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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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December 01, 2015, to December 15, 2015

Ulta Beauty Sponsors Second-Screen Companion Of Bravo Media's TV Series

Ulta Beauty agreed to sponsor the mobile-optimized second-screen feature created by Bravo Media for the TV program “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.” Viewers of the TV program may access the Lookbook site on their smartphones and purchase clothing and cosmetics worn by cast members. Marking the beauty retailer’s first attempt at multi-platform marketing, the sponsorship deal is part of Ulta Beauty’s efforts to create an omnichannel marketing strategy.

Balmain Partners With H&M Anew To Launch Perfume

Perfume company Balmain continued its partnership with retailer H&M to launch the Balmain x H&M fragrance. Priced at $40, the unisex perfume will be available online and at H&M stores starting December 3, 2015. Marketed as an affordable high-end perfume, the scent was created by Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing and H&M’s head of design Anne-Sofie Johansson.

Kroger Posts Strong Sales, Profit, In 3rd Quarter

Kroger Co., the No. 2 retail grocer in the U.S. after Walmart, reported higher-than-expected gains in third-quarter profit, thanks to tighter controls on costs coupled with strong sales. Wall Street expected 39 cents a share in profit and $25.2 billion in sales The company posted 43 cents in EPS, or a total profit of $428 million, up from $362 million, or 36 cents a share, in 2014. Revenue rose to $25.1 billion from $25 billion last year. The company’s forays into the natural and organic foods sector once dominated by specialty grocers have proven successful. CEO Rodney McMullen said the 3rd quarter results “demonstrate once again that our relentless focus on customers is the key to sustainable shareholder returns.”

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November 15, 2015, to December 01, 2015

Sephora Announces New Store Concept

Beauty retailer Sephora will reveal a new store concept when it opens a completely renovated location in San Francisco. Called the Sephora Beauty TIP Workshop, the outlet is designed as a prototype for the retailer’s future store design. Created to help teach, inspire, and play, or TIP, the store includes The Beauty Workshop, which will offer group beauty classes for customers. It will also host the store’s online gallery, which also functions as an online store. Also, the store will feature all of the company’s proprietary diagnostic technologies, such as Color IQ, Fragrance IQ, and Skincare IQ.

Lidl UK Announces Expansion Plans, Future Store Concept

Discount retailer Lidl UK announced its plan to invest £1.5 billion to open more than 280 stores in the M25 region and refurbish as many as 150 existing stores into “Lidl of the Future” stores. According to the company, revamping will cost £2 million for each store. Lidl opened its first store of the future in Rushden, Northamptonshire, which comes with a new design and environment-friendly and customer-focused design.

Robot Comes Ready To Banish More Human Workers From Retail Stores

Silicon Valley startup Simbe Robotics introduced Tally, a robot designed to help retail companies monitor their store shelves. Designed to perform inventory tasks faster than humans can do, the robot can finish scanning a CVS, Walgreens, or a small grocery store in 30 to 40 minutes, according to CEO Brad Bogolea. Tally can record data on 15,000 to 20,000 products in an hour, Bogolea said. Simbe Robotics is selling Tally as a service and is considering selling the information it gathers from store shelves.

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November 01, 2015, to November 15, 2015

Kroger Receives Higher Sustainability Rating From CDP

Kroger Co. said its climate disclosure score rose 48 percent, or an increase of 29 points, to 89 points out of 100, as measured by the Carbon Disclosure Project, compared with the previous year. Also, Kroger revealed it was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index-North America for the third consecutive year.

Carrefour Launches Shopping Drive Online Ordering System

France-based retailer Carrefour introduced the Shopping Drive online shopping service. Currently being tested at the Labege 2 shopping center, which is operated by Carrefour’s real estate unit Carmilla, the service allows consumers to order online from multiple retailers and pick up their goods from Carrefour’s Drive site. At present, Carrefour accounts for about half of the 20,000 products available through the online shopping service.

