Trading updates keep rolling in with Britain's Tesco and US discounter Target emerging as winners over the festive period, while department stores struggle on both sides of the Atlantic. Investors are concerned about the impending divorce of Amazon founder Bezos, and a start-up is about to invent a super smart shopping cart. Enjoy the read!




Friday, 11 January 2019





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Trading updates keep rolling in with Britain's Tesco and US discounter Target emerging as winners over the festive period, while department stores struggle on both sides of the Atlantic. Investors are concerned about the impending divorce of Amazon founder Bezos, and a start-up is about to invent a super smart shopping cart. Enjoy the read!

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Europe & Middle East


Deals and takeovers ▪ Amazon has signed an agreement to invest in French warehouse robotics firm Balyo. The deal could see a boost for the company's technology for self-driving forklift trucks. Over in Israel, the online titan has acquired Israeli company CloudEndure, which provides disaster recovery for cloud customers.



Planning ahead ▪ Tesco plans to stockpile products in the run-up to the Brexit deadline in March and will hold supplier meetings to minimise disruption. The UK supermarket leader reported its best Christmas result since 2009. Fellow department store retailers Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and John Lewis, however, delivered disappointing numbers.



Naked store ▪ Cosmetics brand Lush has redone one of its locations in Manchester to its new “Lush Naked” format. The store carries only plastic packaging-free products, ranging from the company’s signature solid shampoo bars and soaps to new skincare innovations.




United States


Top Target ▪ US discounter Target saw comparable sales grew 5.7 % over the holidays. Analysts reckon that the company, which is on the hunt for a new finance head amid a number of other exec changes, is firmly on track to deliver its best Q4 numbers in fourteen years.



Department store developments ▪ Macy’s cut its forecast on the back of an anaemic holiday season, sending a chill through the wider retail sector. Competitor Kohl's posted a modest gain over the period and is making moves to lift its performance. Finally, the never-ending Sears story continues with a revised USD 5 billion bid from chairman Lampert.



Urban debut ▪ Supermarket company Giant Food, a unit of global retail giant Ahold Delhaize, will debut a new format, called Giant Heirloom Market, at the end of this month in Philadelphia. The grocery store will have an assortment specifically curated for urban neighbourhoods.




Asia & Australia


Smart connection ▪ Chinese tech giant Tencent will launch a Siri-like voice assistant for WeChat. Dubbed “Xiaowei,” it is intended to expand the reach of the hugely popular app beyond smartphones and help the messaging service’s billion-plus users with simple tasks such as playing music and hailing a ride.



Vegan ventures ▪ Australian supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles have both revealed plans to expand their vegan product ranges due to increasing demand and will offer more fresh convenience foods and healthy drinks. Woolies predicts that this year’s food trends are all about plant-based eating.




What to watch


Aggressive Amazon ▪ The online giant's acquisition strategy will continue and its next target could be department store operator Kohl’s, says data company Edge by Ascential and reveals more predictions. Meanwhile, investors wonder how the impending divorce of Jeff Bezos will affect these plans.



Shopper's favourites ▪ Trader Joe’s, Costco Wholesale, Amazon, H-E-B and Wegmans Food Markets finished as the top five grocery retailers in the annual survey by customer data science firm Dunnhumby, which examined the 56 largest retailers in the USD 700 billion US grocery market.



Autonomous retail ▪ Caper Labs works on a shopping cart with a built-in barcode scanner and credit card swipe. The US start-up is reportedly finalising the technology to automatically scan items dropped into the trolley thanks to three image recognition cameras and a weight sensor.