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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.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:161

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September 01, 2017, to October 01, 2017

China's FMCG Market Grows 4.6 Percent In August 2017 Quarter

In China, sales of fast-moving consumer goods grew 4.6 percent during the 12-week period ending August 11, 2017, compared with the same period of the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed lower-tier cities saw faster growth at 4.9 percent compared with 4.1 percent for leading cities and provincial capitals.

Wal-Mart Expands Sustainability Chemistry Policy, Demands Safer Products From Suppliers

Wal-Mart said it has expanded its sustainability chemistry policy for consumable products, as part of the retailer's efforts to improve transparency, promote better product formulations, and widen its selection of sustainable products. First launched in 2013, the program covers about 90,000 products from 700 suppliers. As part of the commitment, Wal-Mart expects its suppliers to completely disclose chemicals used as ingredients in their products, ensure their products come with safe ingredients, and integrate sustainability into their product manufacturing.

Wal-Mart Plans To Build New Corporate Headquarters In Bentonville

Wal-Mart announced plans to build a new corporate headquarters in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. According to the retailer, its current setup of separate buildings and offices limits its ability to expand and grow its business. Wal-Mart said a “central campus” will encourage “collaboration and speed” among associates and business units. Also, the planned building will provide employees with “improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light,” which will help the company attract the best talents and inspire current workforce to give their best.

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August 01, 2017, to September 01, 2017

Metro AG Posts Strong 3Q Sales

German retail and wholesale company Metro AG (Düsseldorf) reported an increase of 2.6 percent in like-for-like sales in the third quarter, along with an increase of 4.9 percent in overall sales to $11 billion. The company attributed the healthy numbers to “positive currency effects” as well as its acquisition of Pro a Pro, a French foodservice distribution specialist. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) reached $256 million compared to $81 million in the same period last year. Chief executive Olaf Koch said the financial results, the first since the demerger of Metro Group, indicate that the company has “become more relevant for our customers worldwide.”

Campbell Ramps Up Online Delivery Infrastructure For Evolving Retail Environment

Though the percentage of food sold online today is in the low single digits, by 2021 it will be a $66 billion business. Campbell Soup is determined to part of that phenomenon.
It recently announced the hiring of Amazon (and eBay and Kohl’s) veteran Shakeel Farooque to lead the new e-commerce division. This “revealing” hire, as Quartz put it, underscores the company’s goal of selling more soup online. Campbell says its new distribution centers will operate differently from its warehouses that keep supermarkets stocked. The new distribution centers will focus on e-commerce only, customizing delivery of foods for different channels, whether meal kits or online grocery orders.

Sephora Launches Online Store In India

Beauty retailer Sephora has launched its own online store, sephora.nnnow.com, in India. Combining the company's online and offline stores, the online channel will let the brand reach consumers across the country. According to the company, the online store will feature makeup, skincare, fragrances, bath, and body care products, as well as the rest of its product lineup.

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July 01, 2017, to August 01, 2017

Amazon's 2Q 2017 Profit Drops 77 Percent; Blames Expansion Costs

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. reported profit fell 77 percent to $197 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales grew 25 percent to $38 billion; however, the high cost of expansion efforts, which include new warehouses and delivery capacity for its retail business and datacenters for its cloud services business, caused the drop in quarterly profit. Amazon is expanding its brick-and-mortar business, highlighted by its acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. in June 2017.

Consumer Shopping: Speed Is Of The Essence

Now that consumers have the technological capability to shop at the speed of light, they expect instant gratification at online stores. Retailers have put in place a wide array of technologies and practices that speed transactions and fulfillment, from one-day delivery to in-store beacons (left) that communicate with shoppers via smartphones. Other advancements created to satisfy the new “I want what I want when I want it” shopping culture are: experimental delivery drones, same-day doctor appointments,, virtual doctor consultations, one-hour delivery of food and groceries, in-store restaurants and bars, and the “see-now, shop-now” trend that lets consumers order new fashion items seen on Instagram almost immediately.

Ahold Delhaize Marks First Year After 2016 Merger

Ahold Delhaize is celebrating the first anniversary of the merger between Ahold and Delhaize Group that created the retail company in July 2016. As a merged company, Ahold Delhaize owns 21 local brands and employs 370,000 associates. It serves more than 50 million customers each week in 11 countries.

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June 15, 2017, to July 01, 2017

Sephora Digital SEA Adopts Advanced Personalization Technology

Sephora Digital SEA (formerly Luxola) is implementing Dynamic Yield's personalization technology stack technology to tailor individualized e-commerce experiences to each customer.  Sephora SEA is responsible for the e-commerce activities of Sephora across South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. With Dynamic Yield’s technology, Sephora SEAcan provide individualized beauty product recommendations on website pages based on country and prior shopping behavior. A Sephora SEA spokesman said personalization is “at the core of our e-commerce strategy.”

Large Firms Tell How They Eradicated Forced Labor In Supply Lines

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has published a report containing case studies from 12 member companies describing how they got rid of forced labor in their supply chains. CGF says forced labor is an endemic social problem in global supply chains and cannot be solved by one company alone. The Cola-Cola Company, Unilever, Nestlé S.A. and Tesco all shared their experiences in dealing with the global $150 billion problem.

