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Period: January 15, 2014 to February 1, 2014
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

Asda Padded Prices Before New Year's Discount Promo To Make Them Seem Cheaper, Study Shows

Walmart’s UK unit Asda raised prices on more than 100 products before lowering them to 50p as part of its New Year price campaign, according to independent researchers. Results of the study conducted by retail analysts at BrandView.com and published in the trade magazine “The Grocer” revealed Asda reduced the price of 246 product lines to 50p on January 1, 2014, to promote its “offer more value than ever” campaign. Despite this promise of low prices, the average price of 155 products in the same categories with those sold by rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s actually rose by an average of 46 percent during the same time. Other retailers have been using similar strategies as a means of attracting customers who are looking for ways to stretch their shopping budget.

"Asda put prices up on 100 products so they could slash them to just 50p in New Year price war", Daily Mail, January 27, 2014

Subscription Service The Next Big Thing For Online Retail In 2014, Analysts Say

Ecommerce companies are forecast to adopt subscription-based sales platforms in 2014, driven by growing consumer demand for instant gratification and the expanding adoption of mobile devices, according to market research firm Gartner Inc. Online sellers of digital products, such as music, video, and games, are expected to take the lead in adopting subscription services; however, physical goods, such as cosmetics and snacks, are also forecast to become popular. Among the companies trying the subscription waters are Birchbox with the 400,000 subscribers to its cosmetics service and JustFab, which has secured $55 million in funding by convincing investors about the merits of its fashion subscription service. Subscription services offer many advantages for online retailers, such as a regular income, more chances to upsell, and the ability to create deeper interactions with customers. There are also some issues that need to be considered, such as the need to convince customers to stay with ...  More

"Subscription Services: The E-Commerce Trend To Watch In 2014", Forbes.com, January 22, 2014

Digital Technology Will Help Boost Growth In Various Markets, Study Shows

Digital technology is forecast to boost growth rates for digitally contestable markets, such as healthcare and finance, according to market consulting firm Accenture. Data from the report “Remaking Customer Markets: How Digital Unlocks New Paths to Growth” revealed, for example, that although the core healthcare market in the United States is forecast to grow 2.5 percent annually in 2012–2018, digital technology, such as remote diagnostics and electronic records management, will help push up annual growth rates to 3.3 percent. In the UK, meanwhile, the financial services market is expected to grow 2.0 percent annually during the same period; however, the digital contested market is expected to achieve annual growth rate of 2.9 percent, driven by digital technology-enabled trends, such as crowd funding and virtual wallet. Accenture also said the impact of the digitally contestable shopping, paying, and healthcare markets in 2018 is forecast to be $5.9 trillion for the U.S. economy, ...  More

"The new business model: Embrace online, branch out", CNBC, January 21, 2014

Though A Debatable Issue, Whole Foods To Ban Use Of Sludge-Based Fertilizers By Its Growers

The safety of sludge (AKA biosolids) – the byproduct of processing municipal waste, including human body waste – as a fertilizer is a debatable issue. But Whole Foods Market, perhaps influenced by anti-sludge activists, has decided it’s definitely bad for customers, and for business. Anti-sludgists say biosolids are loaded with heavy metals and pharmaceuticals that render fertilizers toxic and dangerous. Scientists who have studied biosolids, however, disagree, saying they offer big environmental benefits. At any rate, a new produce rating system being launched by Whole Foods in September will bar its growers from using biosolids. The company acknowledges that none currently use the stuff on their fields.

"Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?", Report, NPR, January 21, 2014

Foodservice Companies Should Focus On Enhancing Take-Out Meal Quality, Services

It may seem counter-intuitive, but consumers who regularly order take-out are more likely to buy prepared meals from grocery stores than fast-food outlets, according to Technomic. Foodservices can increase unit sales by creating products specifically for takeout that are consistently high quality, well-packaged and “truly convenient”. Besides good meals, foodservices should provide enhanced delivery and call-ahead services, as well as easy-to-use mobile apps and online ordering opportunities. All of these factors “can help provide an edge over competitors and improve take-out and catering sales”.

