Some UK retailers have had a tough week, with Ocado experiencing a fire in a key automated warehouse, and House of Fraser and Brighthouse making job cuts. Apple sees its retail chief depart, and Amazon may start catching buses. Meanwhile, Alibaba rival Pinduoduo is making way for growth. Enjoy the read and have a great day.




Thursday, 07 February 2019





Hello ,

Some UK retailers have had a tough week, with Ocado experiencing a fire in a key automated warehouse, and House of Fraser and Brighthouse making job cuts. Apple sees its retail chief depart, and Amazon may start catching buses. Meanwhile, Alibaba rival Pinduoduo is making way for growth. Enjoy the read and have a great day.

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Europe


Set back ▪ Online supermarket Ocado's sales growth will take a hit, after a fire at a major distribution centre. The Andover centre was responsible for 10% of Ocado's UK output and featured the grocer's signature high-tech robotics.



Healthy ventures ▪ Unilever has bought up UK snack food business Graze. Graze offers a range of artificial-ingredient-free foods, and will help bolster the Anglo-Dutch giant's health product selection. Swiss food major Nestlé is setting up a new research initiative, to study sustainability and food trends.



Job cuts ▪ After a rocky few months, struggling department store House of Fraser's Wellingborough warehouse is set to close, at a cost of 280 jobs. The UK's largest weekly repayment retailer, Brighthouse, is axing 30 stores and 350 jobs.



Helping shoppers ▪ UK grocer Sainsbury's is continuing to trial its programme for aiding disabled customers. Participating stores have lanyards available for any user who wishes to notify staff for extra assistance. The scheme, which has seen success so far, attempts to target invisible disabilities.




United States and Mexico


Top changes ▪ Tech giant Apple's retail chief, Angela Ahrendts, is stepping down from the post after five years. Ahrendts's departure comes amid the company's decline in iPhone sales. Ikea has also announced a change, UK boss Javier Quinones is set to become the furniture chain's US retail manager.



Big innovations ▪ Online leader Amazon may be about to add a whole new dimension to its delivery game: public transport. The retailer has won a patent which could see customers collect orders from buses or bus-stops, among other locations. Meanwhile, retail giant Walmart hits the road in a tiny home, showcasing its online homeware label.



Expanding footprints ▪ Leading packaging company Smurfit Kappa is opening a new folding plant in Mexico. The retail supplier is confident about its growth in the country. Meanwhile, US dollar-store chain Dollar Tree invests USD 130 million in a distribution centre in Texas.




Asia


High-tech competition ▪ Up and coming e-retailer and Alibaba rival Pinduoduo has launched a bid to raise USD 1.5 billion to fund major expansion. The retailer features competitive prices via group purchasing of daily goods, and saw its userbase double in 2018.



New strategy ▪ Australia's second largest supermarket chain, Coles, is about to lower prices at its line of Coles Express petrol stations. The grocer's revenue from the Express line has dropped sharply, and they have now entered a new deal in the hopes of competing with the likes of BP and Caltex.




Looking Forward


Planet friendly ▪ Dutch dairy titan FrieslandCampina will be selling sustainable cheese starting this spring. The company has developed its first cheese to get the PlanetProof certificate, which requires the cheese to be sourced from farms with high standards of animal care, sustainability, and CO2 emissions.



Artificial future ▪ Artificial intelligence and personalisation is critical to retail expansion, according to industry leaders across the UK. Digital retail is rapidly becoming a keynote, with website improvement topping business's priority lists.