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Amazon UK Plans Expansion Of Pantry Food Business In 2016

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon plans to expand its Pantry food department in the UK in 2016. Launched in November 2015, the service offers more than 4,000 branded food and drink products, including health and beauty products. Part of Amazon’s expansion plans include adding thousands more items to its current lineup. Customers can have their purchases delivered for £2.99 using the company’s Pantry box service, according to Amazon UK chief Christopher North.
Clare Hutchison, "Amazon takes aim at supermarkets with plans to expand food department", Independent, December 30, 2015, © Independent Digital News and Media Limited
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Grocery Shopping Trends To Watch For In 2016

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery shoppers in 2016 will see ever more digitizing of their stores and more opportunities to buy online, a trend that will “surge.” Online shopping will be paired with online delivery services that will also offer personal shoppers who visit several stores to fill grocery orders. More stores will add Bluetooth-enabled beacon technology that pushes digital info (ads, coupons, product details, etc.) to smartphone shoppers equipped with special apps. Look for more stores equipped with electronic shelf labels (ESLs) that display prices, ads and even nutritional information. Expect more small-format stores in urban areas – think Aldi and Trader Joe’s – catering to singles and small families. Larger supermarkets, meanwhile, will be offering more product sampling, cooking demos, nutritional tours, and even in-store dining.
John Karolefski, "Top trends in grocery shopping for 2016", Grocery Stories, December 29, 2015, © Primary Communications
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Amazon Expands Grocery Delivery Service In U.K.

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon has Britain’s Big Four supermarket chains in its sights as it expands the new Pantry delivery service for household goods and groceries. The company, which launched Pantry in November with an inventory of 4,000 brands of food and drink, pet and baby supplies, and health and beauty products, will expand to include new product lines. The products are ordered using a box system and delivered for a flat fee in the U.K. of about £4.41 ($5.99 in the U.S.) for the first 44 pounds order and 99p ($1.50) for each subsequent box. Fresh food is not yet available through pantry in the U.K.
Mehreen Khan, "Amazon to expand grocery delivery service", The Telegraph, December 29, 2015, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Asda Tells Why It Had A Prosperous Year

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain and online retailer Asda recounted significant consumer shopping behaviors in its end-of-a-prosperous-year report. Discounts on steak, wine and desserts drove a “huge increase in sales” at Valentine’s Day. The retail website George.com averaged 12,000 purchases a day during 2015, and there was a ten percent rise in springtime spending on gardens, plants, and flowers. Rugby World Cup season in the autumn saw a surge in party product sales, and Halloween saw a 12 percent increase in sales of costumes and “spooky foods.” Sales of Christmas pet costumes rose 45 percent and sales of Christmas jumpers were up 1,105 percent.
"The nation’s 2015 buying habits revealed by Asda", News release, Asda, December 29, 2015, © Asda
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UK Households Saw Higher Discretionary Income In November 2015, Asda Income Tracker Reveals

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
In November 2015, the average UK household’s weekly discretionary income grew £14 to £193, according to retailer Asda’s income tracker report. Data from the company revealed annual growth in household income hit its lowest level in the past 12 months in November. According to the company, a combination of slightly higher inflation and a slowdown in wage increases has hampered household income growth.
"Asda Income Tracker December 2015", Asda, December 29, 2015, © Asda
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Ocado Shares Tumbles After Amazon's Grocery Expansion Plans In UK

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Shares of stock of online grocery distributor Ocado declined following online retailer Amazon’s announcement of its plan to expand its Pantry grocery delivery service in the UK. Launched in November 2015, Pantry offers customers about 4,000 grocery and household products. Amazon UK chief executive Christopher North said his company plans to add thousands more to its product lineup.
"Ocado slides on concerns over Amazon expansion", ShareCast, December 29, 2015, © Digital Look Ltd
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Costco Promises To Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Costco announced plans to sell only cage-free eggs. According to Costco, the retailer expects to sell more than 1 billion cage-free eggs in calendar year 2016. It added that while in 2006, only 2 percent of the eggs it sold were cage-free, the figure now stands at 26 percent. Costco said it will take time before all the eggs it sells are cage-free; however, the Humane Society of the United States commended the company and said it believes Costco can achieve that goal quickly.
Deena Shanker, "After months of pressure, Costco commits to a cage-free egg supply", Quartz, December 28, 2015, © Quartz
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Whole Foods Says N.Y. City Misrepresented Agreement Over Grocery Overpricing

