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Sephora Names TEC Events Manager For Middle East Market

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora appointed TEC to manage its marketing and other events across the Middle East. TEC's first assignment was the Middle East Sales, Marketing and Operating Conference held in March 2017 at Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah, UAE.
Charlotte Flach, "Sephora appoints TEC", Conference & Incentive Travel, April 11, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Kiko Milano Launches Brazil Business; Opens Two Stores In Sao Paulo

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Italian cosmetics brand and retailer Kiko Milano launched its business in Brazil by opening two stores in Sao Paulo. According to the company, it plans to open five more new stores in the country’s capital by the end of 2017. Kiko Milano plans to invest €5 million in the opening of the seven stores in the city, according to Isabel de Almeida, the company’s brand director in Brazil. Legal problems related to importation process forced the company to delay its launch in Brazil, which was previously planned for 2016.
Amanda Veloso, "Kiko Milano Celebrates 20 Years and Adds Brazil to its Global Expansion Strategy", Premium Beauty News, April 11, 2017, © Premium Beauty News
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Jana Partners Acquires Almost 9-Percent Stake In Whole Foods; Wants Retailer To Speed Up Turnaround

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Activist investor Jana Partners LLC has acquired an 8.8-percent stake in specialty retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. Apparently not satisfied with the retailer's current directions, Jana Partners wants Whole Foods to speed up its turnaround efforts and to consider the likelihood of being acquired by another company. Whole Foods has so far failed to transform itself from being a popular niche player into a large, national retail chain. Since peaking in 2013, the retailer's stock has lost almost half of its market value.
David Benoit et al., "Activist Investor Jana Partners Takes Nearly 9% Stake in Whole Foods", The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One hundred Starbucks stores in Chicago are testing the new Mercato lunch menu targeted at diners looking for a vegetarian, protein-based lunch. The new menu items include salads, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit. Salad options, available at $8 or $9, include za'atar (Mediterranean spice blend) chicken and lemon tahini, green goddess avocado, seared steak and mango, and turkey and fire-roasted corn. Sandwiches ($5 to $8) include a Cuban, a burrata and basil pesto, and an almond butter with strawberries and jam. If the new lunch items are successful, the menu will roll out nationally. [ Seared steak, mango salad, image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Wal-Mart Eyes Hundreds Of Corporate Job Cuts In US

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to cut more corporate jobs in the US in April 2017. While expanding its e-commerce operations, the retailer has confirmed plans to eliminate hundreds of job cuts affecting its international and technology businesses, as well as its Sam's Club warehouse operations. In 2016, Wal-Mart announced plans to make 7,000 back-office jobs redundant.
Nandita Bose, "Wal-Mart Eliminates More Corporate Jobs", Reuters, April 11, 2017, © Reuters
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Fighting Food Waste Has Become A Scottish Obsession

April 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Scots, especially those who dine out frequently, have come to terms with the fact that more than 53,000 tons of food are wasted each year in Scottish restaurants, and two-thirds of it could have been prevented. If they were ever skittish (or snooty) about using doggie bags or boxes, for instance, they are much less so now. More than 100 restaurants have committed to Scotland’s Good to Go scheme, under which eateries automatically pack leftover food in branded boxes and give it back to diners. A small change, yes, but experts say it could keep more than 800,000 edible leftover meals a year out of trash bins. It’s just one of the initiatives that have won Scotland a growing reputation as a leader in food waste prevention.  [ Image credit: © Zero Waste Scotland  ]
Megan Tatum, "How Scotland Has Food Waste All Wrapped Up", The Grocer, April 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Ireland's Grocery Market Contracts In March 2017, Kantar Says

April 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ireland's grocery market contracted by 0.7 percentage points month on month to -0.2 percent, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm's latest report covering the 12-week period ending March 26, 2017, revealed Supervalu has regained the top spot on the list of the largest grocers in the country. Rival Dunnes Stores held the post for the past two months, the company said. Also, data showed local shoppers are buying more stores' own-label products, with private labels accounting for 54 percent of total grocery spend, an increase of 6 percent over the past four years.
"Irish grocery market returns to deflation", Kantar Worldpanel, April 10, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Yum Brands Caves To Pressure: KFC Will Transition To Antibiotics-Free Chicken

