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Aldi Plans To Build ₤75-Million Warehouse In UK

October 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount retailer Aldi plans to invest ₤75 million to build a distribution center in Bedford, England, to support the company's growing network in the UK. Aldi said it remains committed to expansion plans in the UK retail market despite reporting its third year of declining profit. By 2022, the retailer expects to have 1,000 stores in the country from its current 726 locations.
Polina Ivanova, "German retailer Aldi to build 75 million pound UK distribution centre", Reuters, October 09, 2017, © Reuters
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Lidl Sees Share Of Shopper Traffic Drop In US

October 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Months after opening its stores in the US in June 2017, German discount retailer Lidl saw its share of store visits declined, according to an analysis by location-based data firm inMarket. Local rivals, including Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart, have recovered much of market share they lost when Lidl after Lidl opened its first nine US stores in June 15. Lidl grabbed 11 percent of customer visits to traditional grocers in nine markets in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, inMarket data revealed. Lidl's share of traffic fell below 8 percent in August, inMarket revealed.
Heather Haddon, "Lidl Stores Gain Little Traction So Far in U.S.", The Wall Street journal, October 08, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Costco Introduces Online Shopping Services

October 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Membership-only warehouse club Costco Wholesale introduced two online shopping services, as part of efforts to expand its online retail presence. Available at present at 376 stores in the US, Costco's partnership with Instacart will be expanded to include more locations across the country. Launched on October 1, 2017, the company's CostcoGrocery online shopping service include about 500 nonperishable dry grocery products delivered free to Costco customers who make orders worth at least $75.
Jon Springer, "Costco Launches Online Grocery Offering", Supermarket News, October 06, 2017, © Penton
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'Supermarket' Startup Seeks To Go Storeless

October 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Farmstead believes it can reinvent the supermarket model by eliminating its physical structure altogether. The San Francisco based startup has a series of micro-warehouses stocked with a range of local farm produce and grocery products and uses AI to predict a customer’s future needs based on their initial order. The selection is then delivered to the customer. Farmstead claims to have made over 15,000 deliveries in the Bay Area and has raised $2.8 million from venture funds.  [Image credit © Farmstead]
Dan Orlando, "Startup Believes it Can ‘Reinvent’ Supermarket Model", Supermarket News, October 05, 2017, © Penton
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Amazon Seeks To Expand Own Delivery Capabilities

October 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. is expanding its in-house delivery capabilities in order to increase the number of products available for free two-day delivery and decrease warehouse overcrowding. Dubbed by the company as Seller Flex, the proposed service first began in India. Amazon began testing the service in West Coast states in 2017 and plans to launch the service across the country in 2018.
Spencer Soper, "Amazon Is Testing Its Own Delivery Service to Rival FedEx and UPS", Bloomberg, October 05, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Upcoming GDPR Legislation Set To Have Global Impact

October 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST

New General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are due to arrive in May 2018. GDPR will create a standardized data privacy law for EU members. It will also affect companies and individuals selling goods or services to EU citizens. The legislation will give individuals more rights to their data, including the “right to be forgotten” and asking consent for data processing. Potential fines for not adhering to the regulations can be up to $24m, or 4% of a company’s annual turnover. A recent PwC survey revealed that GDPR is a top data priority for more than 50 percent of US multinationals. [Image credit © EDPS]

Ronan Shields et al., "What Does the EU’s Privacy Reform Mean for US Marketers? And what Should You Do Now?", The Drum, October 05, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Launches YourGoodSkin Line Of Skincare Products

October 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance has launched the YourGoodSkin line of skincare products exclusively at Walgreens stores in the US and Boots branches in the UK and Ireland. Developed in partnership with scientists, dermatologists, and thousands of women, YourGoodSkin products are designed to “help transform skin” and give consumers “good skin for life.” Featuring the Balancing Skin Concentrate ingredient, YourGoodSkin products can give 90 percent of women skin with improved texture; 71 percent, more even skin tone; and 80 percent, more radiant skin, according to test results.
"Walgreens Boots Alliance Launches YourGoodSkin™, First Skincare Range in over 20 Years Which Includes Hero Product ‘Balancing Skin Concentrate,’ Clinically Proven to Improve the Five Key Signs of Visibly Healthy Skin", Business Wire, October 04, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Amazon Talks Logistics Collaboration With French Retailer Leclerc

