Ahold Delhaize sticks to its digital goals in the US and introduces robot 'Marty' to 500 of its stores, while its Dutch unit Albert Heijn targets the busy customer with its checkout-free concept. Chinese powerhouse Alibaba goes the extra mile to grow in North America, and an India's Future Retail taps into the meal delivery market. Enjoy the read!




Tuesday, 15 January 2019





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Ahold Delhaize sticks to its digital goals in the US and introduces robot 'Marty' to 500 of its stores, while its Dutch unit Albert Heijn targets the busy customer with its checkout-free concept. Chinese powerhouse Alibaba goes the extra mile to grow in North America, and an India's Future Retail taps into the meal delivery market. Enjoy the read!




Europe


Luxury deal ▪ French international cosmetics firm L’Occitane has agreed to buy British beauty and skincare brand Elemis for about USD 900 million, its biggest acquisition on record. Hong Kong-listed L'Occitane has more than 3,000 outlets and is present in 90 countries.



Exec reshuffle ▪ Bart Becht, the chairman of coffee empire JAB Holding, the investing arm of Germany's Reimann family, has unexpectedly resigned and is set to retire. The news comes days after multinational beauty company Coty, in which JAB is the largest shareholder, has unveiled a revamp of its management team.



Laudable initiatives ▪ Danish international dairy giant Arla will create an innovation unit to strengthen its global product agenda with a focus on research and technology development. In Germany, 'Lidl Lebensräume', a project of the discounter to protect wild bees and promote biodiversity has been acknowledged by the United Nations.




United States


Robot rollout ▪ Ahold Delhaize plans to deploy robots to nearly 500 of its Giant Food, Martin’s and Stop & Shop supermarkets following a successful pilot that improved efficiencies and safety. The initiative reflects a partnership between the retailer and robotics provider, Badger Technologies.



Concept adjustments ▪ After less than two years, organic grocer Whole Foods Market plans to stop its 365 store format. The currently 12 locations, however, will continue to operate. Department store operator Stage Stores is ramping up its off-price store conversion programme with 220 traditional stores to be converted.


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Seizing opportunities ▪ Alibaba's ambition to grow in the US continues. The Chinese powerhouse has partnered with fin-tech company Kabbage, which provides working capital loans to online sellers. This follows news that Alibaba has quietly acquired a start-up called OpenSky last year to build out its business in North America.




Asia & Australia


Fresh ventures ▪ Hong Kong-headquartered beauty retailer AS Watsons is to launch in Vietnam and will open a store in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. Meanwhile, India's Future Group will diversify in its home country and soon start to deliver cooked meals from its 'cloud kitchen' business directly to consumers.



Sustainability goal ▪ Coca-Cola Amatil, one of the largest bottlers of non-alcoholic beverages in the Asia-Pacific region, plans to make all its packaging 'fully recyclable' by 2025. The soft drink behemoth will sell paper straws to clients, mainly online sourced from the Australian company BioPak.



Optimistic outlook ▪ Wesfarmers is expecting gains between AUD 2.1 billion to AUD 2.3 billion in its 2019 first-half results, off the back of its demerger of Coles late last year, while experts are speculating that the Australian retail conglomerate is ready to buy another business.




Store ideas


Extensive synergies ▪ Italian-based retail-restaurant hybrid Eataly has tweaked its format in the recently opened Las Vegas location. Customers can enjoy the food on site but also select from products to take home and cook.



Albert Heijn in Amsterdam ▪ The Dutch retailer targets the customer with no time at hand with its checkout-free 'AH to Go' store in the country's capital. The outlet offers busy customers super-fast shopping and no more waiting in line. Click here for pictures (captions in German).