Tesco Names Dare MD As Digital Marketing Director

Retailer Tesco appointed Dare managing director Toby Horry as digital marketing director. Reporting to Tesco brand director Michelle McEttrick, Horry will lead a team of digital marketing professionals. While at Dare, Horry worked with different brands, including Barclays, Barclaycard, and Vodafone.

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October 15, 2015, to November 01, 2015

Walmart Introduces Three-Year Business Growth Plan

Wal-Mart unveiled a three-year business growth plan, which includes sales growth projection of $45 billion to $60 billion for the period ending fiscal year 2019. For its main goal, the growth plan envisions Wal-Mart to be the first retailer to provide consumers with a “seamless shopping experience.” According to the company, it will achieve this goal by winning with its stores, building on digital relationship with customers, and adopting “critical capabilities” needed to drive growth. Also, the company plans to invest $1.5 billion to raise the starting wage for current associates to at least $10 in the United States. Wal-Mart is also investing in technology to improve customer experience.

Hawaiian Raw Fish Delicacy Invades Los Angeles

The Hawaiian staple known as poke (pronounced poke-eh) is gaining traction on the West Coast, especially in L.A. The chopped, seasoned raw fish is used as a topping or main ingredient in customizable sandwiches, burgers, burritos, pizza or salads, and can be served with brown rice, kale, sriracha and ponzu sauce. The popularity of the food is reflected in the number of poke restaurants that have opened over the last two years in the Los Angeles area. One of them serves poke on rice, salad or in a wrap with pineapple, seaweed salad, crab and crispy garlic or onions. Available seafood includes spicy tuna, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, scallop, albacore and octopus.

Online Retailers Open Physical Stores In UK

Online retailers in the UK are opening brick-and-mortar stores. Online fashion retailer Boden, which has £280 million in annual sales, plans to open several new stores in the country, in addition to its original mail-order and online-only businesses. Rapha, an online seller of high-end bicycles and cycling products, opened its first physical store in central London two years ago. Online seller of beachwear, Orlebar Brown, started its ecommerce business in 2007; however, the company has opened five stores in London since 2011.

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October 01, 2015, to October 15, 2015

Whole Foods Struggle To Meet Growing Demand For Sustainably Sourced And Humanely Raised Meat

Demand for sustainable, organic, natural, and humanely raised meat and other foods is growing faster than the production capacity of farmers. Whole Foods meat supplier Sweet Stem Farm’s dispute with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals highlighted the problems posed by this trend for retailers and their customers. Data from the Organic Trade Association revealed sales of organic products in the United States grew 11 percent in 2014. For its part, sustainable-food restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill dealt with a shortage of sustainably raised pork by pulling off its “carnitas” burrito filling from the menu.

Walmex Reports Stronger Sales Growth In 3Q 2015

Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB said sales rose 12.5 percent to 37.3 billion pesos, or $2.23 billion, in September 2015, driving sales for the third quarter to grow 11.6 percent to 116.5 billion pesos, compared with the same period in the previous year. Same-store sales for September grew 7 percent in Mexico and 3.4 percent in Central America. Walmex said sales growth has recovered in 2015, driven by an improving Mexican economy and the company’s efforts to improve sales at its Sam’s Club membership stores.

Whole Foods Market One Of Best Companies In CSR, Report Shows

Whole Foods Market was recognized for its corporate social responsibility efforts in the United States by the Reputation Institute’s report, US CSR RepTrak. According to Reputation Institute, the list measures the public’s perception of companies based on workplace, governance, and citizenship. Whole Foods Market ranked 25th on the 2015 list, while in June 2015, the company was ranked third most reputable company in the retail industry and the third-strongest retail brand in the US.

