It’s a legal minefield for two US retail giants today. Walmart has filed a lawsuit to stop a former employee from divulging its secrets to competitors, while Amazon has admitted thousands of its factory workers in China were hired and paid illegally. Across the Atlantic, the British government are proposing new regulations that require businesses to reveal pay gaps and justify CEO salaries. Enjoy the read and have a good week.




Monday, 11 June 2018





Hello ,

It’s a legal minefield for two US retail giants today. Walmart has filed a lawsuit to stop a former employee from divulging its secrets to competitors, while Amazon has admitted thousands of its factory workers in China were hired and paid illegally. Across the Atlantic, the British government are proposing new regulations that require businesses to reveal pay gaps and justify CEO salaries. Enjoy the read and have a good week.




US & Canada


Battle lines drawn ▪ Walmart is taking legal action to block a former top tax executive from joining adversary Amazon, claiming it would “violate a non-compete agreement” and “irreparably harm” Walmart if strategic plans were to be disclosed to its nemesis. Meanwhile, in the Middle East Walmart is set to partner with Israeli tech company Eko to develop interactive video content to rival Amazon's platform.



Problems and prospects ▪ Amazon and contract manufacturer Foxconn have been slammed over harsh conditions in its Chinese factories, sparking renewed accusations that CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos has benefitted from cheap foreign labour. Meanwhile, the online giant is eyeing TV networks as its next foray, having won the rights to broadcast Premier League games in the UK.



McModern move ▪ McDonald’s has opened its new USD 250 million Chicago-based headquarters as part of CEO Steve Easterbrook’s vision to become a more ‘progressive burger company’. The new premises features 300 conference rooms, a rotational international menu and a Hamburger University.



Winter woes ▪ Canadian chain Dollarama's annual report reveals earnings of 2.6%, well below Wall-Street's 4.7% predictions. The dollar-store discounter is blaming a lengthy winter for reduced sales. The company's shares fell on the back of the news.




Europe


Financial issues ▪ As of 2020, British businesses with more than 250 staff will be required to disclose the gap between the salary of CEOs and what they are paying a standard employee in a bid to create a “fairer economy”. Current business rates are largely to blame for the downfall of many British retailers, according to Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.



Green thinking ▪ To minimise packaging materials, Dutch grocery chain Jumbo have utilised laser technology to introduce ‘natural labels’ for selected organic vegetables. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer have announced that over 75% of the cotton it uses is responsibly sourced and is on track to increase to 100% by next year.


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Australasia & Asia


Asian expansion ▪ Australian department store Kmart is set to expand its wholesale operations into Southeast Asia, with a view to include retail in the future, as part of managing director Ian Bailey’s goal to hit AUD 10 billion in annual revenue.



Tech innovation ▪ Alibaba Cloud has launched a trail-brazing AI program poised to transform the agricultural industry. The ET Agricultural Brain has already been implemented by leading pig farmers and vegetable growers in China.



Toy triumph ▪ Australian toy designer Madeline Hunter is enjoying international success after US majors Target and Walmart have picked up her doll line, Shibajuku Girls. Hunter has been named the Rising Star of 2018 by the Australian Toy Association.




Inspiring innovations


Converting sales ▪ Home design company Houzz is crediting a 3D augmented reality app with increased online purchases. CEO Adi Tatarko says customers who use the app can see a personalised vision of furnishings in their home, and this makes them 11 times more likely to buy products.



Tea time ▪ TWG Tea has launched a luxury flagship in London’s Leicester Square. The store boasts over 800 tea types with flavours and blends for all palates, including rare indulgent mixes and special brews formally reserved for emperors.