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Non-GMO Trend Continues, Though Scientists Aren’t Sure GMO Foods Are A Threat

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Claiming to be non-GMO – as some restaurants, grocery chains and food companies have at least partially done – is not only problematic, it’s increasingly difficult to defend from a scientific standpoint without proof that GMO foods present a threat to humanity. It’s problematic because GMO crops and animal feed are inescapable. Staunchly anti-GMO Chipotle had to finally admit its meat and cheeses come from GMO-fed cows. Whole Foods acknowledged “GMOs are ‘pervasive’ and can be found in 70 percent of packaged foods.” Meanwhile, the scientific community seems less hostile to the food industry’s growing application of GMO technology as it waits for some reliable evidence that GMO foods are safe – or unsafe.
Chris Sorensen, "In defense of GMOs", Canadian Grocer, March 13, 2016, © Rogers Media Inc.
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Apollo Global Management Closes In On Deal To Acquire Fresh Market

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Apollo Global Management is close to completing a deal to acquire specialty grocery retailer Fresh Market. Expected to be worth more than $1.3 billion, the deal would highlight Apollo Global Management’s confidence in its ability to turn around companies in the highly competitive grocery market in the United States. Apollo Global Management’s cash offer of $28.50 per share helped it win in an auction for the retailer.
"Apollo Global Nears Deal to Acquire Fresh Market", Fortune, March 13, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Online Grocery Business Does Not Have Long-Term Viability, Market Analysts Say

March 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online grocery as a business does not seem to have long-term viability, according to HSBC retail analyst David McCarthy. According to a note by McCarthy, big investments by grocery chains, such as Kroger, Whole Foods, and Walmart, in online grocery and home deliveries are a waste of their money. McCarthy said the fact that the online grocery market keeps growing at only half the growth rate of discount retailers, such as Aldi and Lidl, supports his assertion. Other market analysts are also questioning the viability of online grocery, as highlighted by a BMO Capital Markets report showing the vast majority of consumers do not like to shop for groceries online.
Kate Taylor, "Kroger and Whole Foods might be investing billions into a losing game", Business Insider, March 12, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Tesco Makes Its Food Waste Pilot Project Official

March 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Following a successful six-month, 14-store pilot program, British grocery chain Tesco has finalized a plan to donate all unsold food to 5,000 charities in an effort to eradicate food waste from its stores and distribution centers by 2017. During the test, the Community Food Connection program resulted in delivery of more than 22 tons of food to needy people – approximately 50,000 meals. The company acknowledged it had discarded more than 55,000 tons of food last year. The Tesco initiative follows a similar effort by the Morrisons grocery chain.
Caroline Mortimer, "Tesco to give all unsold food to charity after finalising deal", Independent, March 12, 2016, © independent.co.uk.
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Sephora Encourages Innovation In Mobile Beauty Market By Supporting Tech Startups

March 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora supports innovation in the beauty mobile market by backing several business startups focused on creating new roles for the smartphone in scheduling beauty appointments and attracting shoppers. As part of this initiative, Sephora launched the Sephora Accelerate, an incubation program for beauty startups. For the 2016 Sephora Accelerate Cohort, the company announced its lineup of women entrepreneurs who will participate in the business and innovation promotion program. Among the entrepreneurs are Candace Mitchell, Carolina Grove, and Danielle Cohen-Shohet.
Brielle Jaekel, "Sephora sparks mobile beauty growth by supporting startups", Luxury Daily , March 11, 2016, © Napean LLC
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Accounting Scandal Forced Tesco To Improve Its Business, CEO Dave Lewis Says

March 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco’s 2014 accounting scandal was a “catalyst” that drove the company to improve its business operations much faster than how it would have otherwise happened, according to CEO Dave Lewis. Speaking at the Marketing Society’s 2016 lecture, Lewis claimed that without the scandal happening, the retailer may have just kept at its “path of slow decay.” Tesco was once a popular market leader, with its revenue performance and market share peaking in 2007, accounting for 31.8 percent of the UK grocery market. Profits and market share began declining in 2012, during the term of former CEO Philip Clarke.
Shona Ghosh, "Accounting scandal was a 'catalytic change' for decaying Tesco brand, says Dave Lewis", Marketing Magazine, March 11, 2016, © Haymarket
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Instacart Gains Firmer Foothold In Whole Foods’ World

