Delivery efforts, e-commerce moves and interests in start-ups dominate the headlines today - Australia's Woolworths, consumer goods giant Reckitt and footwear icon Nike are partnering with newcomers to improve their performances, while Amazon has unleashed its autonomous robots in California. Read on to find out more.




Wednesday, 07 August 2019





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Delivery efforts, e-commerce moves and interests in start-ups dominate the headlines today - Australia's Woolworths, consumer goods giant Reckitt and footwear icon Nike are partnering with newcomers to improve their performances, while Amazon has unleashed its autonomous robots in California. Read on to find out more.




United States


Cutting costs ▪ Aiming to save USD 1.5 billion in annual expenses, Walgreens plans to close 200 stores in the US, where the drugstore chain operates roughly 10,000 locations. Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance earlier announced to reduce its footprint in the UK by shuttering 200 stores in Great Britain.



Bleak outlooks ▪ Iconic luxury department store chain Barneys has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and put itself up for sale after facing soaring rents. Here is what the experts say. Fellow retailer J.C. Penney faces problems with its turnaround strategy after its first-quarter loss nearly doubled to USD154 million.



Robots in California ▪ Amazon is taking its Scout autonomous delivery device from Seattle to a sunnier climate in Southern California, and has started the robotic service in the Irvine area. The robots are said to be able to avoid crashing into trash cans or pedestrians. Still, a worker will accompany them at first.



Focus on shoppers ▪ Footwear brand Nike has acquired Boston-based predictive analytics company Celect to help reduce out-of-stock rates and run into fewer situations where the demand for sneakers and apparel comes unplanned. The move will bolster its direct-to-consumer strategy.




Europe


Acquisition in the UK ▪ Italian coffee roaster Illycaffè has bought the division of Euro Food Brands, its British distributor for more than 25 years. The purchase signals confidence in the market despite Brexit and represents a departure for the family-owned group, which has previously focused mainly on organic growth.



Scouting talents ▪ Consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser entered a deal with start-up accelerator Founders Factory to develop new technologies for home care and hygiene. Supporting ten newcomers initially, the partnership will provide resources and help them as they grow and develop their ideas.



Logistics plans ▪ Germany-based department store operator Karstadt Kaufhof will close a number of distribution centres, affecting several hundred jobs. The merged group considers logistics as one of its key growth areas and has already announced to work with service provider Fiege.




Australasia


Developments Down Under ▪ Australian supermarket leader Woolworths has teamed up with US start-up Takeoff Technologies to enhance customer’s online experiences, and to fend off competitor Coles, who works with online grocer Ocado. Meanwhile, rival Aldi is said to double its market share by 2030.



Dairy decisions ▪ Fonterra is planning to sell a portion of its stake in Chinese infant formula manufacturer Beingmate. The New Zealand-based multinational dairy giant also said that it will provide a unique emissions profile to each of its farmers from next spring to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.




What to watch


Fresh approaches ▪ While a lot of Western players, including Tesco and Lidl, are exiting the Chinese market, Aldi and Costco are testing the waters with smaller steps. The German discounter says it's still in a pilot phase, and the US wholesaler will open its first location in China this month.



Fashion deal ▪ UK-based Internet fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the online businesses of Karen Millen and Coast, leaving a question mark over the fate of their stores and around 1,100 employees. Like many other retailers, chains have suffered from higher costs on the high street.