Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Retail Update - powered by LebensmittelZeitung
Monday, 03 April 2017

Hello, dear reader,
Competition between Amazon and Walmart for the consumer's wallet continues. Wars like this are rarely without casualties. And in this case, the big losers might be the suppliers of the very goods that the battle is being fought over. Read about this threatening development and and a lot more in this issue. Our best wishes for a productive week ahead.

USA & Canada
Suppliers under pressure   On the heels of the announcement that it is testing free grocery pick up, Amazon is working to convince major brands they'd be better off selling their goods directly to shoppers, bypassing traditional retail. Suppliers, including giants like Mondelez, Coke, and P&G feel the squeeze.  ▪
Seeking approval   Walgreens Boots Alliance wants to push its proposed merger with Rite Aid through a declaration of “certified compliance”. Meanwhile, French dairy company Danone agreed to sell its Stonyfield organic yogurt brand to win the nod from US antitrust authorities for its US$ 10 billion acquisition of soy-milk maker WhiteWave. ▪
Reigniting brands   With interest in healthy and organic foods still on the rise, supermarket operator Publix plans to reignite its GreenWise store concept. Cosmetics chain Sephora is taking experiental retail to the next level by turning two of its Manhattan locations into its new “Beauty Tip” store format. ▪
Europe & Africa
Lidl moves forward in Britain   As part of its GBP 1.5 billion expansion investment in the UK, the German discount powerhouse has launched its 11th regional distribution centre in the West Midlands, providing 400 jobs for the local area. Take a look inside the huge Lidl warehouse. ▪
O'Key priorities   After an "eventful and challenging year", Russian retailer O'Key aims at improving efficiency in all its banners. The group has reported a rise in total revenue to RUB 175.4 billion. Over in Poland, Eurocash is implementing an active RFID-based solution at its stores and warehouses to ensure product quality and prevent waste. ▪
Plastic bag ban   Kenyan supermarket majors Nakumatt and Uchumi plan to start selling recyclable bags to their customers, supporting the new directive by the Ministry of Environment to ban plastic bags. Other supermarkets such as Naivas and Tusky's may also be supporting the move. ▪
Alibaba's new Thai hub   In its ongoing quest to expand outside China, e-commerce giant Alibaba is expected to start investing in its logistics hub in Thailand later this year. The centre will be used for distribution of goods to the Asean region, particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.  ▪
Challenges for big brands   After three years of profit, German sportswear maker Puma has run into losses in India again, claiming that sales on online marketplaces are slowing down. As part its strategic shake-up, British icon Marks & Spencer has finally closed (paywall) all its stores in China. ▪
Success in Southeast Asia   Hong Kong-based beauty retailer A.S. Watson reported a strong online growth for 2016, but also an increased number of shoppers in their stores. In a bid to export to the neighbouring regions, French food giant Bel is set ramp up its cheese production and has opened a huge factory in Vietnam. ▪
What to watch
Online challenges   As e-commerce takes big chunks out of traditional retail and redefines customer expectations, retailers are hard at work developing seamless links between their online and brick-and-mortar offerings. Here is how they can speed up to meet rising customer demands.  ▪
Return rules required   Whilst the online retail industry is growing, companies need to make a concerted effort to establish an efficient returns policy, says British marketplace Onbuy. Consumers’ unwanted online purchases are reportedly costing up to GBP 8,324. ▪

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