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Pizza Hut’s Japanese Customers To Have A Quick, Secure Ordering Solution

July 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
MasterCard has partnered with Pizza Hut to integrate the Masterpass digital payments technology into the pizza chain’s mobile ordering application. The two companies are launching the initiative in Japan, where time-pressed customers will be able to order pizzas quickly, securely and easily by safely storing credit card information, as well as delivery addresses, in their Masterpass account. Ordering pizzas will require only three clicks on a smartphone, the companies said. [Image Credit: © MasterCard ]
"MasterCard, Pizza Hut Partner on Digital Payments Solution in Japan", Digital Market Asia, July 03, 2017, © DMA
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Aldi Plans €5-Billion Upgrade Of Stores Worldwide

July 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany's discount retailer Aldi North plans to invest more than €5 billion to upgrade its stores worldwide, according to local weekly Bild am Sonntag. In June 2017, Aldi South announced its plan to spend $3.4 billion to expand its store network in the US to 2,500 locations by 2022. According to the magazine, Aldi North plans to finance its planned investment with cash on hand instead of taking on debt.
Maria Sheahan, "Germany's Aldi to invest 5 billion euros in stores: Bild am Sonntag", Reuters, July 02, 2017, © Reuters
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Burger King: No More Human Antibiotics Use In Chicken Supply By 2019

June 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, announced that it will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in its chicken supply by the end of 2018. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 11 of the top 15 U.S. restaurant chains have now committed to some level of “responsible antibiotics use” for their chicken supplies. Nearly half of the U.S. chicken industry has either made a no-antibiotics commitment or is already using responsible practices, NRDC said. [Image Credit: © NRDC ]
Kate Slusark Kiely, "Burger King to Clean Up Antibiotics Practices in Chicken Supply by 2018", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council, June 22, 2017, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Large Firms Tell How They Eradicated Forced Labor In Supply Lines

June 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has published a report containing case studies from 12 member companies describing how they got rid of forced labor in their supply chains. CGF says forced labor is an endemic social problem in global supply chains and cannot be solved by one company alone. The Cola-Cola Company, Unilever, Nestlé S.A. and Tesco all shared their experiences in dealing with the global $150 billion problem. [Image Credit: ©   CGF]
Emma Jane Cash, "Industry giants unite to eradicate forced labour in global supply chains", Food Navigator, June 22, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Sephora Digital SEA Adopts Advanced Personalization Technology

June 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora Digital SEA (formerly Luxola) is implementing Dynamic Yield's personalization technology stack technology to tailor individualized e-commerce experiences to each customer.  Sephora SEA is responsible for the e-commerce activities of Sephora across South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. With Dynamic Yield’s technology, Sephora SEAcan provide individualized beauty product recommendations on website pages based on country and prior shopping behavior. A Sephora SEA spokesman said personalization is “at the core of our e-commerce strategy.” [Image Credit: © Sephora ]
"Sephora SEA Chooses Dynamic Yield to Personalize the Entire Customer Journey", News release, Dynamic Yield, June 22, 2017, © Dynamic Yield
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Tesco Merges Two Customer Services Offices

June 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British grocery chain Tesco is consolidating its Customer Engagement Centers (CEC) into one office located in Dundee. As part of the consolidation, it is closing the CEC in Cardiff by February 2018. The company said it expects the move to simplify customer service while maintaining quality through phone, email, and social media operations. Closing the Cardiff CEC will affect 1,100 workers, but Tesco expects to create 250 new positions at the Dundee office. [Image Credit: © Tesco ]
"Tesco simplifies customer service operations", News release, Tesco, June 21, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Amazon’s Target In Whole Foods Deal Is Ultimately High-Margin CPG

June 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon’s deal with Whole Foods Market certainly threatens low-profit-margin – around two percent annually – retail grocers like Krogers. But Amazon’s real target is not the stores: it’s the profitable products on their shelves. In other words, it’s the higher-profit-margin – 16 percent annually – consumer packaged-goods (CPG) companies that should be worried. Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive have grabbed large market shares because of an economic and distribution model – economies of scale, lower prices, and acres of store shelf space – that is now breaking down, thanks to Amazon. Its Amazon Basics brand, already gaining market share in diapers and batteries, could be extended to other high margin categories, and move into Whole Foods stores. That’s a significant threat to the CPG giants. [Image Credit: © Colgate-Palmolive ]
Conor Sen, "Amazon's Real Target Isn't Whole Foods. It's Everything You Buy.", Bloomberg, June 20, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Shakes And Rattles The Retail Industry

