Amazon and Alibaba and their global ambitions dominate the headlines today. The latter is in talks with Germany's Metro in China, made an acquisition in the UK and secured a payment deal for platform Alipay with US chain Walgreens, while its Seattle-based US rival is set to launch its 'Amazon go' concept in London. Get informed and have a great weekend ahead.




Friday, 15 February 2019





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Amazon and Alibaba and their global ambitions dominate the headlines today. The latter is in talks with Germany's Metro in China, made an acquisition in the UK and secured a payment deal for platform Alipay with US chain Walgreens, while its Seattle-based US rival is set to launch its 'Amazon go' concept in London. Get informed and have a great weekend ahead.




Europe


Unstoppable Amazon ▪ The online behemoth, which yesterday officially dropped its plans to open a headquarter in New York, has reportedly secured retail space in central London to launch its checkout-free concept. Over in Austria, Amazon has come under scrutiny by the competition authority over its market dominance.



Big move ▪ Alibaba unit Ant Financial will buy London-headquartered payments group WorldFirst in a deal said to be worth around USD 700 million. The acquisition gives the Chinese company a massive international boost, and for the first time a significant profile in Europe.


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Catering deal ▪ Casino has agreed to sell its contract catering business 'R2C' to Britain's Compass Group. The agreement is yet another initiative to trim debts and strengthen the financial profile of the French retailer. Analysts, however, regard the purchase 'slightly odd'.



Successful strategy ▪ Nestlé reported higher annual sales for the first time in seven years, with a net profit jump of 42% to EUR 8.89 billion. The Swiss-based food company has also launched its first range of Starbucks-branded coffee products after it acquired the rights to the US retail brand last year.




Asia


Preliminary talks ▪ Alibaba is reportedly in negotiations with German retailer Metro about taking a stake in the wholesaler's China operations. The discussions are at an early stage. Last year, Alibaba rival Tencent signed a partnership deal with France’s Carrefour.



Advanced negotiations ▪ Multinational convenience store chain 7-Eleven is set to partner with Indian retail company Future Group to enter one of the fastest-growing retail markets with the latter to become a master franchisee. A deal may be announced as early as March.




United States


Payment options ▪ Pharmacy chain Walgreens teams up with Chinese heavyweight Ant Financial to enable virtual wallet Alipay handling transactions at thousands of its stores in the US. Meanwhile, grocery giant Kroger is introducing a mobile payment solution in combination with its loyalty card.



Thinking ahead ▪ Pharmacy retailer CVS Health has piloted three health-focused concept stores, designed to help the chain become more of a health-care provider than a place to pick up prescriptions. Iconic toy brand FAO Schwarz is expanding beyond toys and announced several new licencing agreements.



Fresh alliance ▪ Walmart e-commerce subsidiary Jet.com started offering customers seafood from the famous New York Fulton Fish Market. Under the partnership, Jet shoppers can order sustainably sourced fish and have it shipped to them the same day.




Weekend inspirations


Connected concept ▪ German e-tailer Bonprix has opened 'Fashion Connect' in Hamburg, a 'high tech' store, where the entire shopping experience is based on an app. Whether ordering or paying - everything can be done from the phone in the store. Click here for pictures (captions in German).



Human element ▪ Good customer service is a key factor for American adults when choosing where to shop and how much they will spend, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Long checkout lines, or not being able to find employees to help are among the top frustrations.