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market’s agreement to pay $500,000 after the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) accused the company of routinely overcharging customers was “misrepresented” by the DCA in its press release. The company said there was “no evidence of systematic or intentional misconduct.” DCA Commissioner Julie Menin’s statement referred to "the troubling and repeated mislabeling of pre-packaged goods at Whole Foods last year" and to the promise that "New Yorkers are better protected from overcharging.' The New York Daily News reported that dozens of inspections beginning in 2010 had uncovered “routine overcharging of customers on groceries.” According to Whole Foods, the company has “pre-existing pricing and weights/measures programs,” a 3rd party auditing program, and a full refund guarantee. It agreed to the settlement “to put this issue behind us.”
"Whole Foods Market statement regarding settlement agreement with New York City Department of Consumer Affairs", News release, Whole Foods Market, December 28, 2015, © Whole Foods Market
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Walgreens Online Store Fastest E-Commerce Site, Catchpoint Systems Survey Reveals

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s online store provided customers with the fastest shopping experience in the United States, according to a survey by website monitoring firm Catchpoint Systems. Covering the period November 25 through December 26, 2015, the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide survey focused on 23 locations across the country. Results of the study, which measured the load time and availability of online stores on both mobile and desktop, revealed Gap’s store recorded the fastest-loading time for mobile shoppers. Apple Inc.’s store followed Walgreens at second place, with Staples taking the third spot.
Sandra Guy, "Walgreens wins as the fastest e-commerce site during the holiday season", Internet Retailer, December 28, 2015, © Vertical Web Media
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Forty-four House Brands Of British Supermarkets Win “Best Buy” Nod

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K. product testing website Which? announced its list of 44 supermarket own-brand “Best Buy” awards for 2015, naming Waitrose as the leader. Forty-seven percent of the company’s products were recommended as a Best Buy. Second on the list was Aldi with 40 percent. Which? tested 160 supermarket own-brand products, including food, drink, cleaning products, batteries and sunscreens to determine which ones shoppers can leave on the shelves. Sainsbury’s and M&S had at least a third of their products named as Best Buys. Sainsbury’s and Lidl were awarded Best Buys for food, drink and household products. Asda and Tesco fared the worst overall, with only five percent of their house brands awarded Best Buys.
"Waitrose is the 2015 supermarket Best Buy champion", , News release, Which?, December 28, 2015, © Which?
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Luxury Brands Fail To Offer High-End Online Shopping Experience, Study Reveals

December 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Luxury beauty brands need to improve their online consumer experience in order to avoid losing customers, according to market research firm ContactLab. Data from the report “Online Purchase Experience Ranking” revealed consumers have “best of online shopping experience” only 50 percent of the time. While some brands extended their “luxury experience” to delivery service and packaging standards, others failed to do so. Results also showed that consumers tended to have better shopping experience when buying from online retailers than when buying from brand owners’ own online stores.
"Luxury brands urged to improve online service", Cosmetics Business, December 27, 2015, © HPCi Media Limited
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Retail Industry Is Experiencing A Quiet, But Profound, Makeover

December 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Transformative new technologies, hotter and more exotic restaurant spices, and major shifts in food and consumer goods buying patterns will be the key themes in retail in 2016, according to experts. Restaurants will exploit the Sriracha hot sauce phenomenon with ever spicier concoctions, but also with more exotic ones: Indian ghost pepper from India, Southeast Asian sambal, Korean gochujang, and North Africa’s harissa, sumac and dukka. Millennials are gravitating away from status-badge consumer goods toward unique brands from niche and specialty retailers. Consumers can expect to see ever wider implementation of mobile wallet schemes that make the checkout experience super-fast. And brick-and-mortar stores, including grocers, will adapt dynamic pricing technologies – used routinely online – that allow prices to be changed quickly depending on demand, inventory levels and sell-by dates.
Sarah Halzack , "From secret entrances to the next Sriracha, here’s what experts predict will be hot in retail in 2016", The Washington Post, December 24, 2015, © The Washington Post
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Wal-Mart Reviews Proposed Sale Of Some Stores In Brazil

