Leaving EMD in Europe
After being a member for two years, Asda has quit European buying group EMD at the end of December. The British Walmart unit aims to build direct relationships with suppliers. Last year, the Swiss-based purchasing alliance has welcomed Australian powerhouse Woolworths as a new member.
Croatian conglomerate Agrokor wants to create a holding company fully owned by its creditors. However, it will face a challenge in the form of rising market force Lidl. The German discounter also continues to grow in Italy, where it has opened its 600th supermarket.
British grocer Tesco has announced its support for Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign to encourage healthier snacks. Rival Sainsbury’s is launching what it has called a ‘next-generation’ plant-based range in an attempt to tap into the growing meat-free market in the UK.
The country’s growing e-commerce sector attracts retail giants such as Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart, which are spending big. Walmart is not only investing in new online fulfilment centres but also in brick-and-mortar. Subsidiary Walmex revealed that it opened nearly 80 new Mexican stores in 2017 (paywall).
Staying in the spotlight
Amazon is in talks to open up its voice assistant Alexa to sponsored product ads, with Procter & Gamble reportedly among the firms involved. The online giant is also rumoured to have set his eyes on acquiring discounter Target, however, not everybody thinks that this will happen.
The US Department of Agriculture predicts that Americans will consume a record amount of meat and poultry this year, continuing the upward trend beginning in 2014. This is good news for McDonald’s, which is testing the use of fresh beef in a new burger, marking a shift away from frozen beef patties.
Sustainability matters in Asia
The Japanese government is committed to promote energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in shopping centres and supermarkets, while retail giant Aeon has renovated 13 outlets across the country to try to cater to seniors as retailers evolve to fit the needs of Japan’s ageing consumer base.
Amazon is reportedly in final stages of closing a deal with Mumbai-based insurance start-up Acko. The agreement will see the e-commerce giant co-create financial products with the Indian company and also act as its online distributor. Acko was in talks with Flipkart earlier, but the discussions fell through.
Aldi staff in Britain are in for a pay rise after the German discounter enjoyed its busiest-ever Christmas season, posting sales of over GBP 10 billion in the UK and Ireland, 15% more than in the year before. Salaries are about to increase by 4.6% and the minimum hourly rate will go up as well.
British department store Debenhams issued a profit warning and will cut jobs as well as close stores after a disappointing Christmas period. Thanks to a growing supplier network, convenience chain Nisa is in a better position. Sales rose 17.7% to GBP 277 million in the season.
Lidl has revealed plans to enter city centre locations in Greece and is set to roll out its new international store concept. Being the only discounter in the country, LZ Retailytics notes that Lidl’s exceptional position can help the German company to steadily expand its market share.
Sears is set to close 103 unprofitable stores as it continues to assess its operations. The department store operator has seen 24 straight quarters of sales declines. Although fellow retailer Macy’s enjoyed ‘solid’ sales over the holidays, more store closings and massive job cuts are still on the agenda.
Ups and downs
Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance has reported a double-digit fall in quarterly profits. Net earnings decreased to US$ 821 million. Wholesaler Costco, on the other hand, enjoyed an increase in net sales of 14.3% to US$ 14.9 billion in December
Private label boost
Kroger plans to expand its Simple Truth natural and organic brand this year. The line currently has more than 1,400 products. The Cincinnati-based retailer wants to offer affordable items that align with consumer trends.