October 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon has discussed possible logistics partnerships with Leclerc, according to the French retailer's chief executive Michel-Edouard Leclerc. French newspaper Le Monde earlier reported that Amazon has approached local supermarket companies regarding the possibility of establishing distribution deals or acquiring retail company in the country.
Pascale Denis, "French retailer Leclerc approached by Amazon over logistics partnership", Reuters, October 04, 2017, © Reuters
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Wal-Mart Buys NYC-based Last-Mile Delivery Service Parcel

October 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart said it has acquired Parcel, a technology-enabled, last-mile delivery service company specializing in perishable and non-perishable products in New York City. Operating 24/7, Parcel relies on technology, a fleet of leased vehicles, and employee-based workforce to rapidly sort, load, and deliver products to customers. Wal-Mart said it plans to use Parcel to deliver packages to customers in New York City.
"Walmart Announces the Acquisition of Parcel, a Technology-Based, Same-Day and Last-Mile Delivery Company", Walmart, October 03, 2017, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Lotte Affiliates Announce New Holding Company

October 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In response to challenging retail conditions in Korea and abroad, especially in China, Lotte has announced the launch of a new holding company, Lotte Corporation. Four Lotte affiliates, Lotte Shopping, Lotte Confectionery, Lotte Chilsung Beverage and Lotte Food will merge their investment entities into the new holding company. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and Hwang Kag-gyu, head of the corporate innovation office, will lead the new company. Lotte says the change will make its governance structure more transparent and efficient, while analysts point out that the move will strengthen Shin's control over the company, especially if a rumored merger with Hotel Lotte takes place.
Won Ho-jung, "Lotte begins new governance under holding company", The Korea Herald, October 01, 2017, © The Korea Herald
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Whole Foods Says Customer Card Payment Information Hacked By Cyberthieves

September 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Whole Foods has warned customers that hackers gained access to payment card information at several stores. Acquired by online retailer Amazon for $13.7 billion in June 2017, Whole Foods said the cyberattack affected the company's taprooms and restaurants and not the main checkout lines of its stores. Whole Foods operates 449 stores in the US, with more than 40 branches selling beer on tap.
Alfred Ng, "Whole Foods hit by credit card hack at several stores", CNET, September 29, 2017, © CBS Interactive, Inc
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Natura Names Boynton CEO Of The Body Shop

September 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Natura Group has named David Boynton as chief executive of beauty retailer The Body Shop. Boynton's appointment coincides with Natura Group's implementation of a new governance and management structure following its acquisition of TBS in September 2017. At present, Boynton is chief executive of men's wear retailer Charles Tyrwhitt. He started his career in the grocery market and later moved to health and beauty retailer AS Watson.
Elias Jahshan, "The Body Shop’s new owner snaps up Charles Tyrwhitt’s David Boynton as new CEO", Retail Gazette, September 29, 2017, © Retail Gazette
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Wal-Mart Aims For High-End Market With Jet.com

September 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is repositioning its Jet ecommerce unit toward the high-end market, as part of the retailer's efforts to compete with online rival Amazon. Acquired by Wal-Mart for $3.3 billion in 2016, Jet plans to sell apparel from online retailers bought by the retail giant in the previous year. Also, Jet plans to introduce a new line of private-label food and grocery items.
Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart Tries to Take Jet.com Upscale", The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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China's FMCG Market Grows 4.6 Percent In August 2017 Quarter

September 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, sales of fast-moving consumer goods grew 4.6 percent during the 12-week period ending August 11, 2017, compared with the same period of the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed lower-tier cities saw faster growth at 4.9 percent compared with 4.1 percent for leading cities and provincial capitals.
"Further recovery for China's FMCG market", Kantar Worldpanel, September 28, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Wal-Mart Expands Sustainability Chemistry Policy, Demands Safer Products From Suppliers

September 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart said it has expanded its sustainability chemistry policy for consumable products, as part of the retailer's efforts to improve transparency, promote better product formulations, and widen its selection of sustainable products. First launched in 2013, the program covers about 90,000 products from 700 suppliers. As part of the commitment, Wal-Mart expects its suppliers to completely disclose chemicals used as ingredients in their products, ensure their products come with safe ingredients, and integrate sustainability into their product manufacturing.
"Walmart Strengthens Sustainable Chemistry Commitment, Reports Progress in Safer Product Formulation", Wal-Mart, September 27, 2017, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Discount Retailers Aldi And Lidl Have US Retailers Against The Ropes

