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Period: May 15, 2013 to June 1, 2013
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Omega-3 Sausage? Ja! On Store Shelves In Germany

Germans apparently aren’t all that into eating omega-3-rich fish like salmon and mackerel – though they are aware of the health benefits – but they do love sausage. With that in mind, Fraunhofer Institute scientists have developed a way to infuse omega-3 fatty acids into various foods, including sausage. Using a special emulsion system, scientists combined the effects of various antioxidants and eliminated substances that accelerate the oxidation process in fatty acids that leads to an objectionable fishy odor. The fatty acids remain stable and can be incorporated into a variety of foods. The first of the products to hit the market is an omega-3 sausage, which is now on EDEKA store shelves.

"Prost! Germans develop omega-3 sausage", Newhope 360, May 22, 2013

McDonald’s Prunes Its Menu To Speed Up Service

McDonald’s is trimming its menu in an effort to address customer complaints about slow service, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Bloomberg. The restaurant’s current menu has 145 items – 70 percent more than in 2007 – and many of the offerings are very labor intensive, putting a strain on staff and lengthening service times. So far the company has eliminated the Angus Burger, Fruit & Walnut salads and Chicken Selects. Others slated for possible elimination, according to the e-mail, are Caesar salads, the McSkillet Burrito, the Southern Style Biscuit and steak bagels. A recent survey of fast-food patrons found that menu variety ranked below food quality, cleanliness, value and service as important restaurant attributes.

"McDonald’s Seen Overhauling U.S. Menu From 145 Choices", Bloomberg, May 18, 2013

Educating Consumers About The Consequences Of Restaurant Meals Could Curb Obesity

Authors of a recent U.S. study suggest that state and local governments could help curb the nation’s obesity epidemic by requiring restaurant menus to provide not only calorie counts but also the amount of exercise necessary to burn off those calories. The researchers examined studies on calorie labeling and regulatory options available to local governments. The studies showed that when presented with calorie counts and other menu information, consumers were half as likely to order a high calorie meal. Researchers also recommended replacing menu items like French fries with alternatives like apple slices.

"Improving Obesity Prevention at the Local Level — Emerging Opportunities", New England Journal of Medicine, May 09, 2013

Companies, Organizations  

Carrefour Revamps Global Expansion Plans, Will Focus On Europe, South America, And Asia

French retailer Carrefour plans to focus its global expansion efforts on Europe, South America, and Asia, according to company CEO Georges Plassat. Admitting that his company's previous international expansion move went too far and too fast, Plassat said Carrefour had to leave some markets to relieve the retailer of the financial pressure. Carrefour's CEO said the company will invest €2.3 billion in 2013, with a significant portion to be spent on operations in France. Having learned its lessons from the company's merger with Promodès, Carrefour intends to give more autonomy and decision-making responsibility to store managers.

"Carrefour chief executive discusses retailer’s strategy", Retail Analysis , May 30, 2013

Amazon Launches Online Space Dedicated To Men's Grooming Products

Online retailer Amazon is launching a section of its online store dedicated to selling men's grooming products. Designed to encourage male shoppers to buy more of their health and cosmetics products online via its online store, The Men's Grooming store "allows us to introduce a more curated shopping experience for men," said Amazon's director of health, beauty, and personal care Chance Wales. Men's grooming specialists Baxter of California and Men's Fitness will provide editorial content for the portal, which will also offer how-to guides on topics, such as skincare, shaving, and hairstyling.

"Amazon launches men's grooming store", Yahoo! , May 21, 2013

Retail Stores Adopt High-Tech Means To Compete With Online Rivals

Brick-and-mortar retail stores are using technology to regain market share lost to online retailers. With 58 percent of the U.S. population forecast to be online shoppers by 2016, according to a 2012 report from Forrester, retailers are adopting consumer-oriented technologies, such as the Me-Ality Size-Matching Station which analyzes the shopper's body and determines the brand, size, and style that will fit best. Beauty retailer Sephora partnered with Pantone LLC to develop Color IQ, a technology designed to help women choose make-up products that match their skin tone. Seattle-based men's clothing store Hointer combines the benefits of a physical store with the convenience and fast service of an online store to better serve shoppers.

"High-Tech Shopping: Meet the Future of Retail", LAPTOP , May 21, 2013

Wal-Mart Posts Lower Same-Store Sales In The United States For First Quarter 2013

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported same-store sales in the United States fell 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Sam's Club warehouse division reported same-store sales rose slightly 0.2 percent. Wal-Mart posted a 1.1 increase in net profit to $3.78 billion during the quarter from $3.74 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $114.19 billion, with international sales rising 2.9 percent to $33 billion during the quarter. Wal-Mart forecast earnings of between $1.22 and $1.27 a share for the current quarter, lower than the $1.29 per-share profit forecast by analysts.

