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Retail Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<891011121314151617>> Total issues:161

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December 01, 2012, to December 15, 2012

Wal-Mart CEO Says Paying Low Prices Doesn't Mean Ignoring Workplace Safety

There is no conflict between paying low prices to suppliers that source products from overseas and keeping workplaces at garment factories safe, according to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. chief executive officer Mike Duke. Duke's comments followed the fire that killed more than 100 people at a Bangladesh factory that manufactured clothes for Wal-Mart. Other problems faced by Wal-Mart and discussed by Duke during a Bloomberg interview include bribery charges in Mexico and unions' calls for better pay for Wal-Mart employees in the United States.

Carrefour Finds Good Reasons To Invest In Georgia

Georgia’s liberalization of its law, official efforts to reduce corruption, and foreign investment-friendly policies encouraged France’s Carrefour to expand into the country, according to MAF Carrefour Georgia general manager Jean Louis Clary. When Carrefour first came in Georgia, there were no international retailers yet, and 80 percent of the market was made up of street bazaars, Clary said. Although a small market, Georgia holds a lot of promise in terms of profitability, according to Clary.

Wal-Mart Partners With Rogers Media To Launch Magazine In Canada

Wal-Mart Canada Corp. partnered with Rogers Media to launch “Walmart Live Better,” a 100-page glossy magazine with a circulation of 1 million copies and to be distributed in the retailer’s Supercentres across Canada. Designed like other magazines from Rogers Media, the magazine, however, will feature products available at Walmart stores. The magazine will be targeted at mothers, Walmart’s core shoppers in Canada.

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November 15, 2012, to December 01, 2012

Kroger Posts Impressive Sales For Third Quarter Of Fiscal 2012

Kroger Co. reported total sales grew 5.9 percent to $21.8 billion in the third quarter ending November 3, 2012, from $20.6 billion for the same period in the previous year. Excluding fuel, total sales rose 3.7 percent for the period. Net earnings for the quarter reached $316.5 million or $0.60 per diluted share. FIFO gross margin was 20.35 percent of sales for the quarter. Without retail fuel operations, FIFO gross margins declined 24 basis points from the previous year. Kroger reported a $15.5 million LIFO charge for the quarter compared with the $61.6 million LIFO charge for the same quarter last year.

New Unilever IT Support Center Opens In India

Unilever has officially opened a new 1,400-person information technology support center in Bangalore, India. The center will provide services such as SAP development, information management and financial processing for Unilever’s worldwide operations. About 500 of the center’s staff will be Unilever employees, while the remainder will come from outsourcing vendors Infosys and Accenture. According to CEO Paul Pofman, the IT center is a part of a strategy to boost its investment in developing and emerging markets.

Fast-Food Chains Add Healthier Menu Items, But Average Calorie Counts Change Little

A study by U.S. researchers finds that though healthy items – oatmeal with fruit, salads with grilled chicken, etc. – have been added to major fast-food restaurant menus, the average calorie counts changed very little between 1997 and 2010. Menu offerings and nutrient composition information were analyzed using archival versions of a food and nutrient database. Menus from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Arby's, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen were included in the database. Researchers found a 53 percent increase in the total number of offerings over 14 years across the restaurants. Fast-growing additions to the menus included the number of entree salads, which increased from 11 to 51, and sweetened teas, which went from zero to 35. However, the authors found no large changes in the median calorie content of entrees and drinks.

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November 01, 2012, to November 15, 2012

Wal-Mart de Mexico Reports Slightly Higher Sales For October 2012

Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB reported its sales grew 3.3 percent to 32.60 billion pesos ($2.48 billion) in October 2012 from the same month of the previous year. Total sales in Mexico for the month increased 4 percent to 28.29 billion pesos, the retailer said. On a comparable-store basis, however, and including only stores that have been operating for at least a year, sales declined 0.9 percent from the previous year, with customers spending 2.9 percent more per visit but number of transactions dropping 3.7 percent.

Asda's 2012 Christmas Campaign Focuses On Real-Life Family Situations

UK retailer Asda launched its marketing campaign for Christmas 2012. Featuring a TV commercial created by Saatchi and Saatchi, the campaign focuses on real-life situations faced by real families preparing to celebrate the year's most important season. With the Christmas carol Silent Night for its soundtrack, the advertisement was created based on the results of Asda's "Mumdex" survey of 4,000 mothers in the UK.