"Technomic's New Takeout Report Highlights Need for Consistency, Convenience", News release, Technomic , January 13, 2014

Full-Service Restaurants Do Not Inform Customers About Nutritional Count Of Their Meals

U.S. researchers who studied more than 2,600 full-service restaurant menus report that entrees, appetizers and side dishes served in these eateries are high in calories, saturated fat and sodium. Nutrition information provided at these restaurants – including 21 national chains – lags behind information provided by fast-food chains. The researchers said restaurants need to educate customers about the nutritional content of their foods because consumers eating out often choose energy-dense, high-sodium meals that lead to numerous diet-related diseases and conditions, beginning with obesity.

"Nutritional Value of Meals at Full-service Restaurant Chains", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, January 08, 2014

Companies, Organizations  

Amazon.com Offers Tablet-Enabled Checkout System To Traditional Retailers

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. said it plans to offer conventional retailers a checkout system that uses its Kindle tablets. According to unnamed sources, the company also plans to provide brick-and-mortar retailers credit-card readers, as well as other services, such as website development and data analysis. Observers say the initiative would help Amazon expand its business into the physical retail stores market, which still accounts for more than 90 percent of all commercial transactions, and gain access to more data on consumers’ in-store spending habits. It would, however, also put the company into direct competition with companies that provide traditional checkout systems, such as VeriFone Systems Inc. and NCR Corp.

"Amazon to Offer Kindle Checkout System to Physical Retailers", Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2014

Walmart Supercenters Bring Economic Benefits To California Communities, Study Shows

Walmart’s Supercenter stores bring economic benefits to communities in California, according to economist Lon Hatamiya of the Hatamiya Group. Results of the study revealed Walmart Superstores help create more jobs, promote small business growth, and enhance sales tax revenues. Other key findings of the study include California communities with Walmart Supercenters on average fared better in terms of taxable retail sales than those without the huge stores and total taxable retail sales rose by an average of 20.3 percent after these stores’ opening, while total taxable retail sales in communities without Walmart Supercenters declined 11.7 percent on average during the same period. Also, communities with Supercenters saw an average increase of 48.5 percent in retail business permits.

"Study Confirms that Walmart Supercenters Have Positive Economic Impact in California", Walmart, January 28, 2014

Amazon Seeks Patent For Payments Card; Seeks To Rule Payments System Market

Online retailer Amazon.com applied for a patent for a card that would connect all of a consumer’s credit cards to one Amazon card that can be used with all conventional credit card machines. Amazon reportedly plans to connect the one-card system to its Pay with Amazon payment system. This move puts Amazon directly in collision with other payments technology providers, including Google and Paypal; however, the online retailer enjoys an advantage: its third-party sellers and other merchants are already using its payment-processing platform. Developers can already integrate the Pay with Amazon button to their apps or websites similar to how various companies are using the Paypal payment options.

"One card to rule them all: Amazon patent hints at payment card", Puget Sound Business Journal, January 27, 2014

Tesco Opens Online Store In Scotland's Western Isles Region

UK retailer Tesco is launching its online retail store on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland. As part of the expansion, Tesco will provide grocery delivery service from the island’s capital Stornoway, creating 29 new jobs for local people in the process. Since its launch in 1998, Tesco.com has delivered 170 million grocery orders across the UK, with Tesco customers placing more than 3 million online grocery orders in Christmas 2013 alone. Deliveries will be available from Tuesday to Saturday, between 9:00am and 11:00pm.

"Tesco.com launches in Stornoway", Tesco, January 21, 2014

Kroger Receives FTC Nod For Planned Purchase Of Harris Teeter Supermarkets

Supermarket giant Kroger Co. is expected to complete its $2.5 billion acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. by the end of January 2014, according to a report by the “Charlotte Business Journal” newspaper. According to the report, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has approved the proposed purchase deal, allowing early termination of the waiting period linked to the agreement. Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said the deal is expected to be completed before the company’s fiscal year ends on February 1, 2014. Harris Teeter will operate as a subsidiary of Kroger, maintaining its corporate name, management teams, distribution, and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina.