"Wal-Mart Says Customers Remain 'Stretched'", Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2013

Alliance Boots Reports Higher Profits Despite Lower Revenue For Year Ending March 31, 2013

Alliance Boots reported profit after tax rose 12.7 percent for the year ending March 31, 2013. Revenue declined 2.6 percent to £22.4 billion, while trading profit increased 6.1 percent to £1.265 billion. Cash generated from operations reached £1.648 billion. Alliance Boots said it spent £200 million on capital expenditure, mainly on retail stores, information technology and logistics. Acquisition-related expenditure reached £84 million. Net borrowings by end of the year reached £5.893 billion, £1.124 billion lower year over year.

"Alliance Boots Annual results for the year ended 31 March 2013", Alliance Boots, May 15, 2013

Walmart.com hires a VP of marketing

Internet Retailer, May 28, 2013

Sephora Snags Beauty Sales with Pinterest

Business 2 Community, May 26, 2013

Target opens an e-retail technology center

Internet Retailer, May 20, 2013

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Walmart Plans To Buy 49 Percent Of Retail Holding Company Cedar Support In India

Walmart Stores Inc. said it will buy a 49 percent stake in Cedar Support Service, the holding company for India-based multi-brand retailer Bharti Retail. Expected to be completed by September 2013, the Rs 455.8 crore deal will make the U.S. retailer the first foreign company to invest in India's retail sector. Walmart plans to convert compulsory convertible debentures it bought in March 2010 into 42.6 crore equity shares. This will help Cedar Support Service add equity into Bharti Retail, which plans to increase its retail stores from the current 228 branches to 638 branches by December 2018, with 104 retail stores set to be opened by December 2013.

"Walmart to buy 49% in holding company of Bharti Retail, Cedar Support for Rs 455.8 cr", Economic Times, May 29, 2013

Carrefour Sells Stake In Middle East Joint Venture To Local Partner

French retailer Carrefour plans to sell its 25 percent stake in its Middle Eastern joint venture to local partner Majid Al Futtaim. MAF is reportedly paying between $400 million and $500 million for the stake. Carrefour has been scaling down its international business operations, selling €2.8 billion worth of assets in 2012 to raise funds for investments and strengthen its balance sheet. Carrefour's joint venture with MAF operates 48 hypermarkets and 42 supermarkets in 11 countries in Middle East and North Africa.

"Exclusive: Carrefour to divest 25 pct stake in Middle East venture – sources", Reuters, May 22, 2013

Earnings Release  

Target Reports 1Q 2013 Revenue Lower Than Forecast

Target reported net earnings of $498 million in the first quarter of 2013, lower than forecasts, as a result of weak sales in seasonal and weather-related categories. Opening 24 stores in Canada during the quarter as part of the retailer's plan to open 124 stores in the country by end of 2013, Target returned $779 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase. Target reported losses related to early retirement of debt of 41 cents per share, and earnings per share dilution related to the Canadian segment of 24 cents. Net accounting gains of 36 cents from the sale of the retailer's consumer credit card receivables portfolio to TD Bank Group were reported by Target.

"Target Reports First Quarter 2013 Earnings", Target, May 22, 2013

Asda Posts Gains In 1Q 2013 Like-For-Like Sales

Retailer Asda said like-for-like sales rose 1.3 percent for the quarter ending April 12, 2013, boosted by strong performance by its food and multichannel businesses. Lower prices of everyday essential products helped the company maintain its share of the market at 17.9 percent. Expected to be named as the UK's lowest-priced supermarket, Asda recently launched its Price Lock low-price offer, which is a £100 million commitment to keep prices affordable. Asda is also making the most of its relationship with parent company, U.S.-based Walmart, to implement new in-store and technology innovations.

"Asda maintains 2012 growth momentum with Q1 like for like sales up 1.3 per cent", Asda, May 16, 2013

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

U.S. Judge Tells Walmart To Provide Shareholders More Information About Mexico Bribery Allegations

Wal-Mart Stores was ordered by a U.S. judge to turn over more information to shareholders seeking documents on how the retailer responded to bribery allegations involving its business operations in Mexico. First reported in 2012 by The New York Times newspaper, executives at the company's Mexican unit allegedly bribed local government officials to expedite construction of stores and secure business permits. Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke learned about the bribery incident as early as 2005, according to e-mail released by U.S. lawmakers.