Growing Middle Class Drives Growth In Indonesia's Cosmetics Market

Personal care and cosmetics companies are expanding their presence in Indonesia. Growing middle class and expanding economy are fueling demand for cosmetics and personal care products, which prompted L’Oréal to build its largest factory worldwide in Java. The world’s largest cosmetics company reported its sales in Indonesia grew 30 percent and expects the country to become the third largest cosmetics market in Asia. Unilever and local cosmetics firm Martina Berto are also expanding their production. Cosmetics companies in Indonesia, however, have to deal with several factors, including developing products that have stronger fragrances, higher SPF protection, and are waterproof.

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October 15, 2012, to November 01, 2012

Fresh & Easy Brand Products To Be Sold In U.K. Tesco Stores

In an apparent effort to cut losses at its U.S. Fresh & Easy grocery stores, Tesco announced it will sell 10 Fresh & Easy food products at its U.K. stores. The products include ready-to-cook vegetable kits for casseroles and stews. The same products are not sold in the California Fresh & Easy stores, but the “brand ethos” is the same: recipes do not contain additives or preservatives. Some analysts criticized the move because the Fresh & Easy brand has no equity in the U.K. and there is no synergy to be gained from sourcing, packaging or marketing. But the 200-store American chain could benefit financially from royalties from products sold in the U.K.

Online Marketing Gambit Hopes To Build Fan Loyalty, Sell More Paninis

A fast-casual restaurant serving hand-crafted, grilled-to-order paninis in 14 states and the District of Columbia launched an innovative, social media marketing program linking the grill marks on its sandwiches to their customers’  “grill,” or smile. The month-long “Show Us Your Grill” contest conducted by the Corner Bakery Café encourages customers to submit photos of themselves holding their panini next to their smiling faces. Fans on Facebook will vote for their favorite photos, and the winner will get a free panini each week for a year. There will be additional winners in several other categories, including Panini Face – the face made every time “you lay eyes on a panini”.

Despite Spain's Economic Crisis, Supermarket Chain Mercadona Hires More Employees, Posts Higher Sales

Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona SA hired 6,500 employees and saw its sales increase 8 percent in 2011 despite the almost 25 percent unemployment rate in the country and the 25 consecutive months of falling sales in the retail market. The company's adoption of a German-style approach to improved employee productivity, which includes flexible working hours, extensive employee training, and performance-based bonuses, has driven Mercadona's growth. The company, which has 1,356 stores and 70,000 employees as of end of 2011, reported its profit grew 19 percent to €474 million on €17.83 billion in revenue.

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October 01, 2012, to October 15, 2012

Walmart To Establish Local Supplier Partnerships In India To Keep Costs, Prices, Down

Walmart’s plan to further penetrate the Indian market is moving forward through creation of local supplier partnerships. Small and mid-size suppliers of local private label brands will be the focus of the partnerships, according to Walmart. The strategy is to create efficient, cost-effective models of local procurement to keep store prices as much s 10-15 percent lower. The strategy should work well in India, where tastes change every 100-200 km. Walmart will source products locally and within a 100-km radius of a store. The model will lead to savings on transportation and other costs.

L'Oréal Planning To Sell The Body Shop Cosmetics Retail Business, Rival Says

L'Oréal plans to sell The Body Shop natural cosmetics retail chain, according to Mark Constantine, founder of rival company Lush. Constantine, who tried to buy The Body Shop in 2001, said he had spoken to a source within the cosmetics retailer who informed him that L'Oréal thinks the company, which it bought for £652.3 million in 2006, no longer fitted its business strategy. In 2011, The Body Shop reported pre-tax profits of £49.3 million.

Less Acculturated U.S. Hispanics Have Very Different Ideas About Healthy Foods

An NPD study of U.S. Hispanics’ food and beverage consumption patterns finds that  those who are foreign-born and speak mostly Spanish tend to think of healthy foods as lacking in taste and nutrition. Instead, healthy and nutritious are defined by the quantity of food served rather than the quality. Forty-six percent of Spanish-language dominant Hispanics feel that almost all healthy food lacks flavor. But these numbers change the longer Hispanics are in the U.S. Thirty-one percent of bilingual Hispanics and only 11 percent of “English dominant” Hispanics agree that healthy foods lack flavor or nutrition. The report suggests that food manufacturers and retailers could tailor their products to fulfill the needs of less acculturated Hispanics.

