Restructurings, closures and redundancies feature heavily in today's issue. Carrefour continues to downsize its hypermarkets, affecting thousands of jobs, Spain's Dia works on its recovery options as is homeware chain Bed, Bath & Beyond. Meanwhile, German discounter Lidl shows flexibility in the US with the launch of a smaller format. Have a great weekend!




Friday, 29 March 2019





Hello ,

Restructurings, closures and redundancies feature heavily in today's issue. Carrefour continues to downsize its hypermarkets, affecting thousands of jobs, Spain's Dia works on its recovery options as is homeware chain Bed, Bath & Beyond. Meanwhile, German discounter Lidl shows flexibility in the US with the launch of a smaller format. Have a great weekend!




Europe


Streamlining operations ▪ Carrefour wants to axe 1,229 jobs as it downsizes its large hypermarket stores in France. The plan is being discussed with unions. Spanish retail group Dia is also working on restructuring options, which will affect 1,604 employees, and has started to close 258 stores in Spain.



Reporting results ▪ German-based sugar refiner Südzucker has posted a 3.2% decline to EUR 6.75 billon in full-year revenues, impacted by the 'highly volatile' sugar and ethanol markets. Britain's Hilton Food Group, on the other hand, enjoyed a 21.9% increase in sales to EUR 1.93 billion for the year.



Beauty push ▪ Unilever has made a binding offer to buy French skincare and cosmetics brand Garancia, extending its portfolio of premium beauty products. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant is also determined to improve its digital advertising by picking up a network of 'trusted publishers'.




The Americas


Flexible approach ▪ Lidl has opened a small-format store, called Lidl Express, at its American headquarter in Arlington. The concept features a mix of convenience items and fresh produce. The launch is regarded as a one-off but could represent a growth opportunity for the discounter.



Tech investments ▪ Amazon plans to expand its tech hub in Austin, Texas, creating 800 jobs in the process. The online mega-retailer is also investing in Latin America, where it will open a computer centre in Colombia to help training 2,000 students in digital technology.



Strategic decisions ▪ Homeware chain Bed, Bath & Beyond has made nearly 150 employees redundant as it is investing in its online capabilities. Meanwhile, fashion value retailer Five Below is set to launch up to 150 new locations this year and sees the potential for many more to come.



Celebrity collaboration ▪ Walmart has partnered with actress Drew Barrymore for the launch of Flower Home, a curated 200-piece collection of home furnishings and decor that will only be available at the various e-commerce sites of the world's largest retailer, including Jet.com.




Asia & Middle East


Focus on China ▪ Swiss food giant Nestlé plans to launch a new research centre in Beijing and another tech hub in Shenzhen to strengthen its presence in China, its second biggest market. The Beijing facility will collaborate with local universities to accelerate trend-based innovation.



Expansion drive ▪ German drugstore chain Rossmann, which is part-owned by Hong Kong conglomerate AS Watson will begin selling products in South Korea, starting May,1. UAE-based retail giant LuLu Group has announced that it will open 32 hypermarkets, mainly across the Gulf region in 2019.




What to watch


Setting standards ▪ Growing concerns about plastic pollution in oceans, together with China's decision to stop processing waste have prompted EU lawmakers to tackle the issue. As a result, single-use plastic items such as straws, forks and knives as well as cotton buds will be banned by 2021.



Inside the 'lab' ▪ As reported earlier, convenience store giant 7-Eleven has recently opened a location in Dallas to experiment with new store formats and test the latest innovations such as a streamlined checkout process. Click here for a slide show of the store.