Walmart is one step closer to securing its deal with Flipkart, while it continues to transform online shopping. Amazon takes a respite from Trump’s tweets to reveal new digital developments that make life more convenient. Across the Atlantic, Lidl is opening a new Bulgaria-based tech centre, and Sainsbury’s uncovers a new loyalty scheme.




Monday, 09 April 2018





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Walmart is one step closer to securing its deal with Flipkart, while it continues to transform online shopping. Amazon takes a respite from Trump’s tweets to reveal new digital developments that make life more convenient. Across the Atlantic, Lidl is opening a new Bulgaria-based tech centre, and Sainsbury’s uncovers a new loyalty scheme.




US & Canada


Expansions ahead ▪ Walmart has completed a due diligence process on Flipkart, following reports of Amazon’s interest in the Indian e-tailer. An offer proposal has been floated by Walmart for a 51% stake in the company. The retail giant is also expanding its pick-up programme, by adding at least 500 new ‘towers’ to US shops.



Tech advances ▪ Amazon Key, an app that allows keyless entry by service providers into homes when residents are out, can now be accessed by all US customers. New features have been added that include watching footage of people entering and exiting houses. Amazon has also rolled remote access to its parental control packages.


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Troubling times ▪ Apple faces legal action over a possible breach of patent in the heart rate technology used in the Apple Watch. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has lost its first trial in a lawsuit claiming its talcum products include cancer-causing asbestos. And Bestbuy follows Sears and Delta as the latest retailer to be hit by a data breach.




Europe


Innovative moves ▪ Lidl has confirmed it is opening an IT centre of excellence in Bulgaria, a move that is expected to create 120 local jobs. In the UK, the german discounter has been named as the retail anchor for a former prison site in North Yorkshire, and will take up a 21,000 sq ft unit in the development.



On the up ▪ Tesco is set to report rising profit levels in its first update of results since its UK £3.7 billion takeover of Booker. Meanwhile, The Co-operative Group is also celebrating revenue gains following troubled banking operations and a raft of cost-cutting measures.



Tough love ▪ Sainsbury’s Nectar card loyalty scheme is undertaking a major overhaul and is primed to punish customers who shop at other stores. The supermarket is trialing a system that no longer rewards customers on the amount spent, but instead gives more points to loyal buyers.




Asia & Australasia


Digital prototype ▪ FamilyMart Taiwan has developed an experimental store that uses a range of digital technology including robots, smart shelves and VR interfaces for customers to interact with. The company will monitor results of the pilot, with a view to roll out technology to other stores if successful.



Kiwi company soars ▪ New Zealand merino clothing retailer Icebreaker has been sold to America’s VF Corporation (VFC) for a cool $288 million. VFC, the owners of Vans, Lee and Wrangler brands, has been transforming its ‘wardrobe’ ever since CEO Steve Rendle took over in 2017, in a shift to meet changing consumer demands.




What to watch


Word play ▪ Dubai based cryptocurrency firm, Alibabacoin has hit back against claims from Alibaba of trademark infringement. The company argues that Alibaba is an entirely generic word whose origins lie in the Middle Eastern folktale, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, and is therefore allowed to be used.



Massive gains ▪ Online retail sales in China are increasing faster than predicted and are expected to hit $US 1 trillion by the end of 2018, according to a report from Forrester. The rapid increase is down to mobile shopping and flourishing food and fashion online sales.