US grocery giant Albertsons is bolstering its omnichannel capabilities and experiments with checkout-free technology. Backed by partner Tencent, Carrefour gives the Chinese market another go and debuts with a high-tech store in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Whisk, a British smart food start-up, expands its presence across Europe. Enjoy the read!




Tuesday, 22 May 2018





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US grocery giant Albertsons is bolstering its omnichannel capabilities and experiments with checkout-free technology. Backed by partner Tencent, Carrefour gives the Chinese market another go and debuts with a high-tech store in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Whisk, a British smart food start-up, expands its presence across Europe. Enjoy the read!




Asia & Australia


Innovative stores ▪ French giant Carrefour debuted a new store concept in Shanghai featuring smart upgrades such as WeChat app payments and facial recognition from partner Tencent. Meanwhile, Alibaba seems to be well ahead of developments in the US as it offers facial-recognition-payment in its futuristic Hema Xiansheng supermarket.



E-commerce investment ▪ South Korea’s Lotte Group plans to spend USD 2.8 billion on its online business. CEO Kang Hee-tae says that the group will develop a comprehensive e-commerce shopping platform, integrating all eight of its online stores by 2020 and also form a special business department.



Toy trouble Down Under ▪ Toys 'R' Us Australia has gone into voluntary administration months after the US and British retail giant's collapse. The company operates 44 retail outlets across the continent and employs about 700 permanent staff. The stores open while the administrators explore options.




US & Canada


Tech experiments ▪ Albertsons could be the next food retailer to roll out checkout-free technology similar to Amazon's 'Go' and will pilot a test with 'a limited set of products'. The Idaho-based grocer has also created the role of a chief data and analytics officer in a bid to bolster its omnichannel capabilities.



Tailor-made offers ▪ Targeted at the “high net worth urban consumer”, big-box retailer Walmart is testing Jetblack, a personal shopping service in New York, and will also test a cashier-free store concept. Department store operator Kohl's has teamed up with global media firm PopSugar for a new apparel collection aimed at millennials.



Top dog ▪ Speciality pet retailer Petsmart has ended its nine-month search for a chief executive and announced the appointment of J.K. Symancyk. He succeeds Michael Massey, who abruptly resigned from the company in August 2017. Symancyk worked in various management positions, including with Sam's Club and Meijers.




Europe


Joining forces ▪ UK smart food platform Whisk has acquired its German competitor Avocando and will expand its shoppable recipe services across Europe. Meanwhile, the Polish competition watchdog has given the green light for the purchase of Mila supermarkets by Poland's Eurocash Group.



Threat potential ▪ Lidl reportedly plans to move online in the UK and has created a holding company called Lidl Digital Logistics, probably eyeing the grocery delivery market. In France, Carrefour has not found buyers for 227 of 273 former DIA stores it wants to sell, putting them at risk of closure.



Return scheme ▪ British retailer Iceland has announced that it is the first UK supermarket to implement a ‘reverse vending machine’ in-store, in support of the government’s intention to introduce a deposit-return scheme. Shoppers can insert empty containers into the machine, and receive money or vouchers in return.




What to watch


Mall trends ▪ Food halls top a list of breakout retail concepts in shopping centre developments according to real estate firm Phillips Edison. Other emerging trends are showrooms, pop-up shops to generate brand exposure, fast-casual dining and experiential retail.



Zara in London ▪ The international apparel giant has unveiled its transformed flagship at Westfield Stratford mall, debuting a format that enhances the in-store shopping experience, integrating online and offline. It features digital technology, interactive mirrors and mobile payment systems.