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September 15, 2015, to October 01, 2015

Target Adds More Chemicals To Its List Of Banned Ingredients

Target Corp. released an expanded list of chemicals it wants suppliers to remove from their products. Part of the retailer’s efforts to respond to consumer health concerns, the list includes almost 600 ingredients on Health Canada’s lineup of banned cosmetic ingredients. Also on the list is triclosan, an antibacterial agent being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a similar program aimed at encouraging suppliers to remove harmful chemicals from their products.

Target Names Executive In Charge Of Efforts To Improve Business Operations

Target Corporation appointed Anu Gupta as senior vice president for operational excellence. Among the responsibilities that go with Gupta’s position, a job recently created by the retailer, is managing a team tasked with “simplifying and optimizing processes” to improve the company’s ability to foresee and meet customers’ needs. Gupta will report directly to chief operating officer John Mulligan.

Sephora Launches Beauty Subscription Service

Beauty retailer Sephora launched its Play! by Sephora cosmetics subscription service on a limited basis in Boston, Cincinnati, and Columbus markets. With a monthly subscription fee of $10, the service is expected to be launched across the United States in 2016. Some industry analysts are predicting Sephora’s entry into the subscription market poses a strong competition to segment leader Birchbox, which has 1 million subscribers in six countries.

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September 01, 2015, to September 15, 2015

Kroger Reports Strong Earnings For FY 2Q 2015

Retailer Kroger Co. reported net earnings rose to $433 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015. Also, the company said same-store sales grew 5.3 percent, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Driven by lower retail fuel prices, total sales increased 0.9 percent to $25.5 billion during the period, compared with $25.3 billion in the same quarter of the previous year. Total sales, excluding fuel, rose 5.7 percent during the quarter.

Aldi Launches High-End Line Of Anti-Aging Skincare Products

Discount retailer Aldi is launching the Lacura Caviar Illumination, a line of luxury anti-aging skincare products that contain caviar and snow algae. Each product from the high-end lifting and firming skincare range for women contains an anti-aging caviar extract. According to the retailer, the active ingredient comes with a lot of protein, vitamins, minerals, and lipid components. Working to reduce signs of aging by removing uneven spots, the products also act as moisturizer for the skin restricting, the company said. Included in the product line are the Lacura Cavira Illumination Day Cream, the Night Cream, and the 3 Minute Cell Renewal Peel Mask.

Wal-Mart Finds Fees For Suppliers Hard To Sell

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s suppliers are rejecting the retailer’s demand for storage fees and proposed payment schedule. Described by the retailer as a means to “simplify its relationships with suppliers,” the proposed changes are seen by some vendors as an effort by Wal-Mart to improve its margins and compensate for losses likely to be incurred from wage hikes for store workers. Also, several vendors are hiring lawyers to help them secure better terms for their supplier contracts with the retail giant.

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July 15, 2015, to September 01, 2015

Tesco Data Analysis Unit Dunnhumby Partners With Chinese Grocery Chain

As British retail grocer Tesco finalizes plans to divest several of its businesses, one of the units on the auction block, data analyst Dunnhumby, has cemented a joint venture relationship with a large Chinese supermarket chain. Dunnhumby will partner with China Resources Vanguard, which operates 4,000 shops in Hong Kong and mainland China. The partnership will give Dunnhumby access to shopper data in a rapidly-expanding market that includes 20 million Vanguard loyalty card users. It also gives the company an opportunity to work with other retailers. Several industry and private equity buyers have expressed interest in acquiring Dunnhumby’s. Final bids are due in early September.

Tesco Puts Its South Korean Grocery Business Up For Sale

At least five private equity firms have formed alliances to bid for Tesco’s $6 billion South Korean retail grocery business. The sale would help Tesco reduce its debt and help position it for a turnaround in the U.K. Among the potential bidders are the Asia-based Affinity Equity Partners and U.S.-based KKR & Co.; Carlyle Group and Singapore's GIC; and Asian private equity firm MBK Partners, which hopes to secure equity funding from South Korea's National Pension Service. Tesco has been struggling to compete against German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl, while trying to recover from an accounting scandal.

