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Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung

Season's greetings!
German discounters Aldi and Lidl power ahead worldwide, Amazon develops drones and Alibaba makes billions of dollars in a single day. These stories as well as mega mergers on both sides of the Atlantic kept the retail world buzzing in 2015. In our last issue of this year, we take a look back and recapture the most exciting developments. The RetailUpdate team wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

today's news
Japanese expansions and exits   Tokyo-based Asahi Group, one of the country’s leading brewery and soft drink companies, is considering acquiring US sparkling-water maker Talking Rain  for about US$ 415 million. Meanwhile, ailing fast food giant McDonald's is accelerating the closures of outlets in the country. ▪
Food Panda axes jobs  The Indian unit of the food delivery platform, backed by Rocket Internet, lays off more than 300 of its employees. CEO Saurabh Kochhar explains the reduction is due to the company achieving 98% automation in order processing. ▪
Worries and celebrations in Britain   Troubled retailer Tesco has a new addition to its list of woes as its biggest investor, Government Pension Fund Global, has sold a large portion of its shares in the chain. Amazon turns on the heat with the announcement to expand the grocery range it sells through its Pantry service. Meanwhile, Selfridges enjoys a new sales record for post-Christmas deals. ▪
Brio invests billions   Portugal’s largest bio supermarket chain plans to double its number of outlets and has earmarked EUR 2.1 billion for the expansion. The company is also considering opening in foreign markets, with Brazil seen as a primary target. ▪
Sephora pushes omnichannel  The international skin care and fragrances company officially unveiled its Innovation Lab in San Francisco, which will focus on new strategies and technologies instore and mobile. Just recently, Sephora deployed the TXTPlanning software by TXT Retail to forecast and replenish its stores on a global scale ▪
Offer rises for Pep Boys  Activist investor Carl Icahn raised his bid to buy Philadelphia-based auto parts retailer Pep Boys to US$ 1 billion in an ongoing effort to outbid  Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone. The latter says it will not counter the offer ▪
Courier speed up  According to new data from package tracking provider ShipMatrix, Fedex beats rival UPS in on-time deliveries. UPS thinks that the holiday peak shipping season will extend well into January, because consumers are expected to return more than a million packages back to retailers. ▪
   headlines 2015
Aldi and Lidl outstrip competitors   The two German powerhouses have hit the headlines frequently throughout the year. Both discounters have gained considerable market share in the UK. Aldi has created ripples in Australia with new store concepts and in Italy with its expansion plans. Meanwhile, Lidl has started to set eyes on the US market and launched its store of the future ▪
Amazon likes drones and fresh food   The US online giant has caused a big stir by announcing its intention to use drones for delivery purposes. The description of how it wants them to fly has followed suit. In other news, Amazon fuelled competition in Britain with the launch of its full grocery service, Amazon Fresh. ▪
Alibaba expands internationally   The Chinese online major has ramped up international expansion efforts in 2015 and announced the opening of offices in Italy, France and Germany. During Singles' Day in November, Alibaba's sale surged 60% to a whopping US$ 14.3 billion, which was bigger than Facebook’s revenue last year. News provider Quartz describes how the poster child for China’s booming economy stacks up against its US rival Amazon. ▪
Mega mergers  The biggest consumer-goods takeover in history was finally approved in October and Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Sabmiller for about US$ 103 billion +++ Office supply chain Staples was not so lucky, its US$ 5.5 billion bid to buy rival Office Depot was rejected by the US Federal Trade Commission in December +++ The merger agreement between supermarket operators Ahold and Delhaize, announced in June and worth US$ 28 billion, would create one of the largest US grocery chains if approved. ▪
 expectations 2016
Thinking outside the box   Learning the rules of digital leadership, embracing a culture of change, ambiguity, speed and disruption are amongst the challenges for retailer in the coming years. German Retail Blog asked some of the most innovative business insiders about the changes ahead. We share their predictions exclusively. ▪
Key factors for e-commerce   Seamless technologies that blend physical and digital channels will have a major impact on e-commerce according to Pitney Bowes. Cloud-based solutions, enhanced data quality and omnichannel strategies are some of the key drivers. ▪
Major growth for mobile shopping   According to Bizrate Insights, a division of Connextiy, mobile website purchases will increase by as much as 68% from 2015 to 2016. The peak volume during the 2016 holiday season may reach as high as 42%, nearly half of all online orders. ▪

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