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Period: June 15, 2017 to July 1, 2017
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

Peapod Fine-Tunes Customers’ Online Search Options

Online grocer Peapod’s smart shopping technology now has more search filters so shoppers can further refine selections based on personal dietary tastes and preferences.. In addition to common search filters like brand preference, price and sale specials, the company now offers 16 nutrition options, including non-GMO, sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. The new filters were selected based on consumer food and nutritional trend data. For example, 42 percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing, 33 percent of Millennials say they eat a meat alternative product every day, and sales of non-GMO products will hit $330 billion by 2019.

"Peapod Expands Nutrition Filter Options To Help Shoppers Make Mindful Food Decisions Even Faster", News release, Peapod, May 31, 2017

Jet.com Sheds Its Costco Ethos

E-commerce company Jet.com’s co-founder Marc Lore was inspired by the Costco example. Its original business model was based on membership fees, and on bulk sales savings passed on to the customer. But now that it has been acquired by Walmart, and continues to integrate its operations with the giant retailer, it has begun phasing out the Kirkland Signature brand of products, replacing them with products offered under the Sam’s Club Member’s Mark brand. According to analytics provider 1010data, Jet accounted for 5.5 percent of online sales of the Kirkland brand in the first half of 2016, behind Amazon and Costco.com.

"Jet.com Will Phase Out Costco Products After Wal-Mart Acquisition", Bloomberg , June 12, 2017

Kroger Wins Right To Buy Marsh Supermarkets Locations In Indiana

Kroger Co. secured the right to acquire 11 Marsh Supermarkets stores in Indiana through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. According to court filings, Kroger's Topvalco Inc. unit will buy seven stores in the Indianapolis area and two each in Bloomington and Muncie for $16 million. At present, Kroger's Indiana division operates 137 stores, including 24 locations in Indianapolis.

"Kroger wins $16M bid to buy competitor's stores", bizjournals.com, June 14, 2017

Tesco Reports Sales Grew In 1Q Of FY 2017-2018

UK retailer Tesco reported like-for-like sales grew 1.0 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, marking the company's 6th consecutive quarter with positive like-for-like sales growth. In the UK, like-for-like sales grew 2.3 percent, driven by 2.7 growth in like-for-like sales in food. Also, customer transactions rose 1.3 percent, which means an increase of 10 million from the previous year. According to the company, its overseas sales performance during the period was affected by its move to stop its bulk selling business in Thailand.

"Tesco First Quarter Trading Statement 2017/18", Tesco, June 16, 2017

Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Shakes And Rattles The Retail Industry

Drug Store News outlined several key points to keep in mind now that Amazon plans to acquire Whole Foods Market. The $13.7 billion acquisition, awaiting approval by regulators and shareholders, will have major repercussions for retailers that sell groceries, beauty products and health products. A few of the key takeaways: both companies benefit from a merger. Amazon extends its beachhead into grocery sales, while Whole Foods gets a rich uncle. The entire retail industry knows now that it’s no longer business as usual: witness the stock slides of Target, Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Supervalu. The acquisition furthers Amazon’s metamorphosis into a true omnichannel business, thanks to the addition of 460 brick-and-mortar stores.

"Amazon and Whole Foods: 5 things to know about the blockbuster deal", Drug Store News, June 16, 2017

Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Signals A Major Economic Trend

The recently announced acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon is an indicator of a fact well-known by retail analysts: both Amazon and Walmart are trying to be like the other. Amazon is establishing brick-and-mortar bookstores and buying 460 grocery store locations. Walmart, through its recent acquisition of Jet.com and other moves, is strengthening its online presence and infrastructure. But the larger picture is that the retail industry is undergoing consolidation among a few big companies whose resources stretch globally, whose access to sophisticated supply lines, and advanced marketing and delivery technologies, gives them major market advantages over smaller competitors. This consolidation is happening in other industries, including banking, airlines and telecommunications. And it’s creating a real economic gulf between two groups of workers: those employed by the prosperous new super companies – and those employed elsewhere. 

"The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy", The New York Times, June 16, 2017

Some Of The Advantages Of The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal

Amazon has been tiptoeing into the huge consumer grocery business since it launched its AmazonFresh home delivery service in 2006. The acquisition of Whole Foods Market, with its 460 physical stores, accelerates the move, and offers benefits to bother companies. It is probable that the deal will mean Whole Foods’ Instacart delivery service will be replaced with an Amazon version that adapts Prime Now and AmazonFresh. As to pricing, Amazon is also likely to use its scale and efficiencies to help relieve pricing pressure on Whole Foods. And Amazon could also use Whole Foods’ partnerships with suppliers to lure them to the Amazon platform and take advantage of Amazon’s 300 million customer accounts.

"The Implications Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods", Blog entry, Euromonitor International, June 16, 2017

Amazon’s Target In Whole Foods Deal Is Ultimately High-Margin CPG

Amazon’s deal with Whole Foods Market certainly threatens low-profit-margin – around two percent annually – retail grocers like Krogers. But Amazon’s real target is not the stores: it’s the profitable products on their shelves. In other words, it’s the higher-profit-margin – 16 percent annually – consumer packaged-goods (CPG) companies that should be worried. Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive have grabbed large market shares because of an economic and distribution model – economies of scale, lower prices, and acres of store shelf space – that is now breaking down, thanks to Amazon. Its Amazon Basics brand, already gaining market share in diapers and batteries, could be extended to other high margin categories, and move into Whole Foods stores. That’s a significant threat to the CPG giants.

"Amazon's Real Target Isn't Whole Foods. It's Everything You Buy.", Bloomberg, June 20, 2017

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.

"Tesco simplifies customer service operations", News release, Tesco, June 21, 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.”

"Sephora SEA Chooses Dynamic Yield to Personalize the Entire Customer Journey", News release, Dynamic Yield, June 22, 2017

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.

"Industry giants unite to eradicate forced labour in global supply chains", Food Navigator, June 22, 2017

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