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Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]
Carly Stern, "There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Metro Group Posts Steady Income For First Quarter FY 2016/17

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Metro Group said like-for-like sales grew slightly at 0.1 percent in the first quarter of financial year 2016/2017, a solid performance in a market full of challenges. According to the company, EBIT before special items remained at the previous year’s level, reaching €821 million during the quarter. EBIT after special items reached €733 million. In the previous year, the company reported EBIT after special items of €1,240 million, which included income from the sale of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam. Media-Saturn’s online sales rose more than 25 percent, accounting for over 10 percent of the Metro’s total sales. Delivery sales rose 16.5 percent, accounting for 12.7 percent of total sales, the company said.
"METRO GROUP with stable sales and EBIT development", METRO GROUP, February 03, 2017, © METRO AG
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Amazon's Fourth Quarter Profit Up, But Sales Disappoint

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon's decision to focus on revenue growth and investments rather than on heavy promotions led to a 55% jump in profits for the fourth quarter. But sales hit only the midpoint of the company target, with revenue up by $43.7 billion, a less-than-expected 22% increase from the previous quarter. CFO Brian Olsavsky says the company continues to focus and made great progress on "things we can directly control", referring to price, selection and customer experience. While many retailers turned to heavy promotions during the holidays, Olsavsky said promotions weren't a major factor in fourth-quarter revenue. Amazon continue to dominate online sales, commanding an estimated 42% of total holiday online spending growth in 2016, with Apple Inc. in poor second at 5%. [Image credit © Amazon Inc.]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon’s Profit Jumps, but Sales Growth Disappoints", The Wall Street Journal, February 02, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Sephora Launches Email Campaign Designed To Gather Consumer Data And Offer Product Recommendations

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora launched an email marketing campaign that suggests skincare products based on the results of a designed-for-mobile quiz. Created to help the beauty retailer gather consumer data, the email campaign encourages consumers to answer questions about their skin. Using a mobile device or desktop computer, users who have received an email message from the company can access the quiz to look at products recommended by experts.
Brielle Jaekel, "Sephora Clears Up Skincare-Product Choices with New Method of Recommendations", Mobile Marketer, February 02, 2017, © Napean LLC
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Fast-Food Packaging Is Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed more than 400 samples of food packaging from 27fast-food restaurants found that much of the paper used was treated with chemicals used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials, and nonstick cookware. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were found in hamburger and sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, beverage cups and French fry containers. Fluorinated compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers and 20 percent of paperboard. According to the researchers, PFC and PFAS get in the bloodstream, stay there and accumulate. “There are diseases that correlate to it, so we really don't want this class of chemicals out there," one scientist said. [ Image credit: © tom.arthur  ]
Laurel A. Schaider et al., "Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. ", Environmental Science & Technology Letters, February 01, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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Walmart Ups Ante In Fight With Amazon By Abandoning ShippingPass

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart is ditching its $49-a-year two-day shipping subscription, dubbed ShippingPass, and replacing it with free shipping for purchases over $35. In doing so, the retailer is acknowledging that free two-day shipping is now the standard in online shopping. The new strategy takes aim at Amazon’s highly successful Prime offer, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual $99 subscription fee. Data from Cowen and Company show that by November 2016, almost half of U.S. Internet users were living in a household with a Prime subscription. Some observers speculate that Walmart’s battle with Amazon will lead to even more tactical moves, such as deep discounting. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Yory Wurmser, "Walmart Challenges Amazon with New Shipping Plan", eMarketer, February 01, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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A Closer Look At Major Food Retailer, Restaurant Chain Clean Label Policies

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A consumer watchdog organization has analyzed the clean label initiatives of four big restaurant chains and nine supermarket chains finding that all have committed to excluding additives, such as synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Except Whole Foods, the supermarket chains have limited their commitments to one or more lines of their house-brand products, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Other findings: none of the clean label lists limit sodium or added sugars; all exclude many artificial ingredients that CSPI considers safe; and restaurant policies do not include “riskiest” beverage ingredients such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food colors. One interesting CSPI observation: “clean label products are not necessarily healthful.”  [ Image credit: © Mike Mozart  ]
Lisa Lefferts, "Clean Labels: Public Relations or Public Health?", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 01, 2017, © CSPI
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For Consumers, Premium Signifies More Than Just A Higher Price