"Kroger nears closure of $2.5B acquisition", Cincinnati Business Courier (Ohio), January 21, 2014

Convenience Stores Stage Strong Comeback In UK, Market Analysts Say

UK’s mini-supermarket or convenience store sector is forecast to grow from £35.6 billion in 2013 to £46.2 billion by 2018, according to market research group IGD. Sainsbury’s, which introduced its first Local convenience store 15 years ago, announced it will have more convenience stores than full-size supermarkets in 2014, opening two convenience stores each week. For its part, Tesco now operates more than 1,600 Tesco Express stores out of the more than 3,000 stores it currently has. Morrisons, after launching its M Local stores in 2011, currently operates 85 outlets and plans to open another 100 by its next financial year. According to analysts, several factors are driving the convenience segment’s recovery including changes in consumers’ shopping behavior, changes in demographics, and the availability of town center locations at more affordable rental rates.

"The rise, fall and rise of the mini-supermarket", BBC News Magazine, January 17, 2014

Carrefour Invests More In Financing Expansion Plans In India

French retailer Carrefour SA added Rs 160 crore in investments into its wholly owned cash-and-carry business in India in December 2013. Operating five wholesale stores in the country, Carrefour WC&C India Pvt Ltd. already invested Rs 300 crore in opening stores and establishing related backend infrastructure for its Indian business. Its latest filing with India’s Registrar of Companies revealed the company has assigned 16 crore equity shares of 10 each to Carrefour Netherlands BV and Intercross BV.

"French retailer Carrefour Invests Rs 160 cr to spruce up wholesale business, in talks for possible retail JV", Economic Times, January 17, 2014

Ahold Reports Slower Overall Sales For 4Q And Full 2013, Posts Stronger Sales In Netherlands

Ahold said consolidated net sales decreased 1.1 percent to €7.5 billion at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the fourth quarter of the previous year. Net sales fell 4.2 percent at current exchange rates. For the full year 2013, sales declined 2.0 percent at constant exchange rates to €32.6 billion and 0.2 percent at current exchange rates. In the United States, net sales decreased 2.1 percent to $6.0 billion during the period, with identical sales falling 2.1 percent and comparable sales dropping 2.0 percent. For the full year, net sales grew 1.1 percent to $26.1 billion from the previous year, with identical sales rising 0.2 percent and comparable sales increasing 0.3 percent. Sales in the Netherlands rose 0.7 percent to €2.7 billion in the quarter compared with the same period in 2012, with identical sales growing 1.0 percent. Full-year net sales rose 4.0 percent to €11.5 billion from the previous year, with identical sales expanding 0.6 percent.

"Ahold trading statement fourth quarter and full year 2013", Ahold , January 16, 2014

Unique Eastern European Bread – Sweet Or Savory – Strikes A Sentimental Chord

A small company in Kansas City, Mo., is gaining national attention with its Eastern European – Serbian? Croatian? It’s debatable – “swirled” bread made from a yeast-raised dough rolled around sweet or savory fillings. The company, Strawberry Hill, has been selling povitíca (poh-veh-TEET-sah) locally since the 1980s, experiencing double-digit growth in recent years. But 25 appearances on the QVC network really gave the business a jump-start. The company now offers 12 different types of povitíca, and all of them strike a nostalgic chord among Americans of Eastern European descent. “There isn’t a single time that I’ve gone on QVC when someone doesn’t call in and start crying,” says owner Marc O’Leary.

