In their battle against the online titan from Seattle, Chinese rival Alibaba has made a move to secure its growth in Southeast Asia and Google has introduced 'shopping action', while Dutch e-grocer Picnic directly competes with Amazon Fresh in Germany. Spar reveals ambitious plans in Greece and Muji opens its biggest store in Osaka.




Tuesday, 20 March 2018





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In their battle against the online titan from Seattle, Chinese rival Alibaba has made a move to secure its growth in Southeast Asia and Google has introduced 'shopping action', while Dutch e-grocer Picnic directly competes with Amazon Fresh in Germany. Spar reveals ambitious plans in Greece and Muji opens its biggest store in Osaka.




Asia & Australasia


Alibaba attacks ▪ The Chinese e-commerce leader will spend an extra US$ 2 billion in Singapore-based online retailer Lazada to accelerate its growth plan in the burgeoning region. This comes after rival Amazon said it will enter Vietnam. In China, Alibaba's Taobao has launched a new app focused on low-priced goods.



Leaving China ▪ Lotte plans to wrap up the sales of its hypermarket chain in China within the next three months. Potential buyers have already started to inspect the stores. The South Korean retailer announced its decision to leave the country last year in the wake of a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing.


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Europe


Dutch ambitions ▪ In its first step towards internationalisation, Netherland-based online grocer Picnic will expand its business to Germany, where it already started a pilot. Amsterdam-headquartered retailer Spar is set to enter the Greek market in partnership with the Asteras association and plans to open more than 350 stores.



Brexit exit ▪ Irish retailer Dunnes Stores has effectively pulled out the British market, closing all its stores in Scotland over the last six months and all but one of its outlets in England. The group continues to operate 16 shops in Northern Ireland, although it has closed several in recent years amid its restructuring process.



Capacity expansion ▪ Spanish retailer Mercadona will build an ‘intelligent logistics’ facility in Zaragoza. The new warehouse is expected to open in 2020. Over in Italy, French retailer Auchan has introduced a 'speedy' payment app for its loyalty programme members.




US & Canada


Handy offer ▪ Following Ikea's recent launch of its own in-home assembly service through TaskRabbit, Walmart has partnered with home service provider Handy to allow customers to purchase assembly assistance in over 2,000 Walmart stores. The offer will also challenge Amazon's growing Home Business.



Shopping action ▪ Google is also taking on Amazon with a programme dubbed 'shopping action'. It offers online shoppers a universal cart whether they’re shopping on mobile, desktop or via a voice-powered device. The search titan is working with a range of top retailers on the new effort, including Target and Walmart.



Gun ban ▪ Fred Meyer, a division of supermarket operator Kroger, is taking the final step out of the gun business. The general-merchandising chain plans to “responsibly phase out sales of firearms and ammunition.” Kroger operates about 130 Fred Meyer stores in four northwestern states.




Store space


Japanese debuts ▪ Solingen-based knife manufacturer Zwilling J.A. Henckels has unveiled a concept store in Kyoto that combines German cutting-edge technology with Japanese hand craftmanship. Over in Osaka, the world's largest Muji store is set to open today with a high-quality food offer.



No assistance please ▪ Many shoppers are moving away from hands-on, personalised service from store associates, and instead turning to their friends and family via social media to share pictures and gather opinions before they buy, That is according to a survey by strategic retail consultant firm HRC Retail Advisory.