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Nielsen survey finds that consumers globally are willing to spend as much as 20 percent more for the quality and performance of premium items in any CPG category. The result of this trend is that premium FMCG products in many countries often outsell less expensive products. For example, between 2012 and 2014, the premium segment grew 21 percent in Southeast Asia, which is more than double the rate of the mainstream and value tiers. Survey respondents indicated that premium doesn’t just mean higher price: only 31 percent said price defined premium. Instead, they said premium signifies exceptional quality and performance. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Rose Anthony, "Sales of Premium CPG Products Increase around the World", CPG Matters, February 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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Walmart Launches Free Two-Day Shipping For US Customers

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart launched a two-day shipping service across the US. Aimed at improving customer experience online, the service is available with a minimum purchase of $35, compared with the $50 threshold for Shipping Pass, the retailer’s previous home delivery service. Unlike Amazon’s Prime program, which costs $99 in annual fee, Walmart’s two-day shipping comes with no membership fee.
Stewart Samuel, "How Walmart is Aiming to Build Ecommerce Loyalty", Retail Analysis, February 01, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Wal-Mart Replaces ShippingPass Delivery Service With Free Shipping

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart is replacing its ShippingPass two-day shipping service with free two-day shipping for purchases worth at least $35. One of the significant online-retail-related changes made by Marc Lore since Wal-Mart bought Jet.com in 2016, the new shipping service will cover more than 2 million products. Wal-Mart designed ShippingPass to compete with Amazon's Prime shipping service.
Krystina Gustafson, "Wal-Mart scraps Amazon Prime competitor in favor of new free shipping tactic", CNBC.com, January 31, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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British Ad Agency To Handle All Of Walgreens Boots Communications

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The WPP communications services group will develop multiple marketing and communications for Walgreen Boots Alliance’s retail and wholesale businesses, and its health and beauty brands. WPP will provide traditional and digital advertising, media management, promotion and relationship marketing, and media relations. The group, which is based in London, U.K., will open hub offices in Chicago, London and New York to support Walgreens Boots Alliance and businesses including Walgreens, Boots and Alliance Healthcare businesses.  [ Image credit: ©  Walgreens Boots Alliance ]
"Walgreens Boots Alliance and WPP announce global marketing and communications partnership", News release, Walgreens Boots Alliance, January 31, 2017, © Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
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Aldi Australia Marketing Chief Viney Moves To Retailer's Germany HQ

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Aldi Australia said its marketing director Sam Viney has been appointed to a top marketing position in the retailer's headquarters in Germany. Effective February 2017, Mark Richardson will succeed Viney. Viney used to be the group account director in charge of the Aldi account at advertising agency BMF until he was named marketing director in May 2013.
Rosie Baker , "Aldi marketing boss Viney exits for top Europe role ", AdNews, January 31, 2017, © AdNews
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Tesco Promotes Yogurt Made With Wonky Fruit

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retailer Tesco has teamed up with organic dairy Yeo Valley to launch a new yogurt in its Left-Yeovers line containing wonky – but delicious – apples and custard. The Left-Yeovers yogurt range was created to prevent food waste by using surplus misshapen fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms that would otherwise be taken to landfills. It also raises money by donating 10 p from each sale to food distribution charity FareShare. The initiative is part of Tesco’s strategy to reduce food loss “from farm to fork.”  [ Image credit: ©  Tesco PLC ]
"New Tesco and Yeo Valley partnership creates a yogurt with a mission", News release, Tesco, January 30, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Consumer FMCG Spending Growth Continues In China, Report Says

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers in China bought 2.2 percent more FMCG products during the 12-week period ending December 2, 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel China. Data from the market research firm showed online spending grew 50 percent during the period, which includes the Double 11 festival. For the four-week period ending December 2, 2016, ecommerce penetration grew to a record 20.5 percent, driven by Double 11 festival spending.
"China’s ecommerce grows by 50%", Kantar Worldpanel, January 27, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Kroger Hires Supply Chain Services Company To Manage