September 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount retailers Lidl and Aldi are expected to grow faster than their local competitors in the US market. By offering limited variety of products at very low prices, Lidl and Aldi are winning a price war and expanding their shares of the retail market. Operating in the US since the 1970s, Aldi has 1,700 stores across the country, while Lidl began its expansion in the East Coast in June, and opened its 30th store in September 2017. Also, by offering private-brand products, the German retailers can offer discounts ranging from 35 percent to 40 percent, compared with their rivals.
Alina Selyukh, "Discount Grocers Aldi And Lidl Give U.S. Stores A Run For Their Money", National Public Radio, September 27, 2017, © npr
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Tesco Own-Label Suppliers Commit To Food Waste Transparency

September 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Major own-label food suppliers to British supermarket chain Tesco have agreed to start publishing their food waste data within the next year. CEO Dave Lewis called the commitment by 24 of the company’s biggest suppliers “pivotal.” Lewis said he believed that many other suppliers and retailers would follow suit in the next weeks and months. Suppliers were apparently influenced by a WRAP organization report in March that showed investments in curbing food waste earned positive returns. For every £1 invested in reducing food waste, WRAP reported, half the business sites had at least a £14 return. WRAP is a nonprofit organization whose vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. [ Image credit: © Tesco  ]
Ian Quinn, "Tesco CEO Hails Waste Agreement with Two Dozen Suppliers a 'Pivotal Moment'", The Grocer, September 21, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Food Industry Giants Seek Label Standardization Within Three Years

September 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An organization that represents 400 consumer goods manufacturers and retailers in 70 countries has proposed that food date (viz., "sell by," use by," etc.) labels be standardized and streamlined globally within three years to help customers reduce the amount of edible food thrown out by households. The “Call to Action” from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a Paris-based group with offices in Tokyo and Washington, D.C., requires retailers and food producers to focus on numbers of labels, inclusion of expiration dates for perishable items and food quality indicators for non-perishable items, and educating consumers on what date labels mean. The CGF includes companies like Tesco, Kellogg, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Bimbo, Pick n Pay, Nestlé, Carrefour, and Unilever. [ Image credit: © Consumer Goods Forum  ]
"Companies Commit to Simplify Food Date Labels Worldwide by 2020, Reducing Food Waste", The Consumer Goods Forum, September 20, 2017, © The Consumer Goods Forum
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Wal-Mart Plans To Build New Corporate Headquarters In Bentonville

September 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart announced plans to build a new corporate headquarters in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. According to the retailer, its current setup of separate buildings and offices limits its ability to expand and grow its business. Wal-Mart said a “central campus” will encourage “collaboration and speed” among associates and business units. Also, the planned building will provide employees with “improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light,” which will help the company attract the best talents and inspire current workforce to give their best.
"Winning the Future: A new Home Office in Bentonville", Walmart, September 17, 2017, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
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Vengeful Government Tactics Force Lotte Mart To Sell China Operations

September 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
South Korea-based discount retailer Lotte Mart is putting its China operations up for sale, alleging that the government conducted a campaign to destroy it in retaliation for cooperating with the U.S. in the area of missile defense. Beverage maker Lotte Chilsung is also considering selling its Chinese operations. Lotte Mart allowed the use of a former company golf course for deployment of a U.S. high altitude antimissile system in South Korea. The company alleges that China retaliated by shutting down stores because of purported safety violations, and by encouraging consumer boycotts. Lotte Mart spent more than $600 million to bolster the China operations, but now says enough is enough.
Choi Hyun-Joo et al., "Lotte Mart exits China, other units may follow", Korea JoongAng Daily, September 16, 2017, © JoongAng Ilbo Inc.
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Metro AG Posts Strong 3Q Sales

August 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.” [ Image credit: © Metro AG  ]
"Metro with strong like for like sales growth in Q3", Earnings release, Metro AG, August 31, 2017, © Metro AG
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Tesco’s “Turnaround” Fails To Usurp Irish Grocery Chain’s Market Leadership

