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Period: August 1, 2017 to September 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

Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Portends An Accelerated, Automated Grocerants Trend

“Supermarket Guru” Phil Lempert says the $13.7 billion Amazon-Whole Foods deal is likely to speed up development of ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat grocery store items known as “grocerants.” Techno-centered Amazon will bring new intelligence from computer wizards, molecular biologists, and sustainability experts into retail grocery. Lempert says the Amazon-Whole Foods store will apply technology to improve efficiencies and reduce in-store labor costs. That means more robotics in the back room and interactive robots all around the store.

"The Future Of Grocerants? Deliveries, Humanoids and a Good Dose of Life-Hacking, says Supermarket Guru", FOODnavigator-USA.com, July 19, 2017

Costco Posts Strong July 2017 Sales Numbers; Thrives Despite Amazon Threat

Costco reported comparable sales grew 6.2 percent in July 2017, compared with the same month in 2016. In the US market, comparable sales grew 6 percent, or 5.6 percent with gasoline sales excluded. Customer visits rose 4.2 percent, a significant contrast with other retailers, which are seeing fewer customer visits. Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, however, poses a threat to Costco's ability to resist the online retailer's competitive advantages, which have been eroding other retailers' market shares. Costco has been expanding its ecommerce presence in order to boost its online retail operations.

"Costco is Still Amazon-Proof... Relatively Speaking", eMarketer, August 03, 2017

Walmart Enlists Big Data To Improve Efficiency

Walmart said it is using big data in five ways to improve operating efficiency, as well as the lives of its customers. To make its pharmacies more efficient, Walmart uses simulations to determine the number of prescriptions filled and the busiest times of the day or month. Using predictive analytics, Walmart stores work to speed up checkout time and improve shopper experience. Also, Walmart simulations to improve supply chain management.

"5 Ways Walmart Uses Big Data to Help Customers", Walmart , August 07, 2017

Shoppers Look For Breads With Real Ingredients, Minimal Processing

The bakery departments of grocery stores across the country are doing their best to satisfy health-conscious shoppers looking for breads with simple ingredients, including hearty grains, no preservatives, and no added sugar. Kowalski’s Markets in Woodbury, Minn., for example, is selling loaves made with protein- and vitamin-rich sprouted grains, ancient grains and superfood ingredients like hemp and chia. One sprouted variety is made with red wheat berries, quinoa, oat groats, rye berries, barley, amaranth and millet. Also being used in bread recipes are nutrient-dense seeds like chia, flax, linseed, and sunflower. The key trend? “Consumers want products with real ingredients and minimal processing," says Eric Richard of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association.

"Better-for-you breads make the bakery case", Supermarket News, August 16, 2017

Walmart Opens New Battlefront In War Against Amazon

Walmart has launched something of an air war against arch-rival Amazon. The Arkansas-based retailer has applied for a patent for its version of a floating warehouse – a “gas-filled aerial transport and launch system” – a similar version of which Amazon patented more than a year ago. And like Amazon’s version, Walmart’s could launch sorties of drones to deliver purchases to nearby homes. Walmart’s dirigible airship would hover at up to 1,000 feet in the air, contain multiple drone launching bays, and be computer- or pilot-operated remotely. Proponents of the airborne warehouses say they would cut online order fulfillment costs for “the last mile” to a customer’s house.

"Walmart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse", Bloomberg, August 19, 2017

Tesco Lotus Plans Big Marketing Campaign In Thailand

Thailand-based retailer Tesco Lotus announced plans for a major marketing campaign for the remaining months of 2017. Aimed at boosting sales and increasing in-store traffic, the campaign seeks to take advantage of the forecast increase in consumer spending during the period. As part of the campaign, Tesco will cut prices at its 1,900 retail stores across the country, as well as online.

"Tesco Lotus strives to boost store traffic", Bangkok Post, August 22, 2017

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.

"Sephora goes online exclusively only at sephora.nnnow.com", ETRetail.com, August 23, 2017

Ulta Beauty's Loyal Customers Empower It Against Amazon, Other Online Retailers

Ulta Beauty's loyalty program, as well as the unique experience the beauty retailer offers to its customers, will allow it to compete with online retailer Amazon, according to investment bank and securities firm Jefferies. Also, Ulta Beauty's business model can hold its own against the growing threat of online retail. Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink said the company's loyalty program has 24.5 million members and they account for 90 percent of the retailer's total sales.

"Here's one retailer that may survive the Amazon onslaught because its customers are so loyal", CNBC.com, August 23, 2017

Amazon Launches Business Grocery Delivery Service

Online retailer Amazon.com is expanding the coverage of its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service to include business customers. Similar to the company's grocery delivery service for consumers, the Amazon Business service for business customers will feature access to produce and groceries from the company's online store and local shops with same- or next-day delivery.

"Amazon Rolls Out AmazonFresh Grocery Delivery Service for Business Customers", GeekWire, August 23, 2017

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.

"Even Campbell Soup is taking a Page from Amazon", Quartz, August 24, 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.”

"Metro with strong like for like sales growth in Q3", Earnings release, Metro AG, August 31, 2017

Companies, Organizations  

The Body Shop Launches Natural Hair And Scalp Care Product In Sri Lanka

Beauty retailer The Body Shop has launched the Fuji Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub haircare product in Sri Lanka. Inspired by a combination of Japanese green tea, mint menthol, salt crystals, and Community Trade honey from Ethiopia, the product is designed to deal with scalpcare problems caused by exposure to heat, pollution, and other harmful external factors. Faithful to the company's “Enrich, not Exploit” corporate principle, the product's ingredients are fully vegetarian, free from parabens, and sourced from sustainable suppliers.

"Refreshingly clean hair with The Body Shop’s Fuji Green Tea Hair Scrub", Daily Mirror, August 17, 2017

Press Release  

Walmart Reports Revenue Grew In 2Q Of FY 2018

Walmart reported total revenue grew 2.1 percent, or $2.5 billion, to $123.4 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2018. With currency excluded, total revenue for the period was $124.4 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent or $3.5 billion. Walmart U.S.'s comparative sales rose 1.8 percent, with customer traffic rising 1.3 percent. Walmart International posted net sales of $28.3 billion, a decline of 1.0 percent compared with the same period in the previous year.

"Walmart U.S. Q2 comps grew 1.8% and Walmart U.S. eCommerce GMV2 grew 67%, Company reports Q2 FY18 GAAP EPS of $0.96; Adjusted EPS3 of $1.08", Walmart, August 17, 2017

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