Tokyo temperatures have hit record lows, but Japanese firms are warming up with partnerships and expansions. E-commerce giant Rakuten has entered an agreement with Walmart. Deal-making is also on the agenda for Alibaba, which has been in talks with US supermarket major Kroger, and Amazon has made another tweak to its fees.




Friday, 26 January 2018





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Tokyo temperatures have hit record lows, but Japanese firms are warming up with partnerships and expansions. E-commerce giant Rakuten has entered an agreement with Walmart. Deal-making is also on the agenda for Alibaba, which has been in talks with US supermarket major Kroger, and Amazon has made another tweak to its fees.




US & Canada


Global expansion ▪ Walmart is partnering with Tokyo-based e-commerce firm Rakuten to offer an online grocery delivery service in Japan. Meanwhile, Chinese giant Alibaba is reportedly in discussions to cooperate with US supermarket chain Kroger, as it continues its aggressive push to work with US firms interested in selling in China.



Amazon acts ▪ The e-tailer has raised seller fees for its apparel and accessories categories, increasing the percentage it takes from third party sales. Amazon has also issued a blanket ban on asking interviewees for their salary history during the hiring process, in a bid to close the gender pay gap and support wage equity.


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Jobs in jeopardy ▪ The Campbell Soup Company will close its 87 year old Toronto manufacturing plant, impacting 380 jobs as it relocates its Canadian headquarters. Meanwhile, Walmart's Sam's Club sees another shakeup as it restructures its product-purchasing team, consolidating six roles into three.




Asia & Australia


Japanese deals ▪ Hiroshima-headquartered discounter Daiso, which sells "every item for a dollar", is set to open in Israel this summer, and compatriot department store Aeon's Malaysian business is to partner with delivery service Honestbee to cater to the growing trend of online buying in the country.



Moving on up ▪ Alibaba’s market capitalisation hit US$500 billion on Wednesday, making it the second Chinese firm to hit the milestone after Tencent in November. This brings the ecommerce giant into an elite global club, featuring the likes of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook.



Troubled times ▪ Australian discount supermarket chain NQR has entered voluntary administration, putting jobs at risk unless a buyer is found. Hong Kong based apparel maker Esprit Holdings is also facing difficulty, warning of a loss of up to US$ 125 million following a significant decline in its Chinese business.




Europe


Pricing adjustments ▪ Danish grocery leader Coop Danmark has launched an on-going price reduction programme that will be partly financed by having fewer price promotions. This means that everyday low prices on more than 1,000 products will be offered in its largest stores.



Waste not ▪ Tesco is to start offering free food to staff at its UK stores in a bid to hit its zero-waste target by March. Under the new scheme, called Colleague Shops, staff will be allowed to take food if the supermarket chain cannot first find a community group or charity that needs it.



Not Meating standards ▪ Meat supplier Russell Hume has been ordered by the UK’s Food Standards Agency to halt all deliveries following accusations of non-compliance with food hygiene regulations. The firm has moved to defend its reputation, issuing a statement calling the FSA’s actions a “serious shock”.




Unusual and remarkable


How're we doing ▪ American supermarket chain Albertsons is launching a new service, Albertsons Performance Media, which uses shopping data to help brands track the retail impact of digital ads in Albertsons stores. The grocer has signed up more than 60 consumer companies for the programme.



Carpet for rent ▪ As focus on the environmental impact of consumerism grows, Ikea is looking at meeting shoppers’ demands for a more sustainable business model with an unusual eco-friendly solution: Rental furniture.