December 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reviewing a proposal to close about 30 stores in Brazil in 2016, according to local newspaper Valor Economico. Part of the retailer’s plan to exit poor-performing markets, the proposal also includes looking at renting some of its property in the country. Such a move would mean shutting down about 5 percent of Wal-Mart’s 588 stores in the country. In the third quarter of 2015, the retailer’s sales dropped 0.4 percent, lagging behind the performance of GPA and Carrefour.
Guillermo Parra-Bernal, "Wal-Mart considers closing 5 percent of Brazil stores: report", Reuters, December 23, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Kroger Updates Mobile App; Adds New Features For More Convenient Shopping Experience

December 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger updated its mobile app by adding new features designed to make grocery shopping more convenient and smarter. First launched in 2010, the app has been downloaded on more than 10 million mobile devices and issued more than 2.5 billion digital coupons, the retailer said. Also, the app allows users to scan empty packages at home to add products into their shopping lists. It also informs users of the retailer’s weekly sales and promotion offers, based on their shopping history from their loyalty cards.
Alexander Coolidge, "Kroger's app now sorts grocery list by aisle", Cincinnati, December 23, 2015, © www.cincinnati.com
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Target Begins Developing Own Mobile Payment System

December 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Target Corp. is reportedly developing its own mobile wallet technology. Designed to let shoppers pay for goods using an app on their mobile phones, the planned platform will allow the retailer to compete with rival mobile payment systems, such as the Apple Pay. Target decided to partner with credit card companies and plans to adopt scanning technology to communicate with payment terminals to process transactions.
Nandita Bose, "Exclusive: Target in initial development of own mobile wallet – sources", Reuters, December 22, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Sephora Launches Environment-Friendly Logistics Solutions In China

December 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics retailer Sephora launched its Green City Logistics, a supply chain solution designed to be environment-friendly by using electric vehicles in delivery, in Shanghai and Beijing. Part of the company’s latest efforts to protect the environment and cut pollution, the initiative seeks to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from logistics and transportation in fast-expanding mega-cities. Electric vehicles will be used to transport goods between Sephora warehouses and retail stores.
Patsy Yang , "Sephora taps green logistics to boost efficiency", Shanghai Daily, December 22, 2015, © Shanghai Daily
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What’s Hot In The Whole Foods Market Crystal Ball Of Food Trends

December 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Joining other end-of-year clairvoyants of the comestibles industry, Whole Foods Market experts have created a list of hot trends to keep an eye on in 2016 (and look for on Whole Foods shelves). At the top is uncommon protein sources, including ”once-overlooked” meat cuts like sirloin top, pork T-bone chop and Denver steaks, and seafood like farmed paiche and wild-caught blue catfish. The availability of these exotic fish will ease pressure on salmon, tuna, and shrimp. Other key trends: wine in a can, plant-based ingredients (like quinoa protein) in hair care products, fermented foods and products, non-GMO-fed verified foods, non-tomato heirloom products, alternative and wheat-free flours, and lots of bizarre flavors from Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
"Whole Foods Market Experts Forecast Top 10 Food Trends For 2016", News release, Whole Foods Market, December 21, 2015, © Whole Foods Market
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Carrefour Launches E-Commerce Business In Poland

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour launched its online business in Poland on December 18, 2015. Designed to complement the company’s existing retail formats, the website will offer about 800 non-food products, including mobile phones, TVs, and laptops. With delivery service costing €2.32, the site offers click-and-collect services only in Krakow.
"Carrefour launches online in Poland", Retail Analysis, December 18, 2015, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution
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Ohio Coffee Company Envisions Profitable Synergy With Local Bakery