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Drug Store News outlined several key points to keep in mind now that Amazon plans to acquire Whole Foods Market. The $13.7 billion acquisition, awaiting approval by regulators and shareholders, will have major repercussions for retailers that sell groceries, beauty products and health products. A few of the key takeaways: both companies benefit from a merger. Amazon extends its beachhead into grocery sales, while Whole Foods gets a rich uncle. The entire retail industry knows now that it’s no longer business as usual: witness the stock slides of Target, Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Supervalu. The acquisition furthers Amazon’s metamorphosis into a true omnichannel business, thanks to the addition of 460 brick-and-mortar stores. [Image Credit: ©   Amazon.com]
David Orgel, "Amazon and Whole Foods: 5 things to know about the blockbuster deal", Drug Store News, June 16, 2017, © Drug Store News
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Some Of The Advantages Of The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon has been tiptoeing into the huge consumer grocery business since it launched its AmazonFresh home delivery service in 2006. The acquisition of Whole Foods Market, with its 460 physical stores, accelerates the move, and offers benefits to bother companies. It is probable that the deal will mean Whole Foods’ Instacart delivery service will be replaced with an Amazon version that adapts Prime Now and AmazonFresh. As to pricing, Amazon is also likely to use its scale and efficiencies to help relieve pricing pressure on Whole Foods. And Amazon could also use Whole Foods’ partnerships with suppliers to lure them to the Amazon platform and take advantage of Amazon’s 300 million customer accounts. [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Michelle Grant, "The Implications Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods", Blog entry, Euromonitor International, June 16, 2017, © Euromonitor International
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Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Signals A Major Economic Trend

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The recently announced acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon is an indicator of a fact well-known by retail analysts: both Amazon and Walmart are trying to be like the other. Amazon is establishing brick-and-mortar bookstores and buying 460 grocery store locations. Walmart, through its recent acquisition of Jet.com and other moves, is strengthening its online presence and infrastructure. But the larger picture is that the retail industry is undergoing consolidation among a few big companies whose resources stretch globally, whose access to sophisticated supply lines, and advanced marketing and delivery technologies, gives them major market advantages over smaller competitors. This consolidation is happening in other industries, including banking, airlines and telecommunications. And it’s creating a real economic gulf between two groups of workers: those employed by the prosperous new super companies – and those employed elsewhere. 
Neil Irwin , "The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy", The New York Times, June 16, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Tesco Reports Sales Grew In 1Q Of FY 2017-2018

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco reported like-for-like sales grew 1.0 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, marking the company's 6th consecutive quarter with positive like-for-like sales growth. In the UK, like-for-like sales grew 2.3 percent, driven by 2.7 growth in like-for-like sales in food. Also, customer transactions rose 1.3 percent, which means an increase of 10 million from the previous year. According to the company, its overseas sales performance during the period was affected by its move to stop its bulk selling business in Thailand.
"Tesco First Quarter Trading Statement 2017/18", Tesco, June 16, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Kroger Wins Right To Buy Marsh Supermarkets Locations In Indiana

June 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co. secured the right to acquire 11 Marsh Supermarkets stores in Indiana through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. According to court filings, Kroger's Topvalco Inc. unit will buy seven stores in the Indianapolis area and two each in Bloomington and Muncie for $16 million. At present, Kroger's Indiana division operates 137 stores, including 24 locations in Indianapolis.
Steve Watkins, "Kroger wins $16M bid to buy competitor's stores", bizjournals.com, June 14, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Jet.com Sheds Its Costco Ethos

June 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce company Jet.com’s co-founder Marc Lore was inspired by the Costco example. Its original business model was based on membership fees, and on bulk sales savings passed on to the customer. But now that it has been acquired by Walmart, and continues to integrate its operations with the giant retailer, it has begun phasing out the Kirkland Signature brand of products, replacing them with products offered under the Sam’s Club Member’s Mark brand. According to analytics provider 1010data, Jet accounted for 5.5 percent of online sales of the Kirkland brand in the first half of 2016, behind Amazon and Costco.com. [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Matthew Boyle, "Jet.com Will Phase Out Costco Products After Wal-Mart Acquisition", Bloomberg , June 12, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Discount Grocer Aldi To Add 900 Stores By 2022