April 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Years of pressure from food safety and consumer advocates have finally nudged Yum Brands, owner of KFC, into the clean-label chicken camp. The company announced it plans to stop sourcing chicken from farms that use antibiotics over the next two years. McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have all pledged to transition to antibiotics-free chicken because the widespread use of human antibiotics in animal husbandry seems to be contributing to the rise of drug resistant pathogens. With the shift by KFC, more than half of the nation's poultry supply chain will be antibiotic-free soon, according to advocates. [ Image credit: © KFC  ]
Geoffrey Mohan, "KFC Goes Antibiotic-Free", Los Angeles Times, April 07, 2017, © Los Angeles Times
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Walgreens Expands Beauty Differentiation Retail Concept

April 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Pharmacy and retail chain Walgreens is expanding its Beauty Differentiation beauty retail format to cover more than 1,000 additional store locations in 2017. According to the company, it is hiring beauty advisors to help support the program expansion. Walgreens said the expansion highlights the company's confidence in the retail concept.
Michael Johnsen, "Beauty format's success behind Walgreens expansion into 1,000 additional stores", Drug Store News, April 07, 2017, © Drug Store News
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Amazon Announces Plan To Hire 5,000 Part-Time Customer Service Agents

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it plans to hire more than 5,000 new part-time employees for is Virtual Customer Service program in 2018. Part of the company’s previously announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers in the US, the proposed hiring will strengthen the retailer’s capability to provide customer service. Virtual Customer Service employees are provided with the flexibility to do their job while working from home.
"Amazon to Create 5,000 New, Part-Time, Work-From-Home Jobs over the Next Year", Amazon, April 06, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Portland Ice Cream Parlor Uses Discarded Flavor Ingredients In Its Products

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small-batch ice cream shop in Portland, Ore., with a reputation for adventurousness in flavor combinations, is applying its expertise to a social/environmental cause – namely, food waste. Salt & Straw’s June menu will be featuring flavors of food that were otherwise destined for the trash bins. Included in the offerings at the artisan eatery, for examples, will be rum-soaked spices salvaged from the nearby East Side Distilling company, including Moroccan peppercorns, Sri Lankan cinnamon, Mexican vanilla, and California orange peel. The flavors will be re-steeped in cream and blended into frozen treats. Local food redistributors and anti-food waste organizations Urban Gleaners and the Portland Fruit Tree Project are collaborating with Salt & Straw on the project.  [ Image credit: © Salt & Straw  ]
Janan Jay, "American Ice Cream Parlor is Making Flavors from Recycled Food", Stuff, April 06, 2017, © Fairfax New Zealand Limited
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Panera’s Secret: Consumers Tend To Bypass Competitors To Get There

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread Co., whose acquisition by Krispy Kreme owner JAB Holdings for $7 billion was recently announced, is a paradigm of success in today’s restaurant chain world. Its menu is upscale and distinctive, the service is fast. But it really began to surpass rivals when three years ago it adopted its ”2.0 plan,” which featured advanced technology for customer ordering and payment, a commitment to clean food (i.e., no preservatives, no artificial or other dubious ingredients), and a sophisticated delivery system. The philosophy is summarized by CEO Ron Shaich: competitive advantage means “being a place where people want to walk past your competitors to come in."  [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Zlati Meyer et al., "How Panera Won the Restaurant Game", USA Today, April 06, 2017, © USA Today
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Misses Revenue Mark, But Profit Is Healthy

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance posted second quarter profit of $1.1 billion, an increase of 14 percent over the same period a year ago, on sales of $29.4 billion (a drop of 24 percent and short of expectations by $790 million.). Earnings per share were $0.98, an increase of 15.3 percent. The company said the earnings increases reflect the reduction in the fair value of the company's AmerisourceBergen Corporation warrants a year ago. The drugstore chain saved $1.5 billion, ahead of schedule from its cost transformation program. CEO Stefano Pessina said the results were pretty much what the company expected, “despite some challenging conditions,” and he was pleased with “the growth in pharmacy volume and market share.” The company is optimistic that regulatory agencies will green light its acquisition of Rite Aid by the end of July. [ Image credit: © Walgreens Boots Alliance  ]
"Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results", Earnings release, Walgreens Boots Alliance, April 05, 2017, © Walgreens Boots Alliance
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Will Costco Put More Energy Into Online Bulk Sales?

