Department stores have fallen on hard times worldwide. Australian icon Myers is the latest casualty having to calm down investors after reporting a huge sales loss. While most endangered retailers are set to overhaul their business strategies, German competitors Kaufhof and Karstadt have officially joined forces to battle the online threat together.




Wednesday, 12 September 2018





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Department stores have fallen on hard times worldwide. Australian icon Myers is the latest casualty having to calm down investors after reporting a huge sales loss. While most endangered retailers are set to overhaul their business strategies, German competitors Kaufhof and Karstadt have officially joined forces to battle the online threat together.




Europe


Deal sealed ▪ The owners of Kaufhof and Karstadt, Canada's Hudson's Bay and Austria's Signa Holding, have announced that they've sealed a "merger of equals" to combine their European retail and real estate assets. The combined department store group will have annual sales of around EUR 5.4 billion.



Future-proof preparations ▪ Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever continues to simplify its structure, with plans to form a new holding company in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, US snacking giant Mondelēz is preparing for the worst in the event of a hard Brexit and stockpiling ingredients, chocolates and biscuits in Britain to avoid interruptions.



Digital partnerships ▪ British grocer The Co-op has acquired digital platform Dimec, an app for managing repeat prescriptions. Across the continent, Italian retailer Esselunga has teamed up with Google to enable its shoppers to order directly through the tech giant's Assistant service.



Employment issues ▪ British grocer Morrisons might have to pay over GBP 1 billion in equal pay claims, while Mike Ashley, the controversial owner of UK chain Sports Direct, faces a potential shareholder revolt at the company’s annual meeting over concerns about poor corporate governance.




Asia & Australia


Route to Russia ▪ Chinese powerhouse Alibaba is setting up a USD 2 billion joint venture with a Kremlin-backed fund and two tech firms to establish AliExpress Russia and boost its e-commerce business in the country. The parties signed the deal at a Vladivostok economic forum attended by President Vladimir Putin and Jack Ma.



Global cooperation ▪ JD.Fresh, a unit of Alibaba rival JD.com, has announced the creation of a “global fruit branding strategy alliance”. The group, which includes New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri and American berry company Driscoll’s, aims to cooperate in areas such as new products and marketing channels.



Revival struggle ▪ Australian department store Myer unveiled a full-year loss of AUD 486 million for 2018 after it suffered a continued fall in sales. CEO John King, who took on the top job in June, acknowledged the disappointment for shareholders and gave assurances that there is a turnaround plan in place.




United States


Seamless integration ▪ Walmart is expanding on its test of automated kiosks that serve as vending machines for online grocery orders by trialling a new version, which retrieves orders within seconds. The big box retailer is reportedly making a major push to boost its logistics network as it grows its e-commerce and delivery capabilities.



Pharma decision ▪ Discounter Stater Bros. Markets, which operates 171 stores throughout Southern California, plans to shut down its 22 pharmacies and sell their prescription records and inventory to retailer CVS Pharmacy. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.




Store debuts


High expectations ▪ British supermarket leader Tesco will reportedly unveil its new discount chain next week, which some analysts think will be called Jack’s, named after Tesco founder Jack Cohen. The first store is said to be located in Cambridgeshire, slated to open Wednesday next week.



Eastern expansion ▪ Danish toy maker Lego will open two new flagships in Beijing and Shanghai respectively within the next few months, while Swedish fashion chain H&M celebrates its expansion in Vietnam with the launch of stores in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.