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The 18-month, 17-city partnership between Whole Foods Market and the Instacart delivery service has been successful enough that the two companies are extending it. They will launch services in ”several” metropolitan areas this year, beginning with Orange County, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. The companies also expect to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, while adding more stores that offer the Instacart delivery option. The extended relationship means Instacart is Whole Foods’ largest online ordering and delivery partner.
"Whole Foods Market and Instacart announce new markets, growth plans", Whole Foods Market, March 10, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Carrefour Posts Strong Net Sales Growth In 2015

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour reported net sales grew 4.1 percent at constant exchange rates and 3.0 percent on an organic basis in 2015, compared with the previous year. According to the company, all of its regions posted sales growth at current exchange rates, with Europe rising by 2.7 percent and emerging markets up by 3.8 percent. Recurring operating income for the period grew 7.0 percent to €2.445 billion, with France posting an ROI of €1.191 billion. Operating margin at its home market rose compared with 2014, the company said. ROI in other European countries jumped 33.4 percent to €567 in 2015 from €425 in 2014.
"FULL-YEAR RESULTS: FURTHER GROWTH IN 2015", Carrefour, March 10, 2016, © Carrefour
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Alibaba-Tencent Rivalry Now Reaches China's Energy Industry

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest Internet companies, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., expanded their rivalry to include the country’s oil and gas industries. Alibaba agreed to provide China National Petroleum Corp., the local oil and gas production giant, with Internet-based services. Alibaba’s deal came after Tencent signed in August 2014 a collaboration deal with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., which operates more than 30,000 fuel stations across the country, in areas including mobile payments and media marketing.
Aibing Guo et al, "Alibaba and Tencent Extend Their Web Battle to the Gas Station", Bloomberg Business, March 10, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Carrefour Seeks To Buy Stake In Israel-Based Victory Supermarket Chain

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour SA is negotiating to invest in Victory Supermarket Chain Ltd., the fourth-largest supermarket chain in Israel. Seen as part of Carrefour’s efforts to gain access to the country’s almost $9 billion retail market, the reported negotiations come as Victory is planning to submit a bid for Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd.’s troubled Mega Supermarket Chain.
Sharon Wrobel, "Carrefour in Talks to Enter Israel Market With Victory Deal", Bloomberg, March 10, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Whole Foods Says To Install Rooftop Solar Panels On 100 More Stores

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods plans to install rooftop solar power farms on 100 its stores and distribution facilities, according to a New York Times report. Covering almost a quarter of the retailer’s total store lineup, the move is expected to benefit both the company’s public image and its bottom line. Power provider NRG Energy will install the solar panels, which will be up to 200 times larger than the energy company’s usual home arrays.
Michael Grothaus, "Whole Foods Will Add Rooftop Solar Farms To Many More Stores", Fast Company, March 09, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Amazon Gets Own Air-Freight Arm

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon is leasing 20 Boeing 767 freighter planes, according to Air Transport Services Group. Part of Amazon’s efforts to gain more control of the delivery process, expand delivery capacities during peak season, and lower its freight costs, the deal comes with lease durations of 5–7 years for the planes. Also, the deal includes Amazon buying a 19.9 percent stake in ATSG.
Leena Rao, "Amazon Is Leasing 20 Boeing Planes to Create an Air Cargo Network", Fortune, March 09, 2016, © Time Inc.
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UK Retail Market Posts Slight Sales Growth For February 2016 Quarter

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket sales in the UK grew 0.5 percent during the 12-week period ending February 28, 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Among the country’s top 4 retailers, Sainsbury’s recorded sales growth of 0.5 percent for the period, the company’s 8th consecutive period of growth. Although its market share remained flat at 16.8 percent, Sainsbury’s saw strong sales from its online business and its Local convenience stores. Sales in larger stores dropped 2.0 percent, a trend affecting Asda, which saw sales falling 4 percent and its market share down to 16.2 percent.
Fraser McKevitt, "British supermarkets witness fastest growth in five months", Kantar Worldpanel, March 08, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Carrefour's Website Grabs Best Honors Among Supermarkets In Spain