January 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery retailer Kroger (Cincinnati, Ohio) has contracted with McLane Co., a supply chain services firm, to supply its 787 convenience stores, which include Loaf ‘N Jug, Turkey Hill Minit Market, Tom Thumb, Kwik Shop, and Quik Stop. McLane maintains a cold chain network, an expanded fresh foods program, and category management expertise.[  Image credit: ©  Kroger ]
"The Kroger Co. Moves C-Store Business to McLane Co.", Convenience Store, January 26, 2017, © Harbor Communications
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Walmart Readies Hollywood-Theme Ads For Oscars Broadcast

January 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is launching three 60-second advertisements created for broadcast during the Academy Awards on ABC. Marking the retailer's first appearance during the event, the ads are based on a Walmart receipt featuring bananas, paper towels, batteries, scooter, wrapping paper, and video baby monitor. Walmart is working with movie directors Antoine Fuqua and Marc Forster and filmmaking partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Jack Neff, "Walmart Goes Hollywood, Tapping Star Directors for Oscars Campaign", Advertising Age, January 26, 2017, © Crain Communications
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London Restaurant Chain Tests Produce Preservation Technology

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new technology that could cut down on food waste is being tested in a small chain of London restaurants. The innovation is essentially a small rectangular filter sheet that is placed on or next to fresh fruit and vegetables to absorb ethylene gas produced by ripening produce. (Ethylene is also used commercially to speed the ripening of green tomatoes, bananas, etc.) Canteen restaurants hopes the technology will extend the shelf-life of its produce and reduce the amount that is routinely tossed away after over-ripening. [ Image credit: © It's Fresh ]
Francesca Gillett, "London Restaurant Canteen Trials New Food Waste Technology to Keep Food Fresher for Longer", Evening Standard, January 25, 2017, © Evening Standard Ltd.
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E-Retailers And CPG Manufacturers Need To Prepare For Strong Growth Now

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce today accounts for only a small portion of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, with the food and beverage sector lagging somewhat behind non-food. But both sectors are set for strong growth, according to IRI. Over the next five years, CPG e-commerce will average 10 percent of industrywide sales. Digital is expected to play a major role in influencing that sales growth, and will drive as much as 77 percent of all retail sales generally, representing about $2 trillion. E-retailers are rapidly laying the groundwork for growth, with Amazon leading the way. Meanwhile, CPG manufacturers could grow online sales by up to 150 percent by building a strong online presence and earning shopper awareness. [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
"Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success", Report, IRI Worldwide, January 24, 2017, © IRI Worldwide
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Sales Boost From All-Day Breakfasts At McDonald’s May Have Been Only Temporary

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As same-store sales at McDonald’s sag, some observers conclude that all-day breakfasts are losing their drawing power, at least in the U.S. Earnings beat Wall Street estimates last quarter, but sales fell 1.3 percent. Does the giant fast-food company have an ace up its sleeve to pull financial performance out of a tailspin? Technology, including touchscreens and mobile ordering, may help. But analysts aren’t sure how long that will take to pay off, especially in the face of a nationwide restaurant slowdown. European financials are brighter: same-store sales ticked upward by 2.7 percent, easily beating analysts’ predictions of a 1.4 percent increase. Profit was $1.44 a share globally in the period, beating predictions by 0.03 percent. [ Image credit: ©  McDonald's ]
Craig Giammona, "McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Push No Longer Fueling Growth", Bloomberg, January 24, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Pop-Up Restaurant At Selfridges To Offer Meals Created From Surplus Foods

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. department store Selfridges is operating a rooftop pop-up food waste restaurant for a month featuring “reinterpretations” of classic British foods like cabbage cores, cover crop sprouts and pork from waste-fed pigs. The restaurant, sponsored by U.S. consumer electronics firm Sonos and digital music provider Spotify, follows a format created by Manhattan chef Dan Barber. The temporary eatery will take surplus foods from farmers, fishermen, distributors, butchers, artisanal producers and retailers to create a full menu with daily specials. It will also serve special cocktails and offer a “tea experience” created by pastry chefs. [ Selfridges, London; image credit: © Martin Addison  ]
Emma Weinbren, "Selfridges to Launch Pop-Up Food Waste Restaurant Wasted", The Grocer, January 24, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Kroger Names Clontz President Of Mid-Atlantic Division