"Appearances on QVC help Strawberry Hill Povitica Co. grow", The Kansas City Star, January 11, 2014

Walmart: Less amazing than Amazon

The Economist, February 01, 2014

Alibaba Swings to a Profit but Revenue Growth Slows

Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2014

Luxury brands setting sights on travelers

China Daily - US Edition, January 27, 2014

Sephora supports showrooming

Warc, January 20, 2014


Greenmed Journal, January 17, 2014

L'Oréal, eBay Settle Dispute Over Counterfeit Goods

Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2014

Low-End Retailers Had a Rough Holiday

Wall Street Journal, January 09, 2014

Omni-Channel Retailing Keeps Amazon in the Lead

E-Commerce Times, January 09, 2014

Metro Held Talks to Sell Vietnam Unit

Wall Street Journal, January 09, 2014

Innovation & New Ideas  

Retailers Prepared For IoE Likely To Benefit From Much Wider Connectivity, Cisco Says

Internet of Everything will bring $14.4 trillion in overall value for the private sector and another $4.6 trillion for the public sector over the next 10 years, with the retail industry accounting for 11 percent of the total IoE value in the private sector, according to technology company Cisco. Fast moving and representing an explosion in digital connectivity, from 10 billion things currently connected to the Internet to 50 billion in 2020, IoE is forecast to have some tremendous impact on the retail market, including on customer experience, innovation, employee productivity, supply chain, and asset utilization. Retailers ready to adopt IoE-related technologies are likely to realize various benefits, including the use of interactive displays that help shoppers study and purchase products, ability to customize marketing and advertising based on customer preferences and conditions, and video collaboration tools that can promote interaction between experts and customers.

"The IoE-Ready Retailer: Connecting Sellers and Shoppers Like Never Before", Cisco, January 22, 2014

Alibaba Poses Most Serious Threat Yet To Amazon's Business Model

China’s online retailer Alibaba poses the most serious challenge yet to Amazon.com and its business model, which is based on the so-called three pillars —operating with low margins, helping customers find deals easily, and creating a lineup of customer-oriented services. Alibaba threatens Amazon with its no margins business; it earns money not from sales but from advertising and premium services. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba keeps its customers and operations away from online search engines. Also, Alibaba creates revenue no matter what kind of customers is accessing its online store. There are two ways that Amazon can respond to Alibaba’s disrupting effect: first, the online retailer can ignore the challenge and instead continue focusing on its most profitable customers and, second, it can create an independent business unit that would adopt Alibaba’s revenue model.

"Alibaba: The First Real Test for Amazon’s Business Model", Harvard Business Review, January 21, 2014

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

Wal-Mart Plans Upgrades For Vendor Compliance In China

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to upgrade its vendor compliance process in China, after it was accused by state-owned China Central Television of violating the country’s vendor permit policies to jack up its profits. As part of its compliance efforts, Wal-Mart will expand its inspection of vendors’ fulfillment documents for products sold at its stores and will collect more documents to verify product labels, test results, and product claims. Wal-Mart defended its compliance practices, saying accelerated product approvals are only for current suppliers. The company has encountered various obstacles in China, an important growth market for the U.S. retailer.

"Wal-Mart Boosting Compliance in China", Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2014

China Tightens Rules For Country's Online Market

China plans to implement stricter rules governing the country’s fast-growing ecommerce market. Driven by the millions of Chinese consumers who are discovering the online market for the first time, China’s ecommerce sector grew from $3 billion in 2009 to $64 billion in 2012, according to a report by the “South China Morning Post” newspaper. With the country set to become the world’s second-largest online retail market, with the business-to-consumer submarket forecast to expand by an average of 34 percent each year, the government was compelled to flex its regulatory muscles. Several laws covering the market will take effect on March 15, 2014.

"China E-Commerce: Regulations For Protecting Consumers And Fighting Counterfeit To Take Effect In March", International Business Times, January 27, 2014

Walmart Says It Will Continue Selling Wild Alaskan Salmon

Retail giant Walmart said it plans to continue selling wild Alaskan salmon including those not certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. In summer 2013, Walmart advised its suppliers to source their salmon only from providers certified by the MSC or “equivalent” certification bodies. This posed a problem for majority of Alaskan salmon suppliers who could not find an equivalent certification program after refusing to work with MSC over “hefty fees” required for certification. Searching for a way out of the sustainability certification issue, Walmart sought the help of The Sustainability Consortium, adopting the group’s sustainability principles in the process.