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour’s website www.carrefour.es was voted the best online store for the supermarkets and hypermarkets category in Spain. Based on input from consumers who voted for their favorite websites on www.webshopdelano.es, criteria for choosing the winners included value for money, promotions and special offers, product selection, and customer service. In 2015, Carrefour Spain’s website recorded 45.9 million page hits, with the online food store accounting for 9.7 million.
"The website carrefour.es voted "Web Shop of the Year" in Spain", Carrefour, March 08, 2016, © Carrefour
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Aldi Names Third Co-President For Fast-Growing US Operations

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Aldi Inc. said it has promoted Brent Laubaugh, vice president of its Saxonburg division, to co-president of the discount retailer’s US operations. Laubaugh joins David Behm and Chuck Youngstrom as co-presidents, reporting directly to Aldi CEO Jason Hart. Laubaugh has been with the company for more than 20 years, holding various jobs of increasing responsibility.
"ALDI Strengthens Senior Management Team As Fast-Paced US Expansion Continues", PR Newswire, March 08, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Walmart's E-Commerce Investments Fail To Boost Online Retail Business

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail giant Walmart’s e-commerce business is seeing slower growth. According to the company, its e-commerce business grew 8 percent in its latest quarter, down from 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, and 30 percent from two years ago. In contrast, rival Target expanded its e-commerce business 34 percent in its latest quarter. Also, Target has been able to post consistent growth in the last few years, with its e-commerce sales growing at least 20 percent on a quarterly basis for the past year. Walmart’s investments in its e-commerce business have so far failed to boost growth. For example, its Shipping Pass service, which offers unlimited three-day shipping for $50 a year, has failed to generate consumer interest. Walmart hopes to improve its e-commerce performance through its Walmart Pay mobile wallet service.
Kate Taylor, "Walmart is getting killed in the most important category", Business Insider, March 08, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Walmart Unveils Expansion Plans In Southern China

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart plans to build eight new stores and a distribution center in China’s south region. Following the retailer’s signing of a cooperation memorandum with the local government of Dongguan, an industrial city near Hong Kong and Macau, the planned facilities are part of Walmart’s expansion in the region. According to the retailer, the planned expansion will create more than 3,000 new jobs in the city in the next five years.
"Walmart expands in southern China", Retail Analysis, March 07, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution
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Tesco Names New CEO Of One Stop Business

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco said it has appointed Tracey Clements as Managing Director for Convenience and CEO of the retailer’s One Stop business. Clements’ responsibilities will include helping develop Tesco’s convenience offer for customers through the company’s network of Metro, Express, and One Stop convenience stores across the UK. After joining Tesco in 2002, Clements has held several roles, including store director for Tesco’s Express format.
"Tracey Clements appointed Managing Director for Convenience and CEO of One Stop", Tesco, March 07, 2016, © Tesco
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More Digital Buyers In India Buy From Digital Stores Daily, Study Reveals

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In India, 12 percent of digital buyers said they shop online or via digital channels on a daily basis in 2015, an increase of 33 percent compared with data from 2013, according to research from the Retailers Association of India and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Data also revealed 39 percent of respondents said they do digital shopping on a weekly basis, compared with 31 percent in 2013. Results of the survey revealed 16 percent of digital shoppers made in-store purchases daily, compared with 15 percent in 2013.
"How Often Do India's Digital Buyers Shop?", eMarketer, March 07, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Rubio’s Simplifies Ingredients In Its Western U.S. Eateries

March 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mexican restaurant chain Rubio’s, based in California, said it is extending its quality ingredients program beyond sustainable seafood, handmade salsas and guacamole, and fresh produce. The company – which already uses no artificial sweeteners, FD&C colors, MSG or hydrogenated oils – plans to serve only all-natural chicken without antibiotics and bacon without added nitrates or nitrites. It is looking into adding sustainable, wild-caught salmon, beef raised without antibiotics, and flour tortillas made with simple ingredients. Rubio’s operates 194 restaurants in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
"Rubio’s Restaurants Reveals Latest Commitment to Food Quality", News release, Rubio's, March 06, 2016, © Rubio's
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Salad Restaurant Chain Implements Million-Dollar “Fresh First” Policy