Tesco Merges Two Customer Services Offices

British grocery chain Tesco is consolidating its Customer Engagement Centers (CEC) into one office located in Dundee. As part of the consolidation, it is closing the CEC in Cardiff by February 2018. The company said it expects the move to simplify customer service while maintaining quality through phone, email, and social media operations. Closing the Cardiff CEC will affect 1,100 workers, but Tesco expects to create 250 new positions at the Dundee office.

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June 01, 2017, to June 15, 2017

Discount Grocer Aldi To Add 900 Stores By 2022

Aldi announced it is adding 900 stores in the U.S. over the next five years. The $3.4 billion expansion is in addition to the $1.6 billion it is spending to remodel 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020. According to the company, the new stores – it currently has 1,600 – will make Aldi the third largest grocery chain in the U.S., with a goal of serving 100 million customers a month. The expansion will add 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices.

Carrefour Names Industry's Top Executive As New CEO

Retail executive Alexandre Bompard is to be named as chief executive of France-based retailer Carrefour, according to reports. Bompard's achievements in the retail market include the reorganization of Fnac bookstore chain and electricals retailer Darty. Known for his daring and determination, Bompard is expected by market observers to revitalize the French retailer.

Fosun Should Find Better Takeover Target Than The Body Shop, Analyst Says

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International should discontinue its efforts to secure the rights to buy The Body Shop, the beauty retailer owned by L'Oreal SA. There are several reasons why Fosun would be better off looking for another company to acquire. These include the lack of positive forecasts for the retail sector, including the beauty retail segment. Also, The Body Shop's emphasis on all-natural beauty products no longer differentiates it from rival retailers, as reflected by the 4.8 percent drop in revenue in 2016. With a price tag of $900 million, which is expected to significantly jump once a likely bidding war starts, The Body Shop is quite expensive.

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May 15, 2017, to June 01, 2017

Tesco Reports Improved Sales And Profits In FY 2017

Tesco reported sales, excluding VAT and fuel, rose 1.1 percent in fiscal 2017. According to the retailer, it recorded positive growth in both UK and international operations. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 29.9 percent to ₤1.28 billion, compared with the previous year. Statutory profit before tax dropped 28.2 percent to ₤145 million, including ₤263 million in exceptional costs. Retail operating cash flow was ₤2.3 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent from the previous year, the company said. Tesco said it has reduced its net debt by 27 percent to ₤3.7 billion.

Walmart Opens Flagship Online Store For China Market On JD.com

Walmart opened its flagship online store on China-based shopping portal JD.com. Aimed at providing same-day and next-day deliveries to more than 600 million consumers in the country, the opening came almost a year after Walmart and JD.com formed a strategic alliance for the China market. In October 2016, Walmart invested $50 million in New Dada, JD.com's joint venture with delivery services firm Dada.

Ulta Beauty Posts Strong Sales Gains In 1Q Of 2017

Ulta Beauty said net sales jumped 22.5 percent to $1.315 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Comparable sales rose 14.3 percent during the period, compared with the 15.2-percent growth in the same quarter of fiscal 2016. According to the company, retail comparable sales grew 10.9 percent, including salon comparable sales growth of 9.9 percent. Salon sales grew 16.7 percent to $68.7 million, compared with the same period in the previous year.

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May 01, 2017, to May 15, 2017

Grocery Discounter Aldi Increases The Pressure On Low-Price Competitors

German discount grocery chain Aldi is solidifying its gains in the U.S. market by competing even more on price, enhancing its product line, and remodeling stores and adding new ones. Internal research shows that Aldi already undercuts Walmart prices by an average of 21 percent, and it plans to keep the pressure on. The pricing strategy, aimed directly at low-price competitors like Walmart, includes expanding its array of private-label products. The company will spend $1.6 billion to expand and remodel 1,300 of its 1,600 U.S. stores, while opening 400 new stores in Florida, Texas and on the East and West coasts within a year and a half. CEO Jason Hart said all of these moves are designed to convince grocery shoppers to start their shopping trips at Aldi.

Whole Foods Market Names Manbeck Chief Financial Officer

Retailer Whole Foods Market, Inc., said it has named Keith Manbeck as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective May 17, 2017. With more than 20 years of experience as financial and operational executive at leading companies, Manbeck joins the retailer's management team implementing an expanded strategy to improve shareholder value. Manbeck was SVP of digital finance, strategy management, and business transformation at Kohl's Corp. since 2014 and, before that, was global VP and CFO for Nike's Direct to Consumer business.

Whole Foods Market Suffers Another Quarterly Drop In Same-Store Sales

Whole Foods Market posted generally healthy second quarter financials, but endured another quarterly decline in same-store sales. Total sales were up 1.1 percent to a record $3.7 billion for the quarter. Same-store sales, however, slid 2.8 percent, the seventh consecutive quarterly drop. Profit was $99 million (2.6 percent of sales), or an expected $0.37 a share. The company returned $45 million in dividends to shareholders. CEO John Mackey said a key goal is to return to positive same-store sales and earnings growth next year, though the company expects same-store sales to remain depressed this fiscal year. It hopes to trim $300 million in costs this year, and has hired a consulting firm to help it figure out how. Keith Manbeck was named the new chief financial officer.