"Wal-Mart ordered to provide more documents", USA Today, May 20, 2013

Wal-Mart Admits China Business Is Ongoing Struggle, Sees Long-Term Growth

Wal-Mart said it is still working to optimize its business model in China where the U.S. retailer has about 8 percent share of the retail market. China operations accounted for $10.6 billion of Wal-Mart's $469 billion revenue in 2012, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year, according to IBIS World Inc. Wal-Mart International president Doug McMillon said his company is seeking to gain better locations and layouts compatible with a supercenter format. Although Wal-Mart closed four stores in 2012 and plans to close three more in 2013, it has no plans of leaving the market like what its rivals Best Buy and Home Depot did. Instead, the retailer said it is investing $80 million to remodel 50 stores and build 30 new stores more. Also, Wal-Mart said it will invest $16.3 million to improve food safety measures in China.

"Wal-Mart still working to meet the China challenge", The City Wire Staff , May 14, 2013

Market News  

Carrefour Partners With CFAO To Expand Business Presence In Africa

French retailer Carrefour SA said it partnered with Africa-based distribution company CFAO to expand its business operations in Africa. Seeking to develop various store formats in eight countries in West and Central Africa, the partners signed a deal to form a joint venture, 45 percent of which will be owned by Carrefour and the remaining 55 percent by CFAO. As part of the partnership deal, the joint venture will have the exclusive rights to open Carrefour-branded retail stores in countries, including Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, and Gabon.

"Carrefour Teams Up With CFAO for African Expansion", 4-traders, May 29, 2013

Ocado Launches Software To Help Shoppers Switch Online Stores More Easily

Online grocery retailer Ocado introduced a new software tool on its online store that allows shoppers to import their favorites list from the online store sites of rivals, including Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury's. Ocado said the online tool now makes it easy for online shoppers to switch online stores, an activity that was time consuming for consumers who want to bring their list of favorite products with them. Ocado's move gives consumers more choices and more freedom, according to company co-founder Jason Gissing.

"Ocado launches tool to swipe shoppers from rivals including supply partner Waitrose", Retail Week, May 29, 2013

Tesco Seeks Joint Venture Partner In China, Scales Down Expansion Plans

UK-based retailer Tesco is looking for a joint venture partner to help continue its expansion in China's grocery market. According to market analysts, potential partners include China Resources Enterprise, the state-controlled company that owns the Vanguard and Ole supermarket chains. In 2011, Tesco launched an aggressive expansion plans for the country, intending to invest billions of pounds to open shopping malls and supermarkets. Tesco, however, has lowered its targets in China, where it posted sales of £1.4 billion in 2012. Although the company maintains that China remains a market of strategic importance, it has nevertheless adopted a more careful strategy in the country.

"Tesco seeks China partnership", Financial Times, May 19, 2013

Walmart Reports Softer Sales In Canada, Feels Impact Of Target's Coming

Walmart reported net sales grew 6.1 percent in Canada in the quarter ending April 30, 2013. Same-store sales declined 1.3 percent and customer traffic at stores open for more than a year declined 2 percent. Walmart, which has 379 stores in Canada, reported solid sales of food, consumables, and home products. Also, the retailer gained 120 basis points in market share, according to market research firm Nielsen Co. Walmart had prepared for rival Target's arrival in Canada by expanding its food products and increasing its stores by 13.8 percent.

"Walmart sales soften as Target enters Canadian market", Brandon Sun (Canada), May 17, 2013

Consumer giants turn screw on ad agencies

Financial Times, May 30, 2013

An African consumer revolution needs African leaders

How we made it in Africa, May 15, 2013

Marketing & Advertising  

Sephora Launches Cosmetics Collection, Will Donate Part Of Sales To Nonprofits

Cosmetics retailer Sephora launched the YOU + SEPHORA cosmetic collection to benefit the company's partner nonprofit organizations. Retailing at $20, the limited edition collection will be available from June 1, 2013, at the company's retail stores and on Sephora.com. Part of the retailer's Values Inside Out nonprofit initiative, the project will donate $13 for each bag sold in-store to the store's chosen charity, while bags sold online will benefit the American Heart Association. Each collection includes a cosmetics pouch, a mini lips gloss, gold glitter liquid eyeliner, and nail polish.