August 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New market data from Kantar Worldpanel show that the Supervalu grocery chain remained Ireland's largest grocery retailer during the quarter ending in August, despite strong growth by Tesco. Year-on-year sales growth of 0.4 percent kept Supervalu in the top spot, thanks to improvement in the number of items sold per shopping trip at a lower price point. Supervalu has a 22.2 percent share of the grocery market, a slight (0.3 percentage points) drop from last year. Tesco experienced its fourth consecutive period of growth, “a clear indication that it's achieved a turnaround in performance. [ Image credit: © Supervalu  ]
David Berry, "SuperValu remain on top despite Tesco turnaround", News release, Kantar Worldpanel, August 29, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Discount Grocer Aldi Gives Big Midwest Competitors A Good Run For Their Money

August 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Data from grocery market researcher Shelby Report show that discount retailer Aldi is making headway in the Midwest against big players like regional retailers and Walmart. Aldi’s market share for its 45 stores in the Kansas/Missouri area was 2.8 percent of total retail sales (all commodity value) of $10.27 billion, compared with 1.5 percent in 2016. Market share in the $13 billion Missouri/Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky market increased from 2.4 percent to 4.4 percent; in the $10.88 billion Minnesota market it grew to 3.2 percent; and in the $18.79 billion Ohio/West Virginia/Kentucky market, it grew to 2.9 percent from 1.6 percent in 2016. [ Image credit: © Aldi  ]
Tom Karst, "Aldi Sees Market Share Gain", The Packer, August 28, 2017, © Farm Journal, Inc.
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Campbell Ramps Up Online Delivery Infrastructure For Evolving Retail Environment

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Chef'd  ]
Chase Purdy, "Even Campbell Soup is taking a Page from Amazon", Quartz, August 24, 2017, © Quartz
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Sephora Launches Online Store In India

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Bhagyashree Nair, "Sephora goes online exclusively only at sephora.nnnow.com", ETRetail.com, August 23, 2017, © ETRetail.com
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Amazon Launches Business Grocery Delivery Service

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Taylor Soper, "Amazon Rolls Out AmazonFresh Grocery Delivery Service for Business Customers", GeekWire, August 23, 2017, © GeekWire, LLC
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Ulta Beauty's Loyal Customers Empower It Against Amazon, Other Online Retailers

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Tae Kim, "Here's one retailer that may survive the Amazon onslaught because its customers are so loyal", CNBC.com, August 23, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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Tesco Lotus Plans Big Marketing Campaign In Thailand

August 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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, © Bangkok Post Public Company Limited
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Walmart Opens New Battlefront In War Against Amazon

August 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Walmart  ]
Matthew Boyle, "Walmart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse", Bloomberg, August 19, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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The Body Shop Launches Natural Hair And Scalp Care Product In Sri Lanka

August 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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, © Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.
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Walmart Reports Revenue Grew In 2Q Of FY 2018

August 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Shoppers Look For Breads With Real Ingredients, Minimal Processing

August 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Arnold  ]
Carol Angrisani, "Better-for-you breads make the bakery case", Supermarket News, August 16, 2017, © Penton
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Walmart Enlists Big Data To Improve Efficiency

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Costco Posts Strong July 2017 Sales Numbers; Thrives Despite Amazon Threat

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Andria Cheng, "Costco is Still Amazon-Proof... Relatively Speaking", eMarketer, August 03, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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Amazon's 2Q 2017 Profit Drops 77 Percent; Blames Expansion Costs

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. reported profit fell 77 percent to $197 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales grew 25 percent to $38 billion; however, the high cost of expansion efforts, which include new warehouses and delivery capacity for its retail business and datacenters for its cloud services business, caused the drop in quarterly profit. Amazon is expanding its brick-and-mortar business, highlighted by its acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. in June 2017.
Laura Stevens, "Amazon’s Expansion Costs Take a Toll as Profit Falls 77%", Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Consumer Shopping: Speed Is Of The Essence

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Now that consumers have the technological capability to shop at the speed of light, they expect instant gratification at online stores. Retailers have put in place a wide array of technologies and practices that speed transactions and fulfillment, from one-day delivery to in-store beacons (left) that communicate with shoppers via smartphones. Other advancements created to satisfy the new “I want what I want when I want it” shopping culture are: experimental delivery drones, same-day doctor appointments,, virtual doctor consultations, one-hour delivery of food and groceries, in-store restaurants and bars, and the “see-now, shop-now” trend that lets consumers order new fashion items seen on Instagram almost immediately. [ Image credit: © Estimote  ]
"Faster Shopping: A Top Consumer Trend for 2017", Blog entry, Euromonitor, July 26, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Ahold Delhaize Marks First Year After 2016 Merger

