Things are looking environmentally friendly today, with Ikea powering up on solar energy, and Adidas and Walmart hitting back on plastic. Coles supermarket invests big to keep up with Woolworths, and Alibaba develops for the vision impaired. Meanwhile, Lidl is on an expansion course in Italy. Read, share, and have a great end of week!




Friday, 25 January 2019





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Things are looking environmentally friendly today, with Ikea powering up on solar energy, and Adidas and Walmart hitting back on plastic. Coles supermarket invests big to keep up with Woolworths, and Alibaba develops for the vision impaired. Meanwhile, Lidl is on an expansion course in Italy. Read, share, and have a great end of week!

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Europe & Africa


Top changes ▪ German discounter Lidl has acquired a new CEO, Alexander Frech, for its Portugal branch. The previous CEO, Massimiliano Silvestri, will move to managing director at Lidl Italia where the company is set to invest over EUR 350 million and launch more than 40 new stores, creating around 2,000 new jobs.



Overseas investments ▪ Swiss confectionary leader Nestlé is investing in the Egypt coffee scene, with a new 12,740 square metre Bonjorno factory. Meanwhile, Glanbia, an Irish nutrition group, is caching goods in the UK in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.


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Environment conscious ▪ German founded sportswear titan, Adidas, is doubling down on its stock made using recyled plastic. The Parley line of shoes is a joint venture between Adidas and environment agency Parley for the Oceans. Units of the eco-conscious footwear are intended to increase to 11 million this year.




Asia & Australia


Alibaba moves ▪ The new retail branch of Easyhome, the home improvement retailer funded by the Chinese online titan, is set to go public in a reverse takeover valued at nearly USD 6 billion. Meanwhile, Alibaba has developed Smart Touch, a smartphone screen to help vision impaired users.



Warehouse race ▪ Australian supermarket Coles is set to invest nearly AUD 1 billion in a bid to stay in the game with competitor Woolworths. The money will go on two top of the line distribution warehouses featuring high-tech automation, to be built over the coming six years.



Up and down ▪ Hong Kong fashion brand I.T Group is seeing strong sales in China, Japan and the US, despite less promising results on home turf. Meanwhile, revenue continues to decline in Japanese supermarkets. This marks the third year in a row the trend has gone on for the country, with weak clothing sales possibly to blame.




US & Canada


Games and plastic ▪ US's biggest discounter, Walmart, is training staff with a video game. The game app, Spark City, was developed by the retailer, and simulates the experience of running a grocery store. Walmart Canada has started a new stage in their goal to decrease plastic (paywall).



Driving cuts ▪ Tech giant Apple has recently dropped 200 employees from its low-profile self-driving vehicle project (video). The retailer claims that some of them have been moved across the company to support machine learning and other initiative.



Clean energy ▪ Swedish flat-pack retailer Ikea maintains a strong environmental front, with an upcoming store in Virginia to be kitted out with the biggest solar panel system in the area, as well as three charging stations for electric vehicles. This is the business's 56th solar venture in the country.




Future business


Folding 2019 ▪ Smartphones are the way of the, well, present. They haven't changed too much in the last few years, with updates pleasant but not critical, causing the market to slow. However, the year of the bendable phone could finally be upon us.



Start-up success ▪ The do-it-yourself business industry has come into its own in the last few years, and San Jose start-up Caliva has made the most of the tail-end of the new cannabis craze with a USD 75 million round of investments. A combination of physical stores and straight to buyer sales is planned.