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Cleveland, Ohio-based coffee retailer is partnering with a local bakery to enhance its coffee business by offering pies and other pastries and baked goods. The treats – eventually to include biscuits with jam, muffins, and cookies – from Humble Pie Baking will be made and sold at first only at one of Rising Star Coffee Roasters’ four locations beginning in 2016. But the partnership is likely to expand along with Rising Star itself, which was founded in 2010 and is growing quickly with the help of local partnerships and a focus on the community.
Marc Bona, "Rising Star Coffee hires local baker Diane Sikorski", Cleveland.com, December 18, 2015, © Northeast Ohio Media Group LLC
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Kroger’s Tender Offer For Roundy’s Outstanding Shares Expires

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co.’s tender offer for the outstanding shares of Roundy’s Supermarkets, a retail chain with 166 stores, 99 pharmacies and 22,000 employees in Wisconsin and Illinois, has expired.  Kroger will pay $3.60 a share in cash for the chain. Included in the offer were about 33,144,128 shares, or 67 percent of the total outstanding. Bob Mariano will remain president and CEO of Roundy’s, a position he has held since 2002.
"Kroger Completes Tender Offer of Shares of Roundy's", News release, Kroger Company, December 18, 2015, © Kroger Company
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“Wonky” Veggie Controversy Subsides As U.K. Grocer Reports Vigorous Sales

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
After a prominent chef complained that British grocery chains were wasting tons of vegetables because they were “wonky” – oversize, undersize, cracked, or misshapen – Morrisons has relaxed its veggie cosmetics rules. The chain conducted a test that found wonky veggies, mainly potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips, were acceptable to consumers and sold well, especially when discounted. Morrisons also issued a reprieve for wonky brussels sprouts, many of them considered “monster” size because of the recent warm growing season. TV chef and food waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall pooh-poohed the poor results of an earlier Morrisons test sale of wonky courgettes (zucchini) – they sold more slowly than normal courgettes – as “pathetic.”
Rebecca Smithers, "Morrisons reports strong sales of wonky vegetables in waste reduction initiative", The Guardian, December 18, 2015, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Wal-Mart Names Tony Rogers CMO For U.S. Operations

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. promoted Tony Rogers to chief marketing officer for the retailer’s United States operations. After working for 10 years for the world’s largest retailer, Rogers assumes the marketing reins for Wal-Mart’s biggest market. Rogers replaces Stephen Quinn, who was appointed Wal-Mart U.S. CMO in 2007.
Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart Promotes Tony Rogers to U.S. Chief Marketing Officer", Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Grocery Marketers Need To Embrace Modern Trends To Stay In The Race

December 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery industry magazine has pinpointed four trends that marketers need to embrace entering 2016. Content is now critically important to the marketing message because consumers are five times more dependent on it when shopping. They are now used to reading an average of 11 pieces of product marketing content before making a purchase. Grocers should fill that need with “creative and useful” FAQ sheets, how-to videos, and tutorials, developed with the help of “social influencers and bloggers.” Other trends: the need to measure ”engagement” in advertising, not page impressions; the need to keep up with the important – and still evolving – demographic known as Millennials; and the realization that brand loyalty is an obsolescent concept.
Bill Sussman, "4 Trends for Grocery Marketers in 2016", Progressive Grocer, December 17, 2015, © Stagnito Business Information
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Sephora Receives Recognition For Its Sustainability Efforts

December 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora received the Sustainable Brand and the 2015 R Award for eco-design from Generation Responsible. Recognizing the specialty retailer’s sustainable development initiatives, the awards form part of the organization’s efforts to promote corporate efforts to protect the environment. Sephora agreed to support the organization’s sustainability campaign.
"Sephora receives Responsible Brand label and 2015 R Award for eco-design", LVMH, December 16, 2015, © LVMH Group
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Costco Beats Rivals With Shopper And Staff Loyalty

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Costco’s same-store sales have steadily increased during the past six consecutive years, driving revenue up from $76 billion to $114 billion. By building a loyal customer base, the operator of hundreds of members-only warehouses has seen a record-level 91 percent renewals of its $55 annual memberships, Costco has outperformed other big-box and department store retailers. With a company average wage of $22 per hour, Costco’s compensation puts those of its rivals to shame and keeps turnover low and enhances employee productivity. Also, by early 2016, Costco will transfer its credit card program from American Express to Visa.
John Kell , "Costco's Ability to Attract Loyal Shoppers Is Beating the Competition", Fortune, December 14, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Metro CEO Says Things Will Get Better For Retailer

