Online platform Shopify has opened its first-ever physical outpost in the US, WH Smith restructures its high street business, Ikea trials a tiny format in London and Russia’s X5 Retail bets on a 'lab store' to test new technologies. Meanwhile, German discounter Lidl added the 28th country to its growing network with the launch of 16 stores at once. Check out what they look like.




Friday, 12 October 2018





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Online platform Shopify has opened its first-ever physical outpost in the US, WH Smith restructures its high street business, Ikea trials a tiny format in London and Russia’s X5 Retail bets on a 'lab store' to test new technologies. Meanwhile, German discounter Lidl added the 28th country to its growing network with the launch of 16 stores at once. Check out what they look like.




Europe


Expanding empire ▪ Germany's Lidl has arrived in Serbia and opened 16 stores in Belgrade and other cities across the Balkan nation. Click here for pictures of the stores (captions in German). In its home country, the discounter has sealed a deal with Bioland (paywall, in German), a major organic food association.



Exploring options ▪ Italian supermarket chain Esselunga has hired a British advisory firm to asses a possible stock market listing. There is speculation that the retailer could go public next year and be valued at more than EUR 7 billion. Last year, Esselunga recorded a revenue of EUR 7.75 billion.



Russian projects ▪ Swedish furniture giant Ikea has signed a delivery cooperation agreement with Russian Post as it develops its local online business. The country's leading grocer X5 Retail has launched a 'lab store' in Moscow to experiment with video analytics, smart shelves, digital panels and more.



High Street decisions ▪ British book and stationery retailer WH Smith will close about 30 stores, most are part of its Cardmarket chain, as it adapts to challenging conditions on the high street. Meanwhile, Ikea has opened its first inner-city outlet, 'Planning Studio', on London's Tottenham Court Road.




US & Canada


Walmart invests ▪ The world's largest retailer is set to upgrade its Canadian store network for a 'seamless' omnichannel experience. Walmart also announced a partnership with Paypal to collaborate on financial services and signed a joint venture with interactive video start-up Eko to boost customer engagement.



Walgreens delivers ▪ The American drugstore chain and testing company Labcorp are expanding their collaboration and have agreed to open around 600 patient service centres at Walgreens stores. The retailer beat analysts' estimates (paywall) with its quarterly profits, benefitting from its acquisition of Rite Aid stores last year.



Shopify lands ▪ The Toronto-based e-commerce platform has opened its first physical brick & mortar location in Los Angeles. The store is designed to provide in-person assistance and support to merchants and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is outfitted with furniture and décor from retailers using the Shopify platform.




Asia


Record results ▪ Japanese conglomerate Fast Retailing reported an annual profit rise of 34% to a whopping USD 2.11 billion and forecasts even stronger results in the current year. Overseas sales at its apparel chain Uniqlo, known for its simple and affordable clothes, exceeded revenue at home.



Bumper season ▪ Online majors Flipkart and Amazon both began their flagship annual sales in India this week and will compete for shoppers during the October-December festive season when most big-ticket purchases are made. The expectations are high as hiring temporary workers during this time has increased by 20%.




Picture Gallery


Cultural approach ▪ Canada's largest bookstore chain, Indigo Books and Music, has made its debut across the border in New Jersey. The concept combines typical bookstore categories with non-traditional ones as toys, home décor, wellness and other lifestyle products.



Healthy beauty ▪ German cosmetics retailer Douglas has opened pilot 'Douglas Pro' (picture captions and text in German) in Hamburg. The store concept offers consumers a combination of skincare with beauty treatments and, for the first time, dermatological nutritional supplements.