Walgreens Beauty And Personal Care Chief Leaves Company

Walgreens VP and general merchandise manager for beauty and personal care, Shannon Curtin, has resigned from the company effective September 1, 2015. Curtin oversaw the retailer's participation in the Go Big in Beauty event and helped expand the company's beauty business since joining Walgreens in 2009. Lauren Brindley will take over Curtin's responsibilities effective September 8, 2015.

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July 01, 2015, to July 15, 2015

Texas Boule Baker Sells His Pricey Loaves By Subscription

A transplanted New Yorker (and University of Texas neuroscientist) who is fascinated by the chemistry of bread making has launched a bakery specializing in French style organic sourdough boules. The artisanal boules -- basically round, slightly flattened loaves – can now be purchased through a subscription service at 10 loaves for $100. Miche Bread founder Sandeep Gyawali uses whole wheat, whole rye and whole spelt grains that he mills himself, forms the boules that are leavened naturally and fermented slowly, a four-day process.

Amazon Celebrates 20 Years Of Online Business With Prime Day

Online retailer Amazon will launch Prime Day in celebration of the company's 20th anniversary on July 15, 2015. According to the company, the “global shopping event” will offer more deals than Black Friday, the biggest shopping event of the year that happens after Thanksgiving. As with Black Friday, shopping deals will start at midnight, with new discounts offered as often as every 10 minutes. Amazon said the event will be open to all members of the company's Prime program in the United States, the UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.

Forecasters See A Big Future For VR In Retail, CPG

Marketing and technology experts believe that someday virtual reality will transform advertising for a wide range of products. A Gartner Group analyst says the eventual applications are hard to imagine now, but their arrival seems almost inevitable. Using virtual reality to visualize products will give people “a different way of thinking about them." Virtual reality products themselves are in their infancy, a long way from becoming a viable consumer advertising medium. That’s not stopping the forecasters and visionaries from pondering the future. Gartner says that within three years there will be 25 million VR (or nearly VR) headsets in use. One VR evangelist notes: "I'd be shocked if within a year's time there isn't something a retailer or CPG has done" with the technology.

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June 15, 2015, to July 01, 2015

Tesco Malaysia Installs NCR Self-checkout Technology

Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd chose NCR Corporation's self-checkout technology for its self-service checkout counters in stores across the country. To be installed first at the company's IOI City Mall store in Putrajaya, the system will allow shoppers to scan, bag, and pay for products themselves, eliminating the need to wait in long queues. NCR said its self-checkout solution comes with user-friendly interface and touchscreen designed to guide shoppers through the checkout process.

Kroger's 1Q 2015 Performance Tops Analysts' Predictions

Retailer Kroger Co. said its net earnings reached $619 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Same-store sales grew 5.7 percent during the period, with fuel sales excluded. Total sales rose 0.3 percent to $33.1 billion, compared with $33.0 billion from last year. With fuel sales excluded, total sales for the period grew 6.4 percent from the previous year. For the quarter, Kroger recorded a LIFO charge of $28 million.

Burger King’s India Strategy Centers On New Vegetarian Menu Items

Burger King faced a puzzling challenge when it decided to open restaurants in its 100th country, India: about half the population does not eat meat. So it’s not likely the Whopper will be a popular menu item. Rather than try to fit a square peg in a round hole, cuisine-wise, the chain decided to adjust to the culture. Burger King reps traveled all over India, gathering intelligence on local food habits. The result? Six varieties of vegetarian sandwiches, vegetarian snackers and other products for non-meat eaters. There’s already a lot of quick-service (QSR) competition in India – from McDonald’s, KFC and Subway – but it’s a huge opportunity. The market is growing at 26 percent a year, and QSR represents only two to three percent of the country’s food industry. Burger King now has 16 restaurants in India, with seven more on the way soon.
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