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Retail Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:161

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March 01, 2017, to March 15, 2017

Amazon To Hire 10,000 Full-Time Workers In Europe

Online retailer Amazon plans to create 10,000 full-time jobs across Europe in 2017, including 5,000 in the U.K.  Also, Amazon's plan to open fulfillment centers in Daventry, Doncaster, and Tilbury confirms the company's growing commitment to the British market despite the Brexit decision to leave the European Union. Amazon is also increasing the number of employees at its development centers in London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.

Carrefour Posts Solid Fiscal 2016 Financial Performance

Despite continued softness in the French market, retailer Carrefour SA posted full-year earnings of $1.01 billion, close to the $1.15 billion that Wall Street analysts had expected. Full-year net sales were $80.7 billion, 2.7 percent higher than last year. The company did not change its full-year dividend. The group had said earlier this year that fourth quarter sales were 3.9 percent higher at $24.9 billion. Operating profits in France, which represents about 25 percent of its total profit, fell 13.4 percent to $1.1 billion. The company said performance in the food sector was good in all countries; sales growth was “excellent” in Brazil and “continued positive momentum” in Europe, “reflecting the relevance of the predominantly food-based multiformat model.”

Ulta Reports Notable Sales, Profit In Fiscal 2016

U.S. beauty retailer Ulta reported earnings per share of $2.24 (up 32,5 percent) on $4.85 billion in fiscal 2016 sales, an increase of $854.7 million (24.6 percent). Net sales in the fourth quarter increased 24.6 percent to $1.58 billion from $1.27 billion last year. Same-store sales (including e-commerce sales) for the fiscal year were up 15.8 percent compared to 11.8 percent in fiscal 2015. Net income for the year increased 28 percent to $409.8 million compared to $320 million in fiscal 2015; and income per diluted share rose increased 30.9 percent to $6.52 compared to $4.98 in fiscal 2015. For fiscal 2017, the company expects to grow sales by eight to 10 percent (including e-commerce) and open 100 new stores. 

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February 15, 2017, to March 01, 2017

Walmart Aims To Close Pricing Gap With Aldi, Other Discount Retailers

Walmart is seeking to narrow a pricing gap with discount retailer Aldi, as well as with other U.S.-based retailers, such as Kroger.  According to reports, Walmart launched a price-comparison test in at least 1,200 of its store locations in the country. Also, the retailer is requiring its packaged goods suppliers to lower their product costs.

Tesco Adjusts Customer Service Structure In Its C-Stores To Better Compete

British supermarket chain Tesco is expanding the number of customer service personnel in its Express convenience stores to “improve the shopping experience” for customers. The company is creating what it calls shift leaders, at the same time eliminating deputy manager positions. The new structure, successfully tested in several Express stores, is part of a broader program launched two years ago to make sure the company is poised to compete in the rapidly changing retail sector. About 3,300 shift leader positions are being created in the 1,700+ Express stores.

The Body Shop Launches Almond Milk & Honey Line Of Body Care Products In Malaysia

Beauty retailer The Body Shop launched the Almond Milk & Honey range of body-care products in Malaysia. Featuring Community Trade-certified almond oil from Spain's Alicante region and honey from Ethiopia's Sheka rainforest, the products include Soothing & Caring Shower Cream, Cleansing Bar, and Gently Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub. TBS highlights simple body care steps: shower, scrub, and moisturize.

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February 01, 2017, to February 15, 2017

Target Adds More Brands To Collection Of Natural Beauty Products

Target is expanding its natural beauty care collections by adding more natural beauty brands, including Alaffia, Little Seed Farm, and Nubian Heritage, to the lineup. With millennial consumers showing preference for healthy and natural beauty options, the retailer seeks to position itself as their first choice for affordable natural beauty products. As part of this initiative, Target aims to achieve full ingredient transparency for beauty, personal care, baby care, and household care products by 2020. Target is requiring suppliers to remove toxic and dangerous ingredients, such as phthalates, propylparaben, and butylparaben, from their products.

