Struggling department store operators such as Britain's Marks & Spencer and US icon Sears are investing in new ways to combine their physical and digital businesses. Meanwhile, traditional grocers in Germany and Switzerland, as well as a Chinese bookstore, have revealed some stunning store concepts. Check them out in our image gallery.




Wednesday, 08 August 2018





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Struggling department store operators such as Britain's Marks & Spencer and US icon Sears are investing in new ways to combine their physical and digital businesses. Meanwhile, traditional grocers in Germany and Switzerland, as well as a Chinese bookstore, have revealed some stunning store concepts. Check them out in our image gallery.




Europe


Digital push ▪ British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer is joining forces with True, a retail and consumer investment firm, to access innovations and technology from start-ups that it can implement into its business operations. The move is part of M&S's plan to become a “digital-first retailer” and to bolster its IT capacities.



Within expectations ▪ Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch-Belgian operator of grocery chains in the United States and Europe, reported second-quarter sales of EUR 15.5 billion, down from EUR 16.1 billion in the same period a year earlier, while net profit rose to EUR 410 million from 355 million.



Shaky outlooks ▪ Berlin-based online fashion retailer Zalando has reduced its full-year forecast after second-quarter figures fell short of analysts' expectations. Meanwhile, around 400 jobs are in jeopardy at Danish jewellery chain Pandora following a profit warning after sales dropped in Q2.




United States


Extended offers ▪ Department store operator Sears is adding an array of brands, including Hoover and Dockers, to its online marketplace. Targeting working women, supermarket chain Meijer has introduced its own-brand apparel line, Ophelia Roe, featuring polished fabrics and “trend-forward” details, patterns and cuts



Against all odds ▪ Etsy has increased its revenue guidance for the year. The online crafts marketplace has beaten expectations and recorded a 30% sales jump in the second quarter. Also topping the estimates with its Q2 net income was burger chain Wendy's thanks to the popularity of its value-menu offerings.



Delivery trials ▪ Kroger is set to compete in the race with online grocery sellers. The supermarket chain is experimenting with a variety of technologies. Its next big push will be giant warehouses staffed with fast robots to pack orders straight for delivery to shoppers.



Comeback for toys ▪ The US toy industry grew its dollar sales by 7% to USD 7.9 billion in the first half of 2018, a period that saw the liquidation of Toys 'R' Us. Retailers have announced that they will be dedicating more space to and increasing their stock of toys this holiday season.




Asia & Middle East


Tackling competitors ▪ Alibaba plans to merge its food delivery units and raise funds for the combined business, intensifying a battle for dominance of China’s booming on-demand services market. Meanwhile, search engine Baidu is getting ready to beat Google amid rumours that the US tech giant is planning to re-enter China.



Philippines premiere ▪ Middle East supermarket chain Lulu Group will launch its first warehouse facility in the Philippines this week. The logistics facility will process and handle dry food, non-food, frozen, and perishable products. Lulu is also considering bringing its supermarket chain to the country.




Image Gallery


Thinking space ▪ Chinese design house Wutopia Lab has converted a multi-story house in Shanghai into a bookstore with “a space for learning and thinking” for city-dwellers. The creative team envisioned the store “as a person discovering oneself and their surroundings”. Click here for inspiring pictures.



Marketplace appeal ▪ German retailer Edeka Habig presents its new location near Fulda as a large market hall with a kitchen as one of the highlights. Click here for pictures. It is a similar situation for Switzerland's Migros, whose latest store in Wollerau at Lake Zürich gives the impression of being at a farmer's market. Check it out (all captions in German).