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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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May 01, 2016, to May 15, 2016

Kiehl's Expands Atlanta Store; Adds More Grooming Products For Men

Kiehl’s USA expanded its store in Atlanta, Georgia, to 1,200 square feet. While retaining its signature apothecary aesthetic and design, which includes design elements from the original pharmacy, a teaching skeleton, and a signature motorcycle, the upgraded Lenox Square store features a men’s grooming segment designed for specialized grooming education and product demonstrations. Company president Chris Salgado is keen on introducing men to proper skincare, believing it is both a teaching and a marketing process. According to Salgado, about 18 percent of the company’s products sold in Atlanta are targeted at men, and approximately 30 percent of its customers are men.

Is It Ethical For Vegan Restaurateurs To Kill Cockroaches?

Some vegan restaurant owners committed to humane animal treatment stretch their principles to include the obnoxious pests that plague their facilities. But it’s quite a dilemma. How, after all, do you keep your eatery compliant with public health rules without killing rats, cockroaches, and spiders? Die-hard animal rights restaurateurs can follow the guidance of PETA, which suggests using orange peels to ward off flies, bay leaves to discourage roaches, and peppermint oil-soaked rags to discourage rodents. Faced with the impracticality of those solutions, however, some end up compromising their principles – i.e., calling the exterminator – for the higher good: staying in business “as a way to put a dent in the dominance of the factory farm system.”

Walmart Unveils Two-Day Free Shipping To Battle Amazon Online

Walmart is testing a two-day free shipping membership service as part of its efforts to compete with online retailer Amazon.com’s Prime service. According to the retailer, the service is an expansion of the program it tested in June 2015 when it launched a three-day delivery service. Called ShippingPass, Walmart’s service costs $49 a year and is supported by eight massive e-commerce warehouses across the US. Also, Walmart is using 80 of its 4,600 stores to send orders, get closer to customers, and reduce delivery time.

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April 15, 2016, to May 01, 2016

Walmart De Mexico Reports Strong Profit Jump In 1Q 2016

Wal-Mart de Mexico reported net profit jumped 30 percent to 6.72 billion pesos, or $387 million, with sales rising 13.2 percent to 125.5 billion pesos, in the first quarter of 2016. According to the company, profitability and cash generation performed better than analyst forecasts. One of the factors that helped the retailer’s sales performance was the weakening of the Mexican peso against the US dollar. This strengthened the purchasing power of families who receive dollar remittances from relatives who together sent $24.8 billion back to the country in 2015.

Private-Label Brands Gain Momentum And Here To Stay, Report Shows

In the United States, 32.2 percent of consumers said they are currently buying more private-label brands, according to the latest edition of “The Checkout” report by Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research. Among shoppers who buy private label, only 6.6 percent said they plan to return to name brands. Results of the study showed 74 percent of shoppers who bought a private-label product said it was better priced than name-brand products. Data also revealed that African-Americans expressed a stronger preference for name brands, being more likely to buy more name brands in the future, and avoid purchasing private label. According to the researchers, the report presents significant implications for brands and retailers: private label is here to stay; private-label brands are no longer just the “cheap” option, they now come with good-enough or comparable quality; African-Americans, as a target market, are a potential area for growth; “trust can be seen as a reflection of shared values with the brand and social currency;” and values are not rational.

Korean Beauty Retailer Aritaum Launches In Canada, US

Beauty retail chain Aritaum is opening 70 stores across the US and Canada. Aritaum will sell only brands owned by parent company, South Korea-based beauty brand Amore Pacific. Also, the retailer plans to launch an e-commerce site for the US market by the end of 2016. Brands to be carried by the retailer include Iope skincare products, Hanyul line of skincare products made from traditional Korean ingredients, and Laneige facial care products.

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April 01, 2016, to April 15, 2016

Retailers Find 4 Ways To Digital Marketing Success

Retailers are adopting four ways of using digital marketing to influence consumers. To encourage consumers to visit their stores, retailers are using digital technology to offer local information. Data from Google revealed 75 percent of shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores. Once consumers are in the store, retailers use digital to improve shoppers’ in-store experience. For example, Sephora lets shoppers use their smartphones while shopping in-store to search for product recommendations through the company’s Sephora App. Also, retailers are finding out that email is the most effective channel to promote personalized interactions with consumers. Data from Criteo showed 80 percent of retail marketers are using personalized email marketing strategies. Mobile is a vital component of retailers’ digital marketing success. According to Forrester Research, m-commerce is forecast to grow so fast that it may potentially account for 54 percent of total e-commerce revenue by 2018.

