Walmart and its warehouse chain, Sam's Club, are going to great length to close the gap with Amazon. China's JD.com has raised enough money to expand globally, while French Groupe Casino eyes neighbourhood country Belgium to launch its convenience store format and other European heavyweights invest in their digital operations.




Thursday, 15 February 2018





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Walmart and its warehouse chain, Sam's Club, are going to great length to close the gap with Amazon. China's JD.com has raised enough money to expand globally, while French Groupe Casino eyes neighbourhood country Belgium to launch its convenience store format and other European heavyweights invest in their digital operations.

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US & Canada


Taking on Amazon ▪ Walmart's decision to build its own cloud network is reportedly starting to pay off, but the retailer has still a long way to go to catch up with Amazon. Meanwhile, its Sam's Club unit plans to offer free delivery for its premium members to better compete with the enemy from Seattle.



Aldi renovates ▪ The German discounter is overhauling of its properties in the St. Louis area and reportedly scouting the region for new locations. The remodelled stores will include a more modern design, natural lighting and environmentally friendly materials, according to the company.



Blue Apron delivers ▪ Revenue at the home delivery meal kit service declined in the last quarter 2017, driven primarily by a decrease in customers and orders, as the company scaled back its marketing efforts and faced increased competition. However, losses were not as deep as expected.




Europe


E-commerce efforts ▪ Strengthening its online arm, Russian grocery leader X5 Retail Group plans to launch two dark stores in the country, and is also set to build a food innovation facility in Moscow (paywall). After successful tests of its checkout-free store, Albert Heijn will open 'AH to Go' outlets in Amsterdam this summer.



Across the border ▪ French supermarket group Casino is testing Belgian waters and has opened a Franprix convenience store in Brussels. The retailer insists that this is a trial and not the precursor of an expansion outside its home market, where the format is mostly located in and around Paris with 750 locations.



DIY talks ▪ Finnish retailer Kesko wants to sell its Russian DIY stores and is reportedly negotiating with French chain Leroy Merlin, which is regarded as market leader in Russia, operating currently 75 locations. Kesko runs 14 K-rauta stores in the country.




Asia


Cashing up ▪ JD.com has raised a whopping US$ 2.5 billion in the latest funding round for its logistics subsidiary. Besides supporting its global expansion, the Chinese online major will use the money to further invest in new technologies such as drones and robots.



Strengthening ties ▪ Nestlé has teamed up with Alibaba's Cainiao unit to streamline its e-commerce supply chain in China. The two are designing a new all-in-one inventory solution that integrates the Swiss company's warehouse stock across Alibaba's platforms.



Developments in Japan ▪ French food group Danone is selling about US$ 1.8 billion worth of shares in Japanese dairy drink maker Yakult, but remains its biggest shareholder. Fast food majors McDonald's and Burger King are on a roll in Japan, the latter plans to triple its locations in the country.




Weird and wonderful


Kiwi ingenuity ▪ New Zealanders will be the first in the world to trial new artificial intelligence technology that brings the checkout to the trolley when they shop for groceries. Auckland-based firm Imagr aims to launch its Smartcart technology at a Four Square store in suburban Ellerslie soon.



Baker's delight ▪ Oregon Dairy in Pennsylvania has set a record with the sale of doughnut-style treats to celebrate Fasnacht Day. The pastry, called 'fasnacht', is historically only served on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, to mark the beginning of fasting on Ash Wednesday.