidiary Pingo Doce is Portugal’s first grocer to allow payments with NFC-enabled smartphones.




What to watch


Tencent on the rise ▪ It has overtaken Facebook, bought stakes in Snapchat, Tesla and Hollywood films, and has quietly risen to rival Google and Netflix. Internet giant Tencent has now become the world’s fifth most valuable company. The Guardian explains how this global Chinese powerhouse works.