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Costco has for the most part downplayed the e-commerce side of its business while emphasizing store traffic, impulse buying, and a “treasure hunt” atmosphere of constant churning of new products. It’s a strategy that continues to be profitable. But investors and analysts think it’s time the bulk-selling giant adapts to modern times. The logistical technology is certainly available, even for Costco-size shipments. A Costco spokesman says the company has been slow on the uptake “on purpose,” but acknowledges “there are things we can do or should be doing.” Now it may be getting tougher: carriers like UPS and FedEx Corp. are beginning to charge based on package size as well as weight. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Sarah Nassauer et al., "Why Costco Loves Store Sales: You Try Shipping a Tub of Mayo", The Wall Street Journal, April 05, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Pizza Chain Experiments With All-Natural Toppings, Gluten-Free Crusts

April 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Papa John's announced it is test-marketing in Lexington, Ky., pizza with all-natural ingredients. The company is also offering customers the option of ordering gluten-free pizza crust. The company is partnering with an organic grocery delivery service, Green Bean Delivery, to home deliver pies topped with freshly-sliced roma tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms, supplied by farms in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oregon, California and Indiana. Gluten-free pizzas will only be available in the company's Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis and Nashville markets for the immediate future. [ Image credit: © Papa John's  ]
Lindsay Rittenhouse, "Did Papa John's Just Start Testing the Perfect Pizza?", The Street, April 04, 2017, © TheStreet, Inc.
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Panera’s Stock Price Soars As Rumors Of A Sale Swirl

April 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After receiving “takeover interest,” $6.5 billion Panera Bread is purportedly consulting with business advisors about the possibility of putting itself up for sale. Likely suitors include Starbucks, Domino’s, and JAB Holding, owner of a variety of brands such as Krispy Creme doughnuts and Keurig Green Mountain coffee. Panera’s stock has risen 28 percent over the past year, reaching an all-time high of $261.87 through the end of March. The stock bounded to $282.45 on April 4 when word of a possible sale leaked. None of the potential suitors commented publicly on the news.[ Image credit: © Miosotis Jade  ]
Ed Hammond, "Panera is Exploring Possible Sale after Receiving Interest", Bloomberg Markets, April 04, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Panera Offers Greater Transparency Regarding Added Sugars, Calories

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread Co., recently acquired by the owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, is the first restaurant chain to label its self-serve sodas and other foundation beverages with added sugars and calories. The federal government does not require such labeling by restaurants, thought it does for other food companies. The company also announced it is introducing six low- and no-sugar teas and lemonades. Panera is committed to phasing out artificial sweeteners and flavors, and is reviewing its entire menu based on the new sugar labeling guidance. The new drinks are being offered in New York, Washington, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. and will be available nationally later in 2017. [ Image credit: © Mike Mozart ]
Chris Prentice, "Panera Rolls Out 'Added Sugars' Labeling on Fountain Drinks", Reuters, March 31, 2017, © Reuters
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McDonald’s Big Logistical Leap: Quarter Pounders With Fresh Beef

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After successfully testing the use of fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers cooked to order in more than 400 of its restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma, McDonald’s announced it will roll out nationally over the next year. To accomplish this massive change, the company has secured the cooperation of Lopez Foods and other beef suppliers who will deliver fresh, rather than frozen, ground beef patties. The company said it “received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers and employees” during the Oklahoma and Texas market tests and the decision to go national represents “a watershed moment.” The Quarter Pounder line includes the classic Quarter Pounder, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers. [ Image credit: © Mike Mozart  ]
"McDonald's USA Unveils Next Big Change: Fresh Beef Quarter Pounders", News release, McDonald's, March 30, 2017, © McDonald's
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Unilever And Lazada Strengthen Alliance For Better Ecommerce In South East Asia