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Metro AG CEO Olaf Koch said his company expects things to get better after two years of flat profit and a failed initial public offering of its Russian unit. About to mark his fifth year as chief executive of Germany’s largest retailer, Koch said his company will soon benefit from business moves it has taken, including the sale of its chain of department stores, startup investments, and an expansion move for its e-commerce operations. Also, the company plans to invest in startups it hopes will bring it closer to restaurants, hoteliers, and independent grocers that buy from its stores.
Aaron Ricadela, "Metro CEO Sees Fun Starting After Limp Years for Retailer", Bloomberg, December 14, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Online Retailers Have Three Options In Reducing Basket Abandonment Rates, Analysts Say

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailers can adopt three strategies in order to deal with basket abandonment, or shoppers leaving before completing their online transactions. First, online retailers need to be clear and transparent about their delivery service, especially about delivery times and costs. Also, online retailers can encourage shoppers to complete their purchases by offering more delivery options. Finally, offering free delivery can be an effective means of building long-term customer loyalty. Basket abandonment rates can be as high as 80 percent, with the average rate estimated at 67.91 percent, according to market research firm Baymard Institute.
Andy Hill, "Three Quick Wins for Reducing Basket Abandonments", Digital Marketing Magazine, December 14, 2015, © Digital Marketing Magazine
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Waitrose Says To Expand, Open New Supermarkets Across UK In 2016

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
High-end retailer Waitrose announced its expansion plans across the UK for 2016. Expected to create 1,500 new jobs, the proposed expansion will include 14 new supermarkets, nine new Waitrose convenience stores, and a bigger online service depot in London. Also, the retailer said it plans to introduce new retail concepts, including juice bars, grazing and informal dining areas, and sushi counters.
Nina Pullman, "Waitrose unveils expansion plans", Fresh Produce Journal, December 14, 2015, © Market Intelligence Ltd
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Amazon.in Outshines Other E-commerce Sites In India In October 2015

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.in became the most popular online store in India in October 2015, about two and a half years after its launch in the country, according to comScore. Data from the market research firm revealed Amazon’s Indian unit had more than 30 million visitors, an increase of almost 38 percent from the previous month. Also, downloads of the online retailer’s Amazon.in app increased 200 percent year-on-year in October 2015, according to app analytics firm App Annie.
"Customers Make Amazon.in Tops in India", Amazon, December 14, 2015, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Walmart Canada Launches Private-Label Line Of Organic Foods

December 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart Canada launched Great Value Organics, its private label line of affordable organic food products. Described by Walmart Canada’s senior director brand management as designed to help customers save money and eat healthy foods, the product line includes flours, breakfast oats, seeds for salads, and yogurts. Canada Organic Trade Association director general Matthew Holmes welcomed the launch of the product line.
Mark Cardwell, "Walmart’s newest private label line is all about organic growth", Canadian Grocer, December 11, 2015, © Rogers Media Inc.
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Target Wins Beauty Inc's Mass Retailer Of The Year Award

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain Target won in the “mass market shopping” category of the Beauty Inc Awards’ Retailer of the Year Awards for 2015. Winning the award highlights Target’s expansion of its entire beauty department, including its skincare offerings, by adding naturals and multicultural beauty and grooming products. Hermes Parfumerie grabbed the prestige segment award, while beauty retailer Ulta Beauty earned the specialty retailer award.
"Beauty Inc Awards: Retailer of the Year", Women's Wear Daily, December 10, 2015, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Walmart’s Marketing Chief To Step Down Next Month

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Fifty-six-year-old Stephen Quinn, Walmart’s marketing chief for the last nine years, will retire in January. The company has hired former Target marketing guru Michael Francis as a consultant until Quinn’s successor is picked. Francis will revamp Walmart’s marketing department and work closely with the eventual marketing head. Quinn’s retirement is the latest in a series of executive changes made under CEO Doug McMillion, who is determined to revamp operations while implementing long-term goals like supersizing online sales, streamlining stores, and attracting more affluent shoppers. Francis has spent the last three years at DreamWorks Animation SKG, but is best known as the architect of Target’s image during his 27-year career there.
Sarah Nassauer and Paul Ziobro, "Wal-Mart Marketing Chief to Step Down", The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Follows Amazon's Lead In Adjusting Online Prices, 360pi Says

