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Period: July 15, 2014 to August 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

Own-Brand Grocery Stores Are A Hit With Shoppers, Suppliers

There was a time when products sold at so-called limited assortment, or own-brand discount, grocery stores were considered a bit cheesy by Britons (and Americans). But that perception has changed, thanks to the success of German companies Aldi and Schwarz, owner of Lidl, which together accounted for €120 billion ($162 billion) in sales in 2013. The two companies have 20,000 stores in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Their strategy of offering a limited selection of products – 3,000 compared to 50,000 in a hypermarket – at deeply discounted prices has struck a chord with economy-minded grocery shoppers. Suppliers, too, are happy with the bulk discount structure because it is simple, efficient and profitable. Will economic recovery send shoppers back to traditional supermarkets? A Lidl exec doesn’t think so. “Those BMWs and those Porsches and Jaguars parking in our car parks, we won’t let go.”

"Aldi and Lidl lead the charge of the discount supermarkets", Gulf News, July 14, 2014

Companies, Organizations  

Walmart Appoints Foran CEO Of US Operations

Walmart appointed Greg Foran as president and CEO of the retailer’s United States business. Succeeding Bill Simon who will be leaving the company, Foran’s appointment will become official on August 9, 2014. Simon will stay on as consultant for the next six months to ensure a smooth transition. With 35 years of retail experience under his belt, Foran joined Walmart in October 2011 and was appointed president and CEO of Walmart China in March 2012. He was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart Asia in early 2014.

"Walmart Names Greg Foran President and CEO of Walmart U.S.", Wal-Mart, July 24, 2014

Pharmacies Grab Market Share From Sephora And Other Cosmetics Retailers In Europe

Sephora and other specialty beauty retailers are losing market share to pharmacies that offer similar but cheaper products in Europe. Market data revealed pharmacy chains are expanding their offerings of cosmetics and other beauty products, with emphasis on organic, natural cosmetics brands, such as Weleda, Caudalie, and Garancia in France and Dr. Hauschka in Germany. Pharmacies’ efforts to promote their cosmetics ranges and consumers’ cautious attitude toward spending seem to be driving the trend.

"Pharmacies lure consumers from LVMH beauty retailer Sephora", Reuters, July 23, 2014

“Pizza Cookie” Debuts At Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut announced national rollout of an eight-inch-diameter chocolate chip cookie targeting 18 to 34-year-olds who might crave a cookie with their pizza. Officially known as the Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie – but dubbed the “pizza cookie” internally – the new item represents the company’s latest attempt to boost sales in a hotly competitive market by appealing to younger consumers, especially millennials. According to a Pizza Hut marketing exec, “They like to cap off a great pizza with a great dessert.”

"Pizza Hut to roll out 'pizza cookie'", USA Today, July 14, 2014

Shopping with... Bridget Dolan

Fortune.com, July 27, 2014

Safeway Shareholders Approve Albertsons Merger

The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2014


Fast-Casual Salad Eateries Target Time-Strapped, Health-Conscious Professionals

Several foodservice entrepreneurs are trying to reverse a decades-long  American aversion to salad bars and restaurant salad entrees. One of these is Nick Marsh, CEO of New York City’s successful Chop’t chain of salad-based restaurants. He is determined to take his company national as he rides a fast-casual trend that emphasizes speed and fresh ingredients. Fast-casuals are growing faster than fast-food restaurants: they will account for 15 percent of the U.S. industry within 30 years, up from four percent now. Chop’t, which bills itself as the “creative salad company”, like other fast-casual eateries like Sweetgreen and Fresh & Co., caters to young professionals looking for a quick and healthy meal.

"Why Even a Supermodel Couldn’t Sell the Salad Bar Today", Bloomberg, July 24, 2014

Own-Brand Discount Grocery Stores Ranked High By U.K. Shoppers

A survey of British consumers by YouGov.com finds a couple of interesting phenomena that signal big changes in the perception of own-brand discount grocery stores, particularly two German brands. Aldi has taken over the top spot in the list of 10 most popular consumer brands, beating out previous highly-ranked brands John Lewis, BBC iPlayer and Samsung. Lidl made the top ten list for the first time, a fact that “mirrors the shockwaves” sent through the retail sector by the discount grocers. Aldi’s winning score was 25.9, and its “Buzz” score was up 15.6, making its growth the second fastest so far in 2014. Competitor Lidl’s first top 10 score was 18.2.

