There is innovation aplenty in today’s edition. Walmart is wooing bees with its pollination station pilot and Amazon is taking pro-active measures to support those who undertake suicidal searches. Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer is going glitter-free and Zalando is teaming up with robots. Enjoy the read and have a great week.




Monday, 02 September 2019





Hello ,

There is innovation aplenty in today’s edition. Walmart is wooing bees with its pollination station pilot and Amazon is taking pro-active measures to support those who undertake suicidal searches. Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer is going glitter-free and Zalando is teaming up with robots. Enjoy the read and have a great week.




Europe & Africa


Totally tech ▪ German fashion e-tailer Zalando is embracing robotics and will begin using the automated tech to pack real customer orders at its Lahr fulfilment centre. In the UK, fitness apparel retailer Gymshark has revealed a GBP 5 million innovation centre which will double as ‘the best gym in Europe’.



Hits and misses ▪ British supermarket Morrisons is offering community groups and locals the opportunity to book spaces to gather and meet at its onsite cafés for free nationwide. Meanwhile, rival grocers Asda and Tesco have been slammed for illegally selling knives to under 18-year-olds.



Green matters ▪ Corporate responsibility is high on the agenda with Finland’s K Group launching a carbon footprint calculator for food items on its app. In the UK, Marks and Spencer is waging war on micro-plastics and banning glitter from its Christmas stock, and charitable group Oxfam is shining a light on the negative impacts of fast fashion with its 'Secondhand September' campaign.



Changing tides ▪ French-headquartered sugar maker Tereos is making a quiet exit from Kenya and South Africa as global attitudes to the sweetener shift. Sugar prices have dropped rapidly in the last year, forcing the refiner to adjust its business strategy.




The Americas


Big plans ▪ Following the success of its Sao Paulo distribution centre, Amazon has plans to increase its presence in Brazil with further expansion on the cards. The e-commerce giant is also taking steps to support vulnerable customers with a proposal to promote helpline phone numbers for any suicide-related searches.



Pilot programmes ▪ Walmart is ploughing ahead with innovative trials. To beautify store grounds and keep the bees happy, 21 ‘pollinator gardens’ are being tested across three states. Meanwhile in Georgia, the retail leader is set to offer affordable dental and mental health care for customers.



Aldi expands ▪ The German discounter continues to make inroads into the American market, with a new store opening on the east coast in New Bern. In the UK, Olympic medal winner Victoria Chalmers opened a new Aldi store in Dundee.




Asia


Under fire ▪ India’s competition watchdog condemned big online retailers such as Amazon for using tricky tactics to get around new e-commerce rules that were designed to protect smaller retailers from the heavy-discounting practices of the e-commerce juggernauts. Amazon defended its strategy.




Monday musings


Corporate fallout ▪ International condemnation of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Amazon rainforest fires continues. Major shoemaker VF Corp, parent company of brands including Vans, Timberland and Jansport will cease purchasing Brazilian leather until environmental assurances are given.



Power couple ▪ Tech dynamos Elon Musk of Tesla fame and Alibaba’s Jack Ma appeared in a livestreamed chat in Shanghai to help open the World Artificial Intelligence Conference. The duo discussed aliens and AI, but steered clear of commenting on the mounting trade war, with many viewers disappointed at the missed opportunity.



Responsible sourcing ▪ It’s always fascinating to see innovative-enviro twists on everyday products. Tracy Toler-Phillips is looking to revolutionise the cosmetics industry with her range of plastic free, vegan beauty products. Meanwhile, New Yorker Xiao Wang is making ethical jewellery from recycled and untreated metals and gems.