Ulta Beauty Plans Faster Expansion In 2016; Prepares To Compete With Segment Rivals

After opening 77 new stores, and increasing its total retail space by 9.5 percent to reach 874 stores in 2015, personal care and cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty plans to expand even faster in 2016. Since opening its first store 25 years ago, the company has seen fast-growing revenue, with sales rising 21 percent to $3.9 billion in 2015, compared with sales in 2014. During that period, the company reported comparable sales grew 11.8 percent. Ulta Beauty’s rapid growth and expansion poses a serious competitive threat to rivals, such as Macy’s, which has a large beauty department, and beauty retailer Sephora.

Sainsbury’s Ends Price-Matching Coupon Scheme In Favor Of Lower Prices

British retail grocery chain Sainsbury's is no longer giving shoppers a refund coupon when its products are more expensive than of a competitor's. The company said the money saved by ending the “Brand Match” program will be used to reinvest in key everyday products “that matter most” to customers, including chicken, bread, cheese, fresh produce and household cleaning items. The idea behind Brand Match, launched five years ago, was to mitigate the consumer perception that Sainsbury’s was too expensive. The move to drop the program follows adjustments to similar price guarantee schemes by competitors Tesco, Morrisons and Asda.

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March 15, 2016, to April 01, 2016

Private Labels Are Growing Part Of CPG Market, Study Reveals

In the United States, 32.2 percent of shoppers said they are currently buying more private-label brands, with only 6.6 percent of them saying they plan to return to name brands, according to a 2016 edition of “The Checkout” study. Results of the survey revealed 11.9 percent of respondents said they are buying fewer store brands, while 17.4 percent are buying more private labels and will keep on buying them. Also, 8.2 percent of respondents said they are buying more store labels and plan to buy even more. Data also revealed a decline in consumer perception of name brands as offering more new products, varieties, and innovations, from 56 percent of respondents in 2010 to 45 percent in 2015. Among African-American consumers, more are likely to prefer name brands, with respondents saying they are more likely to perceive name brands as of higher quality than their private-label counterparts. Results of the study offers some insights for marketers and retailers, including the fact that private labels are here to stay, consumers see private labels as inexpensive options with good-enough or comparable quality, and that African-American shoppers offer a potential area for growth.

Sephora Employs Worldline Electronic Payments System For Sephora Flash Smart Stores

Sephora partnered with electronic payments and transactions company Worldline to launch its Sephora Flash smart beauty store. On October 21, 2015, Sephora opened its first Sephora Flash store in Paris, a retail concept that combines seamlessly brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. Using an off-the-shelf near field communication, or NFC, card and a physical basket, customers can shop among 3,500 products on display at Sephora Flash stores. Also, customers using their handsets or tablets can browse Sephora’s online catalogue featuring 14,000 products.

Waitrose Continues Grow And Sell Gardening Program For School Kids

UK retailer Waitrose relaunched its “Grow and Sell” program, which encourages school children to grow vegetables and other crops. On its fourth year now, the program gives away “Grow and Sell” kits, with each kit containing seeds for species, such as basil, beetroot, lettuces, and snap peas. In addition to encouraging children to learn about where food comes from, the program also helps them develop entrepreneurial skills. As part of the program, participating children are encouraged to sell their produce outside their local Waitrose stores.

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March 01, 2016, to March 15, 2016

Wal-Mart To Focus On Updating Current Stores In Japan, Will Not Leave Market, Local Top Executive Says

Wal-Mart Stores has no plans of leaving the Japan market, according to Takeshi Kamigouchi, head of the retailer’s local business. Japan’s retail market has been hit by consumer reluctance to spend made worse by the 2014 increase in national sales tax. Kamigouchi said Wal-Mart plans to focus on remodeling existing stores instead of opening new ones in 2016; however, the company may open new stores if good locations can be found. Wal-Mart, which operates Seiyu-brand stores in the country, has seen its same-store sales growing year-on-year in the past two years, the executive said.