"New Walmart guidelines put Alaskan salmon back on the menu", theguardian.com, January 24, 2014

India's Slowing Economy Gives Foreign Ecommerce Firms Hope For Expansion

U.S.-based ecommerce companies, including Amazon.com and eBay, are seeking to expand into India’s online market, which is forecast by investment bank CLSA to grow from the current $3.1 billion to $22 billion in the next five years. Existing government policies, however, keep foreign-owned online companies from storing their inventory in local warehouses and from selling their products directly to local consumers. India’s slowing economy, however, has prompted the government to rethink its position as it searches for ways to increase foreign investment. Meanwhile, U.S. companies are delivering and storing products on behalf of local merchants, which are allowed under current rules. At the same time, they are building their delivery and storage capabilities and investing in ecommerce startups.

"Amazon and EBay Inch Into India's E-Commerce Market", Bloomberg Businessweek, January 23, 2014

Moscow Readies 30 Percent Import Tax On Non-Russian Online Retailers

Russia is planning to impose a 30 percent tax on imports from foreign-owned online retailers as part of the government’s efforts to protect local retailers. Among the measures being considered by Russia are restrictions on the number of parcels imported, which in effect will put constraints on parcel delivery service providers’ operations in the country. With this move, Russia joins a growing number of governments adopting policies aimed at limiting foreign ecommerce companies’ ability to sell products to local consumers. In Australia, for example, local retailers are calling on politicians to protect them from foreign online retailers, which accounted for 75 percent of online sales in the country in 2012. Online sales in Australia grew from A$6 billion in 2007 to A$10 billion in 2012.

"Russia considering 30% import tax on foreign online retailers", The Guardian, January 23, 2014

Market News  

Online Sales Grow In Germany, UK, Rest Of Europe During Holiday Season

Online sales in Germany grew 54.5 percent to €8.5 billion in the period mid-October to December 24, 2013, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to ecommerce trade association BVH. This also means online sales probably accounted for around 10 percent of total retail sales during the holiday shopping season. Across Europe, online sales grew 37 percent in December, according to payment services company Ogone. In the UK, sales of non-food products rose 19.2 percent in the same month, the sector’s highest growth rate in four years.

"German online sales leap 55 pct over Christmas", CNBC, January 30, 2014

Walmart Expands Test Areas For Online Ordering System To Include Denver

Retailer Walmart has added Denver to the test markets for its Walmart To Go on-demand shopping service, allowing customers in the region to order their groceries online and then pick them up at a nearby Walmart store. Aimed at customers who want to do their grocery shopping in the morning or during their lunch break, and later get their orders on their way home, the service is not meant to replace existing home delivery service. Nevertheless, Walmart thinks many customers who will avail of this service are still likely to visit the store, based on the 55 percent of shoppers who said they prefer the online ordering service because it gives them the opportunity to pick up other items.

"Walmart Begins Testing Online Grocery Shopping With Local Store Pickup Option In Denver", Tech Crunch, January 29, 2014

Doing Business In China Gets Harder, Becomes Less Attractive For Foreign Companies

Foreign companies are finding it harder and less attractive to do business in China as economic growth slows down and costs rise. China’s government is expanding its restrictive economic policies to include more industries in addition to banking, brokerage, and Internet. As competition heats up further, with local brands developing high-quality and innovative products, some foreign companies, such as Revlon, Best Buy, and Media Markt, have left the country. Others reduced their exposure and operations, such as L’Oreal’s decision to stop selling its Garnier brand of cosmetics and retailer Tesco’s joint venture with a state-owned enterprise. Some companies that chose to stay are facing difficulties, such as IBM, which reported a 23 percent drop in China revenue in the last quarter of 2013; and French drinks company Remy Cointreau, which said sales of its Remy Martin cognac dropped by 30 percent in the first three quarters of 2013.