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An end-to-end alliance between Unilever and Lazada is expected to boost eCommerce in South East Asia and provide consumers with a superior online experience. The agreement is expected to push rapid growth in online retail for the region and address challenges such as high cost of product delivery in certain geographic locations. Category development, supply chain, data and marketing, social commerce and talent development are among the top focus areas for Unilever and Lazada to meet their common goal. The alliance builds on the previously launched partnership between Lazada Singapore and Unilever for an exclusive online store that allows buyers to purchase Unilever products. The companies say this is the first cross-functional collaboration for eCommerce in South East Asia and that it sets new standards in customer experience, supply chain and digital marketing.  
"Unilever and Lazada forge first in e-commerce cross-functional alliance", Unilever, March 30, 2017, © Unilever
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Carrefour Becomes Brazil's Largest Retailer In 2016

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour reported sales in Brazil reached BRL 49.1 billion, or €14.4 billion, in 2016, making it the top retailer in the country. Data from the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets showed Carrefour surpassed the BRL 44.9 billion, or €13.2 billion, GPA had in 2016. Walmart Brazil was at third place with BRL 29.4 billion, or €8.67 billion.
"Carrefour Surpasses GPA as Top Grocery Retailer in Brazil", European Supermarket Magazine, March 29, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Robots Join Domino’s Delivery Force In German Test

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Domino's pizza chain is testing robot-delivered pizza in Europe in partnership with an Estonia start-up. The project is launching in Hamburg, Germany, within the next couple of months. Starship Technologies uses six-wheeled robots that are about two feet tall, weigh 40 pounds when empty, and move at a speed of four miles an hour. Deliveries The robots will deliver food within a mile radius of select Domino's locations. They can mover independently, but during the test will have a human chaperone to make sure nothing bad happens. [ Image credit: © Domino's Pizza  ]
April Glaser, "Domino’s is going to Use Sidewalk Robots in Germany to Deliver Pizza", Recode, March 29, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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Chipotle Works To Put Its Food-Poisoning Nightmare In The Rearview Mirror

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill continues to distance itself from the food-poisoning disasters it endured a couple of years ago by revamping the ingredients it uses in its menu items. In the latest move, the company announced its restaurants are now selling flour tortillas made without preservatives. In all, the chain uses only 51 ingredients – none are GMO – including some organic produce and meat raised without hormones. CEO Steve Ells said the strategy is to focus on “improving the basic, wholesome ingredients” rather than on limited-time offers, extra value meals or “menu proliferation.” The efforts to revive its tarnished reputation and boost sales have yet to kick in, however: same-store sales fell 4.8 percent in the most recent quarter. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Leslie Patton, "Chipotle's Menu Is Now Preservative-Free", Bloomberg Markets, March 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Chipotle Continues To Rid Its Food Of Artificial Ingredients

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill announced it has eliminated all added colors, flavors and preservatives from the ingredients it uses to prepare its food, but not beverages. Chipotle says it’s the only national food chain to accomplish this. The company’s plan to eliminate artificial ingredients began two years ago with the decision to get rid of unnecessary additives in tortillas it uses to make burritos, tacos, and chips. The new flour tortillas are made using only flour, water, canola oil, salt and yeast. Corn tortillas used for the chips are made only with corn masa flour and water. The ingredients changes will be applied in all Chipotle restaurants in the United States. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
"Chipotle Becomes Only National Restaurant Brand to Use No Added Colors, Flavors or Preservatives in Its Food", News release, Chipotle Mexican Grill, March 28, 2017, © Chipotle Mexican Grill
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Peapod Customers Shopping More Often, Buying More, CMO Says

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Peapod customers are using the online grocery delivery service more frequently and are increasing their basket size, according to the company's CMO Carrie Bienkowski. She said among the factors driving growth in the online grocery delivery service segment are millennials' preference for home-cooked meals and service providers' personalization strategies. Bienkowski described some of her company's personalization tactics, including customized homepage for existing customers and emails based on “transaction behavior.” Also, the company is focused on identifying customer segments, by evaluating transaction behavior.
Tricia Carr, "Peapod Customers Are Buying More, and More Often—Here's Why", eMarketer, March 28, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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Walmart Grabs Bigger Share Of China's Retail Market, Thanks To Chinese New Year

