The alliance between Kroger and Alibaba is dominating headlines, as the former bolsters its online business to take on Walmart and Amazon. Meanwhile, a series of weird retail stories have emerged, featuring black market fruit in New Zealand, pizza vending machines in Japan and controversial anti-ageing offerings in Britain. It's a crazy world out there - enjoy the read!




Wednesday, 15 August 2018





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The alliance between Kroger and Alibaba is dominating headlines, as the former bolsters its online business to take on Walmart and Amazon. Meanwhile, a series of weird retail stories have emerged, featuring black market fruit in New Zealand, pizza vending machines in Japan and controversial anti-ageing offerings in Britain. It's a crazy world out there - enjoy the read!




Asia & Australia


Entering China ▪ US supermarket giant Kroger has teamed up with Alibaba to start selling grocery items to Chinese shoppers. It's the first time the 135-year-old American retailer has ventured outside its home turf and signals the intensity of the battle for online market share.



Global expansion ▪ Amazon has opened its second Australian fulfilment centre, which boasts a massive 43,000 square metre floor space and is intended to speed up delivery times. In Latin America, the online powerhouse is set to launch a customer service centre in Colombia to serve customers globally.



Heavy losses ▪ Wesfarmers posted a 58% drop in full-year profit after the Australian retail conglomerate suffered heavy losses from its disastrous attempt to expand Bunnings into the UK and Ireland. The company also announced that the chief executive of its department stores division will retire.



Cheese please ▪ Japan has taken its penchant for automation to the next level with the introduction of a pizza vending machine. The appliance, which runs 24/7 and offers two topping options, has become a popular attraction in its own right, despite the presence of Domino's and Pizza Hut close by.




Europe


Openings and closures ▪ Russian retail leader X5 Retail wants to open 2,500 stores this year, says chief executive Igor Shekhterman, after the group reported a 16% drop in net profit in Q2. Meanwhile, struggling British home improvement chain Homebase plans to close 42 stores, putting 1,500 jobs at risk.



Environmental empowerment ▪ Carrefour Spain has gone the extra mile in its bid to promote enviro-friendly systems, with the launch of a nation-wide app that helps to educate customers on recycling best practice. 'Reciclaya' guides consumers on how to separate products.



Inclusive shopping ▪ Leading UK retailers are signing up to be part of 'Purple Tuesday' an initiative that will be launched in November to offer a better shopping experience for disabled people. Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's are all on board.




United States


McModernisation ▪ Food service giant McDonald's will spend USD 6 billion on an ambitious makeover program to reinvigorate over 2000 of its American storefronts. The transformed stores will offer refreshed dining space designs, digital self-order kiosks and curb side parking for mobile payment orders.



Bright outlook ▪ Home Depot raised its earnings and revenue forecas t for the year after it reported second-quarter sales that beat estimates. Despite signs of a slowdown in the housing market, the country's largest home improvement chain reported a 8.4% rise in net sales to USD 30.5 billion.




Strange but true


The price for youth ▪ British beauty retailer Superdrug has gone next level to help its customers fight the signs of ageing, and is now offering Botox treatments and other procedures in its flagship London store. Not to be out done, discounter Poundland has launched its own anti-ageing skincare range, with items from GBP 1.



Filching fruit ▪ New Zealand is experiencing a most unusual crime wave, with substantial thefts of produce from avocado orchards creating a black market for the highly coveted fruit. The 'opportunistic' thieves strike at night, filling backpacks, cars and even duvet covers. Growers are rallying to install security systems.