Amazon is making headlines with the release of yet another of its private labels, this time in the skincare market, while rival Walmart deals with the loss of its tech chief. Shareholders have approved a rescue package for Spain’s DIA and Starbucks is investing in start-ups to navigate the challenging food market. Enjoy the read!




Thursday, 21 March 2019





Hello ,

Amazon is making headlines with the release of yet another of its private labels, this time in the skincare market, while rival Walmart deals with the loss of its tech chief. Shareholders have approved a rescue package for Spain’s DIA and Starbucks is investing in start-ups to navigate the challenging food market. Enjoy the read!

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Europe


New structure ▪ The German retailer Kaufland which belongs to the Schwarz-Group announced that Klaus Gehrig is taking over the position as interim CEO (paywall, in german). At the same time, the retailer restructures the company.



Bid battles ▪ Embattled Spanish retailer DIA’s rescue plan has been approved by shareholders and allows Russian investor Mikhail Fridman to advance with a takeover bid. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s and Asda are trying to sweeten the competition regulator with a promise to cut prices by GBP 1 billion if the bid to merge the two supermarkets is approved.



Trials and tactics ▪ Discounter Aldi has launched a new, smaller ‘Local’ store in South London as part of a trial that if successful could be more widely rolled out. Meanwhile, according to strategic advisory firm Brick Meets Click, if supermarkets want to topple Aldi and Lidl, they need to stop lowering prices.



Positive partnerships ▪ Swiss food giant Nestlé and French resource management company Veolia are teaming up on an international mission to examine waste collection and maximise recycling operations. Meanwhile, Spain’s national postal service, Carreos, has teamed up with Alibaba-owned entities Cainiao and AliExpress to speed up logistics between Europe and China.




United States


Big departure ▪ Walmart’s Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King is set to leave after an impressive tenure overhauling Walmart’s systems, navigating the various facets of online shopping and overseeing the transition to cloud-based tech. The retail giant is also planning to halt Savings Catcher, its price-matching app.



Branching out ▪ Amazon’s latest venture is launching its first own-brand skincare label – Belei – bringing its current total of private labels to 138. The online powerhouse has partnered with payment processing company Worldpay, to progress its own method of payment, Amazon Pay, beyond its platform.



Future thinking ▪ Starbucks has become the latest food giant to bet on start-ups with a USD 100 million investment targeting food and retail start-up ventures. The coffee king is also continuing its environmental efforts with the commencement of recyclable and compostable cup trials.



Raising capital ▪ Denim jean icon Levi Strauss has unveiled its initial public offering at USD 17 per share. It is higher than analysts’ predictions, with the move valuing the 166-year-old company at USD 6.6 billion.




Asia


Selling up ▪ Electronics company Foxconn Ventures has reportedly divested 2.2 million shares in Alibaba, equating USD 398 million. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s cloud arm has launched a gateway program in Australia to encourage local businesses into the Chinese market.



Protein explosion ▪ The meat-alternative industry is flocking to China and targeting wealthy consumers concerned with the environmental impacts of traditional meat production. Start-up Beyond Meat which makes pea protein sausages saw a 300% increase in Hong Kong sales last year.




Weird and wonderful


Investing in people ▪ In the age of Amazon and Google, businesses worldwide are re-examining the traditional treatment of corporate employees. Outdoor wear major Patagonia is one such retailer whose business model centres around staff wellness and as a result staff turnover is a mere 4% per year. Check out their inspiring practices.



Custom coffee ▪ Taiwanese teashop Happy Lemon has unveiled a drink-making robot. At its Shanghai smart store, customers can enjoy a fully automated experience paying by smartphone and watching on while the robot prepares a completely customised beverage in around 90 seconds.