"China loses its allure", The Economist, January 25, 2014

Wal-Mart Plans To Cut Thousands Of Sam's Club Jobs

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to lay off about 2,300 employees at its Sam’s Club warehouse business unit as part of its efforts to downsize the ranks of middle managers in the company’s weakest stores. Almost half of the planned job cuts will affect Sam’s Club’s salaried assistant managers, with the rest aimed at hourly employees at stores with underperforming sales. The move is seen as part of Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer’s efforts to improve competitiveness with rival wholesaler Costco Wholesale Corp. and online membership clubs, such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime service.

"Wal-Mart to Lay Off 2,300 Sam's Club Employees", Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2014

Tesco Lotus Takes Aim At Thailand's Convenience Store Segment

Retailer Tesco Lotus plans to challenge Charoen Pokphand’s hold on Thailand’s convenience store market by launching its 365 convenience store business in the country. Set to compete with the Thai retailer’s 7-Eleven chain, Tesco Lotus opened its first 365 store in Bangkok’s Pratunam area at a location surrounded by similar stores operated by rivals FamilyMart and 7-Eleven. Tesco Lotus hypermarket chain operator Ek-Chai Distribution System Co. said it plans to invest about 10 million baht to open five 365 stores by the end of 2014. The company said it plans to open a 365 store on every corner of Bangkok’s roads.

"Tesco Lotus ready to take on 7-Eleven ", Bangkok Post, January 24, 2014

Bangkok Shutdown Driving Online Sales In Thailand's Capital, Market Observers Say

Anti-government protests in Bangkok and protesters’ plan to shut down Thailand’s capital are expected to drive up online retailers’ sales. While shopping malls and related businesses in areas affected by the political turmoil are closing earlier than usual or shutting down altogether, online shopping has become an attractive option for consumers who fear leaving the safety of their homes. For example, the country’s largest online retailer, Rakuten’s Tarad e-store, saw its sales grew by 71 percent during the period October to December 2013, while total site visits rose 93 percent during the same period. Mobile ecommerce, however, posted an even stronger growth rate during the current protests, with sales from mobile phones rising 637 percent. Mobile traffic to mobile sales company Tarad, for example, grew 564 percent.

"Thailand sees huge boost in online shopping as Bangkok hit by shutdown", Tech in Asia, January 20, 2014

UK Retailers Post Higher Sales In December 2013

UK retail sales grew 1.8 percent in December 2013, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG monthly report. Data showed consumers’ last-ditch efforts to purchase gifts and the biggest increase in online sales ever helped drive the slight sales increase. Among the most in-demand products were toys, electronics, coats, and Christmas jumpers. Online sales, except for food, increased 19.2 percent from their year-ago levels, accounting for 18.6 percent of all non-food sales during the period, and posting an increase of 16.5 percent year on year. John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser were the leaders in Internet sales.

"Online sales contribute to Christmas boost for retailers", The Guardian, January 10, 2014

8 Retail Trends in China

WPP, January 29, 2014

Store Brands 2014: Sales Trends

Supermarket News , January 27, 2014

Walmart sets up new company in India

The Times of India, January 20, 2014

Space shrinks for multi-brand FDI

Times of India, December 24, 2013

Marketing & Advertising  

Marks & Spencer, Tesco UK Retailers With Most User-Friendly Web And Mobile Sites, Report Shows

Marks & Spencer and Tesco are the top retailers in UK in terms of ease of use and information content of their mobile web sites, according to market research firm ForeSee. Data from the ForeSee Experience Index, which includes almost 2,500 surveys, revealed consumers’ emphasis on ease of web site navigation and the disparity in customer satisfaction levels for conventional Web sites and mobile sites. Marks & Spencer and Tesco’s mobile sites received the highest levels of customer satisfaction with a score of 75 out of a possible 100 points.

