There is drama aplenty in the headlines today, with Ikea firing an employee for intolerant views, only to be accused of discrimination themselves, and Australia considering legislation to protect religious expression in the workplace, even if it’s discriminatory. Meanwhile, Tesco is dealing with a mud-slinging match between former top dogs and Walmart is using virtual reality to decide who gets a promotion. Read on and enjoy!




Tuesday, 02 July 2019





Hello ,

There is drama aplenty in the headlines today, with Ikea firing an employee for intolerant views, only to be accused of discrimination themselves, and Australia considering legislation to protect religious expression in the workplace, even if it’s discriminatory. Meanwhile, Tesco is dealing with a mud-slinging match between former top dogs and Walmart is using virtual reality to decide who gets a promotion. Read on and enjoy!

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The Americas


Strategic direction ▪ The retail giant is set to invest USD 1.2 billion in its Chinese operations over the next decade to improve logistics. In the US, Walmart has raised the tobacco-purchasing age to 21, and has begun using virtual reality headsets to decide whether employees are fit for a promotion.



Green light ▪ Coca-Cola has won an arbitration hearing it entered into with Monster Beverage over energy drink sales. The soft drink powerhouse has a 19% stake in Monster, and had previously agreed not to encroach on the energy drink market. The ruling is contrary to that agreement, and puts the two companies in direct competition.



Innovative ideas ▪ Carrefour Brasil is vastly ramping up its organic offerings, with plans to increase stock by 85%. The supermarket is also planning to introduce recyclable and biodegradable packaging to replace the Styrofoam currently used. In Belgium, the French-owned retailer has opened three new stores.




Europe


Eyeing Europe ▪ Amazon is continuing to make serious advances into France with a plan to introduce 1800 permanent new positions in the country this year. The online behemoth has invested EUR 2 billion and built 20 sites since 2010 when it first entered the French market.



Shots fired ▪ Former big wigs at supermarket major Tesco have become embroiled in saga, following ex-chair Lord MacLaurin calling former CEO Sir Terry Leahy ‘arrogant’ and to blame for many of the grocery chain’s problems. Meanwhile, rival Sainsbury’s has drama of its own as its board faces investor anger at its first public meeting since the failed merger with Asda.



Revelling in success ▪ Discount retailer Primark is celebrating 50 years since it first opened in Dublin, now boasting over 75,000 employees in 12 countries. Meanwhile in Italy, small packaging firm CartonWrap is being praised for its automated tech that can box up to 1000 items per hour, and has attracted the attention of big-name retailers.




Asia


Ban overturned ▪ Japan has officially resumed commercial whaling 30 years after it was banned. The Minister of Fisheries Shigeto Hase is pleased to see the return of whale meat to supermarket shelves, particularly for the younger generation so they can experience cooking the giant mammal.



Robot run ▪ Singapore’s first unstaffed 24/7 retail store, We9go has officially opened following an eight-month trial. The Accrelist-owned outlet relies on artificial intelligence, facial recognition and radio frequency identification for payment, item tracking and customer preference information.




Workplace culture


Discrimination debacle ▪ Ikea is taking heat after a Polish employee was fired for quoting anti-gay rhetoric from the Bible and refusing to support a pro-LGBT corporate event. There has been a similar case in Australia, where the Pentecostal Christian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is contemplating a bill to safeguard employees with such views in the name of religious expression.



Driving innovation ▪ Australian supermarket giant Woolworths is a proud proponent of the Post-It phenomenon synonymous with Silicon Valley and the well-known ‘agile’ management system. The grocery chain claims the system helps them to better manage the changing market, as well as attract data-crunching personnel. Check out the details here.