Ulta Plans To Open 100 New Stores After Posting Strong Sales Growth In 4Q 2015

Beauty retailer Ulta said it plans to open 100 new stores in the United States, adding to its current store count of 874 across the country. Ulta reported sales jumped 21.1 percent to $1.27 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, while comparable-store sales rose 12.5 percent and net income grew 23.6 percent to $107.8 million in the quarter, compared with the same period in the previous year. Ulta’s expansion plans mean it is poised to stay much larger than nearest rival Sephora, which at present operates about 360 stores in North America.

Target Announces Exclusive Bath And Body Care Brands Created In Collaboration With Project Underground

Target partnered with beauty brand creator Project Underground to develop its in-house bath and body care brands Mayfair Soap Foundry, Marlowe, and You Are Amazing. Combined with Target’s acquisition of Sonia Kashuk and the introduction of Defy & Inspire line of nail polish products, the move highlights the mass retailer’s growing focus on its beauty business. Target’s partnership with Project Underground began in 2015, with the latter mandated to create high-quality products for the retailer, with emphasis on design and affordability.

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February 15, 2016, to March 01, 2016

Target Appoints Arthur Valdez EVP In-Charge Of Supply Chain And Logistics

Target Corporation said it has named Arthur Valdez as executive vice president, in charge of the retailer’s supply chain and logistics. Valdez’s responsibilities will include leading the company’s supply chain transformation, which covers planning, distribution, and transportation. With extensive experience in both direct-to-consumer and direct-to-store aspects of supply chain operations, Valdez will report to Target EVP and COO John Mulligan.

Lidl Plans To Open 20 Stores In Serbia In 2016 And 2017

Discount retailer Lidl said it plans to open 20 stores in Serbia in 2016 and 2017. During a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a Lidl representative also said the company plans to open a distribution center in Nova Pazova. Part of the company’s long-term plans in the country include opening 100 stores.

Aldi Products Take Top Honors In Australian Shopper Vote

Australian consumers chose Aldi brands as their favorites in the 2016 Product of the Year Awards, a distinction that often leads to double-digit sales increases. The company took top honors in 12 of 46 award categories, including small goods, snacks to go, pest control and household cleaning. The director of the awards program said it’s certainly about saving money, but “the quality has to be there to make an impact and result in repeat purchases.” A recent survey of Australian shoppers found that 35 percent would buy a new product if it won the Product of the Year award.

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February 01, 2016, to February 15, 2016

Walmart Opens First Walmart-Branded Store In Nicaragua

Walmart opened its first Walmart-branded store in Nicaragua. Located in the country’s capital Managua, the store opened to hundreds of shoppers looking for savings on clothes, electronics, toys, appliances, groceries, and other products. Walmart invested $17 million in the modern store format with 5,890 square meters, creating 150 direct jobs and 1,575 indirect jobs. According to the retailer, a great majority of its offerings come from local small- and medium-sized suppliers.

Whole Foods Co-CEOs Say They’re On The Right Track Now

Rocked by negative publicity and stiff organic and natural food competition from lower-cost retailers like Kroger and Costco, Whole Foods Market has experienced slower growth and a declining stock price (down 33 percent). A key problem for the chain is how to communicate to shoppers why its products are worth the higher prices. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the two co-chief executives said the company is not “on our heels." It will create 8,000 new jobs in 2016 and open 30 new stores. As to the negative publicity – New York City said the company deliberately mislabeled package weights and overcharged customers – they said they have learned to respond promptly to stop misinformation in its tracks.

British Grocery Market Continues Slow Growth Pattern

Discount grocery retailers Aldi and Lidl saw growth accelerate in the U.K. – Lidl to 18.7 percent and Aldi to 13.7 percent. Lidl’s market share rose to 4.2 percent and Aldi’s to 5.6 percent. Among the big chains, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose’s sales were up, while Tesco’s and Morrisons’ were down, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s most recent data. The Co-operative – the U.K.'s fifth biggest food retailer and most frequently visited – was the fastest growing non-discounter, increasing sales by 1.4 percent. Consumers are making more healthful food choices. Although grocery sales growth in the U.K. has been sluggish overall – take-home sales increased only 0.2 percent in the period – the healthy trend led to a five percent increase in fresh food sales in both traditional and discount retailers. Fresh foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, fresh poultry and fish.