March 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Texas-based salad restaurant chain Salata said it is spending a million dollars to upgrade its ingredients under a new “Fresh First” policy. The company is using only antibiotic-free chicken, real butter, premium ingredients, no artificial additives, and cage-free eggs. It also plans to reformulate its protein marinades to reduce sodium levels, and switch to organic tea for all iced tea selections. In addition, the company will only sell sodas that contain no high fructose corn syrup at its 50 corporate and franchised locations in Texas, Southern California and Illinois.
"Salata Announces 'Fresh First' Clean Ingredients Commitment In 2016", News release, Salata, March 06, 2016, © Salata
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India's Fast-Growing E-Commerce Has Major Impact On Local, International Markets

March 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India’s $16 billion e-commerce market is the fastest growing in the world. Although smaller than other markets, India has attracted large e-commerce companies, including U.S.-based Amazon and China’s Alibaba, which compete with domestic  firms. Also, India’s e-commerce market is likely to cause three significant changes in socio-economic conditions: it can speed up financial development; e-commerce companies can help overcome the country’s infrastructure limitations and its vast geography; and it can have a big impact on the country’s retail segment.
"India online: E-commerce in emerging markets", The Economist, March 05, 2016, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Plans Australia Expansion

March 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance is planning to launch its business operations in Australia. With about a century of failed previous attempts to establish a toehold in the country, Walgreens Boots Alliance, which registered its trademark with IP Australia in 2015, is evaluating its options to expand into the local market. Also, the company is eyeing to acquire or distribute local health and beauty brands for its retail network. Operating 13,000 pharmacies in eight countries, Walgreens Boots Alliance also runs a wholesale network, which supplies more than 140,000 pharmacies, health centers, and hospitals in 12 countries.
Sue Mitchell, "Walgreens Boots Alliance eyes Aussie pharmacies", The Sydney Morning Herald, March 04, 2016, © Fairfax Media
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Target Launches Bath And Body Care Lines For Women And Children

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Target launched the You Are Amazing and Mayfair Soap Foundry lines of bath and body care products. According to the company, You Are Amazing products are aimed at inspiring and empowering young women and feature a range of scents in four product formats. These include the Hello Beautiful Skin Body Lotion Collection and the Clean On Up Body Wash range. Mayfair Soap Foundry Grapefruit and Bergamot collection includes Sugar Scrub in Grapefruit Bergamot, while Body Souffle skin moisturizers combine aloe and cocoa seed.
Nancy Jeffries , "Bath and Body Lines Target Women and Children’s Well Being", Beauty Packaging, March 03, 2016, © Rodman Media
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Ahold Posts Strong Sales Growth In 2015

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Ahold reported net sales increased 4.3 percent to €38.2 billion in 2015, compared with €32.774 billion in 2014. Underlying operating income rose 3.8 percent to €1.5 billion from the previous year, while free cash flow reached €1.2 billion. Ahold USA posted €23.7 billion in net sales, an increase of 1.4 percent, and accounting for 62.2 percent of the group’s total net sales. Underlying operating income increased 4.0 percent to €940 million.
"Annual Report 2015", Ahold, March 03, 2016, © Ahold
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Whole Foods Market One Of Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Employers

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market was on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the 19th consecutive year the retailer has received the distinction. Ranking number 75 on the list, Whole Foods Market is one of only 11 companies to make the list every year since it started in 1998. According to the magazine, Whole Foods Market earned the recognition due to its passion for its mission and the many employees who personally support this mission. In February 2015, the retailer was also included in the magazine’s Most Admired Companies list.
"Whole Foods Market recognized 19 consecutive years on FORTUNE’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list", Whole Foods, March 03, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Kroger Posts Sales Gains For 4Q And FY 2015

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger reported total sales, excluding fuel, rose 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Total sales including fuel and Roundy’s increased 3.8 percent to $26.2 billion during the quarter, compared with $25.2 billion for the previous year. According to the company, net earnings for the quarter reached $559 million. For fiscal year 2015, total sales, excluding fuel, grew 6.0 percent, compared with the previous year. Total sales including fuel and Roundy’s rose 1.3 percent to $109.8 billion, compared with $108.5 billion in 2014.
"Kroger Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results", Kroger, March 03, 2016, © The Kroger Company
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Mac n’ Cheez Restaurant Chain Expands From Michigan To Chicago Area

