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In an effort to increase profits in India, Apple has withdrawn its less expensive smartphones; in the UK, Sports Direct boss, Mike Ashley has agreed to meet with members of parliament to address claims of unfair working conditions; and in the US, Walmart takes steps to improve employee motivation and retention. Have a great day, and please share — RetailUpdate is absolutely FREE.

Apple withdraws iPhones in India   In an effort to increase average selling prices and profits, the US technology giant has withdrawn the iPhone 4s and 5c from the Indian market. Their cheapest model is now the iPhone 5s +++ Meanwhile, little-known company Ringing Bells has launched the world’s cheapest smartphone in India. ▪
Asian investments   The Israeli customer acquisition company YouAppi has raised US$ 13.1 million, which they will use to fund growth in China, Japan and other markets +++ Meanwhile Hong Kong-based online clothing retailer Grana has secured an additional US$ 3.5 million in seed funding. The funding will be used to support international expansion, including Grana's recent launch into the United States. ▪
Consumers want naturalness and clear information
An independent consumer study shows: consumers wish for natural food and drink with easy to understand ingredient information, especially when it comes to colour.
Find out how food and drink manufacturers can meet today's consumer demands.
Hermes to relocate   In a move suggesting they will sell their flagship store, the Asia Pacific arm of the luxury brand is relocating to the Prince’s Building in Central Hong Kong. ▪
Sports Direct boss to meet MPs   In an uncharacteristic move, Mike Ashley will meet with MPs to “set the record straigh” over claims that Sports Direct employees are working in unfair conditions. ▪
UK drink prices rise   According to, the price of alcoholic drinks in the UK increased by 5.2% between December 2015 and January 2016 — a sharper increase than normal +++ Meanwhile, alcohol may become more expensive in Portugal if the Government goes ahead with a proposed 3% tax increase. ▪
Retailers joining forces   In an effort to gain more buying power, top confectionery wholesaler Hancocks Cash & Carry has joined buying group Today’s Group — a big move after operating on their own for 54 years +++ In other news, Aldi has teamed up with Barnardo’s to support the charity’s Big Toddle 2016 fundraising marathon, an event for the UK’s most disadvantaged children. ▪
usa & canada
Walmart to improve conditions   In a move hoped to improve motivation and retention of staff, the US retailer has revealed planned scheduling changes, including fixed shifts. Meanwhile, a lawsuit targeting Walmart may answer whether anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. ▪
Top appointments   Rumour has it that e-commerce behemoth Amazon is in talks with former Marks & Spencer womenswear boss Frances Russell, supporting the theory that the company is in the process of forming its own clothing brand +++  Meanwhile, US e-commerce company Wayfair has appointed former Staples e-commerce veteran Sharif Sleiman as vice president of supply chain and operations. ▪
Canadian developments   Swedish furniture giant Ikea is considering introducing a “take back” programme to Canada. The programme would allow customers to bring back furniture they have purchased in exchange for store credit. The second-hand items would then be resold or recycled +++ Saks Fifth Avenue has revealed it will open its first Canadian store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, on February 18. ▪
trends to watch
Study: Food labelling used as a marketing tool   According to a team of German researchers, some food manufacturers are showing nutritional values on products based on smaller recommended serving sizes. The researchers also found that when nutrition amounts were presented favourably, sales increased. ▪
The top-six food trends of 2025   There will be six top food trends in 2025, which include indulgence, convenience, food is fuel and food is fun, according to a keynote presentation of the City Food Lecture 2016. ▪

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