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co. said it has appointed Jerry Clontz as president of the retailer's Mid-Atlantic division, replacing Joe Fey who is retiring from the company effective February 10, 2017. Fey has been with Kroger for 44 years, starting as a meat clerk in 1972. Clontz joined Harris Teeter as a bagger in Marion, North Carolina, in 1971.
"Kroger Announces Retirement of Joe Fey, Names Jerry Clontz President of Mid-Atlantic Division", Kroger, January 24, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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Whole Foods Market Awards Media Planning Account To MediaCom

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market awarded its national media planning and buying account to MediaCom. Worth about $60 million, the account covers all aspects of media planning and buying, including search, social, and data. At least six agencies participated in the competitive review of the account.
Lindsay Stein, "Whole Foods Market Hires MediaCom for Media Planning, Buying", Advertising Age, January 23, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Kroger Announces Plan To Hire 10,000 New Permanent Employees

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Kroger Co. said it plans to hire 10,000 new workers for its supermarket businesses. According to the company, it added more than 12,000 jobs to its total workforce in 2016. Also, the company said it has created more than 86,000 permanent jobs in the past eight years.
"Kroger Family of Stores Hiring 10,000 Employees", Kroger, January 23, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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UK Fashion Retailers Shift Spending From High End To Online

January 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK's leading fashion retailers are shifting their capital spending from the high street to online shopping. During the holiday season, online shopping was the leading sales growth driver for the sector. Marks & Spencer is spending money on apps, its online store, and logistics. Department store operator John Lewis said it was reducing staff bonuses in order to invest in its online operations.
Kate Holton, "UK High Street Retailers Race to Keep Up with Online Demand", Reuters, January 22, 2017, © Reuters
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Whole Foods Plans To Open A 365 Store In Brooklyn

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to open a 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn. According to the company, the Brooklyn store would be the first in the Northeast. Whole Foods launched the store concept partly in response to public perception of the company as selling overpriced products.
Craig Giammona, "Whole Foods Plans to Bring Millennial-Focused Store to Brooklyn", Bloomberg, January 20, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Advanced Store Shelf Technology Seeks To Personalize Shopping At Kroger Stores

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger has begun experimenting with in-store shelf-based sensor systems that detect shoppers via their smartphones and apply analytics technology to customize product offers. Dubbed the “digital shelf edge” project, the initiative is a facet of the company’s plan to automate and personalize shopping to battle online competition from Amazon.com Inc., Walmart’s Jet.com unit and others. E-commerce in traditional food and beverage stores accounted for $1 billion in sales in 2014, less than 0.2 percent of the $670 billion market. Sensors have been installed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.  [ Image credit: © ParentingPatch  ]
Kim S. Nash, "Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics In Interactive Grocery Shelves", The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Ahold Delhaize Posts Strong Sales Numbers In 4Q And Full-Year 2016

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ahold Delhaize reported consolidated net sales jumped 54.5 percent to €15.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Corresponding pro forma net sales were at €15.5 billion. Net sales grew 2.8 percent on a pro forma basis, at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015, the company said. For the full year 2016, pro forma net sales rose 3.4 percent to €62.3 billion.
"Ahold Delhaize Trading Statement Fourth quarter and Full year 2016 ", Ahold Delhaize, January 19, 2017, © Ahold Delhaize
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Tesco Hires Mindshare Veteran As First Media Manager

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco said it has appointed Mindshare's chief client officer Nick Ashley as the retailer's first head of media. Reporting to Tesco's group brand director Michelle McEttrick, Ashley will oversee the company's media operations across brand, food, mobile, banking, and general merchandise.
Omar Oakes, "Tesco hires Mindshare's Nick Ashley as first head of media", Campaign Live, January 19, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Carrefour Reports Strong Sales Growth In 4Q And Full-Year 2016

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour reported total sales, including petrol, rose 3.7 percent to €27.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Also, total sales grew 2.1 percent to €103.7 billion in the full year, compared with the previous year. Excluding petrol, the retailer posted total sales of €85.7 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent from the previous year. International sales rose 4.9 percent in the full year, with Other European Countries posting an increase of 2.0 percent, while Latin America showed a strong growth of 13.5 percent.
"Carrefour 2016 4th Quarter and Full Year Sales", Carrefour, January 19, 2017, © Carrefour
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Cookies Containing Galactagogues Have Become Big Business