June 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Aldi announced it is adding 900 stores in the U.S. over the next five years. The $3.4 billion expansion is in addition to the $1.6 billion it is spending to remodel 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020. According to the company, the new stores – it currently has 1,600 – will make Aldi the third largest grocery chain in the U.S., with a goal of serving 100 million customers a month. The expansion will add 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices. [Image Credit: © Aldi ]
"Aldi Ramps Up US Expansion with Goal of 2,500 Stores by End of 2022", News release, Aldi, June 12, 2017, © Aldi
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Carrefour Names Industry's Top Executive As New CEO

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail executive Alexandre Bompard is to be named as chief executive of France-based retailer Carrefour, according to reports. Bompard's achievements in the retail market include the reorganization of Fnac bookstore chain and electricals retailer Darty. Known for his daring and determination, Bompard is expected by market observers to revitalize the French retailer.
Dominique Vidalon and Pascale Denis , "France's new retail golden boy takes on Carrefour challenge", Reuters, June 07, 2017, © Reuters
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Amazon Customers Who Get Food Assistance Can Pay Cheaper Prime Fee

June 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon has adjusted its Prime program to include customers receiving government financial assistance at a lower monthly fee. Membership in Prime includes video, music, reading, photos and unlimited free shipping. The fee for people on food assistance and other programs will be $5.99 a month for a year with anytime cancelation. Customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card linked to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). The EBT card cannot be used to pay for membership. The regular monthly rate for Prime is $10.99, which drops to $8.25 a month if paid annually ($99). Prime Video membership is $8.99 a month.
"Amazon Introduces Discounted Monthly Prime Offer for Customers Receiving Government Assistance", News release, Amazon, June 06, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Fosun Should Find Better Takeover Target Than The Body Shop, Analyst Says

June 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International should discontinue its efforts to secure the rights to buy The Body Shop, the beauty retailer owned by L'Oreal SA. There are several reasons why Fosun would be better off looking for another company to acquire. These include the lack of positive forecasts for the retail sector, including the beauty retail segment. Also, The Body Shop's emphasis on all-natural beauty products no longer differentiates it from rival retailers, as reflected by the 4.8 percent drop in revenue in 2016. With a price tag of $900 million, which is expected to significantly jump once a likely bidding war starts, The Body Shop is quite expensive.
Shelly Banjo, "Fosun's Fruitless Beauty Search", Bloomberg, June 06, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Walmart Tests Large Parking Lot Kiosk For Online Order Pickup

June 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is testing the use of a large self-service kiosk that would allow customers to pick up their online purchases without contact with an employee. After purchases are paid for online, Walmart employees find and pack the orders in bins in the 20-by-80-foot test structure, which is located in the parking lot of a Warr Acres, Okla., supercenter. Customers gain entry to the kiosk, which contains refrigerators and freezers to maintain food freshness, via a typed-in code. Customers must spend at least $30 online to use the kiosk, which is open 24/7 and can fulfill hundreds of customer orders in a day. [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Hayley Peterson, "Walmart built a giant vending machine that retrieves groceries", Business Insider, June 06, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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It Pays To Buy Own-Brand Groceries At Australia’s Aldi Stores

June 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery price survey conducted by an Australian consumer research firm found that a standard basket of own-brand products cost the least at Aldi stores, while leading brand products cost the most at IGA. The average leading brand basket cost $170.54 at Coles and $168.74 at Woolworths. A comparable basket of Aldi brand products cost $102.50, saving 49-50 percent. According to the Choice Consumer Pulse Survey, switching to other budget options where available can save shoppers as much as 59 percent when buying own-brand groceries from Aldi, rather than leading brands at Coles and Woolworths. Independent chain IGA charged 5-7 percent more than Coles and Woolworths for an identical basket of leading brand items. Choice checked110 supermarkets in 33 locations across Australia for its survey.
Rachel Clemons, "Which supermarket has the cheapest groceries?", News release, Choice, June 05, 2017, © Choice
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Walmart Tests Use Of Employees As Delivery People