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January 15, 2016, to February 01, 2016

Amazon Reports Strong Sales And Revenue Growths In 4Q And Full-Year 2015

Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., said operating cash flow jumped 74 percent to $11.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2015, compared with the previous year. Free cash flow increased to $7.3 billion, compared with $1.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2014. For the quarter ending December 31, 2015, net sales rose 22 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.3 billion in the same quarter of 2014. Net sales grew 26 percent, excluding the $1.2 billion unfavorable impact of year-over-year charges in foreign exchange rates during the quarter. Net income was $482 million, or $1 per diluted share, compared with net income of $214 million, or $0.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Plans To Expand Beauty Business In US

Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance plans to expand its beauty business in the United States, according to WBA executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina. Speaking at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in New York City, Pessina said WBA plans to duplicate Boot’s success in the UK beauty market. WBA is currently doing a pilot test of the Beauty Evolution initiative at 13 stores in the Houston area. Also, the company plans to launch another program it calls Beauty 2000 in the summer of 2016.

Wal-Mart Eyes Expansion Of Data And Analytics Operations In India

Wal-Mart Stores plans to invest in data and analytics in India, as part of its efforts to compete better with brick-and-mortar and online rivals, according to the retailer’s chief information officer Karenann Terrell. Instead of relying extensively on outsourcing, the company is employing third-party providers via a managed outcome approach. In India, the company is using both insourcing and outsourcing, the executive said. Terrell also said his company is collaborating with technology startups to leverage innovation. Wal-Mart intends to keep increasing its technology-related spending, Terrell added.

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January 01, 2016, to January 15, 2016

Walmart Eyes Partnerships With Local E-Commerce Firms In India

Walmart is reportedly planning to partner with India’s leading e-commerce companies, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, and ShopClues. Seen as part of the U.S. retailer’s efforts to take advantage of the growing online retail market in the country, Walmart’s e-commerce move follows its failed attempt at launching its local consumer retail business. India allows 100 percent foreign direct investment in cash-and-carry or wholesale businesses; however, FDI is limited at 51 percent in multi-brand retail.

Aldi Australia Bans Microbeads From Its Personal Care Products

Supermarket chain Aldi Australia said it will remove plastic microbeads from its own-brand personal care products by 2017. Joining other retailers Coles and Woolworths, Aldi said it will replace microbeads with natural ingredients. Environmentalist Jon Dee, one of the leading campaigners for a ban on microbeads, commended Aldi for its decision.

Walmex Names Wal-Mart Brazil Leader As New CEO

Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica appointed Guilherme Loureiro as its new chief executive officer effective February 1, 2016. Previously CEO of Wal-Mart Brazil, Loureiro will replace Enrique Ostale, who will remain as CEO of Wal-Mart Latin America. Ostale, who was CEO of Walmex for just over a year, took over from Scot Rank, who was CEO when bribery allegations came out against the company.

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December 15, 2015, to January 01, 2016

Sephora Launches Environment-Friendly Logistics Solutions In China

Cosmetics retailer Sephora launched its Green City Logistics, a supply chain solution designed to be environment-friendly by using electric vehicles in delivery, in Shanghai and Beijing. Part of the company’s latest efforts to protect the environment and cut pollution, the initiative seeks to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from logistics and transportation in fast-expanding mega-cities. Electric vehicles will be used to transport goods between Sephora warehouses and retail stores.

“Wonky” Veggie Controversy Subsides As U.K. Grocer Reports Vigorous Sales

After a prominent chef complained that British grocery chains were wasting tons of vegetables because they were “wonky” – oversize, undersize, cracked, or misshapen – Morrisons has relaxed its veggie cosmetics rules. The chain conducted a test that found wonky veggies, mainly potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips, were acceptable to consumers and sold well, especially when discounted. Morrisons also issued a reprieve for wonky brussels sprouts, many of them considered “monster” size because of the recent warm growing season. TV chef and food waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall pooh-poohed the poor results of an earlier Morrisons test sale of wonky courgettes (zucchini) – they sold more slowly than normal courgettes – as “pathetic.”

Wal-Mart Names Tony Rogers CMO For U.S. Operations

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. promoted Tony Rogers to chief marketing officer for the retailer’s United States operations. After working for 10 years for the world’s largest retailer, Rogers assumes the marketing reins for Wal-Mart’s biggest market. Rogers replaces Stephen Quinn, who was appointed Wal-Mart U.S. CMO in 2007.
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