Amazon has stopped its Seattle-based expansions as a protest over proposed new tax legislation. The merger between UK supermarket majors Asda and Sainsbury's has British MPs worried. Meanwhile, Germany's Schwarz Gruppe has big plans for Lidl this year and an ambitious sales target. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the read.




Friday, 04 May 2018





Hello ,

Amazon has stopped its Seattle-based expansions as a protest over proposed new tax legislation. The merger between UK supermarket majors Asda and Sainsbury's has British MPs worried. Meanwhile, Germany's Schwarz Gruppe has big plans for Lidl this year and an ambitious sales target. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the read.




America


Ups and downs ▪ Amazon has halted its long-planned hometown construction as it takes on Seattle lawmakers over a proposed city tax that could charge large companies US$ 500 per head. Meanwhile, in Australia the e-commerce behemoth is set to open a new fulfilment centre near Sydney later this year.



Delivering change ▪ Sprouts Farmers Market has ended its partnership with Amazon Prime, and plans to expand its delivery services through Instacart. News of the transition resulted in the supermarket chain’s shares plummeting by almost 12%.



Pleasing result ▪ Meal kit provider Blue Apron is celebrating its better than expected first quarter earnings, with shares increasing by over 9% during premarket trading. The company has struggled to keep customers long term, with analysts citing the need for meal kit companies to adapt and be more than an online presence.




Europe


Ambitious targets ▪ The owners of Lidl, Germany’s Schwarz Gruppe, plan to make over US$ 119 billion in sales this year, and intend to continue their strong investment manifesto. CEO Klaus Gehrig anticipates Lidl will add 300 to 350 news stores this year. The group invested EUR 7 billion last year and said it was aiming for a similar amount this year.



Battle and beverage ▪ Employees at the Dagenham branch of Tesco have voted to take industrial action for 24 hours following an unacceptable pay review in 2017. The UK supermarket giant has also launched a new range of juices made from ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables that otherwise would have been thrown out.



Fallout continues ▪ British MPs have voiced concerns over the Asda-Sainsbury’s merger and have called for a watchdog to evaluate the effect it could have for suppliers. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe has been caught on camera singing, ‘We’re in the Money’ in between television interviews.




Asia


Positive partnership ▪ South Korea’s E-mart has partnered with Dutch food retailer Spar in a product supply agreement. It is a move that will allow the former to venture back into the Chinese market following a boycott of its brands. Spar International runs nearly 400 stores in China.



Shifting industry ▪ Thailand’s industry is set to move away from traditional labour-intensive operations, in favour of advanced manufacturers and tech companies who will join the likes of Alibaba and Airbus. Businesses are being heavily incentivised to set up shop in the Thai ‘Eastern Economic Corridor’ with corporate income taxes waived for 15 years.



Talking point ▪ In its latest acquisition, Alibaba has purchased Beijing Sound Connect Technology in an effort to boost its sound recognition technology and human to machine interactions.




Money matters


Online payment ▪ Instagram has launched a new payment feature which allows users to buy products from the actual post itself and store their payment details. Innovations like this highlight increasing consumer departure from cash, with Sweden considered the most cashless country in the world - and the banks are worried.



Starbucks settlement ▪ The two men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks in a case of racial profiling have settled with the city for a symbolic US$ 1 each. The settlement also includes the setting up of a US$ 200,000 programme for young entrepreneurs.