With devastating wildfires continuing to burn in the Amazon, and Brazil turning down the G7 countries' offer of aid, luxury conglomerate LVMH has stepped in with a million-dollar donation. Over in China, wholesaler Costco has been welcomed by consumer crowds with unexpected results. Read on to find out what happened and have a great day.




Wednesday, 28 August 2019





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With devastating wildfires continuing to burn in the Amazon, and Brazil turning down the G7 countries' offer of aid, luxury conglomerate LVMH has stepped in with a million-dollar donation. Over in China, wholesaler Costco has been welcomed by consumer crowds with unexpected results. Read on to find out what happened and have a great day.




US & Canada


Mega merger ▪ Philip Morris and the Marlboro producer Altria are considering a possible merger as the two companies seek to pool resources in the fast-growing e-cigarette market. The move would create a tobacco player worth USD 200 billion. Several approvals are required before the deal can go ahead.



Toy time ▪ Toys 'R' Us Canada is determined to grow significantly and has announced plans to open two smaller stores next year and refresh customer experience. The Canadian business of the bankrupt US retailer was purchased by Fairfax Financial Holdings last year and currently operates 83 locations.



Exec change ▪ Kraft Heinz has named 'seasoned veteran' Paulo Basilio as its new chief financial officer. He previously served in the same role between 2015 and 2017. Over the last year, the packaged food giant has dealt with a series of struggles, including the write-down of several businesses.




Europe & Africa


Brexit worries ▪ Lidl's UK chief commercial officer, Ryan McDonnell, has reassured suppliers (paywall) they will not have to shoulder ‘all additional costs’ of a no-deal Brexit, following reports that they would be expected to pay EU tariffs. Meanwhile, Tesco workers call on the European Court of Justice for equal pay clarification.



Online pilot ▪ Dutch grocer Jumbo has entered a partnership with meal order platform thuisbezorgd.nl to pilot an online service in its Foodmarkt Groningen. Customers can order fresh pizzas, salads, sushi and other items through an app and will get the goods delivered within an hour.



Financial trouble ▪ Botswana-based supermarket chain Choppies is reportedly considering exiting East Africa, a week after announcing plans to leave South Africa. The retailer, which also operates in Kenya and Tanzania, saw its shares plunge significantly after announcing a delay in financial statements.




Asia & Australasia


Dairy developments ▪ Fonterra reported a milk production increase in July in New Zealand, but a decline in Australia, where infant formula firm Bellamy’s suffered a near 50% drop in annual profit, hurt by regulatory changes in China and increased competition.



Store ideas ▪ Giant Malaysia opened seven new stores (with pictures) in one day last week. Designed to create a modern shopping environment and more product diversity, systematic layouts help customers to navigate their way through the hypermarkets.



Beating Google ▪ The global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in the second quarter to reach 26.1 million shipments. With 4,5 million units shipped in the period, Chinese internet giant Baidu has been overtaking Google, accounting for 4,3 million shipments. Amazon claims the top spot with 6.6 million units.




Unusual & remarkable


Overwhelming welcome ▪ Costco was forced to shut its first store in China early on its opening day yesterday after large crowds caused traffic jams in the Shanghai neighbourhood. Analysts believe the US wholesaler was welcomed with such enthusiasm because it was able to satiate China’s appetite for new concepts.



Laudable intentions ▪ French luxury conglomerate LVMH has joined President Macron and the G7 initiative by pledging USD 11 million to help fight wildfires in the Amazon and calling on others to follow. Meanwhile, Norway urged its companies in Brazil not to contribute to the destruction of the rainforest.