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September 15, 2012, to October 01, 2012

Henri Bendel To Start Selling Dr.Hauschka Skin Care Products In New York City

Dr.Hauschka Skin Care partnered with cosmetics retailer Henri Bendel to sell its natural cosmetics in New York City. The partnership deal covers skin, body, bath, and decorative cosmetic products. Dr.Hauschka Skin Care products are made from 100 percent natural botanical and mineral ingredients, the company claims.

Gartner Says Unilever Is Europe's Supply-Chain Leader

Unilever is ranked as Europe's leader in supply chain, according to Gartner's Supply Chain Top 15 in Europe for 2012. Based on criteria that include financial metrics and the opinion of Gartner analysts and peer organizations, the list presents the top 15 supply chain organizations with headquarters in Europe. Ranked number 2 is retailer Inditex, while clothing retailer H&M is at number 3 and Nestléat number 4.

Marketers Need To Spend More On Mobile Advertising In The US, Study Shows

The most effective level of spending on mobile advertising is 7 percent of a company's marketing budget in the United States, according to the white paper, "MXS: Mobile's X% Solution," by Marketing Evolution and the Mobile Marketing Association. The white paper also says that the recommended budget goes as high as 9 percent for higher-involvement brands. Also, the budget range changes based on what kind of industry vertical, the company's marketing objectives, profile of the target audience, and the marketer's budget. This is quite lower than marketers' current practice of allocating 1 percent of their marketing budget to mobile advertising.

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September 01, 2012, to September 15, 2012

Walmart: Ads Showing Differences In Prices Of Identical Shopping Baskets Are “Terrific”

Walmart ads showing comparative shopping basket prices is proving to be highly successful, the company says. CEO Bill Simon told a retail conference that ads running in 25 markets showing the final price tag on identical baskets of items from Walmart and a local grocery competitor resulted in a 1.1 percent boost in store traffic and 1.2 percent increase in sales. Simon said the ads are “terrific” because they are specific, detailed and broad, showing “things that the customers buy every day, and the value shows through.”

Estee Lauder Sues Australia's Target For Selling Allegedly Fake M•A•C Cosmetics

Estee Lauder filed a lawsuit against Target, claiming the Australian retailer sold fake M•A•C cosmetics at its stores and online. The allegations, included in a statement of claim filed by the cosmetics company with the Australian Federal Court, became a big issue online as social media sites and blogs highlighted customers' angry reactions to the news, fearing they might have purchased fake M•A•C cosmetics. Target said it believed the M•A•C cosmetics it received from a local supplier came from legal wholesalers overseas.

Chinese Consumers Are An Evolving -- And Complex -- Target For Marketers

Marketers eager to tap into China’s huge – 1.3 billion potential customers – consumer market need to get a better understanding of the country’s economic and cultural complexities, says Chris Davis of Campaign Asia. Consumer demographics, buying patterns and product preferences vary by region and by major city, and each of these is at a different stage of economic development. But there are some key facts: Chinese shoppers look for prestigious brands; women tend to control the family’s purse strings; Internet shopping, product and price comparisons, and buying are surging; and senior citizens form a sizeable purchasing segment and do considerable shopping for their grandchildren. A crucial insight: China is becoming more modern and international in its outlook, but not “Western”.

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August 15, 2012, to September 01, 2012

Walgreens To Feature L’Oréal's La Roche-Posay And Vichy Laboratoires Skincare Brands

L’Oréal Group announced that its La Roche-Posay and Vichy Laboratoires dermatological skincare brands will be available at selected branches of drugstore chain Walgreens. L’Oréal will use interactive merchandising, which includes expert advice, to highlight its skincare products. Walgreens plans to feature L’Oréal’s kiosk concept at some LOOK Boutiques.

Boots Launches High-End Haircare Section

High street retailer Boots launched a section featuring high-end haircare products. Professional stylists working with leading high-end brands are on hand to offer haircare services and advice for shoppers. Bumble and Bumble and Ojon are some of the brands with counters at the section.

