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Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung

Tensions grow as Aldi gears up to open its first stores in Southern California and analysts think it's the most significant step in the US history of the German discounter. The industry is also buzzing about Apple's next-generation store, which will be unveiled very soon. Read about the importance of store design, charity ideas for refugees, lettuce factories run by robots and a lot more in today's issue. 


asia & australasia
Yamada Denki invests in stores    Japan's leading electronics retailer plans to spend up to US$ 98.6 million to revamp all of its roughly 650 directly managed stores. The new store model is described as "offering everything in and around the house," by its president, Noboru Yamada. ▪
Robots run lettuce factory    Vegetable production company Spread is set to build a lettuce factory in Kyoto run by robots. The factory will be fully automated from seeding to harvest and capable of producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day.  ▪
Myer and Woolies in troubled water   The share price of department store chain Myer has plunged to a record low amid uncertainty over the department store's strategy to drive sales growth +++ Industry insiders speculate that retailing behemoth Walmart might be interested in buying the ailing supermarket chain Woolworths, which is still regarded as one of Australia's best businesses.  ▪
Changes at the top  New Zealand-based Pumpkin Patch has appointed Dave Foster as chief financial officer. The troubled clothing retailer lost two execs just recently +++ Australian egg supplier Farm Pride Foods has named Phillip Campbell as director and chairman of the company. ▪
Arla cooperates in Africa   The Danish cooperative, which reported a profits slide of around 20% in the first half of 2015, has established joint ventures with companies in Nigeria and Senegal to boosts its distribution presence in West Africa. The dairy major has also installed technology to measure potential milk spoilage which will reduce overall testing time. ▪
Zalando plans charity event   The German online fashion retailer has cancelled its trade show, Bread & Butter, in Berlin and is now planning a charity fundraiser for refugees. Over in the UK, the company is trialling a free service (paywall), enabling customers to send back their unwanted garments through a 60-minute courier collection on the day of purchase. ▪
Booker gets green light for Budgens   UK's biggest cash-and-carry operator got the approval of the Competition and Markets Authority for the GBP 40 million takeover of the grocery chains Londis and Budgens. ▪
Syngenta unveils new strategies  Just a week after  Monsanto Company said it was no longer pursuing an acquisition of Syngenta, the Swiss-based multinational wants to sell its global vegetable seeds business and has also announced a US$ 2 billion share buyback scheme. ▪
 usa & canada
Sam's Club takes on Costco   The warehouse division of Walmart is challenging wholesaler Costco in the auto-buying programme business by teaming up with online car-shopping service Truecar. Costco has just announced its total sales for the fiscal year: US$ 113.7 billion, up from U$ 110.2 billion the previous year. ▪
Acquisitions and partnerships   Online pricing provider Priceline Group has acquired AS Digital, an Australian provider of restaurant table and reservation management solutions +++ Home improvement chain Lowe’s is expanding its smart home retail presence by joining The Z-Wave Alliance, a global consortium of over 325 member companies. ▪
thought-provoking reads
Store design and the importance of branding   While Apple is getting the industry buzzing over the unveiling of its next generation of store design, Clive Woodger, chairman of SCG International Strategic Consulting Group, shares his thoughts on making a retail destination brand with German Retail Blog. ▪
Aldi redefines discount   Industry insiders reckon that it will be the most significant leap in its US history when the German discounter enters the Southern Californian market next. The reinvention of the discount model has made Aldi a considerable threat to larger players such as Walmart. ▪

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