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Banking on the assumption that diners are getting tired of wings, pizza, and burger joints, Detroit-based Lorraine Platman is rapidly building an empire of macaroni and cheese eateries. Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! has expanded beyond her seven-location Michigan roots by opening a Chicago-area restaurant, and expects to launch nine more in the area over the coming years – two this year alone – for a total of 100 nationwide within five years. The company sells 14 kinds of made-to-order meat-topped and vegetarian macaroni and cheese dishes, each served up in less than two minutes. Besides specialty mac-and-cheese dishes, Sweet Lorraine's offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free soups, salads, healthy wraps, grilled cheese and desserts.
"Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! twists into Chicagoland", Fast Casual, March 03, 2016, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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“Please Die, Cupcakes,” Pleads Tarts Entrepreneur

March 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Could tarts give cupcakes and other bakery staples a run for their money? A baker obsessed with the treat believes it will.  Her new Washington, D.C., company Black Pearl Tarts is on a mission to “raise the profile” of tarts: “Please die, cupcakes,” says Christina Marie Chambers. “It’s time for tarts to rule.” The self-taught and admittedly passionate baker insists the tart is not really a small pie. The crusts, or shells, have a different consistency, more like cookies, thanks to room-temperature butter. In addition, tarts are not served in a pan. Chambers’ tarts are filled with a variety of sweet and savory flavors, including dried fruit and red wine compote with goat cheese, poached pears and winter spices, and smoked salmon with cream cheese.
Holley Simmons, "Why we’re suddenly craving tarts in a big way", The Washington Post, March 02, 2016, © The Washington Post
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Technology Enables Customers To Create Personalized Beauty Buying Experience, Studies Reveal

March 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers prefer to use technology to create their own personalized experience when shopping for beauty products. Mintel said its latest study revealed 45 percent of beauty consumers saying they want to search for product information in-store using their mobile devices, according to Mintel. Beauty channels can help drugstore chains and mass market operators to attract millennial shoppers; however, they will have to compete with specialty retailers, such as Sephora and Ulta. Data from TABS showed Sephora and Ulta have the highest cosmetics penetration growth in 2015, with 41 percent for Ulta and 25 percent for Sephora.
Lonni Delane, "What’s Next: The personalized beauty shopping experience", Drug Store News, March 02, 2016, © Drug Store News
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After Missing 2015 E-Commerce Goal, Target Pledges To Spend $2 Billion Each Year On Improving Online Operations

March 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Target said that, starting in 2017, it plans to spend $2 billion a year on expanding its e-commerce operations. After reporting a 34 percent increase in online sales during the last holiday season, the company said it plans to invest $1.8 billion in 2016 on capital projects, mostly on e-commerce and supply chain improvements. For full-year 2015, Target’s e-commerce grew 31 percent, failing to reach CEO Brian Cornell’s promise to Wall Street to reach 40 percent. Its e-commerce investment announcement means the company intends to never miss the target again.
Phil Wahba , "Target Lays Out Multi-Billion Dollar E-Commerce Plan", Fortune.com, March 02, 2016, © Time Inc
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Aldi Says It Now Accepts Credit Cards At Stores Across United States

March 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Aldi said it will start accepting credits cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, at all of its stores across the United States. Part of Aldi’s efforts to improve shopping convenience for the more than 30 million consumers who shop at its stores, the move will make grocery shopping simple and enjoyable for them, the company said. Also, Aldi plans to launch its first stores in Southern California later in March 2016, and bring its total store count to almost 2,000 across the country by the end of 2018.
"ALDI Charges Forward: Now Accepting Credit Cards At Stores Nationwide", ALDI, March 01, 2016, © ALDI
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Lidl Posts Strong Revenue Growth In Czech Republic In FY 2015

March 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Lidl’s revenue in the Czech Republic grew 16 percent to 33.6 billion crowns for the financial year 2015, compared with the previous year. According to the company, its profit jumped 50 percent to 2.6 billion during the period. Lidl launched its business in the local market in 2003, with about 80 percent of products sold under private label.
"Lidl Czech profit doubles to 2.6 billion crowns", International Supermarket News, March 01, 2016, © Retail Magazine
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Sam's Club Is Resetting Its Business By Expanding Food, Aiming For Higher-Income Markets

