Amazon is facing challenges in Europe. The online giant has been accused of continuing to underpay corporation tax in Britain and was fined in France over competition issues. Across the Atlantic, supermarket giant Kroger follows Walmart and has changed its policy regarding firearms. Read on and find out what else gets the industry talking.




Wednesday, 04 September 2019





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Amazon is facing challenges in Europe. The online giant has been accused of continuing to underpay corporation tax in Britain and was fined in France over competition issues. Across the Atlantic, supermarket giant Kroger follows Walmart and has changed its policy regarding firearms. Read on and find out what else gets the industry talking.




Europe


Global expansion ▪ With sales up in the first half of the year, Lego is on track to open more stores worldwide. The Danish toymaker will have 80 new shops in China by the end of the year, taking the total to more than 140 there and to nearly 600 across the globe. It's also set to launch in India next year.



Asset sale ▪ Lloyds Bank has agreed to buy Tesco's mortgage portfolio in a GBP 3.8 billion deal. The sale follows a decision by the British supermarket major to stop new mortgage lending earlier this year. The company has more than 23,000 mortgage customers.



Portfolio addition ▪ Irish convenience foods producer Greencore has taken over Freshtime UK, a Lincolnshire-based supplier of food-to-go items and prepared produce. Across the channel, German food group Dr Oetker has received the green light to acquire Romanian company Rimco, the owner of pastry producer Panovia Prod.



Facing headwind ▪ A Paris court fined Amazon EUR 4 million over introducing abusive clauses in its contracts with third-party vendors. In Britain, the online giant is accused of not handing over enough in corporate tax, although Amazon argues its contribution has been tripled since 2017.




United States


Tighter rules ▪ Walmart announced that it will stop selling ammunition for handguns and some assault-style rifles in all its stores across the US and add more restrictions to its gun policy. The National Rifle Association wasted no time criticising the mega-retailer for its decisions.



More responses ▪ Following Walmart's announcement, Ohio-based supermarket giant Kroger has begun asking customers to stop openly carrying firearms in stores and will discontinue the sale of some firearms. The grocer joins a number of companies, who have taken action and made statements regarding gun laws in the US.




Asia & Australasia


Growth commitments ▪ Apple wants to set up physical as well as online stores in India and has already taken steps to manufacture products in the country, partnering with Taiwanese company Wistron. Meanwhile, the US tech company has gone to new heights in the US. Have a look at its flagship in Miami.



Gloomy outlook ▪ While Japanese apparel chain Uniqlo enjoyed another increase in annual sales, parent company Fast Retailing's outlook is clouded by the trade war between the US and China as well as a consumer backlash in South Korea. Uniqlo operates 50 stores in the US.



Snack hub ▪ Mondelēz International is set to disrupt the snack industry in Australia and New Zealand by establishing its innovation hub, SnackFutures, in Melbourne. The business will be focused on accelerating growth and innovation in collaboration with start-ups and other brands.




What to watch


Trouble at the till ▪ The combination of Brexit fears, a falling property market, as well as competition from online and discounters, has made trading conditions extremely tough for high street retailers. The Guardian evaluates the situation for British icon Marks & Spencer.



Banana crisis ▪ Climate change could hit banana cultivation in key producing and exporting countries, a study has revealed. It suggests that 10 countries, including India, the world’s largest producer of bananas, and Brazil are predicted to see a significant decline in crop yields.