Start-ups to the rescue – French giant Carrefour is set to support tech ventures via an e-commerce incubator, German wholesaler Metro has teamed up with US discounter Target for a global innovator network, and Walmart is taking the use of artificial intelligence to another level with robotic janitors. Find out more and feel free to share.




Tuesday, 04 December 2018





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Start-ups to the rescue – French giant Carrefour is set to support tech ventures via an e-commerce incubator, German wholesaler Metro has teamed up with US discounter Target for a global innovator network, and Walmart is taking the use of artificial intelligence to another level with robotic janitors. Find out more and feel free to share.

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Europe


Innovation acceleration ▪ German wholesaler Metro has joined forces with US retailer Target to introduce a new global network programme for start-ups that will take place in Berlin and Minneapolis. Both companies work together with Colorado-based company Techstars. The programme will be launched next year.



More tech investment ▪ Carrefour is also looking for tech innovators. With online fashion website Showroomprivé, in which the French retail giant has a stake, it will support start-ups with promising projects. The fashion platform recently launched a capital increase to fund the acquisition of a beauty app.



Winners and losers ▪ While British convenience retailer McColl's had to cut its profit forecast for the second time, claiming challenging trading conditions, upmarket grocer Fortnum & Mason has delivered double-digit sales. The iconic London-based retailer saw its profit jump 26% to GBP 9.6 million.




United States


Trade war on hold ▪ The music arm of Chinese tech giant Tencent has launched its anticipated US initial public offering of up to USD 1.2 billion as global markets rallied due to a truce in the US-China trade war. American retailers welcomed the delay in the implementation of tariffs on imported goods from China.



Robotic janitors ▪ Walmart is expanding its use of AI technology and will roll out 360 autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in some of its US stores. San Diego start-up Brain Corp will deliver the machines, which look like a cross between a miniature Zamboni and a motorised wheel chair.



Food moves ▪ California-based Landec, a fresh food supplier to retailers like Walmart, has acquired guacamole company Yucatan Foods in a bid to strengthen its position in the natural foods market. Meanwhile, Southeastern Grocers targets Caribbean shoppers with the expansion of its Fresco y Más banner in Florida.



Record achievements ▪ Amazon revealed that Prime members worldwide have ordered more than 2 billion products and gave also details about its best-selling products of 2018. The online giant briefly became the most valuable company on Wall Street on Monday, days after Microsoft dethroned Apple.




Asia & Australia


Production move ▪ Apple supplier Sharp has laid off more than 3,000 foreign workers in Japan as the company shifts production of iPhone sensors to a Chinese plant. The deep job cuts come as Japan debates whether to bring in more foreign workers amid a national labour shortage.



Mergers and demergers ▪ As predicted last week, Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever has been declared the winner of the bidding war for GlaxoSmithKline's nutrition business in India. The entire deal is valued at USD 3.8 billion. Over in Australia, bottler Coca-Cola Amatil has announced plans to sell its SPC food business.




Consumer trends


Avatar experience ▪ Japan's Fast Retailing, the parent company of fashion label Uniqlo, is rolling out new shopping experiences with its GU Style Studio store in Tokyo, which opened last Friday. Shoppers can experiment with clothing combinations on a virtual mannequin and create a digital avatar.



Positive outlook ▪ Beauty and wellness are a growing category in the US, according to a report by the Food Marketing Institute, which also finds that more and more American grocers are partnering with drug retailers to expand their offering for a one-stop-shopping experience.