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart saw its share of China's retail market grow from 4.8 percent to 5.0 percent in the 12-week period ending January 27, 2017, according to Kantar WorldPanel. Data from the market research firm revealed that the Chinese New Year boosted sales for Walmart and other retailers. Walmart has revised its business strategy in China, adapting to the country's retail market conditions by moving resources to rural areas and opening more Sam's Club stores.
"Walmart reaches new high in Chinese New Year", Kantar WorldPanel, March 27, 2017, © Kantar WorldPanel
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Wal-Mart Revamps Technology Group, Promotes Three Executives

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reorganized its technology division, following its $3.3 billion acquisition of online retailer Jet.com Inc. in September 2016. According to the company, the steps are aimed at positioning mobile devices as its main platform, with consumers increasingly using their mobile gadgets to shop both online and physical stores. As part of the revamp, Fiona Tan was promoted to senior vice president of U.S. Customer technology, Jaya Kolhatkar was named SVP of global data and analytics platform, and Jae Evans was promoted to VP of global technical engineering and operations.
Kim S. Nash, "Wal-Mart Reorganizes Tech Group to Strengthen Mobile", The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Amazon Working To Iron Out Kinks In Its Cashierless Store Model

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Technical glitches are delaying the debut of Amazon.com’s cashierless brick-and-mortar convenience store, Amazon Go,scheduled to open at the end of April in Seattle. The innovative store automatically charges customers when they exit.  No cash registers are used. The delay spotlights the difficulties the online retailer is experiencing as it implements a strategy to broaden its retail influence, especially in food sales. Observers say the cashierless technology works perfectly as long as there are 20 or fewer customers in the store. It also has a problem tracking items once they leave the store shelf. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com  ]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon Delays Opening of Cashierless Store to Work Out Kinks", The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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L'Oreal Travel Retail Sees Strong Sales, Growth In 2016

March 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal Travel Retail enjoyed a strong year in terms of sales and revenue in 2016. According to the company’s annual report, L’Oreal’s travel retail business “strengthened its leadership in the distribution channel.” Makeup was the brand’s fastest-growing category in 2016, the company said.
Lucy Whitehouse, "L’Oreal’s Travel Unit Annual Results", CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com, March 24, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Walmart Buys Small Online Stores Catering To Higher-End Customers

March 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is buying small, niche-focused online retailers that cater to high-end consumers as part of an effort to compete with Amazon.com. Among the hipster websites acquired by the retailer are clothing retailer ModCloth, outdoor specialty retailer Moosejaw, and online shoe store ShoeBuy. These deals give Walmart access to new brands and higher-spending consumers not normally associated with the retailer. The purchase of the websites, however, has alienated some of the stores' customers, especially those who value independence.
Sarah Nassauer, "With Niche Sites, Walmart Tries Selling to Hipsters", The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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The Body Shop Commits To Comply With UK's Modern Slavery Act

March 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer The Body Shop has issued a statement highlighting the company's commitment to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015. According to the company, it aims to prevent modern slavery across its businesses, as well as its supply chain. This also covers all organizations and companies that play a role in the production and manufacture of its products.
"The Body Shop Outlines Commitment to Modern Slavery Act", Edie.net, March 24, 2017, © Faversham House Ltd
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Dunkin’ Brands Treasurer Jaspon Named Interim CFO After Carbone Resigns

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kate Jaspon, Dunkin' Brands treasurer and vice president for finance, was named interim CFO after CFO Paul Carbone resigned. The company said Carbone quit to take a management job in retail, where he worked before signing on with Dunkin’. Jaspon will report to CEO Nigel Travis and will take on the responsibility for accounting, corporate tax, investor relations and competitive intelligence. She is now responsible for global financial planning and analysis, business analytics, debt and cash management, electronic payments and insurance. Jaspon joined Dunkin' Brands as assistant controller in 2005. [ Kate Jaspon, image credit: © Dunkin' Brands  ]
"Dunkin' Brands Announces CFO Leadership Transition", News release, Dunkin' Brands, March 23, 2017, © Dunkin' Brands
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Target Will Start Selling Honest Beauty Products