June 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To further save customers time and money, Walmart is experimenting with the use of employees on their way home from work to deliver online purchases to nearby buyers. The new program is strictly voluntary and participation levels are up to the employee. Walmart’s technology allows them to set preferences: choose how many packages they deliver, sizes and weights, and which days they can make the after-work deliveries. “It just makes sense,” Walmart eCommerce CEO Marc Lore, says. “The best part is this gives our own associates a way to earn extra income on their existing drive home.” [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Marc Lore, "Serving Customers in New Ways: Walmart Begins Testing Associate Delivery", Blog entry, Walmart, June 01, 2017, © Walmart Stores, Inc.
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How Walmart Might Foil Incursions By Discount Grocers Aldi, Lidl

June 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has been doing a good job of beefing up its e-commerce program to stay close to online retail competitor Amazon. But analysts say another big challenge is to better compete against the German no-frills grocery retailers Aldi and Lidl. That battleground is mainly about price, but not completely. Walmart’s U.K. grocery unit Asda, whose unique selling proposition was low prices, got beat in the price arena by Aldi and Lidl. It is still trying to recover. As the two German retailers expand their presence in the U.S., Walmart needs to make sure it is not out-discounted again. It also needs to make sure its house brands compete on quality as well as price. The good news is that the company’s growing e-commerce strengths could help it fend off low-tech discounter competition, especially if it continues to boost its shop-online/pick-up-in-store strategy. [Image Credit: © MidAmerica Nazarene University ]
Andrea Felsted, "Walmart's Big New Problem Isn't Amazon", Bloomberg , June 02, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Fast-Casual Restaurant Growth Slows

June 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The fast-casual restaurant boom that took off in the 1990s, luring Millennials with fresh ingredients and modern design, has apparently plateaued. Growth in sector sales is expected to sag to only six or seven percent, down from eight percent a year ago, and between 10 and 11 percent in the prior decade, according to the Pentallect consultancy. Fast-casual companies are shutting down outlets, rebranding them, or abandoning expansion plans. Part of the problem appears to be competition from better performing fast-food chains and mom-and-pop eateries that have upgraded food quality and service. In addition, consumers are attracted by the convenience of online meal purchasing and delivery. [Image Credit: © Red Robin ]
Leslie Patton, "America’s Fast-Casual Dining Boom Is Over", Bloomberg, June 01, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Blue April Meal Kit Company Plans To Go Public

June 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New York-based Blue Apron Holdings, whose subscription-based service ships cook-at-home meal kits and wine, has begun the SEC procedure for launching an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. In an earlier private capital round, the company was valued at $2 billion. The IPO documents filed with the SEC showed a first quarter (ended March 31) loss of $52 million on revenue of $244.8 million. The five-year-old company expects to continue to lose money as it pursues expansion plans. The SEC filing lists $61 million in cash and $99.6 million in debt. Since March 31, the company has borrowed another $63.5 million. [Image Credit: © Blue Apron ]
Maria Armental, "Blue Apron Files for IPO", The Wall Street Journal, June 01, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Health And Personal Care Sales Booming Online, Led By Amazon

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. sales of health and personal care (HPC) products slowed in the first quarter by one percent year-over-year, mainly in brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales were up in the quarter, led by Amazon.com. As of the first quarter of 2017, the U.S. HPC market was valued at $80.6 billion, while Amazon sales represented $1.3 billion. Year over year growth of HPC sales on Amazon in the first quarter was 30 percent. According to One Click Retail, consumers are abandoning in-store shopping for HPC products in favor of online shopping. Within Amazon, the rate of growth for HPC is highest in Prime Pantry, with top categories multiplying revenue by as much as five times.
Nathan Rigby, "Amazon Pantry Drives Health & Personal Care Sales: The Amazon Effect", One Click Retail, May 31, 2017, © One Click Retail
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Peapod Fine-Tunes Customers’ Online Search Options

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online grocer Peapod’s smart shopping technology now has more search filters so shoppers can further refine selections based on personal dietary tastes and preferences.. In addition to common search filters like brand preference, price and sale specials, the company now offers 16 nutrition options, including non-GMO, sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. The new filters were selected based on consumer food and nutritional trend data. For example, 42 percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing, 33 percent of Millennials say they eat a meat alternative product every day, and sales of non-GMO products will hit $330 billion by 2019. [Image Credit: © Peapod ]
"Peapod Expands Nutrition Filter Options To Help Shoppers Make Mindful Food Decisions Even Faster", News release, Peapod, May 31, 2017, © Peapod
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Inflation Boosts U.K. Grocery Sales Numbers

