Quarrels and conflicts are the word in today’s edition. UK billionaire Mike Ashley is threatening legal action against Debenhams, while Cambodia is taking legal action against the EU over tariffs. Walmart responds to Bezos’ challenge with feisty banter. Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the read.




Friday, 12 April 2019





Hello ,

Quarrels and conflicts are the word in today’s edition. UK billionaire Mike Ashley is threatening legal action against Debenhams, while Cambodia is taking legal action against the EU over tariffs. Walmart responds to Bezos’ challenge with feisty banter. Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the read.

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United States


Friendly banter ▪ Jeff Bezos is cheekily stirring trouble among his competitors, challenging them to raise their minimum wages to match or better Amazon’s rates and benefits. Rival Walmart responded with sass, “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?” Meanwhile, Amazon and Microsoft have been chosen to compete for The Pentagon’s USD 10 billion cloud contract.



Big plans ▪ Walmart has acquired advertising start-up Polymorph Labs to help prepare its omnichannel marketing capabilities and take on rivals Amazon and Google. The retail giant has also revealed USD 800 million building plans for new stores and remodels across six states.



Physical presence ▪ Bargain outlet Ollie’s is adamant ‘brick and mortar isn’t dead’ with its current store count standing at 318, and a pledge to reach 950 physical stores overall. The discounter is planning expansion across America with Oklahoma and Massachusetts being eyed as future locations.




Europe


Disgruntled shareholders ▪ Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has threatened Debenhams' administrators with legal action after his near 30% equity in the embattled department store chain was effectively erased and the company turned over to its lenders.



Exciting initiatives ▪ Swiss giant Nestlé is launching an accelerator research and development programme in its home country to bring together scientists, students and start-ups in pursuit of innovative products and systems. Meanwhile, discount giant Aldi is trialling self-service checkouts in the UK.



Poor promo ▪ Waitrose has issued an apology after its Trio of Easter Ducklings sparked controversy when the dark chocolate bird was labelled ‘ugly’, while the milk and white chocolate varieties were labelled ‘crispy’ and ‘fluffy’. The packaging has since been redesigned.




Asia


Protecting content ▪ Alibaba is taking on video pirates with new ‘fingerprint’ tech that will give original content its own unique online identity. The move aims to protect short video advertisements that sellers use on Taobao and Tmall and are often illegally appropriated by other sellers. Over 7,000 businesses have signed up to the initiative.



Sales fall ▪ Tesco Asia has seen a 6.2% plummet in like-for-like sales. The UK-headquartered supermarket is attributing the fall to a restructuring in its Thai business and expects to see improved results in the coming year.



Trade predicament ▪ Cambodia is taking the EU to court, following the bloc’s move to put import taxes on Cambodian rice in order to protect local producers like Italy. Previously the south-east Asian country had benefited from the ‘Everything but Arms’ trade programme, which allows less developed countries to export to the EU without paying duties.




Weekend reads


Food trends ▪ The rise of the flexitarian lifestyle will become the new status quo and have massive ramifications for the food industry, according to business futurist Morris Miselowski. Check out his predictions about the future of meat consumption and traditional farming methods here.



Store space ▪ Iconic fast-fashion chain Primark has opened its biggest ever store in Birmingham and is expecting over 5,000 customers on its opening day. Get inspired by the five storey, 160,000 square foot marketplace and, check out images of the new store here.