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Target said it plans to start selling Honest Beauty personal care and beauty products at 800 of its stores across the U.S. and through its target.com online store. Manufactured by The Honest Company, Honest Beauty products are marketed as derived from safe and botanical ingredients and producing “effective results.” Honest Beauty products fit Target's “better for you” collection of safe and effective brands and will be available starting March 26, 2017.
Faye Brookman, "Target Adds Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty to Its Expanding Assortment", Women’s Wear Daily, March 22, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Amazon Plans To Buy Middle East's Online Retailer Souq.com

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com Inc. plans to acquire Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, one of the most popular internet retailers in the Middle East. Souq.com describes itself as the largest e-commerce website in the Arab world. Purchasing Souq.com would give Amazon access to the region, which is one of the world's fastest-expanding e-commerce markets.
Hadeel Al Sayegh et al., "Amazon to Buy Middle Eastern Online Retailer Souq.com: Sources", Reuters, March 22, 2017, © Reuters
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China's Online Retail Market To Experience 15 Percent Growth Through

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China's online retail market will expand at a CAGR of 15 percent in 2016 to 2021, reaching RMB 1.3 trillion in total value by the end of the period, according to Mintel. Data  revealed the country's overall e-commerce market grew from RMB 53 billion in 2011 to about RMB 626 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 64 percent. Also, 73 percent of online shoppers shop for imported products from local online stores, while only 27 percent shop from overseas retail websites. Mintel research also showed 31 percent of consumers purchase imported food from Taiwan, 36 percent buy wine from France, and 45 percent buy beauty and personal care products from South Korea.
"China’s online retail market is expected to reach RMB 1.3 trillion in 2021", Mintel, March 22, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Lidl Supports NFU's Back British Farming Charter

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Lidl UK has signed the NFU's Back British Farming Charter, a campaign supporting British produce. Joining retailers Aldi, The Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, and Waitrose, Lidl UK's move highlights its support for UK farmers. According to the charter, retailers need to have a transparent UK supply chain based on fair relationships, and labels UK produce with a Red Tractor or the UK flag.
Lucinda Dann, "Lidl Signs Up to Back British Farming Charter", Farmers Weekly, March 22, 2017, © Reed Business Information Limited
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Carrefour Launches Online Banking Service

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
France-based retailer Carrefour launched its C-zam online banking service. Part of company CEO Georges Plassat's plan to expand Carrefour's online business, the move sees the retailer moving into an already crowded market. Telecoms company Orange and partner Groupama also plan to launch Orange online banking in May 2017. C-zam lets anyone older than 18 years old and who can present two identification cards to open and activate a current account online in 10 minutes.
Dominique Vidalon, "French Retailer Carrefour Launches New Online Banking Service", Reuters, March 21, 2017, © Reuters
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Amazon To Hire 10,000 Full-Time Workers In Europe

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon plans to create 10,000 full-time jobs across Europe in 2017, including 5,000 in the U.K.  Also, Amazon's plan to open fulfillment centers in Daventry, Doncaster, and Tilbury confirms the company's growing commitment to the British market despite the Brexit decision to leave the European Union. Amazon is also increasing the number of employees at its development centers in London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.
Holly Browne, "Amazon Plans To Create 5,000 U.K.Jobs", Retail Analysis, March 21, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Brand Consultant Says Walmart Can’t Match Amazon’s “Value Proposition”

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Brand building consultant Denise Lee Yohn says Walmart’s current plan to “out-Amazon Amazon” is improving its e-commerce capabilities, which is a good thing, but in the long run it’s not a winning strategy. Offering free shipping on orders over $35, for example, makes the customer think about money with every online transaction. Amazon’s Prime members pay an annual fee and forget about it. Moreover, Prime gives members access to movie streaming, photo storage, music streaming, and early access to time-sensitive “Lightning Deals.” Walmart can’t compete with this “value proposition.” What it should do, Yohn says, is leverage its excellent physical distribution and retail network, improve the in-store experience, promote omnichannel shopping and fulfillment options, and develop in-person service innovations. [ Image credit: © MikeMozartJeepersMedia ]
Denise Lee Yohn, "Walmart Won’t Stay on Top If Its Strategy Is “Copy Amazon”", Harvard Business Review, March 21, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Starbucks Unveils Gluten-Free Menu Items

