British grocer Morrisons has added its voice to the mounting concerns about the proposed Sainsbury’s and Asda merger. Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller pledges a creative approach to drive innovation, while Carrefour and Casino bet on digital technology. And check out which company shells out the most dosh on advertising.




Wednesday, 05 December 2018





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British grocer Morrisons has added its voice to the mounting concerns about the proposed Sainsbury’s and Asda merger. Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller pledges a creative approach to drive innovation, while Carrefour and Casino bet on digital technology. And check out which company shells out the most dosh on advertising.

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Europe


French tech ventures ▪ Utilising its experience with Tencent in China, Carrefour is set to pilot a fully automated store in its home country using cameras and facial recognition. Competitor Casino also bets on digital technology - its e-commerce unit Cdiscount has acquired start-up Stootie (in French) which covers a wide range of services.



Shake-up ahead ▪ Germany's Beiersdorf will reshuffle its top management and expand internationally when new boss Stefan De Loecker takes over in January. The skincare company's Nivea brand has already established an innovation hub in South Korea, which will act as an accelerator programme for beauty start-ups.



Merger under scrutiny ▪ UK retailer Morrisons has become the latest grocer to warn the competition watchdog that the proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s would lead to a duopoly in the grocery market. Market leader Tesco questioned the economy of the GBP 7.3 billion transaction.




United States


Future thinking ▪ After launching a brand refresh at Stop & Shop in the Northeast, Ahold Delhaize USA is now investing in an upgrade programme at its Giant Food banner. AH CEO Frans Muller said that the company needs to adopt an experimental approach and wants to see “more inspiration and creativity".



Good intentions ▪ Walmart has teamed up with the Colorado state government to support workforce development with a USD 4 million cash injection to assist with training and up-skilling. The retail giant has also announced that in-store shoppers can now order and pay for online orders. Walmart associates will be equipped to help customers.



Growing partnership ▪ Supermarket operator Kroger plans to roll out a curated assortment of grocery products and Home Chef meal kits at select stores at pharmacy chain Walgreens. The effort aims to promote a convenient, one-stop shopping experience.



Big Apple debut ▪ Ikea is finally arriving in New York — but not with its typical format. The Swedish furniture giant will open its first-ever city-focused location in the United States next spring. The Ikea Planning Studio will feature smart solutions for urban living and small spaces.




Asia & Australia


Curbing competition ▪ South Korean convenience store operators have agreed not to engage in cut-throat competition to better protect struggling franchisees. The voluntary deal calls for retailers to decide “carefully” over whether to open a new outlet near an area where a rival store is already located.



Tough outlook ▪ Australia's largest wholesaler, Metcash, has seen its shares stumbling this week after the company offered a cautious forecast for the next few months. The retailer has reported an increase of 3% in net profit for the first six months, despite “challenging market conditions”.




In other news


Top spenders ▪ Consumer electronics giant Samsung has just become the world’s spendiest advertiser. The South Korean giant spent USD 11.2 billion on advertising last year, knocking Proctor & Gamble off the top spot, according to data from AdAge. Click here for the largest advertisers.



Diversity debt ▪ Europe’s start-up sector has a “shocking” lack of diversity, with 93% of all funds raised in 2018 going to all-male founding teams, according to a report by the investment firm Atomico. Out of 175 large start-ups included in the survey, just one had a female chief technology officer.