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has been adjusting its “everyday low prices” strategy to follow online retailer Amazon’s dynamic approach to pricing, an analysis of data from e-commerce market research firm 360pi revealed. Citing figures it collected and analyzed for 2015 Black Friday, 360pi said about 16 percent of Amazon’s prices varied during the shopping event, while around 12 percent of Walmart’s online prices also moved on the same day. In contrast, only about 5 percent of Target’s prices fluctuated during the same period and for most of the month.
Kate Kaye, "Walmart's Everyday Low Prices Face Amazon's Dynamic Price Push", Advertising Age, December 10, 2015, © Crain Communications
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Walmart Adds Payment Solution To Its Mobile App

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has become the only retailer to offer its own smartphone payment solution. The company introduced Walmart Pay, a mobile solution that works with an iOS or Android device, and can be used at any checkout lane, with any major credit card card, debit card, prepaid card or Walmart gift card. To use the app, customers at checkout open the app, select Walmart Pay, activate the phone’s camera, scan the register code, then wait for the clerk to scan the items. An eReceipt is automatically sent. The solution will only be available in a few stores in Arkansas this month, but will be launched nationally in the first half of 2016. The Walmart app is already used by 22,000,000 customers each month.
"Walmart Introduces Walmart Pay", New release, Walmart, December 10, 2015, © Walmart
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Kroger Elects MGA Entertainment President To Board Of Directors

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co. announced the election of MGA Entertainment Inc. president Anne Gates to the retailer’s board of directors. Before joining MGA Entertainment, Gates occupied management positions, including EVP, managing director, and chief financial officer, at Walt Disney Co. from 1992 to 2012. Also, she is chairwoman of Big Sunday and a member of the boards of directors of Columbia University School of Engineering, Cadre, and PBS SoCal.
"Kroger Announces Anne Gates Elected to Kroger Board of Directors", Kroger, December 10, 2015, © The Kroger Co.
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Beauty Retailers Outperform Rest Of Cosmetics Channels In US, Study Shows

December 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Specialty beauty retailers saw their regular buyer purchases grew 19 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, according to TABS Group. Data from the market research firm’s 2015 U.S. Cosmetics Study revealed beauty retailer Ulta had a 41 percent increase in buyer penetration and regular buyer purchases, while Sephora reported 25 percent higher buyer penetration and 32 percent more regular buyer purchases. Also, specialty beauty retailers account for under 50 percent of transactions; however, they account for more than 50 percent of purchase dollars. Online outlets saw sales dropping 5 percent and penetration declining by 2 percent. Amazon saw its buyer penetration drop by 5 percent while its regular purchases declined 6 percent.
"TABS Group 2015 U.S. Cosmetics Study Finds Millennial Women Buyers Reign in $13 Billion Dollar Cosmetics Market", Tabs Group , December 09, 2015, © TABS Group Inc.
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Study Estimates Job Loss Impact Of Walmart’s China Imports

December 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study by a progressive research organization accuses Walmart of displacing or eliminating more than 400,000 high-paying American manufacturing jobs by importing many billions of dollars’ worth of products from China over a twelve-year period ending in 2013. The Economic Policy Institute says Walmart’s imports from China in 2013 alone totaled $49 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2013 was $324 billion. The lost or moved jobs represented about 13 percent of the 3.2 million total jobs lost or displaced over those same years due to the China trade deficit. Walmart criticized the data and conclusions of the study as mostly guesswork, because retailers do not disclose itemizations of imports.
Hiroko Tabuchi, "Walmart’s Imports From China Displaced 400,000 Jobs, a Study Says", The New York Times , December 09, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Grocery Manufacturers Association Finds Growing Support For SmartLabel Initiative

