What would our industry be without visionaries? Thinking ahead, US grocer Kroger invests in an innovation lab, and a start-up in California launched a self-driving food delivery service. Across the Atlantic, one of the largest consumer electronics shows has kicked off in Berlin, showcasing weird and wonderful futuristic appliances. Get inspired and feel free to share!




Thursday, 30 August 2018





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What would our industry be without visionaries? Thinking ahead, US grocer Kroger invests in an innovation lab, and a start-up in California launched a self-driving food delivery service. Across the Atlantic, one of the largest consumer electronics shows has kicked off in Berlin, showcasing weird and wonderful futuristic appliances. Get inspired and feel free to share!




Europe


Get together ▪ Spanish discount supermarket chain Dia said it had joined the Horizon International Services negotiation platform of Metro, Auchan and Casino, which is broadening its international presence this way (in German, paywall). Meanwhile, German confectioner Katjes International is in talks with French competitor CPK to combine their businesses in France, aiming at creating a candy behemoth (in German, paywall).



Strategic decision ▪ Swedish furniture chain Ikea will close three city centre service and pick-up points in Norway in a bid to cut costs amid declining profits. The facilities were opened a few years ago in a global pilot programme to test customers’ appetite for alternatives to the company's large out-of-town stores.



Dairy deal ▪ Sodiaal is in talks to purchase part of an infant milk formula plant in France from Chinese maker Synutra. The French dairy cooperative became the leading supplier to the Carhaix-based factory and is now negotiating taking over most of the baby milk production activities.




United States


Growing partnerships ▪ After teaming up with Amazon on a tire installation service earlier this year, retailer Sears has announced the nationwide rollout of the service at its Auto Centers. The online giant is also set to extend its Prime Now food delivery service to Whole Foods stores in more key markets.



Innovative approaches ▪ Supermarket giant Kroger plans to operate a tech lab at the University of Cincinnati and will staff the innovation centre with research engineers and software developers as well as students. Fellow grocer Wegmans has partnered with start-up Aira to assist visually impaired shoppers.



Beating estimates ▪ In its first quarterly report since going public, warehouse club chain BJ’s posted higher revenue and same-store sales, raising expectations for the full year. Also lifting up its forecast is apparel maker PVH Corp, owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, after a 38% jump in Q2 profit.




Asia


Payment partnership ▪ Amazon is ramping up its digital payment business in India. Its local unit, Amazon Pay India, has acquired Bengaluru-based personal assistant platform Tapzo, which was found in 2010. The company will join the online giant's team in India and help build up the platform.



Costly restructuring ▪ Gome, one of China’s biggest home appliances retailer, reported a net loss of USD 66.5 millionin the first half of the year, mainly due to high finance costs and the implementation of a strategic transformation plan. The company has a market value of USD 2.22 billion.



Global ambition ▪ Chinese e-commerce company JD.com has its eyes on affluent consumers overseas and is turning to Google for help. The company's founder Richard Liu said he’s in the early stages of strategic planning with the US search engine giant to win customers outside its home market.




Future focus


Cutting-edge appliances ▪ Colour-changing fridges, dishwashers that lift racks themselves and coffee makers that know what kind of brew you like are some of the crazy new features at this year's IFA. The huge electronics consumer show kicked off in Berlin yesterday.



Driverless service ▪ California start-up AutoX is trialling a self-driving delivery service in collaboration with fresh produce e-commerce company GrubMarke. Shoppers can pre-order groceries via an app or hail the car to their location and choose products directly from the autonomous vehicle.