"Marks & Spencer, Tesco top British retailers in mobile satisfaction: ForeSee", Mobile Commerce Daily, January 30, 2014

Walmart Allocates $10 Million Aimed At Promoting Innovation

Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon unveiled a $10 million fund for innovation in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Announced during the 2014 meeting of the mayors’ group in Washington, D.C., the fund will help promote innovation in the country’s manufacturing industries and help create new technologies, ideas, and jobs that will help expand the manufacturing sector. Walmart also announced its second U.S. manufacturing summit to be held in Denver, Colorado, in August 2014.

"Walmart Announces $10 Million Fund to Spur Innovation and Support U.S. Manufacturing", Walmart, January 23, 2014

Retail shopping changes in the age of Amazon

Portland Press Herald, January 21, 2014

Online Is Where It's At for U.K. Retailers

Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2014

Products & Brands  

Almost All Millennials Aware Of Store Brand Products, Survey Says

Almost all Millennials, consumers born between 1980 and 2000, are aware of store brands, with 96 percent saying they know of store brand products, according to an online survey conducted by Surveylab for the PLMA. Results of the “My Generation and Grocery Shopping” online survey revealed 36 percent of the respondents buy store brand products frequently and 53 percent buy them occasionally. Of the 1,500 Millennials who took part in the survey, more than three-quarters said they are the primary grocery shopper in their household, with the rest saying they share the shopping task with another adult member of the household. Millennial consumers are always looking for value when they shop for groceries. Only 44 percent of respondents said they are employed full time, 21 percent said they have a part-time job, and 11 percent are looking for a job.

"Store Brands 2014: Managing Millennials", Supermarket News , January 27, 2014

Can The “Anti-Twinkie” Steal Market Share From Hostess?

An Anchorage, Alaska, area bakery that took over a Hostess Brands affiliate when that company went bankrupt is planning to offer snack cakes similar to Hostess’s, only better. (Hostess products are being produced now by a company known as Hostess Brands LLC.) Franz Bakery is marketing a product similar to the iconic Twinkie – sort of an “Anti-Twinkie” – along with chocolate cream-filled cupcakes with chocolate icing and a familiar squiggly white line on top. The goal of the shop is to regain all the good will and market share lost during the bankruptcy, but also to expand its product line beyond snack cakes to attract health-conscious Alaskans. That means bread and buns, usually made with whole grains, and often without gluten.

"Spenard bakery rises again, with a new personality", Anchorage Daily News, January 19, 2014

Sephora adopts Cosmogen’s Squeeze’n Clean

Premium Beauty News, January 21, 2014

The New Face of Private Label: Global Market Trends to 2018

Euromonitor International, January 21, 2014


UK Discretionary Family Income Rises, But Threats Loom On Horizon

An Asda Income Tracker report finds that the average UK household had £158 ($262) a week of discretionary income in December 2013, an increase of £2 a week over last year, but still below the £160 a week in December 2010. The rise in income is supported by lower inflation (two percent as opposed to three percent in June 2013) and lower unemployment (7.1 percent). However, wage growth of only one percent is dampening discretionary spending. Asda CEO Andy Clark said that once wage growth picks up, the Income Tracker will strengthen, though a potential Bank of England hike in interest rates could damage the positive trend.

"Asda Income Tracker", Report, Asda, January 24, 2014

Holiday Internet Sales Grow Slower Than Forecast But Faster Than Overall Market

Online shopping for the holiday season increased 10 percent to $46.5 billion in November and December 2013, compared with the same period of the previous year, according to market research firm comScore. Although online sales again grew faster than overall spending, the results were significantly lower than the market research firm’s previous forecast of 14 percent. Shoppers’ reluctance to spend and a shorter holiday season were among the factors that kept sales from rising further, comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. Online sales accounted for 10 percent of overall holidays spending, with Monday after Thanksgiving Day, also known as CyberMonday, seeing sales rise 18 percent to $1.47 billion. Thanksgiving Day sales rose 21 percent to $633 million.

"ComScore: Holiday shopping online rose 10 percent", CNBC, January 07, 2014

Moms in the Grocery Aisle

Placed.com, January 08, 2014

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.