E-commerce developments dominate today's headlines. Chinese powerhouse Alibaba is strengthening its footprint in South Asia with its latest acquisition. Canadian counterpart Shopify is about to launch its first brick-and-mortar store and German online fashion retailer Zalando's new beauty range provided a spark in quarterly revenue.




Wednesday, 09 May 2018





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E-commerce developments dominate today's headlines. Chinese powerhouse Alibaba is strengthening its footprint in South Asia with its latest acquisition. Canadian counterpart Shopify is about to launch its first brick-and-mortar store and German online fashion retailer Zalando's new beauty range provided a spark in quarterly revenue.




US & Canada


Physical support ▪ Ottawa-based e-commerce major Shopify will open its first brick-and-mortar location later this year and unveiled a number of services to attract more retailers to its platform. The Ottawa-based company also introduced a new app to help its merchants communicate directly with their customers.



Mergers and acquisitions ▪ Pushing into the premium cookie category, snack giant Mondelēz will acquire Tate’s Bake Shop, a producer of "crafted baked goods" from Southampton, New York. Meanwhile, Fred's has announced that CVS Health is buying its speciality pharmacy business for USD 40 million.



Delivery decisions ▪ Walmart has ended its online grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft and is now looking for other providers. Delivery company Shipt has extended its service to Bi-Lo and Dierbergs supermarkets and to more stores of parent company Target in the South and Midwest.




Asia


Growing footprint ▪ Alibaba has expanded its e-commerce presence in South Asia after acquiring Rocket Internet-backed Daraz, which operates online marketplaces in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Back at home, the Chinese powerhouse has opened its first brick-and-mortar shopping mall in Hangzhou.



Slowing down ▪ While its rival Alibaba seems to be active on all fronts, China's second-largest e-commerce player, JD.com, reported its slowest quarterly revenue growth since listing. This is seen as an indication of the heat from mounting competition in an increasingly saturated domestic market.



Cutting losses ▪ Walmart India, which runs cash-and-carry stores in the country, narrowed its losses by almost 27% during 2017 compared to the 12 months in the previous fiscal. The company also witnessed a 10% revenue growth for the fiscal ending March 2017 as compared to the previous 12 months.




Europe


Beauty boost ▪ German online fashion retailer Zalando has announced a 22% growth in revenue to EUR 1.19 billion for the first quarter as the launch of its new beauty category fuelled strong sales. However, adjusted earnings before interest and taxation fell to EUR 400.000 and remained break-even.



Environmental worries ▪ Sainsbury's has abandoned a GBP 10 million project to halve food waste after an unsuccessful trial period. The retailer's intended merger with Asda triggered a warning by campaigners that farmers may cut down green initiatives in response to possible price pressures.



Volunteers wanted ▪ To become profitable again, Belgian supermarket group Mestdagh, which runs 83 Carrefour stores in the French-speaking part of the country, will cut 450 jobs, but does not plan to close any stores. CEO Guillaume Beuscart aims for all the redundancies to be voluntary rather than forced.




What to watch


Sharpened focus ▪ Lidl is continuing to refine its offerings (in German, Paywall) and explore ways of adapting to shoppers in the US. While it has made a competitive impact in the market, store traffic could be better. Nevertheless, the German discounter feels "there is a huge opportunity" and is taking a long-term view of expansion.



Reviving fortunes ▪ Hudson’s Bay is working with investment bankers and consultants to identify deals to turn around its Lord & Taylor department store chain, which accounts for about one-tenth of the company's stores. The Canadian retailer is also open to divesting the banner but considers this outcome unlikely.