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One of the more fascinating phenomena in the food industry in recent years has been the transformation of gluten into a dirty word. A tiny fraction of Americans with celiac disease, a severe intestinal allergic reaction to gluten, needs to avoid the wheat protein. But a whole anti-gluten movement – and a multibillion-dollar industry – has arisen to accommodate people convinced that gluten is generally unhealthful. Researcher Technavio says the gluten-free food market is expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 12 percent through 2021, Tecnomics advises food companies to go along: "if you're not speaking their language, you risk losing [them]." The latest company to “speak their language” is Starbucks, which is launching gluten-free food options – like the gluten-free smoked Canadian bacon and egg sandwich – in U.S. stores.   [ Image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Lauren Thomas, "Starbucks Rolls Out Gluten-Free, Vegan Food Options", CNBC, March 21, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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German Discounters Are “Disrupting” U.S. Retail Grocery Market

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The combined sales of German discount grocery chains Aldi and Lidl in the U.S. could reach $67 billion over the next four years, according to two industry experts speaking at a food marketing conference. This will force U.S. grocery chains to re-examine their own business models while carefully analyzing why the discount model works so well. Aldi and Lidl will be disruptors and a “source of change influence” in the U.S. grocery business. But the two companies are also evolving, learning perhaps from their bigger competitors, by working to overcome product selection limitations, for example; renovating stores; moving beyond the “hard discount” model; creating a “hybrid promotional strategy’ that increases the size of sales flyers, and creates urgency with weekend deals, seasonal offerings and “while they last” promotions. [ Image credit: © Mike Mozart ]
Jon Springer, "Aldi, Lidl growth to spark industry change", Supermarket News, March 21, 2017, © Penton Media
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Amazon Ramps Up Efforts To Expand Internationally

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon is boosting its efforts to expand overseas. In Mexico, the company launched its Prime shipping service for a first-year subscription fee of $23, offering free same-day and one-day shipping. For China-based sellers, Amazon offers the option of using its air cargo service to send products to external markets. With data from L2 showing only 14 percent of e-commerce-friendly brands offering international shipping, Amazon is expected to have a significant advantage in competing in overseas markets.
Evan Bakker, "Amazon is Globalizing its Retail Empire", L2 Daily, March 21, 2017, © L2 Inc.
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Kroger Appoints Grieshaber President Of Fred Meyer Stores

March 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer The Kroger Co. said it has named Joe Grieshaber president of Fred Meyer Stores. Previously president of Kroger's Columbus division, Grieshaber replaces Jeff Burt who left the company to “pursue other interest.” Dan De La Rosa has been promoted to president of Kroger's Columbus division, replacing Grieshaber.
"Kroger Names Joe Grieshaber President of Fred Meyer Stores, Dan De La Rosa President of Columbus Division", Kroger, March 20, 2017, © S&P Global Market Intelligence/The Kroger Company
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Walmart Creates Tech Incubator And Investment Arm

March 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has launched its Store No. 8 tech incubator program, according Jet.com founder and Walmart e-commerce business CEO Marc Lore. Speaking at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas, Lore said businesses under the program will operate like startups, but will be supported by the retail giant and its vast resources. Store No. 8 will be managed by Seth Beal, Walmart's former SVP for global marketplace and digital operations and Jet.com executive Katie Finnegan.
Laura Heller , "Walmart Launches Tech Incubator Dubbed Store No. 8", Forbes.com, March 20, 2017, © Forbes.com LLC
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Target Appoints Burt SVP For Grocery, Fresh Food, Beverage

March 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Target Corporation said it has named Jeff Burt as senior vice president for grocery, fresh food, and beverage. According to the retailer, Burt's role will include promotion and execution of the company's food and beverage business strategy. He will report to Mark Tritton, Target's EVP and chief merchandising officer.
"Target Names Jeff Burt Senior Vice President, Grocery, Fresh Food and Beverage", Business Wire, March 20, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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1990s Music Inspires Young Bakers To Create Donuts Based On Treats Of Their Youth