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April 15, 2017, to May 01, 2017

Chinese Restaurant Chain Sees Big Opportunity In U.S., U.K.

A spicy soup chain based in Beijing plans to open 80 new restaurants this year, at least 10 of which will be outside China. Sichuan HaiDiLao, which offers free massages and manicures to customers waiting for service, already has an outlet in Los Angeles. It hopes to acquaint American and British diners with its specialty hotpots featuring steaming broths flavored with meat, vegetables and noodles. The idea is to introduce the world to genuine Chinese cuisine in much the same way U.S. food companies spread American eating styles. Because of prohibitive labor and other costs in the U.S., however, duplicating the company’s successful business model won’t be a simple task. But, says company chairman Zhang Yong, “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.” 

Amazon.com Posts Strong Sales Numbers In 1Q 2017

Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., reported operating cash flow jumped 53 percent to $17.6 billion for the trailing 12 months ending March 31, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Free cash flow grew to $10.2 billion, compared with $6.7 billion in the previous year. In the first quarter of 2017, net sales grew 23 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Operating income dropped 6 percent to $1.0 billion in the first quarter, compared with $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016.

The Meal Kit Phenomenon Takes The World’s Kitchens By Storm

An alternative to fast food and traditional cooking has captured the attention of home cooks looking to serve fresh, nutritious meals that require little or no planning and very little preparation. For the past five years, meal kits have been purchased in grocery stores or delivered straight to the front door, globally or anywhere in the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon include Germany’s Hello Fresh, which delivers to 48 states and eight countries, and Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide. Locally produced kits, available at grocery stores and supermarkets, share one trait with those of the national companies: ingredients are fresh, take little time to cook – 25 to 40 minutes – and are convenient for weeknights or special occasions. 

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April 01, 2017, to April 15, 2017

Tesco Reports Strong Sales Growth In 2016/2017

UK retailer Tesco reported group sales rose 4.3 percent to ₤49.9 billion for fiscal year 2016-2017. According to the company, like-for-like sales in the UK grew 0.9 percent, its first reported full-year growth since FY 2009/2010, and 1 percent across the group. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 30 percent to ₤1.28 billion. Group operating margin improved from 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent.

Jana Partners Acquires Almost 9-Percent Stake In Whole Foods; Wants Retailer To Speed Up Turnaround

Activist investor Jana Partners LLC has acquired an 8.8-percent stake in specialty retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. Apparently not satisfied with the retailer's current directions, Jana Partners wants Whole Foods to speed up its turnaround efforts and to consider the likelihood of being acquired by another company. Whole Foods has so far failed to transform itself from being a popular niche player into a large, national retail chain. Since peaking in 2013, the retailer's stock has lost almost half of its market value.

Ireland's Grocery Market Contracts In March 2017, Kantar Says

Ireland's grocery market contracted by 0.7 percentage points month on month to -0.2 percent, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm's latest report covering the 12-week period ending March 26, 2017, revealed Supervalu has regained the top spot on the list of the largest grocers in the country. Rival Dunnes Stores held the post for the past two months, the company said. Also, data showed local shoppers are buying more stores' own-label products, with private labels accounting for 54 percent of total grocery spend, an increase of 6 percent over the past four years.

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March 15, 2017, to April 01, 2017

Carrefour Becomes Brazil's Largest Retailer In 2016

Carrefour reported sales in Brazil reached BRL 49.1 billion, or €14.4 billion, in 2016, making it the top retailer in the country. Data from the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets showed Carrefour surpassed the BRL 44.9 billion, or €13.2 billion, GPA had in 2016. Walmart Brazil was at third place with BRL 29.4 billion, or €8.67 billion.

Peapod Customers Shopping More Often, Buying More, CMO Says

Peapod customers are using the online grocery delivery service more frequently and are increasing their basket size, according to the company's CMO Carrie Bienkowski. She said among the factors driving growth in the online grocery delivery service segment are millennials' preference for home-cooked meals and service providers' personalization strategies. Bienkowski described some of her company's personalization tactics, including customized homepage for existing customers and emails based on “transaction behavior.” Also, the company is focused on identifying customer segments, by evaluating transaction behavior.

Chipotle Works To Put Its Food-Poisoning Nightmare In The Rearview Mirror

Chipotle Mexican Grill continues to distance itself from the food-poisoning disasters it endured a couple of years ago by revamping the ingredients it uses in its menu items. In the latest move, the company announced its restaurants are now selling flour tortillas made without preservatives. In all, the chain uses only 51 ingredients – none are GMO – including some organic produce and meat raised without hormones. CEO Steve Ells said the strategy is to focus on “improving the basic, wholesome ingredients” rather than on limited-time offers, extra value meals or “menu proliferation.” The efforts to revive its tarnished reputation and boost sales have yet to kick in, however: same-store sales fell 4.8 percent in the most recent quarter.
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