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ahold Delhaize is celebrating the first anniversary of the merger between Ahold and Delhaize Group that created the retail company in July 2016. As a merged company, Ahold Delhaize owns 21 local brands and employs 370,000 associates. It serves more than 50 million customers each week in 11 countries.
"Ahold Delhaize 1 year", Ahold Delhaize, July 24, 2017, © Ahold Delhaize
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Tesco Expands Same-Day Delivery Service Across UK

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco said it has expanded its same-day online grocery delivery service across the UK. Launched in 2014 in London and the South East, the service is now available for customers of more than 300 stores across the country, the company said. Free for a limited period to members of the Tesco's Delivery Saver online delivery program, the service will cost between ₤3 and ₤8. Customers need to place their order by 1:00pm to have their purchases delivered by 7:00pm or later.
"Tesco becomes first retailer to offer same day grocery delivery nationwide", Tesco, July 24, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Sephora Opens First Studio Store Concept In Boston

July 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora opened its first Sephora Studio, the company's smallest store, in Boston, Massachusetts. Integrating various digital tools, the store concept aims to provide customers with optimized shopping experience during and after store visit. Also, the store offers the company's digital-enhanced beauty care services, including the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide. According to the company, the store's consultants are equipped with the highest levels of certification they can earn from Sephora.
"SEPHORA Pioneers New Retail Innovation with Launch of First Small-Format Concept Store", Business Wire, July 21, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Walmart Says To Develop Camera System To Detect And Assist Unhappy Shoppers

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is creating an in-store facial recognition system designed to recognize customers' facial expressions. According to the retailer's patent filing, the technology will use video cameras at store checkout lines to detect signs of anger and dissatisfaction. Upon detection of an “unhappy customer”, the system will alert staff and prompt them to report to the checkout line. Also, the company has filed a patent for using drones to improve customers' in-store experience.
Mark Prigg , "Walmart developing smart camera that can spot unhappy and frustrated shoppers and alert staff", Daily Mail, July 20, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Aldi Says It Will Not Sell Flushable Toilet Wipes In Australia

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Aldi has canceled plans to sell the Green Action line of bathroom cleaning wipes the company described as “flushable.” Aldi's action came following complaints by consumers and warnings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding how “flushable” wipes harm the environment when disposed of in toilet. In December 2016, the ACCC sued Kimberly-Clark Australia and Pental for making misleading claims by describing their products as biodegradable.
Nic White, "Aldi withdraws 'flushable' toilet wipes from sale after customer backlash and water authorities warning they block drains", Daily Mail, July 20, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Growth Of In-House Brands Squeezes Big Food

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket private label brands in the U.S. historically have not been as important as in European countries. Private label accounted for 17 percent of U.S. sales last year, less than half their share in the U.K. and Germany. But supermarket shoppers are increasingly switching to generic brands, and big food companies are beginning to feel the pinch. Retailers like Walmart are already seeing a rise in sales of their own brands. As retailers allot greater shelf space for their own items, traditional manufacturer brands will see sales volumes decline. And retailers in a fierce competitive environment can point to the growth of their in-house brands to coerce suppliers to cut prices. [ Image credit: © Walmart  ]
Stephen Wilmot, "Big Food’s Next Big Problem: Supermarket Brands", The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Bakery Adapts Old Portuguese Pastry Recipe To Make “Bagel Doughnuts”

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The recipe for a popular Hawaiian pastry with roots in Portugal is the inspiration for a Leesburg, Va., bakery’s unusual “bagel doughnuts.” The founders decided to bypass traditional custard and jelly doughnut fillings, and model their treats on the malasada –  a yeast-leavened doughnut made with real fruits, premium heavy cream, and custards made from eggs. They are filled with pastry and chantilly cremes, as well as cream cheese. The bagel doughnuts are dipped in ”everything bagel” seasoning, filled with whipped cream cheese, infused with chives or smoked bacon, and can be topped with smoked salmon.  [ Image credit: © B. Doughnuts   ]
Daniel Uria, "Malasadas-Inspired 'bagel Doughnuts' Come to D.C. Pop-Up Bakery", United Press International, July 19, 2017, © UPI
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Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Portends An Accelerated, Automated Grocerants Trend