"UK consumers rate Aldi top brand", Marketing Week, July 17, 2014

Loyalty to supermarkets is dead

Telegraph, July 26, 2014

Chinese shoppers: Evolving behaviors in a challenging environment

Bain & Company and Kantar Worldpanel, July 02, 2014

Earnings Release  

Wal-Mart De Mexico Reports Profit Doubled In 2Q 2014

Wal-Mart de Mexico, the country’s largest retailer, said its profit for the second quarter of 2014 doubled to reach 10.418 billion pesos, or $802 million, compared with 5.147 billion pesos for the same period in 2013. Before accounting for Walmex’s sale of its Vips business to restaurant company Alsea in May 2014 for 8.2 billion pesos, the retailer said profit rose 2.5 percent to 5.14 billion pesos, with revenue rising 5.6 percent to 104.55 billion pesos.

"UPDATE 2-Mexico's Walmex says 2nd-qtr profit doubles", Reuters, July 23, 2014

Tesco Replaces CEO Clarke With Lewis

Tesco plc announced the appointment of Dave Lewis as a member of the retailer’s board of directors and its new chief executive officer, replacing current CEO Philip Clarke, effective October 1, 2014. Although Clarke will step down on that date, he will remain in a supporting role for the transition until the end of January 2015. Clarke’s contribution to the company’s business operations has been acknowledged by the retailer’s board of directors. It also expressed its confidence in Lewis’ ability to improve the company’s performance in the retail market.

"Appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Trading Update", Tesco, July 21, 2014

Innovation & New Ideas  

Carrefour Trials Proximus Technology For Anonymously Tracking Shoppers' In-Store Movements

Retailer Carrefour plans to test a technology from Proximus designed to determine the locations of shopping carts and baskets being used by shoppers inside its stores. Aimed at collecting data on shoppers’ in-store behavior, the tests will be conducted at three Carrefour stores in Madrid. Proximus’ technology is designed to anonymously track shoppers’ movements through the store and not to identify the shoppers themselves, according to Proximus cofounder and CEO Jorge Garcia Bueno.

"Carrefour to Use Bluetooth Beacons to Track Carts, Baskets", RFID Journal, July 21, 2014

Sainsbury's Announces Planned Store Powered By Recycled Food Waste

Sainsbury’s plans to open a retail store in the West Midlands that will be powered solely by electricity generated from anaerobic digestion of food waste. Featuring a food waste recycling technology developed in partnership with waste recycling company Biffa, the Sainsbury’s store will be the first retail outlet to go off the power grid in the UK. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s largest user of anaerobic digestion in the retail sector, generates power enough to light up 2,500 homes each year.

"Sainsbury’s store to be powered solely by food waste", The Guardian, July 21, 2014

Market News  

Gourmet Bakeries Offer Artisanal Doughnuts Around The U.S.

Declaring that “doughnuts are the new cupcake”, foodie Edose Ohen may be the latest in a series of entrepreneurs who have established upscale North American bakeries devoted to artisanal doughnuts. Bakeries in Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., New York City, Minneapolis, Minn., etc., are churning out delicacies like the blue cheese Cabernet doughnut and cardamom-spiced plum doughnut.  Ohen recently opened such a shop in Houston, Texas, that will sell maple bacon, lemon-poppy seed and bananas foster doughnuts. It’s all part of a foodie trend that has turned prosaic American fare like burgers, catsup, BBQ sauce, beer and now doughnuts into “reflective, skilled and desirable experiences”.

"New breed of baker giving doughnut a gourmet makeover", Houston Chronicle, July 22, 2014

Wal-Mart Expands Wholesale Business In India; Invests $103 Million In Local Unit

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. invested $103 million in its wholesale-store operations in India as part of the retailer’s efforts to expand its presence in the country’s cash-and-carry market. As part of this expansion move, Wal-Mart is also strengthening its online operations to offer 24-hour delivery for products ordered online by its wholesale customers. Wal-Mart entered India’s wholesale market in 2009, at the same time, lobbying the government to ease restrictions for foreign investment in the country’s retail market, which has about $400 billion in sales per year and is forecast to grow to more than $1.3 trillion in 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Wal-Mart Invests $103 Million in Indian Wholesale Business", Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2014

We know Dave can sell soap. But can he run Tesco?

