The annual reports keep rolling in and several key Australian retailers, including Woolworths have reason to rejoice. Schools are back in session in America, and the must have item this year is not the latest iPhone or tablet, but a bullet-proof backpack. Enjoy the read and have a great to start to the week!




Monday, 20 August 2018





Hello ,

The annual reports keep rolling in and several key Australian retailers, including Woolworths have reason to rejoice. Schools are back in session in America, and the must have item this year is not the latest iPhone or tablet, but a bullet-proof backpack. Enjoy the read and have a great to start to the week!




United States


Sound developments ▪ Amazon seems to have lost its dominance in the smart speaker market, with Google out-selling the Seattle-based powerhouse by 1.3 million units. Meanwhile, rivals Amazon and Microsoft have set up a relationship between their respective voice assistants to expand the reach of each service.



Sneak peek ▪ German discounter Aldi is set to renew one fifth of its product range in the US in 2019, placing more emphasis on fresh produce. The redesigned market in St. Charles, Illinois, shows how Aldi stores will look in the future. Click here for pictures (captions in German).



Price hike ▪ Kimberly-Clark is set to raise the prices of most products due to a significant jump in commodity costs. Trade tensions with Canada and an escalating trade war with China are also of concern. The Texas-based personal care company will increase prices of Kleenex, Huggies and co by 'mid-to-high single digits'.



Strange but true ▪ Bulletproof backpacks are trending big-time in the US, with one manufacturer claiming a sales increase of up to 300%. Major retailers including Walmart and Office Depot are selling the defensive bags which are designed to protect again certain guns.




Europe


Depths of debt ▪ Details surrounding House of Fraser's immense debts have been made public with luxury fashion majors Ralph Lauren and Kurt Geiger topping the list as being owed GBP 9.4 million and GBP 4.8 million respectively. Meanwhile, the beleaguered British retailer has cancelled all its online orders.



Progressive policies ▪ Swedish retailer ICA has unveiled new technology to empower customers to lower their carbon footprint. Over in Britain, supermarket operator Asda is removing plastic wrapping on swedes sold in its stores as part of its 'Plastic unwrapped' programme.




Asia & Australasia


Pleasing profits ▪ Australian retail major Woolworths has reported an annual revenue increase of 13% largely due to growing sales from its supermarket arm. Also celebrating forecast-beating results are Australia's Treasury Wine, whose net profit rose 34%, and online retailer Kogan, whose revenue nearly quadrupled from last year.



Thinking ahead ▪ Walmart is asking its suppliers of beauty products to source items from outside of China as a measure to off-set the effects of the next proposed round of tariffs. Meanwhile, in India, the retail giant has launched a unified payments interface which allows registered members to make secure online transfers without revealing bank account details.



Chasing consumers ▪ Cash-rich Chinese millenials are the targets of global luxury brands such as Prada, who are expanding into smaller and less developed cities to pursue the group. The age-group makes up around 30 per cent of the sector's China sales.




Weird and wonderful


New pot-ential ▪ The marijuana business is blazing in the United States and is fuelling a whole new range of job opportunities from 'budtenders', to flavour scientists and edibles chefs. Meanwhile, with beer sales on the decline Corona's parent company Constellation Brands, have invested a whopping USD 4 billion in a Canadian cannabis producer.



Mediated atmosphere ▪ Bye bye workplace stress! Researchers at MIT media lab are working to make this fantasy a reality with trials of a specialised desk that adapts lighting, screen images and sound to improve the well-being and productivity of staff. See the video of how it works here.