Retail is looking busy before Black Friday, with Walmart kicking things off early, and Amazon slipping up. IKEA cuts thousands of jobs to make way for thousands more while in China WeChat helps out with deliveries. Meanwhile, Starbucks goes silent. Read on, and enjoy the end of the week.




Thursday, 22 November 2018





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Retail is looking busy before Black Friday, with Walmart kicking things off early, and Amazon slipping up. IKEA cuts thousands of jobs to make way for thousands more while in China WeChat helps out with deliveries. Meanwhile, Starbucks goes silent. Read on, and enjoy the end of the week.




Europe


Job cuts ▪ Over the next few years Swedish flat-pack conglomerate IKEA will be cutting 7,500 jobs, primarily in admin. However, the move is part of a restructure which will generate an estimated 11,500 jobs as it grows online and revamps its store concepts.



Pop-ups in Europe ▪ Online titan Amazon has opened its new Madrid pop-up store, with more to follow in other European capitals. The store stocks a complete spectrum of items, and showcases the company's ability to get physical despite traditional retail decline.


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Shopping spree ▪ US-origin sales event Black Friday looms over Britain, with shoppers expected to pour GBP 150 million into retail purchases in London's West End over the weekend. Despite a difficult year for retail, the sales holiday should hit figures comparable to last year.



Sainsbury's action ▪ UK grocery major Sainsbury's has opened a superstore near Birmingham. The store was ten years in the making, and features a crossover between food and other retail types. Meanwhile, farmers warn the Sainsbury's-Asda merger could be detrimental to them and their produce.




USA and Canada


Sales and a data breach ▪ Black Friday is going live tonight for department leader Walmart, kicking off at 10pm EST with buyers able to check offers online 2 hours early, before the event starts off in real life tomorrow. Amidst the sales hype, Amazon has acknowledged customer names and email addresses were leaked in a "technical error," but has withheld further details.



Convenient payment ▪ Japanese-owned American convenience chain 7-Eleven has dished out mobile payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay to stores across Canada, a first for the nation. The stores involved are currently in Vancouver and Toronto, with expansion planned.



Supermarket expansion ▪ Food distributor SpartanNash is expanding, and is set to take over Indiana-based chain Martin's line of 21 supermarkets. Meanwhile, wholesaler BJ's is also developing, with aims to open two new locations in Michigan.




Asia and Australia


Alibaba investments ▪ E-commerce titan Alibaba experiences a round of investments at lower share prices after Babytree's reduced IPO. Another investment, grocer BigBasket, is anticipating private-label's to bring in 40% of its revenue, and aims to hit a USD 1 billion dollar value in the next fiscal year.



Australian heavyweights ▪ Shareholder's in Australia's leading retailer Woolworths should receive good returns on the company's petrol chain sale. Meanwhile local rival Coles has marched into the Australian Stock Exchange's top 20, but is trading at a lower rate than Woolworths.



Same day trial ▪ Retail giant Walmart is pushing same day delivery in China, after success back home with service Walmart To Go. The company is using the Tencent app WeChat it is partnered with, allowing users to order via mobile. As of yet the service is still being trialed.




Food developments


Chocolate attack ▪ Family favourite Nutella may have a rival. Italian pasta brand Barilla is launching its own chocolate spread next year with a focus on sustainable ingredients, which above all means: no use of palm oil – unlike market leader Ferrero.



Quiet coffee ▪ In the US capital an outlet of coffee chain Starbucks has very quietly emerged, staffed by fluent sign language speakers. The outlet, dubbed The Signing Store, is catered towards the deaf and hard of hearing, not featuring music, but instead architecture that aids visibility.