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Growth in the U.K.’s retail grocery segment is being fueled partly by rising inflation, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Inflation stood at 2.9 percent for the 12-week period ending May 21, while overall sales rose 3.8 percent, the best in four years. Sales at Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco grew collectively by 1.6 percent in the period, while sales at German discounters Aldi and Lidl were up 19.2 percent over last year and reached a record market share of 12 percent. Sixty-two percent of the U.K. population shopped in an Aldi or Lidl during the past 12 weeks, compared to 58 percent a year ago. That amounts to an additional 1.1 million households shopping at either of the stores.
Chris Hayward, "Market heats up as Aldi and Lidl grow at fastest rate since 2015", News release, Kantar Worldpanel, May 31, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Fnac-Darty’s CEO To Be Named Head Of Carrefour

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Alexandre Bompard, 44, is expected to be named CEO of retail chain Carrefour on June 18, and will work alongside current CEO Georges Plassat for a year “to help him settle in.” Bompard is CEO of Fnac-Darty, a French retailer that sells entertainment and leisure products, consumer electronics, and household appliances. Bompard has been a success as head of Fnac-Darty by at least one benchmark: the company’s share price has nearly tripled in the last four years.
Johan Van Geyte, "Bompard may become Carrefour's new CEO", RetailDetail, May 30, 2017, © RetailDetail
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Tesco Reports Improved Sales And Profits In FY 2017

May 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco reported sales, excluding VAT and fuel, rose 1.1 percent in fiscal 2017. According to the retailer, it recorded positive growth in both UK and international operations. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 29.9 percent to ₤1.28 billion, compared with the previous year. Statutory profit before tax dropped 28.2 percent to ₤145 million, including ₤263 million in exceptional costs. Retail operating cash flow was ₤2.3 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent from the previous year, the company said. Tesco said it has reduced its net debt by 27 percent to ₤3.7 billion.
"Tesco Plc Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017", Tesco, May 28, 2017, © Tesco Plc
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Ulta Beauty Posts Strong Sales Gains In 1Q Of 2017

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ulta Beauty said net sales jumped 22.5 percent to $1.315 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Comparable sales rose 14.3 percent during the period, compared with the 15.2-percent growth in the same quarter of fiscal 2016. According to the company, retail comparable sales grew 10.9 percent, including salon comparable sales growth of 9.9 percent. Salon sales grew 16.7 percent to $68.7 million, compared with the same period in the previous year.
"Ulta Beauty Announces First Quarter 2017 Results", Ulta, May 25, 2017, © Ulta
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Walmart Opens Flagship Online Store For China Market On JD.com

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart opened its flagship online store on China-based shopping portal JD.com. Aimed at providing same-day and next-day deliveries to more than 600 million consumers in the country, the opening came almost a year after Walmart and JD.com formed a strategic alliance for the China market. In October 2016, Walmart invested $50 million in New Dada, JD.com's joint venture with delivery services firm Dada.
Bien Perez, "US retail giant Walmart launches flagship online store on JD.com", South China Morning Post, May 25, 2017, © South China Morning Post
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Wal-Mart's South African Business Massmart Posts Weaker Like-For-Like Sales

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Massmart, Wal-Mart's majority-owned retail business in South Africa, reported same-store sales dropped almost 2 percent in the first five months of 2017. Wal-Mart acquired a controlling stake in the company via a $2.4 billion deal seven years ago. Since then, the retailer has had to deal with economic slowdown in the region. Sales were also affected by consumer reluctance to spend and by a downgrading of credit ratings of South Africa, which accounts for 91 percent of Massmart's total sales in the region.
Tiisetso Motsoeneng, "Wal-Mart's South African arm Massmart reports drop in like-for-like sales", Reuters, May 25, 2017, © Reuters
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More Women In Australia Buy Cosmetics At Pharmacies, Roy Morgan Research Says