Amazon Expands Its Order Fulfillment Capacity With Two New Centers in California

Amazon.com said it will build two new fulfillment centers in California, adding 2,000 jobs for associates who will pick, pack, and ship customer orders. The company did not say when the new centers in Eastvale and Redlands will open, but together they will have nearly two million square feet of storage space. A center being built in Sacramento is expected to open this year. Amazon employs 15,000 associates in California.

Wal-Mart Gets Serious About Propping Up UK Unit Asda

Wal-Mart plans to use its resources and strengths as the world’s largest retailer to revive the sales performance and regain market share of its UK business Asda. After Wal-Mart acquired Asda in 1999, the UK retailer performed strongly as the country’s most affordable supermarket. Germany-based discount retailers Aldi and Lidl, which opened in the UK in 1990 and 1994, respectively, grabbed market shares from Asda. Wal-Mart will lend Asda its purchasing strength, which enables it to lower prices and costs.

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January 15, 2017, to February 01, 2017

Wal-Mart Replaces ShippingPass Delivery Service With Free Shipping

Wal-Mart is replacing its ShippingPass two-day shipping service with free two-day shipping for purchases worth at least $35. One of the significant online-retail-related changes made by Marc Lore since Wal-Mart bought Jet.com in 2016, the new shipping service will cover more than 2 million products. Wal-Mart designed ShippingPass to compete with Amazon's Prime shipping service.

Tesco Promotes Yogurt Made With Wonky Fruit

U.K. grocery retailer Tesco has teamed up with organic dairy Yeo Valley to launch a new yogurt in its Left-Yeovers line containing wonky – but delicious – apples and custard. The Left-Yeovers yogurt range was created to prevent food waste by using surplus misshapen fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms that would otherwise be taken to landfills. It also raises money by donating 10 p from each sale to food distribution charity FareShare. The initiative is part of Tesco’s strategy to reduce food loss “from farm to fork.” 

Consumer FMCG Spending Growth Continues In China, Report Says

Consumers in China bought 2.2 percent more FMCG products during the 12-week period ending December 2, 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel China. Data from the market research firm showed online spending grew 50 percent during the period, which includes the Double 11 festival. For the four-week period ending December 2, 2016, ecommerce penetration grew to a record 20.5 percent, driven by Double 11 festival spending.

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January 01, 2017, to January 15, 2017

Walmart India Appoints Fortuna Public Relations As Communications Consultant

Walmart India said it has named Fortuna Public Relations as its communications consultant. Wholly owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walmart India owns and operates 21 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in nine states across the country.

Tesco Posts 8th Consecutive Quarter Of Sales Growth

UK retailer Tesco reported group like-for-like sales grew 1.5 percent and UK like-for-like sales rising 1.8 percent in the third quarter, covering the 13-week period ending November 26, 2016. According to the company, the quarter is the eighth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth. For the six-week Christmas sales period, which ended on January 7, 2017, group like-for-like sales grew 0.3 percent, with UK like-for-like sales expanding 0.7 percent.

Amazon Announces Plan To Create 100,000 New Jobs In US

Online retailer Amazon said it plans to create 100,000 new full-time, full-benefit jobs in the US by middle of 2018. According to the company, these jobs are for people with “all types of experience, education, and skill levels.” As of 2016, the company employs 180,000 workers, making the online retailer one of the largest employers in the country. More than 10,000 military veterans are part of the company's workforce, while 9,000 employees have taken part in Amazon's Career Choice program, which pays 95 percent of tuition for degrees in high-demand professions, such as aircraft mechanics and computer-aided design.

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December 15, 2016, to January 01, 2017

Amazon, Target Were Only Retailers To Boost TV And Digital Holiday Advertising

It almost seems as if the big retail companies got out of Amazon’s way this holiday season, at least when it came to advertising on TV. Bucking the trend away from TV advertising – Target was an exception – Amazon aggressively boosted its ad spending on TV by 76 percent, at the same time increasing digital ad spending by 224 percent. Meanwhile, Walmart cut television advertising by 10 percent, Sears by 53 percent, and Nordstrom by 45 percent. Target was the only retailer to boost ad spending across every medium, including print, TV and online. Its spending on print ads went up four percent, while TV spending rose 54 percent.