March 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s wholesale unit Sam’s Club is expanding its store foods business, planning to open stores in higher-income areas, and giving regional buyers more autonomy in managing gourmet and natural foods inventory. In an interview with Fortune magazine, the company’s CEO described the moves as part of its “reset for the business.” Also, the wholesaler revealed it has closed underperforming locations, reviewed its merchandise categories, and expanded private labels in important areas.
"How Walmart Is Revamping Sam’s Club To Take On Competition?", Trefis, March 01, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Ahold Receives Royal Decree Allowing It To Refer To Itself As Royal

February 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Ahold said that the Netherlands’ king has approved the retailer’s request to use the term “Koninklijke,” or “Royal,” as part of its corporate name after its planned merger with Delhaize Group. Upon completion of the merger deal, the corporate name of the combined company will be Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V., the retailer said. Combined, the merger partners will feature a portfolio of strong local brands and account for more than 375,000 associates. With more than 6,500 stores, the combined company is expected to serve more than 50 million customers in Europe and the United States.
"Ahold Delhaize to use predicate “Royal” after proposed merger", Ahold , February 29, 2016, © Ahold
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Amazon Signs Deal To Sell Products From UK Retailer Morrison

February 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. agreed to sell hundreds of products supplied by UK-based grocery chain Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. Marking a first of its kind in the country, the deal is expected to add more pressure on an already highly competitive grocery market. UK’s retail market has been dealing with the effects of increased minimum wage and a price war caused by the expansion of discount retailers.
Paul Jarvis, "Amazon Steps Up U.K. Grocery Advance With Morrison Agreement", Bloomberg, February 29, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Target Appoints Arthur Valdez EVP In-Charge Of Supply Chain And Logistics

February 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
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.
"Target Corporation Names Arthur Valdez Executive Vice President, Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer", Target, February 29, 2016, © Target Brands, Inc.
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Procter & Gamble Sues Poundstretcher For Selling Fake Head & Shoulder Shampoo And Ariel Laundry Products

February 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble filed a lawsuit against UK-based budget retailer Poundstretcher for allegedly selling counterfeit Head & Shoulders shampoo and Ariel laundry products. P&G first learned of the fake products in 2013 when a customer complained to Trading Standards about Ariel laundry care products bought from the retailer’s Sutton-in-Ashfield store. Also, P&G filed trademark infringement lawsuits against wholesalers Home and Beauty and J&S.
Rebecca Stewart, "Procter and Gamble files lawsuit against Poundstretcher and others over fake Head & Shoulders products", The Drum, February 28, 2016, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Danish Store Sells Ugly, Expired Food At Deep Discounts

February 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Danish supermarket WeFood has come up with a unique solution to the food waste problem that is particularly severe in developed countries because of aesthetic or food safety concerns. The store only stocks food that is past its expiration date, is misshapen or has other imperfections, or has damaged packaging. Food prices are 30 to 50 percent cheaper than at other stores. To accomplish its mission, WeFood has formed partnerships with local supermarkets and butchers, produce importers and manufacturers of organic granola bars. It also has the support of the government, which says Denmark has reduced food waste by 25 percent in five years.
Roberto A. Ferdman, "Past-prime food finds new life in new store", The Washington Post, February 27, 2016, © The Washington Post
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Insects Prove To Be The Key To Artisan Pasta Maker’s Success

February 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A French entrepreneur’s pasta-making business began to grow quickly – it is actually struggling to meet demand – after it began adding cricket flour to the recipe. Stephanie Richard tells people who may turn up their noses at the idea of pasta made with bugs, that her product is delicious, rich in easily-digested protein, and complements game meat. Richard's recipe calls for pulverized crickets and grasshoppers, mixed sometimes with ground cepes (mushrooms). According to a U.N. report, insects are routinely eaten by at least two billion people around the globe – thought not so much in Europe or North America – making it “the protein of the future.”
Karen Graham, "Crickets, anyone? This pasta-maker's noodles are a hit", Digital Journal, February 27, 2016, © digitaljournal.com
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Subway’s Newest Sandwich To Feature Antibiotics-Free Chicken

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Subway sandwich shop chain has introduced a new menu item that features chicken raised without antibiotics. Rotisserie-style chicken also contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The company has also committed to serving only eggs from cage-free layer hens by 2025. Subway said it had a difficult logistical problem with its rotisserie-style chicken at first: finding enough suppliers of antibiotics-free poultry to meet the chain’s needs. The problem was solved, however, and beginning April 1, the company will begin serving all-white meat chicken strips that will also be free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and antibiotics.
"Subway Sandwich Shop Introduces New Rotisserie-Style Chicken Raised without Antibiotics", News release, Subway, February 26, 2016, © Subway
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Carrefour Earns Top Employer Certification In France