"Beauty is Inside and Out as Sephora Launches YOU + SEPHORA Cosmetic Collection To Benefit Charities Across the US", PR Newswire, May 28, 2013

Marketers In China Need To Allocate Their Ad Spend More Efficiently

Nielsen research finds that marketers targeting China’s one billion consumers need to optimize advertising – the message itself, as well as the frequency and distribution – to reduce or eliminate wasted dollars. Ads for mass brands should be delivered more frequently than messaging for premium products. The optimal response point for mass brands is a frequency of eight times compared with two times for premium products. Another waste-related problem is shelf space. There are 23 percent fewer advertised brands available to consumers compared to unadvertised brands, but they account for 31 percent more dollars. Of the 600,000 Chinese products on the market, only 2 percent will line the shelves of a hypermarket.

"Supercharge Ad Efficiency and Retail Distribution in China", Nielsen/Consumer 360, May 22, 2013

Chinese Consumers Are Changing Their Shopping Behavior, Study Shows

In China, the average number of shoppers' visits to large-format retail stores dropped 20 percent from 7.4 per month in 2008 to 6 visits per month in 2012, according to market research firm Nielsen. Average consumer spending, however, increased from 1,337 RMB in 2008 to 1,610 RMB in 2012. Growth in emerging retail channels, such as convenience stores, personal care stores, and online stores, has been mainly responsible for these changes in shopping behavior.

"China's Evolving Shopper Landscape", Nielsen/Consumer 360, May 22, 2013

Is Kroger's coupon strategy a game changer?

Business Courier of Cincinnati, May 24, 2013


Walmart Uses Gamification To Promote Employee Morale And Productivity

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Inward Strategic Consulting will present at the Conference Board conference on Extending Your Brand to Employees the process of introducing gamification into a large company or organization to increase employee engagement. Walmart implemented Inward Strategic Consulting's strategies, such as gamification, to engage with and enhance employee morale, and promote fund and productivity in the workplace. Wal-Mart workforce planning director Kurt Templeton and Inward Strategic Consulting account manager Whitney Cook will discuss how they introduced gamification to Walmart employees, as well as the lessons they have learned from the process.

"Walmart Uses Gamification to Help Engage Staff and Provide Better Customer Interaction to Extend Their Brand Promise", PR Newswire, May 15, 2013

Bird Flu And Unsafe Chicken Cause Yum! Brands' 29 Percent Sales Dive In April 2013

Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC fastfood chain, reported that same-store sales in China dropped 29 percent in April 2013. Concerns about the safety of KFC's chicken and the spread of bird flu in China prompted customers to stay away from KFC restaurants. KFC's efforts to offer localized dishes is working against KFC's brand, which is driven by the taste of its friend chicken and which is what made Chinese consumers fell in love with the restaurant chain in the first place. Also, KFC is feeling the pressure from U.S.-based competitors McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc., which are expanding their China operations. Reports about high levels of antibiotics contained by locally sourced chicken also harmed KFC's sales and profit, which Yum forecast to decline by mid-single digit rate in 2013. In contrast, net income increased 21 percent to $1.6 billion in 2012.

"Yum’s 29% Sales Collapse in China Goes Beyond Avian Flu", Bloomberg News, May 13, 2013


Boost In Chinese Household Income Spurs “Trading Up” Trend

Growing buying power is giving Chinese consumers the desire – and the ability –  to buy goods and services that are a notch or two above the ordinary in terms of price and quality, Nielsen research finds. The average annual household income in China increased from $1,022 to $3,999 between 2000 and 2012 – a fourfold increase. At first this trading-up-to-premium trend was reflected in smaller purchases, like more expensive yogurt drinks. But it has grown to include all categories of FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), “ from infant baby formula to liquid milk, from a bottle of skin moisturizer to a tube of toothpaste.” And sales of luxury cars have tripled since 2007.

"In China, Premium Sells: From Toothpaste to Cars to Banking", Nielsen Newswire, May 22, 2013

“Health Casual” Restaurant Chains Signal A Burgeoning Trend

According to food industry experts, the dining-out standards of American consumers have risen in recent years. Restaurant goers are looking for eateries that offer fast food that is also fresh, healthy and suitable for all kinds of diets, including vegan and gluten-free. Some fast casual restaurant chains are ahead of the curve. Freshii, for example, focuses on what it calls “health casual” in its 75 locations in eight countries; vegetarian and falafel-centered Maoz has restaurants in six U.S. cities and several in Europe; salad-focused Chop't operates in New York City and Washington D.C., and Native Foods Cafe is rapidly opening stores on the West Coast.

"Here's Why Healthy Dining Will Be The Next Big Thing In Fast Food", Business Insider, May 01, 2013

Facebook pitches to UK firms for adverts

The Telegraph, May 25, 2013

The Rise of Virtual Brick-and-Mortars

Harvard Business Review, May 22, 2013

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