Premium Frozen Entrees Are A Smash Hit In The U.K.

Frozen food companies in the U.K. are finding that so-called “upmarket” frozen entrees are catching on among consumers who are concerned about wasting fresh food. Research by Unilever determined that fresh food equal to about four million Christmas dinners was tossed in the rubbish this holiday season, including 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes. Available now from companies like Iceland are premium frozen versions of gourmet king prawns, sweet potato chips, quinoa, Canadian lobster tails (220g), en papillote sea bass fillets, luxury rack of lamb, potatoes, and desserts. They are “flying off the shelves,” according to trade magazinet The Grocer.

Discount Stores, Drugstores, Grocery Stores Favorite Sources Of Health And Beauty Aids Of Almost Three-Fourths Of US Consumers, Report Says

In the US, discount stores, drugstores, and grocery stores combined are the top store formats, with 73.8 percent of consumers purchasing health and beauty care products as of November 2016, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology. Data from the market research firm's report, “US Health and Beauty AIDS Consumer Survey” revealed online stores account for 4.2 percent, significantly higher than the 1.0 percent recorded in November 2011. About 42 percent of respondents said they purchased some or all of their health and beauty aids online, while online retailers accounted for 8.7 percent of value share in the segment.

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December 01, 2016, to December 15, 2016

Aldi UK To Launch New Anti-Ageing Skin Line For A Limited Period

Aldi, the German discount supermarket, is launching a new anti-ageing skincare line in the UK, called Lacura VITACELL. It’s aimed at competing with premium skincare products, and contains Complex TCR3® to prolong the life of skin cells, as well as stem cells from sea plants to promote skin elasticity and structure. The products will be on the shelves as a Specialbuy in early February 2017 with limited supply.

India's E-commerce Market Expected To Expand 200 Percent In 2015-2025

India's e-commerce market, valued at $19.2 billion in 2015, is forecast to expand more than 200 percent by 2025. Growth in the online retail sector is driven by many factors, including rising penetration of the internet and smartphone ownership, expanding online consumer base, changing lifestyles among Indian consumers, and advances in payment technology. Also, the market is expected to see an increase in merger and acquisition activity, driven by international retailers, such as Alibaba, Amazon, and Walmart, seeking to acquire or merge with the country's leading e-commerce companies.

Costco Finally Getting Serious About Ecommerce

Costco acknowledges that it’s lagging in ecommerce. As competitors built out their offerings – in the last year Target has invested in IT and improving its search function while Walmart tripled its online range and now offers grocery pickup at hundreds of stores – Costco remains largely a bystander.  Its online sales of around $4 billion (about 3% of sales) are lower than those of much smaller stores such as Best Buy or Macy’s.  Chief Financial Officer, Richard Galanti, recognizes that the company doesn’t meet industry standards but says that this will change. Improvements include increasing the number of high-end brands available online, improving search and streamlining checkout. It will also rollout better order tracking and simplify returns. In all this, Costco must balance its desire to offer a limited number of items (the average store carries about 8,000 against some 150,000 at a Walmart) and its desire to remain a physical destination where it feels it can better differentiate.

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November 15, 2016, to December 01, 2016

Philosophy Ventures Offline With An Experience Rich, Multisensory Concept Store

Beauty brand Philosophy will shortly launch its first concept store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. The company hopes its WellBeing Beauty Workshop will be experience-rich and engage consumers across all senses: "the environment invites you to mindfully engage the senses on an individual level through touch, sight, sound and scent.” In addition to a discovery station where shoppers can touch, test and sample Philosophy skincare products, the store will have personalized consultants and a conversation station to promote Philosophy’s ethos and community. A cornerstone of this is the company’s ‘hope & grace’ initiative and its commitment to support mental health and well-being, as well as its undertaking to contribute 1% of sales to the hope and grace fund.  

