There is upheaval in the American pharmacy sector as Walmart pulls out of its CVS partnership and drugstore chain Walgreens enters an agreement with Microsoft to improve its healthcare service. Cross-border expansion plans and high tech investments are the topics in Europe, and global shaving brand Gillette tackles masculinity. Enjoy the read!




Wednesday, 16 January 2019





Hello ,

There is upheaval in the American pharmacy sector as Walmart pulls out of its CVS partnership and drugstore chain Walgreens enters an agreement with Microsoft to improve its healthcare service. Cross-border expansion plans and high tech investments are the topics in Europe, and global shaving brand Gillette tackles masculinity. Enjoy the read!




Europe


Strategy update ▪ International retail giant Ahold-Delhaize has unveiled plans for its expansion in Belgium, focused on further improving its omnichannel offer and accelerating store growth. Albert Heijn Belgium is set to open 30 to 50 new locations in Flanders, potentially threatening competitor Colruyt.



More expansion plans ▪ Russian grocer Dixy bets on its discount banner, Da! It opened a total of 19 outlets in 2018 and will continue to grow the format. British frozen foods retailer Iceland is increasing the number of its stores in Norway with the launch of three outlets in Oslo, after a successful rollout of two stores in the country last year.



High tech optimisation ▪ French retail major Carrefour is set to implement artificial intelligence to improve supply chain management and reduce food waste. The project is a part of the "Carrefour 2022" transformation plan to meet customer expectations through advanced technologies.



Closures ahead ▪ Marks & Spencer has announced the latest round of store closures as part of its ongoing turnaround strategy, putting 1000 jobs at risk. The department store retailer aims to shut down more than 100 shops by 2022. Of these, 30 have already closed and another 17 are to follow.




United States


Healthcare decisions ▪ After failing to agree on pricing, CVS Health is losing Walmart as a pharmacy partner in two networks. Meanwhile, drugstore chain Walgreens and Microsoft have joined forces to improve the future of health care through technology and retail innovations.



Exploring options ▪ Discount retailer Payless has hired an adviser to help evaluate strategic alternatives, including a sale, after it emerged from bankruptcy. The chain, known for its shoes costing less than USD 30, is also considering shuttering at least one-third of its approximately 3,000 stores.


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Future thinking ▪ Supermarket giant Kroger has teamed with digital store platform OneView Commerce to develop a next-generation Point of Sale solution. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen predicted that the future of retail will be both digital and physical in his keynote presentation at the National Retail Conference 2019.




Asia


Brexit concerns ▪ Companies across Asia are getting prepared for the possibility of a "no-deal" Brexit after the British Parliament rejected Theresa May's plan to leave the European Union. Experts agreed that the implications for the region, which is already feeling the weight of the US-China trade war, will be huge.



Reporting results ▪ Japan’s Fast Retailing Group has posted a decline in revenues for the Uniqlo banner in the first quarter, citing the country's warm winter. Internationally, Uniqlo saw a double-digit increase in operating profit in the period. Online sales jumped 30.9%.




Weird and wonderful


Toxic masculinity ▪ Shaving company Gillette, a unit of Procter and Gamble, has been bombarded with both praise and abuse after launching an advertising campaign promoting a new kind of positive masculinity. The ad went viral on Youtube. Click here to watch it and for the reactions.



Fighting waste ▪ British upmarket grocer Waitrose & Partners has announced that it has removed hard-to-recycle black plastic from its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetable packaging. The move will cut more than 1,300 tonnes of black plastic annually.