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In 2016, 19.1 percent of Australian women bought cosmetics from pharmacies, compared with 15.1 percent in 2006, according to Roy Morgan Research. Data from the market research firm revealed that in 2006-2016, the percentage of women who buy cosmetics in an average six months remained stable, from 51.5 percent to 50.5 percent. Cosmetics retailers, such as Sephora and MECCA, saw their share of the market fall from 9.6 percent to 7.7 percent during the period. Also, about 840,000 women purchased their make-up at a Priceline store, making the company the most popular pharmacy chain for cosmetics.
"More Australian women buying cosmetics at pharmacies", Roy Morgan Research, May 24, 2017, © Roy Morgan Research
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Communications Chief Retires

May 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Pharmacy and retail chain Walgreens Boots Alliance confirmed that Yves Romestan has retired as the company's senior vice president for communications and international affairs effective April 21, 2017. After Romestan's departure, Laura Vergani was promoted from vice president of international communications to VP of international and divisional communications. All of the company's divisional communications directors now report directly to Vergani.
John Harrington, "Walgreens Boots Alliance comms chief Yves Romestan retires", PRWeek , May 23, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Walmart Unveils 2017-2018 Investment Plans For Florida

May 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores announced its investment plans in Florida for the fiscal year running from February 1, 2017, to January 31, 2018. Expected to have an economic impact of more than $450 million for the state, the plan includes opening nine new stores, creating more than 800 new jobs across the state, and implement a multi-million-dollar capital investment plan that would upgrade more than 40 stores. Also, the retailer plans to announce the opening of its 150-acre eCommerce Distribution Center facility in Davenport. Following its recent hiring of more than 550 associates, the company plans to hire at least 1,000 more workers in the next year. Walmart also confirmed plans to build a distribution center for perishable goods in the city of Cocoa.
"Walmart Announces $450 Million in 2017-2018 Investments Throughout Florida, Plans to Hire More Than 2,750 Floridians", Business Wire, May 23, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Lidl Opens Online Store In China

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany-based retailer Lidl launched its China-focused online store on Alibaba's online platform Tmall Global. According to the company, the website will offer several of its private labels. With European products being popular in China, Lidl wants to launch its Combino, Bellarom, and Sondey brands in the country.
Yoni Van Looveren, "Lidl launches Chinese web shop", RetailDetail, May 22, 2017, © RetailDetail
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Facebook Expands Food Order/Delivery Feature On Desktops And Phones

May 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Facebook users are now able to tap an icon on their smartphone or desktop to place food pickup and delivery orders from participating restaurants that use Delivery.com or Slice. The innovation means users needn’t leave the Facebook platform to visit a restaurant or delivery site. The new feature expands a deal with the two online ordering businesses announced last October that allowed Facebook users to order food from Facebook pages of supported restaurants using a “Start Order” button. The “Order Food” icon eliminates the need to visit restaurant sites because all participating restaurants are listed together on the user's Facebook page. [Image Credit: © Facebook ]
Sarah Perez, "Facebook Rolls Out a New “Order Food” Option in its Main Navigation", Tech Crunch, May 19, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Potential Hikes In Prices, Fate Of NHS, Have British Consumers On Edge

May 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mintel consumer research finds that Britons are worried about the prospect of higher prices of goods and services, including food, vacations and clothing. Eighty-three percent worry about price hikes generally, and 59 percent worry about more expensive groceries. With the impact of Brexit still largely unknown yet looming, and despite concerns about rising prices,  consumer confidence remains relatively strong. People still expect their personal finances to hold up well over the next year. However, the fate of the National Health Service (NHS) and the nation’s economy worry consumers.
"Britain braces itself for price hikes: 83% fear price rises on goods and services", News release, Mintel, May 19, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Google, Amazon Top LinkedIn’s List Of Desirable Employers

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
LinkedIn announced that people looking for employment are most interested in working at Google's parent company Alphabet. Amazon came in second on the list of desirable U.S. employers, developed from LinkedIn’s analysis of billions of actions taken by its 500+ million members and looked at people's interest in companies’ jobs, brands and employees, and record of employee retention. A human resources exec at Amazon said its high ranking is due to its “unique culture of innovation and customer obsession.” [Image Credit: © LinkedIn ]
"Amazon Ranks #2 on LinkedIn’s Annual Top Companies List", News release, Amazon, May 18, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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As Retail Industry Continues To Sag, Walmart Booms