March 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The music – and favorite eats – of the 1990s inspired an entrepreneurial husband-wife baking team to change the direction of their year-old bake shop in Providence, R.I. Social media, particularly Instagram, gave them the shot in the arm that has launched their business skyward. A year into the operation of PVDonuts, Lori and Paul Kettelle were baking in the wee hours of the morning, listening to the golden oldies of the 1990s, the music of their youth. Wouldn’t it be fun to recreate the beloved treats from that era? And so were born the purple-and-blue-frosted Wildberry Pop-Tart donut and the Pop Rocks donut topped with the famous crackling candy. The creations are eminently Instagrammable: the young couple has 30,000 fans on the social media platform. [ Image credit: ©  ]
Valerie Siebert, "Providence Bakery Wins a Legion of Fans on Instagram with Delicious Donuts Based on Popular 90s Treats, from Pop-Tarts to Dunkaroos", Mail Online (U.K.), March 20, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Retail Responds To Lower Profits By Dumping Some Stores, Revamping The Rest

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain CEOs are wondering what to do over the long term about declining store traffic and slipping profit margins. At the core of the problem, some analysts say, is the overheated expansion of brick-and-mortar outlets in the 1980s and 1990s. So far, the options seem to be: filing for bankruptcy (Gander Mountain) or closing stores (Macy’s, Sears). Money saved using these tactics can be applied toward reworking e-commerce operations. Other options include: online buying/store pickup, launching exclusive brands, keeping prices competitive, and installing gadgets and software to make better use of stores. The goal of today’s retail stores, one consultant says, is transformation by “leveraging existing resources.” [ Image credit: © Gander Mountain  ]
Khadeeja Safdar, "Retail Store ‘Bubble’ Has Burst and CEOs Search for Answers", The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Will Sell Newly Acquired Women’s Fashion Company’s Products On Jet.com

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s pursuit of a strategy to expand its e-commerce presence has led to the acquisition of the assets and operations of an online women’s fashion retailer. The company said that Modcloth, “one of the top online specialty retailers of unique women’s fashion and accessories," has 300 employees in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Walmart will sell Modcloth’s product line on its e-commerce site Jet.com. [ Image credit: © Modcloth ]
Alana Abramson, "Walmart Acquires Online Women’s Clothing Retailer ModCloth", Fortune, March 18, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Organic Bread Brand Provides Detailed Ingredient Source Info To Consumers

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thirty-five-year-old Rudi's Organic Bakery, owned by Hain Celestial, has launched two breads that provide consumers detailed information about the source of the grain in each loaf. The traceability information comes thanks to a partnership with Community Grains, which gathers information from the local farmer suppliers. Community Grains monitors each step of flour production, from sourcing seed, growth through harvest, and preservation of nutrients and flavor with whole milling. The two new Rudi’s breads are certified USDA organic and use only organic cracked wheat, organic rolled oats and organic sunflower oil, all without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [ Image credit: © Rudi's Organic Bakery ]
"Rudi's Organic Bakery® Launches New Traceable Organic Bread Line with Community Grains", News release, Hain Celestial, March 16, 2017, © Hain Celestial
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Decadence Plus Health: Formula For Success Of California Doughnut Shop

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Sacramento, Calif., doughnut enterprise is expanding, thanks to its focus on healthy products. Dr. Bob’s Donuts & DoYos steams its doughnuts and tops them with hemp seeds and acai chia pudding, quite a departure from the sugary glazes so familiar to doughnut lovers. Other toppings including banana chia pudding and milled flaxseed and agave pumpkin seeds. Sugar glazes are available but are "made in a mindful way," The co-owner and chef of Dr. Bob’s says its success is based on the "growing market" of health-conscious consumers. [ Image credit: © Dr. Bob's Donuts & DoYos ]
Sonya Sorich, "Goodbye, Gluttonous Glaze: Healthy Doughnuts are coming to Folsom", Sacramento Business Journal, March 16, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Ulta Beauty Offers Growth Opportunities For Personal Care And Beauty Brands

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Ulta Beauty is expanding, with sales and profits growing despite the slowdown in the overall brick-and-mortar retail market. In the last quarter of 2016, the company saw its profits grow 16.6 percent compared with the same period in the previous year, and double-digit same-store sales growth for eight consecutive years. Personal and beauty care brands can benefit from investing in the retailer, especially its omnichannel platform. Also, brands should collaborate with Ulta's editorial and social media operations.
Homa Zaryouni, "Why Brands Should Invest in Ulta", L2 Daily, March 16, 2017, © L2 Inc.
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