December 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Clorox are among the 30 companies supporting the SmartLabel product ingredient transparency initiative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Designed as a digital solution to provide shoppers with information about product ingredients, SmartLabel will include detailed data on ingredients and other product attributes. As part of the companies’ support for the initiative, they are launching SmartLabel-equipped products in late 2015 and early 2016, with some 30,000 products expected to come with the labeling system by end of 2017.
Mike Troy, "Virtual product labels start to hit shelves", Drug Store News, December 08, 2015, © Drug Store News
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An Inside Look At McDonald’s Ingredients, Food Sources

December 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Battered by weak sales and a somewhat tarnished consumer image, McDonald’s is fighting back with a marketing campaign reassuring consumers that its food meets transparency standards. The company is responding to consumer-submitted questions about ingredient sources and processing methods. For example, most of the beef comes from the U.S. Its eggs are not free-range or organic, however. To keep costs down, they come from caged chickens, which are cheaper. How close is McDonald’s cheese to being plastic? Not close at all, the company says. The “major ingredient” is natural cheese plus emulsifiers. And, yes, McNuggets frying oil contains a small amount of dimethlypolysiloxane, which keeps the oil from foaming and spattering. The stuff is also used to make putty, caulks and cosmetics.
Hayley Peterson, "Everything you ever wanted to know about how McDonald's food is made", Business Insider, December 08, 2015, © Business Insider Inc.
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Friend’s Baking Challenge Leads To A Thriving Business

December 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Long Island, N.Y.-resident with a flair for baking and marketing has turned a challenge from a friend into a burgeoning new venture. The challenge was to take an assortment of dry ingredients for making a chocolate dessert and “make it better.” And did she ever. Her experimentation with the ingredients – and with a mug to bake them in – garnered almost instant recognition (on TV’s The View) and turned into a business called My Cup of Cake. The product, which includes the mug, a packet of oil, flour, Belgian cocoa, sugar and dry milk, makes one soufflé cake. The package is available in select retail stores, including Neiman Marcus, and on Sharon Tracy’s website, starting at about $23 plus shipping.
Lyn Dobrin, "My Cup Of Cake Made In Port Washington, N.Y.", Portwashington-news.com, December 08, 2015, © Anton Media Group
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Dunkin’ Donuts Promises 100% Cage-Free Eggs Within Nine Years

December 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin’ Donuts has clarified and strengthened its commitment to using only cage-free eggs in its U.S. menu. Earlier this year it said it would source ten percent of the eggs used in its breakfast sandwiches from cage-free sources by the end of 2016. In December, the donut chain and the Humane Society of the U.S. announced that the company would serve only cage-free eggs by 2025. The company also promised to “map” its worldwide egg supply chain to see whether it is feasible to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs globally.
"Dunkin' Donuts, With The Humane Society Of The United States, Announces Timeline For Sourcing 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs", News release, The Humane Society of the U.S., December 07, 2015, © The Humane Society of the United States
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Carrefour Buys Jordanian Retailer's Largest Store

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour agreed to buy Jordan-based retailer Sameh Group’s largest hypermarket branch, which is located on Medina Munawarah Street. Carrefour also bought the Jordanian retailer’s branch in Shmeisani weeks earlier. Also, Carrefour is negotiating with Sameh Group to acquire its branch in Sweileh, a suburban region in northern Amman.
Omar Obeidat , "Carrefour buys largest Sameh Mall branch", The Jordan Times, December 06, 2015, © The Jordan Times
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Walmart Puerto Rico Battles Tripled Import Levy In Newly Filed Suit

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Puerto Rico’s largest employer has sued the territory in a federal court to abolish what Walmart feels is an unfairly burdensome new import tax. The island has raised to 6.5 percent (from two percent) a tax on goods imported from offshore affiliates to local firms whose gross revenues are higher than $2.75 billion. Puerto Rico is struggling to restructure more than $70 billion in debt. Walmart Puerto Rico said in its complaint that the new levy pushes the cumulative income tax on it “to an astonishing and unsustainable 91.5 percent of its net income.”
Andrew M Harris, "Wal-Mart Sues Puerto Rico Over ‘Astonishing’ Tax Increases", Bloomberg, December 06, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Success In Baking Business Need Not Be A Mystery