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour France received a Top Employer France certification for 2016 from the Top Employers Institute. Recognizing the high quality of the retailer’s human resources policy, the award highlights Carrefour’s criteria for its working conditions. Also, the award involves a strict certification process, which includes an HR Best Practice questionnaire and an independent audit of HR practices and policies.
"Carrefour France certified "Top Employer France 2016"", Carrefour, February 26, 2016, © Carrefour
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Wal-Mart Lays Off More Head-Office Workers

February 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dismissed more than 100 employees at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. In October 2015, the retailer laid off 450 people at its headquarters, followed by 150 job cuts at its Sam’s Club warehouse chain in January 2016. Wal-Mart’s latest layoffs affected mainly its information systems department, with South Asian immigrants in the region expected to bear the brunt of firings.
Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart Cuts More Staff at Headquarters", The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Sephora Opens Online Store In Malaysia

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora opened its online store sephora.my in Malaysia. Sephora made the announcement of the store opening following its acquisition of local independent beauty online retailer Luxola. According to Sephora Asia president Anne-Veronique Bruel, by acquiring Luxola, Sephora gained access to an opportunity to expand into the local online beauty market and speed up the company’s growth in the country and in Southeast Asia.
Bervin Cheong, "Sephora online store launches in Malaysia", star2.com, February 24, 2016, © Star Media Group Berhad
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Aldi Products Take Top Honors In Australian Shopper Vote

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Tate Papworth , "Aldi dominates Product of the Year Awards", Marketing, February 24, 2016, © Niche Media
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Target Posts Stronger Comparable Sales In 4Q And Full Year 2015

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Target said comparable sales grew 1.9 percent, driven by traffic growth of 1.3 percent, in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales through the company’s digital channel jumped 34 percent, accounting for 1.3 percentage points of the increase in comparable sales. For the full-year 2015, Target said comparable sales rose 2.1 percent, while comparable traffic increased 1.3 percent and adjusted EPS increased 11.3 percent to $4.69. In 2015, the company returned $4.8 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
"Target Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2015 Earnings", Target, February 24, 2016, © Target Brands, Inc.
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Lidl Plans To Open 20 Stores In Serbia In 2016 And 2017

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
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.
"Lidl to open 20 retail outlets in Serbia in 2016, 2017", B92, February 24, 2016, © B92
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Sephora To Sell Prestige Haircare Line Inspired By Madam C.J. Walker

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora will start selling Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture, a prestige line of haircare products from Sundial. Debuting on March 4, 2016, as part of the Black history month, the four collections included in the line will focus on “cleansing, treatment, and styling.” Designed for all hair textures, the products come with shea, coconut, and Jamaican Black Castor oils.
"Sephora To Carry Iconic Black Hair Line Inspired By Madam C.J. Walker", Essence, February 23, 2016, © Essence Communications Inc.
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Whole Foods Invests In Instacart; Makes Startup Exclusive Delivery Provider

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods agreed to invest in delivery startup Instacart. Also, the companies signed a five-year delivery partnership deal, making Instacart the exclusive delivery service provider for Whole Foods’ perishables business. Instacart’s deal with Whole Foods provides the startup with improved stability and credibility; however, its other grocery partners could have issues with the deal.
Jason Del Rey, "Whole Foods to Invest in Instacart, Signs New Multi-Year Delivery Deal", Re/Code, February 23, 2016, © Vox Media, Inc.
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To Succeed In The Mobile Wallet Arena, Walmart Needs A Loyalty Component

February 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s venture into mcommerce – the mobile wallet Walmart Pay – is a good start, but it lacks a customer loyalty component that would keep it competitive with Apple Pay and retail competitors’ mobile payment platforms. The key to winning mobile shoppers is to emphasize the benefits of Walmart Pay. That means initially the simple convenience of paying with a phone, but also the offer of added value, such as a well-structured in-app loyalty program that would include the ability to redeem offers and earn loyalty points in one transaction.
Alex Samuely, "How Walmart Pay could help the mass merchant compete against Amazon", Mobile Commerce Daily, February 22, 2016, © Napean LLC.
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