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart bucked depressing retail industry trends in the first fiscal quarter, posting a 1.4 percent increase in revenue to $117.54 billion, slightly less than the $117.74 billion expected by Wall Street. Earnings per share were up by two percent to $1.00, better than analyst expectations of $0.96 a share. The glowing performance in a time of limp retail sales was generally driven by aggressive pricing that increased store traffic by three percent (on a two-year stacked basis) and by successful expansion of its online business. E-commerce sales soared 63 percent, up from 29 percent growth last quarter, mostly due to organic growth and not acquisitions. Same-store sales grew for the 11th consecutive quarter.
"Walmart U.S. Q1 comps1 grew 1.4% and Walmart U.S. eCommerce GMV grew 69%, Company reports Q1 FY18 diluted EPS of $1.00", Earnings release, Walmart, May 18, 2017, © Walmart Stores, Inc.
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Unilever Indonesia Joins Local Online Shopping Platform Blibli.com

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PT Unilever Indonesia has opened a Unilever Anchor Store on local online shopping website, Blibli.com. According to Unilever Indonesia e-commerce manager Hira Triadi, all of the company's products are featured on the online store. Through the online store, Unilever Indonesia hopes to widen its reach to include millennials and consumers who like using social media.
"Unilever anchor store added to Blibli.com", The Jakarta Post, May 18, 2017, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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Target’s Q1 Numbers Are Promising, But There’s Still Work To Do

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Target seems to be on a path to recovery, if profit is any indication, though it reported a first quarter same-store sales decline of 1.3 percent due to drops in traffic and basket size. Digital sales were up 22 percent, however. Sales totaled $16 billion down from $16.2 billion last year. Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter were $1.22, compared with $1.02 a year ago. Thomson Reuters consensus forecast was 91 cents. The company expects a “low single-digit decline” in same-store sales in the second quarter, and adjusted EPS of $0.95 to $1.15. For the full-year 2017, Target continues to project a low single-digit decline in same-store sales. CEO Brian Cornell said the company is in "the early stage of a multi-year effort to position Target for profitable, consistent long-term growth.”
"Target Reports First Quarter 2017 Earnings", Earnings release, Target, May 17, 2017, © Target Brands, Inc.
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U.S. Grocery Chain Owner Delhaize Honored For Diversified Hiring Practices

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery chain owner Delhaize America was recognized by Web-based “diversity” publisher and event sponsor DiversityInc for its excellence in hiring, retaining and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people and veterans. Delhaize, whose grocery chains include Food Lion and Hannaford, was ranked 10th among the top 11 “Companies for Progress,” a subset of the top 50 companies for diversity. It was the only grocery firm to make the top 50. Other retailers among the top 50 were Target (No. 22) and CVS Health (No. 50). CPG companies included Johnson & Johnson (No. 5), Procter & Gamble (No. 13), Kellogg Co. (No. 28), Colgate-Palmolive (No. 35), and McCormick & Co. (No. 45).
"Delhaize America Among Top Companies for Progress", Progressive Grocer, May 17, 2017, © EnsembleIQ
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Jean Coutu To Sell Clinique Beauty Products In Canada

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Jean Coutu Group said it will start selling Clinique beauty products in several of its affiliated stores Quebec and New Brunswick, as well as online. Accounting for about 50 percent of total pharmacy sales in Canada, Jean Coutu also has a high-end beauty department selling beauty brands, including Caudalie, Biotherm, and Jouviance. With one to four consultants at all times, Jean Coutu's beauty stores offer services, such as skin analysis, makeup touch-ups, and a makeup-testing program.
Faye Brookman, "Canada’s Jean Coutu Secures Clinique", Women’s Wear Daily, May 17, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Pizza Doughnuts: In An Age Of Doughnut Creativity, Why Not?

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Who says a pizza – despite its name – has to be in the shape of a pie? The West End Bistro in West Haven, Conn., has proven that pizza can look like a doughnut and sell just as well. Their creation – the idea came to the owner in a dream – begins with focaccia dough stuffed with Italian cheeses and shaped into a doughnut. It is then fried and “frosted” with what creator Jeff Lamberti calls “gravy” – pizza sauce – then baked, garnished with greens and served. Photos posted on social media were a viral hit; passels of orders soon followed. Lamberti said they sold two hundred of the junk food delicacies in a recent weekend. "I didn't think that it would take off the way it did,” he said.  [Image Credit: © NBC Connecticut ]
"The Pizza Donut: A Match Made in Junk Food Heaven", WHOtv.com, May 16, 2017, © WHO: A Tribune Broadcasting Station
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Kroger Announces Changes To Senior Executive Lineup

