Unilever is set to acquire personal care business Equilibra, Polish wholesaler Eurocash wants to take over store chain Partner and Switzerland's Foodarena has been bought from Delivery Hero. Meanwhile, Britain's biggest grocer has decided to axe its brand guarantee programme and across the Atlantic, Kroger eyes a fast rollout for Ocado.




Tuesday, 26 June 2018





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Unilever is set to acquire personal care business Equilibra, Polish wholesaler Eurocash wants to take over store chain Partner and Switzerland's Foodarena has been bought from Delivery Hero. Meanwhile, Britain's biggest grocer has decided to axe its brand guarantee programme and across the Atlantic, Kroger eyes a fast rollout for Ocado.




Europe


Acquisitions in Italy ▪ Unilever has agreed to buy a 75% stake in Equilibra, an Italian personal care and wellbeing business, which is also a leader in nutritional supplements. Milan-headquartered eyewear giant Luxottica, owner of Ray-Ban, announced the acquisition of Barberini Spa, a specialist in optical sunglass lenses.



Streamlining operations ▪ Tesco will drop its famous price-matching “brand guarantee” scheme and focus on everyday low prices. The British grocer is also entering another phase of its 'Project Reset' in which it will axe relationship with numerous suppliers, putting smaller producers under pressure to lose business.



More takeover deals ▪ Switzerland's online food delivery service Foodarena, owned by Germany's Delivery Hero, has been bought by Dutch company Takeaway.com. Polish wholesaler Eurocash has filed an application with the antitrust watchdog to acquire Partner, the owner of 26 Lewiatan stores in Poland.



Leadership changes ▪ Russia's X5 Retail Group named Sergey Goncharov as boss of its Pyaterochka banner and appointed Lidl-veteran Karl-Heinz Holland (in German, paywall) to its Supervisory Board. Competitor Magnit also announced some top changes, amongst them the promotion of Olga Naumova to General Director.




US & Canada


Store ideas ▪ Despite disappointing Q4 sales, bookseller Barnes & Noble is optimistic and excited to open several smaller and more flexible prototype stores this year. US online start-up Casper, which offers a bed-in-a-box product, continues to expand into physical retail and launched a pop-up shop in Montreal.



Plenty of pressure ▪ Kroger, which recently partnered with British e-tailer Ocado, is set to speed up the search for locations to build warehouse facilities for the latter. In other news, it was revealed that the Cincinnati-based grocer was attacked by two major industry associations for its new 90-day payment policy.



Rapid rollout ▪ All Amazon Prime members will have access to discounts at Whole Foods Market stores across the United States. The nationwide rollout is regarded as part of the online major's plan to dominate physical and virtual commerce in America. Members will receive 10% off hundreds of sale items.




Asia


Conflicting currency ▪ Alibaba's Ant Financial launched a joint venture in Hong Kong that uses blockchain for a cross-border remittance service with the Philippines. However, founder Jack Ma warned against the technology's most popular use: Bitcoin. The Chinese billionaire says it could be a bubble.



Securing growth ▪ Bianli24, a Chinese convenience-store start-up, has closed a funding series and will use the USD 10 million it received for expansion. The company is known for its self-service vending machines which shop owners can use to automate sales and conduct after-hours trading.




Strange but true


Delicious insects ▪ Coop Switzerland has launched a new range of snacks (paywall) made from mealworms and crickets. The products, developed with Swiss start-up Essento, are combined with peanuts, almonds and cashews, as well as a range of seasonings. Bon appetit.



Not the Kiwi way ▪ New Zealand based meal provider My Food Bag has received a legal request from Berlin-based company HelloFresh to refrain from using the phrase "Hello Fresh" in any of its brandings. Puzzled not to be allowed to use a common greeting, the Kiwis answered with a cheeky letter in their own way.