The Observer (England)/The Guardian, July 27, 2014

Grocer Is Open to Buyers’ Bids Amid Turmoil

The New York Times, July 25, 2014

Change comes to Walmart

Forbes, July 25, 2014

Products & Brands  

As The Economy Bounces Back, So Do Consumer Attitudes Toward Premium Brands

New IRI research into the changing attitudes of consumers as the U.S. economy rebounds from the years-long recession finds that more shoppers are now willing to pay the extra money for premium brand products. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed said they will increase usage of premium brands in the next year. But IRI also noted that what consumers consider “premium” differs from one generation to the next. Baby boomers and millennials find value in different premium-brand attributes, and use different shopping strategies. Millennials, for example, are more drawn to convenience; boomers to quality ingredients and brand names.

"Premium Products Primed to Perform", IRI, July 30, 2014

Burger, Pizza Chains Test “Build-Your-Own” Strategy

Fast-food chain Wendy's is market testing a “build-your-sandwich” program that greatly expands its customer-picks-the-toppings tradition. The build-your-own strategy – sometimes called the “Chipotle Effect” after that chain’s customer choice practice – has spread to McDonald’s, Five Guys, Smashburger, and even to pizza chains. Blaze Pizza customers, for example, can choose among a variety  of toppings, sauces, doughs and cheeses. For the Wendy's test in the Columbus, Ohio, area, customers will be able to choose from an array of meats, buns, spices, cooking styles, and cheeses. The idea is to lure millennials – born 1980 to 2000 – who are “used to having things their own way”, according to Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick.

"Wendy's: Tests build-your-own burger", USA Today, July 25, 2014

Affluent Or Not, Shoppers Look For National Brand Savings Before Choosing Store Brands

Research from a retail marketing agency finds that higher income shoppers tend to be more doubtful about the value of private label consumer goods. But these more affluent consumers – like their lower income counterparts – regularly compare national brand prices, look for sales and use coupons before turning to store brands. According to The Integer Group, all shoppers carefully consider their savings options before making a final decision about quality over price. As to specifics, lower-income shoppers lean toward private label cereals, cleaning and laundry products, while more affluent shoppers prefer national brand snacks, beverages, and ice cream.

"The Checkout: Private Label Edition", Shopper Culture – Integer, July 24, 2014

Sephora Picks Up Briogeo

Happi, July 29, 2014

Fighting the good-for-you fight

Grocery Headquarters, July 01, 2014


Wonder Bread’s CEO Says His Company Is In A “Price War”

Recent data on bread prices shows white bread sliding 2.8 percent year-on-year, and “bread other than white” slipping just 0.1 percent. But historically prices for both categories experienced similar increases since 2010. According to the CEO of Flower Foods, owner of iconic white bread brand Wonder Bread, the recent drops in prices reflect “a good old-fashioned price war” with chief competitor Grupo Bimbo of Mexico.  Bimbo now owns U.S. bread brands Sara Lee, Arnold, Sara Lee, Stroehmann and Thomas. Flower’s Allen Shiver said he remains hopeful that “with all the changes taking place in the category that over the long term, pricing should become more rational”.

"White bread prices are skidding", Market Watch, July 22, 2014

Quinoa Trend Reaches Supermarkets, Restaurants

Nutritional powerhouse quinoa, an ancient Inca grain that provides a complete protein like meat, is gaining ground in the food industry. Quinoa cooks like a grain, but is really a seed or chenopod related to beets and spinach. Supermarkets in the U.S. are now stocking quinoa-based pasta, cookies, flours, burgers and breads that not only satisfy vegans, they appeal to the gluten-free crowd. Restaurants have picked up on the trend as well.  One restaurant group in Florida recently fortified its menu with pesto chicken quinoa and cherry chicken quinoa power bowls, while another added a red quinoa crunch parfait to the menu.

"Integrate This: Quinoa", Creative Loafing, July 09, 2014

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