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
“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. [ "Pepper" Humanoid Robot, Image credit: © Softbank  ]
Kacey Culliney, "The Future Of Grocerants? Deliveries, Humanoids and a Good Dose of Life-Hacking, says Supermarket Guru", FOODnavigator-USA.com, July 19, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Walgreens Announces Technology Investments, Proposed Purchase Of Rite Aid Stores

July 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. said it is investing to update and upgrade the company's technology. According to the pharmacy and retail chain, the company aims to put in place a new system in a few years, enabling it to improve the organization of its stores. Also, the company announced its proposed acquisition of 2,186 stores from Rite Aid, including warehouses and inventory, as well as real estate properties.
Jamie Grill-Goodman, "Walgreens Invests In New Technology and Personalization", Retail Info Systems, July 17, 2017, © EnsembleIQ
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U.K. Relaxes Overly Cautious “Use By” Dates On Food Packaging

July 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Calling current rules overly cautious, the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency has issued draft guidelines urging supermarkets to scrap “use by” dates on packages of food that wouldn’t cause poisoning in favor of “Best Before” dates. The proposed rules also state that packaging should tell customers how to store food, and should display the snowflake logo to indicate that a product can be frozen. The goal is to reduce the 7.3 million tons of food a year, two million tons of which is due to it “not being used in time.” The guidance is “under consultation” until August. [ Image credit: © NHS (UK) ]
Liz Dunphy, "Supermarkets are Told to Stop Telling Shoppers to Throw Away 7.3m Tons of Good Food Every Year by Scrapping 'Use By' Dates", Mail Online, July 17, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Walgreens Adds UK Brand Sleek MakeUP To Beauty Lineup

July 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens said it will start selling Sleek MakeUP brand of cosmetics at more than 150 stores and on Walgreens.com. One of the fastest-growing mass-market beauty brands in the UK, Sleek MakeUP was acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2015. Created by a local beauty entrepreneur in East London, the brand seeks to cater to the needs of women of color who were faced with limited choices in the cosmetics market.
"Walgreens Continues to Differentiate its Beauty Offering with Sleek MakeUP", Walgreens.com, July 17, 2017, © Walgreens.com
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Kroger Most Loved Grocery Brand In US, Morning Consult Survey Says

July 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger Co. received the highest customer satisfaction rating, according to Morning Consult. Data from the public opinion data company's Spring 2017 Most Loved Brands consumer survey revealed Kroger received a 53-percent favorability among grocery store brands. Whole Foods got 48 percent; Safeway, 40 percent; while Albertsons and Publix each received 33 percent.
Bill Cieslewicz, "This grocery chain is most loved in U.S., survey says", bizjournals.com, July 17, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Iowa Bakery Known The World Over For One Special Pastry

July 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small-town Iowa bakery sells the usual fare: doughnuts, fritters, cinnamon rolls, etc. But what makes 89-year-old Tiffany’s Tipton Bakery unique is its crescent rolls, crafted from a Dutch recipe. Twenty-three dozen of the treats, filled with homemade cream and topped with powdered sugar, are baked every Saturday. Many are shipped fresh out-of-town and all over the world, including such exotic destinations as Siberia and central China. Nevertheless, the shop maintains a hometown feel, as one employee notes: “We a lot of times know our customers by their order first, and then we learn their name later." [ Image credit: © Tiffany's Tipton Bakery  ]
"Our Town Tipton: Bakery Ships Pastries Around the World", KCRG-TV9 (Tipton, Iowa), July 14, 2017, © Gray Television, Inc.
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Age Of “Clerkless” Shopping Dawns In China

July 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest companies are promising that “unmanned supermarkets” that apply mobile payment systems technologies are the next big wave in retail shopping. The automated stores use mobile technology to track payments, eliminating the need for cash, checkout lines, checkout counters, and checkout clerks. Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma recently launched the company’s entry into automated stores with the opening of Tao Cafe in Hangzhou. Only three steps are required: scan a QR code to enter; shop (without employee assistance), then take items to exit; lastly, walk through two exit scanners. Payment is automatically deducted from customer's Alipay account.  [ Image credit: © Xinhua  ]
Sevan Golnazarian, "Unmanned Stores Emerge in China, Jack Ma Follows Suit", Produce Report, July 12, 2017, © Produce Report
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