December 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Numerous novel bakery ventures – croissant shops in the mid-1980s, for example, or cupcake shops in the 2000s – have learned a lesson the hard way: “consumer tastes are fickle.” A key reason for the failure of cupcake ventures was the realization that cupcakes are a special occasion treat. People just didn’t stop in every day. Specialty bakery shops can still thrive, but only if they diversify with complementary items like coffee, doughnuts, or ice cream. An even better recipe for specialty baking success is to sell into both retail and wholesale markets. Achatz Handmade Pie Co., for example, has sold fresh pies to consumers for 22 years. But it branched out into wholesale pies, and has prospered by providing pies to Whole Foods, Kroger Co., and the 90-store Wegmans grocery chain.
Sherri Welch, "Changing tastes build appetite for specialty baked goods", Crain’s, December 05, 2015, © Crain Communications, Inc.
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Lidl Announces Modernization, Expansion Plans For Czech Republic Operations

December 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Germany-based discount retailer Lidl plans to invest 9 billion crowns in its operations in the Czech Republic. According to the company, the planned investments would include modernization of existing stores and building and improving distribution centers. As part of the three-year modernization initiative, the company is expected to create 1,500 new jobs. Also, the company plans to open its first new concept store in Beroun, to be followed by many other similar stores, which feature about 1,400 square meters of retail space, bigger parking lots, a pastry shop, and bigger fresh-food area.
"Lidl to invest 9billion in Czech Republic", International Supermarket News, December 05, 2015, © Retail Magazine
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Hershey’s Kisses To Carry First Scannable SmartLabel

December 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Holiday packages of Hershey’s Kisses will carry the SmartLabel QR code (tagged “Scan to Learn What’s Inside”), the first product that attempts to fulfill the American consumer’s desire for more transparency in food and beverage ingredients. The SmartLabel, sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, allows consumers with smartphones to scan a QR code on product packaging to access a webpage or speak to a company’s customer-service hotline. Ingredient information is available for nearly 30,000 participating products, from laundry detergents to cat food. Besides required basic nutritional information, the label discloses allergens, third-party certifications, GMOs, and extent of compliance with responsible sourcing, “fair trade” or “dolphin safe.”
Dale Buss, "Hershey Pioneers SmartLabel QR Codes to Promote Transparency", Brand Channel, December 04, 2015, © Interbrand
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Strategic Moves Are Paying Off For Kroger

December 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery retailer Kroger, second only to Walmart in sales, recently reported strong revenue and profit performance, including the 48th consecutive quarter of higher same store sales and 7th consecutive quarter of earnings growth. All this despite a stagnating retail – including grocery – environment. The reason for Kroger’s continuing success can be traced to several key strategies. The company was among the first traditional grocers to apply customer data analytics to keep up with shopping trends. It has bet heavily on the move to natural, organic and “locally grown” foods. It has borrowed heavily from Walmart’s playbook. Some of its stores now look like Walmart supercenters, featuring high-margin general merchandise, health clinics, in-store pharmacies, and a mix of private-label and premium products.
Shelly Banjo, "Kroger Will Save the Grocery Store", Bloomberg Gadfly, December 04, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Target Spends Millions To Resolve Ongoing Litigation Over 2013 Data Breach

December 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Target Corp. continues to settle lawsuits and resolve claims by banks and credit unions related to a 2013 data breach involving 40 million compromised credit cards. The company acknowledges that at least 70 million people may have lost personal data such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers, though the number may be closer to 110 million. Target has spent $290 million related to the breach so far, of which $90 million is expected to be reimbursed by insurers. The latest settlement, valued at $39.4 million, resolves a class action suit in Minnesota by lenders whose payment cards were affected. The company still faces shareholder lawsuits, as well as investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.
Jonathan Stempel and Nandita Bose, "Target in $39.4 million settlement with banks over data breach", Reuters, December 04, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Ulta Beauty Sponsors Second-Screen Companion Of Bravo Media's TV Series

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Alex Samuely, "Ulta Beauty uncaps shoppable mobile video for Bravo TV fans", Mobile Marketer, December 03, 2015, © Napean LLC
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Kroger Posts Strong Sales, Profit, In 3rd Quarter

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
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.”
"Kroger Reports Record Third Quarter Results", News release, Kroger, December 03, 2015, © The Kroger Company
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