China Continues To Embrace Online Shopping

In the second volume of a report on shoppers in China, Kantar Worldpanel and Bain & Company highlight continued rapid growth in online sales and expansion in the number of categories bought online. Online sales of FMCG products grew 36.5 percent last year, with volume up 69 percent. A decline in the average selling price came from the broadening of product options beyond the expensive original categories, baby care and beauty. It also found that physical stores are trying to complement online shopping, with the growing popularity of convenience stores driven by urbanization, for small baskets and top-up shopping. The authors believe that online and offline channels need to adapt to the changing reality to stay competitive. The growth in online shopping was demonstrated by the 11/11 Singles’ Day promotions. This year, Alibaba drew sales of $17.8 billion in the day, and the report suggested reasons for this sales splurge: existing shoppers choosing to spend more on the day; shoppers deferring purchases in the lead up to the day; and new shoppers attracted by the promotions.

Slow Moving Tesco Will Finally Remove Microbeads From Own-Branded Products

Acknowledging that it has been slow to react to growing worries about microbeads in personal care and household products, Tesco announced it will phase them out from all its own brand products before year-end. Ten of its personal care products and 10 household products will be affected. Tesco claims it is responding to growing consumer concerns over long-term environmental impact that microbeads have in oceans and ecosystems generally. It is encouraging suppliers to use natural alternatives, such as ground coconut shells that can be effective in face scrubs, or removing microbeads entirely. UK ministers indicate that microbeads (actually tiny pieces of plastic) will be banned from personal care products by the end of 2017. It is currently unclear if other categories will be affected. [ Image credit (C) Tesco plc ]

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November 01, 2016, to November 15, 2016

France Sues Carrefour For Alleged Unfair Supplier Discounts

France is suing retailer Carrefour for allegedly demanding huge discounts from suppliers without providing anything in return. According to the French Economy Ministry, the government “would seek a fine and a court order” to stop the retailer's alleged unfair commercial practices that also harm companies and farms.

Sephora Faces Trademark Infringement Lawsuit From Green Heart Labs

Beauty retailer Sephora has been sued by Green Heart Labs for allegedly violating the company's trademark for its Aha! Moment! skincare product. According to the lawsuit, Sephora has failed to stop selling the brand Drunk Elephant, which Green Heart Labs claims is using the trademark to promote its product. Green Heart Labs also claims the infringement “has caused injury to its business, goodwill, and property.”

Boots Launches 2016 Christmas Campaign Highlighting Working Women

Retail company Boots launched its “The gift of beauty” marketing campaign for Christmas 2016. Highlighting working women, the campaign focuses on those who have to work on Christmas day and support their communities instead of celebrating the holiday. Also, the ad features two women, including a paramedic, talking about their experiences.

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October 15, 2016, to November 01, 2016

Lidl Eyes 100 More Stores In Romania

German discount retailer Lidl plans to add 100 stores more to its current 200 locations in Romania, according to Frank Wagner, the company's director of operations in the country. After launching its business in Romania by acquiring discount retailer Plus in 2011, Lidl has opened 10‒15 stores each year until 2016. At present, Lidl is the third largest retailer in the country, following Kaufland and Carrefour.

Walmart Invests $50M In China’s Big Online Grocery Retailer

Just one day after Walmart and China’s JD.com revealed they would collaborate on three new online services, the U.S. retailer announced a $50 million investment in New Dada, the country's largest local on-demand logistics and grocery O2O e-commerce platform. The investment enables grocery delivery from certain Walmart stores. The earlier announcement focused on Sam’s Club and Global Imports stores on JD.com, and two-hour grocery delivery through New Dada, an independent joint venture of JD.com and Dada. New Dada has more than 25 million registered customers and provides local on-demand delivery in 300 cities in China. Walmart has 426 stores in 170 cities.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports 20.3 Percent Profit Increase In 4Q

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. announced adjusted fiscal 2016 fourth quarter net earnings increased 20.3 percent to $1.2 billion over last year, on sales of $28.6 billion (up 0.4 percent). Fourth quarter net earnings per share were $0.95 compared with $0.02 in the same quarter a year ago. The company said increases in net earnings reflect fluctuations in the quarterly fair value adjustments of the company's AmerisourceBergen Corporation warrants. Fiscal 2016 earnings per share declined 4.5 percent from the prior year, to $3.82. CEO Stefano Pessina said, "The exercise of the AmerisourceBergen warrants in August provides an example of the opportunities open to us to deploy capital.”
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