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain The Kroger Co. said senior vice president of retail divisions, Sukanya Madlinger, plans to retire after 31 years with the company. Also, the retailer announced the promotion of Calvin Kaufman to succeed Madlinger. Kroger also announced the promotion of Ann Reed to president of the company's Louisville division, Kaufman's current position.
"Kroger Announces Retirement of Sukanya Madlinger, Promotes Calvin Kaufman, Ann Reed", Kroger , May 16, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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Trusted Brands In 40+ Product Categories Listed By Reader’s Digest

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An online survey of 5,500 American consumers found that 49 percent are less trusting of brands these days. The survey, conducted by Reader’s Digest, sought to find the most trusted brands in 40 product categories, including food and beverage, beauty and healthcare, retail, etc. According to the company, which awards a “Trusted Brand seal of approval” to products, the survey found that trust outweighs product pricing and trust ensures customer retention and brand loyalty. (It doesn’t, however, equate with top sales: Ford is ranked as most trusted car company, but GM is the top seller.) More than half of participants said the Reader’s Digest seal of approval would increase their likelihood of trusting a brand.  [Image Credit: © Reader's Digest ]
"Reader’s Digest Annual Survey Determines the Most Trusted Brands in America", News release, Reader's Digest, May 16, 2017, © Reader's Digest
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Boots Names RB Executive Reed Head Of UK Trading

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Boots has hired Reckitt Benckiser executive Richard Reed to manage the pharmacy retailer's trading operations in the UK. Currently head of RB's international customer development, Reed will be Boots' trading director for the UK and Republic of Ireland, a newly created position. Reed also held executive positions at Kelloggs and Procter & Gamble prior to joining RB.
Grace Bowden, "Boots poaches Reckitt Benckiser exec Richard Reed for new role", Retail Week, May 16, 2017, © Ascential Information Services Limited
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British Grocery Chain Seeks To “Rescue” Scorned Bananas

May 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sainsbury’s is dismayed that so many of its countrymen, who enjoy bananas fairly often – 30 percent eat at least one a day – nevertheless turn up their noses at – and usually bin – the fruits if they have imperfections like bruises, black marks, or green spots. It’s a serious problem: Britons trash about 1.8 million rejected bananas a day. As part of its £10 million Waste Less, Save More initiative, the company has launched pop-up “Banana Rescue” stations in its 500 stores to offer not only recipes for banana bread, but all of the hardware necessary to make it. That includes mixing bowls, blenders, baking tins and storage solutions. [Image Credit: © Sainsbury's ]
"Sainsbury’s launches in store ‘Banana Rescue’ stations, giving new a-peel to bin-bound fruit ", News release, Sainsbury’s, May 15, 2017, © J Sainsbury plc
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Lidl Readies Invasion Of U.S. Retail Market

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount retailer Lidl plans to open its first stores in the US in summer 2017. Earlier in February 2017, the company said it plans to open its first 20 American stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, with 80 more locations to be launched within its first year of US operations. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing pricing strategies in 11 states, seeking to undercut competitors by 15 percent, while German rival Aldi aims to offer prices 21 percent lower than those of its American competitors.
Nandita Bose, "Germany's Lidl prepares to enter U.S. supermarket wars", Reuters, May 12, 2017, © Reuters
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Consumers Contribute To Extended Economic Recoveries Because Of Buying Habits

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
“Jobless recoveries” from recessions have become the norm. Routine jobs eliminated during downturns never come back, thanks to automation and outsourcing. That makes recovery slow, dampening real wages for longer periods. But business researchers show that companies cutting costs during hard times isn't the only reason for slow recoveries. Consumers contribute by buying cheaper, lower quality goods – usually produced overseas – at discount retailers, a phenomenon called “trading down.” It’s a smart move for consumers, but ultimately the macro economy suffers. Lower quality goods and services don’t require skilled labor, so demand for U.S. labor slides, further crippling the economy. As the trend continues after the recession ends, the job market remains hobbled.
Sergio Rebelo, "Recessions Push People to Buy Cheap Things, Which Just Makes Everything Worse", Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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