African-American Consumers Display More Brand Loyalty Than Caucasians

African-American consumers show significantly higher brand loyalty compared with their Caucasian counterparts, according to a study by NewMediaMetrics. Results of the survey, which focused on the emotional attachment of the two consumer segments, aged 18–54, revealed 73 percent of about 350 brands received higher attachment scores from African-Americans. Data show that African-American consumers are more attached than Caucasians to brands, such as Lexus, General Motors, Google, Fidelity, Slim Fast, UPS, Tide, Pampers, Jell-O, Doritos, and Oreos. The top 10 brands in terms of loyalty from African-American consumers include luxury car and technology and feminine personal care.

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August 01, 2012, to August 15, 2012

New Pizza Chain Succeeds With Customization Concept

SeekingAlpha.com recently extolled the virtues of a small but fast-growing pizza chain known as Pie Five Pizza, launched by the same company that owns Pizza Inn. The main reason for the excitement about Pie Five – whose stock, it says, is undervalued – is a new concept the year-old chain is applying. For only $6.49, customers can custom-order the fresh-made dough, premium sauces and toppings, then watch the 9” pizza being assembled. It then takes only five minutes to bake. The chain has six restaurants, with one under construction, all in Texas, but has aggressive expansion plans. “The opportunity to buy the stock at cheap levels may not last for long,” Seeking Alpha says.

Carrefour Looks At Other Options in Latin America Before Considering Assets Sale

Walmart is expected to slow down its efforts to acquire Carrefour’s retail operations in Latin America, according to a report by Bloomberg. A partnership with Walmart can help Carrefour catch up with Casino subsidiary Exito, currently the leading retailer in Colombia. Carrefour is also faced with similar trends in Brazil, where the retailer has trailed Casino-controlled CBD and Walmart in terms of investment. However, Carrefour’s newly appointed CEO Georges Plassat wants to first study other options, such as reexamining its strategic direction, before considering a possible deal with Walmart or other potential suitor. 

McBride Fails To Grow Sales In 2011, Plans Expansion In Asia

McBride posted flat sales in 2011, with household care products accounting for 80 percent and personal care representing 20 percent of sales. The company supplies more than 95 percent of the private-label requirements of Europe’s top 20 retailers, such as Aldi, Auchan, and Carrefour. While sales in the UK and Western Europe declined, sales in Central and Eastern Europe grew 18 percent to $222 million. McBride said it plans to expand operations in Asia.

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July 15, 2012, to August 01, 2012

Safeway Reports Lower Income, Slightly Higher Sales In Second Quarter 2012

Safeway Inc. reported its income from continuing operations fell to $121.7 million for the second quarter of 2012 from $146.0 million in the second quarter of the previous year. Sales and other revenue rose 1.9 percent to $10.4 billion from $10.2 billion, due to increased fuel sales and a 0.8 percent increase in same-store sales. Gross profit dropped 73 basis points to 26.27 percent of sales from 27.0 percent of sales in the previous year. The company said operating and administrative expense decreased to 23.89 percent of sales from 24.28 percent of sales in 2011.

Worries About Calories, Costs, Ring The “Death Knell” For Restaurant Bread Baskets

Blame two key trends for the near disappearance of complimentary baskets of bread in restaurants these days: rising costs and rising concerns about calories. Restaurants, especially smaller ones, can’t afford to provide a basket full of bread that could eventually be tossed in the trash. Bread is still available, of course, but often only by request, and for a price. The other problem has to do with calories, a reflection of increased consumer awareness of expanding waistlines. According to an NPD analyst, bread consumption has been on the decline for two decades because “the thing people are more interested in than anything else is, how many calories am I putting in my body?”

U.K. Pastry Shop Says Its Italian Cake Bars Boost The Metabolic Rate

A London-based start-up patisserie claims that its Italian pastries – in the form of cake bars –  contain a blend of natural ingredients that encourage the body to burn calories. The line of nine bars in a variety of flavors contain L-carnitine, guarana and green tea, all of which purportedly boost the body’s metabolic rate. Each bar also packs between 110 and 150 calories, but the bakery doesn’t say whether the calories burned equals the calories consumed. The founder of Klever Kalories says it hopes to expand its product line to cupcakes and savory snacks, such as crisps (AKA potato chips).
<<891011121314151617>> Total issues:161
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