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A first-time mother who was struggling to produce enough breast milk to feed her newborn was advised to eat cookies that contained extra galactagogues (i.e., ingredients that increase milk flow). The functional cookies worked, but weren’t particularly palatable, and that gave Jennifer Acuna a business idea. Several years later, the business she launched has been successful enough to move from her kitchen table near Harrisburg, Pa., to a 2,400 square-foot bakery. Lactation cookies, brownies, and granola laced with galactagogues have become serious business. Buy Buy Baby and Babies 'R' Us sell bake-at-home mixes. Common galactagogues include oats, flax meal, fenugreek, and brewer's yeast. [ Image credit: © In The Cookie Jar  ]
Matthew Wright, "Cookies and Milk: Meet the Kitchen Table 'Momtrepreneurs' Who Used Their Own Breastfeeding Woes to Corner the 'Lactation' Foods Market", Mail Online, January 19, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Rick Gomez Named Target’s Chief Marketing Officer

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Rick Gomez, a four-year veteran of Target Corporation, was named the company's chief marketing officer. While at Target, Gomez managed the marketing of the baby, kids, style and wellness product categories, and was instrumental in extending and deepening customer research. His primary task now will be to oversee marketing and media strategy, creative, marketing communications, customer research, loyalty, corporate communications and corporate social responsibility efforts. He will report directly to CEO Brian Cornell.[ Image credit: ©  Target ]
"Target Names Rick Gomez as Company's Chief Marketing Officer", News release, Target Corporation, January 19, 2017, © Target Corporation
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Repulsive Smelling Durian Fruit May Be The Next Big Fad In N.Y. Eateries

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Michelin-honored Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan is serving up a new dessert based on a “spiky, odiferous fruit” known as the durian. The problem with the fruit, found in Southeast Asia, is the smell, which has been compared to rotting garbage and even kerosene. But despite that, several N.Y. restaurants, cafes and bars are adding the fruit to their menus because of its flavor, which is sweet with hints of melon and onion. Salil Mehta, owner of Laut restaurant, says it is like a mix of mango and jackfruit. [ Durian fruit; image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Charles Passy, "Chefs No Longer Turning Up Their Noses at Pungent Durian", The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Four Trends Expected To Drive Mexico's Retail Market In 2017, Study Reveals

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In 2017, four significant trends are forecast to affect the retail market in Mexico, according to Euromonitor International. Data from the market research firm revealed the strengthening of the U.S. Dollar will have a major impact on the local retail industry, while the expansion by retailers and banks of financing with interest-free months could encourage consumer spending. Mexico's leadership in mobile internet retailing in Latin America is expected to help drive retail sales. Also, expansion moves of local retailers, including Soriana's acquisition of Comercial Mexicana stores and Femsa's purchase of convenience stores and pharmacies to expand its retail network, are forecast to influence future market directions.
Amanda Bourlier, "Retail in Mexico: Four Trends To Watch In 2017", Euromonitor International, January 18, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Grocery Chain Partners With Company That Sells “Wonky” Produce

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Midwestern grocery chain has decided its customers are ready for “ugly” – and cheaper – fruits and vegetables. All 242 stores in the Hy-Vee Inc. family have begun to sell what is sometimes called “wonky” produce that is usually discarded because it is misshapen. Hy-Vee is working with large produce company Robinson Fresh and will offer Robinson’s Misfits line of imperfect produce. Misfits produce is sold at a lower price, benefiting customers while helping to reduce produce waste. [ Image credit: © Hy-Vee Inc.  ]
"Hy-Vee introduces 'ugly' produce to fight food waste", News release, Hy-Vee , January 18, 2017, © Hy-Vee Inc.
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7-Eleven’s New Pizza Strategy: If You Put It On A Round Crust, They Will Come

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Some 7-Eleven stores will be offering ready-to-eat breakfast pizzas topped with “everyone’s favorite breakfast foods.” The breakfast pizzas feature a choice of smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, hickory-smoked ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and peppered cream gravy on top of a biscuit crust. The novel pizzas will be sold in a two-slices-for-$2 offer, or as whole pizzas for $5.55. Pizzas have done well at 7-Eleven since they were introduced several years ago. The company expects that “a breakfast pizza will prove to be as popular with the a.m. crowd as our other pizzas are for lunch and dinner." [ Image credit: ©  7-Eleven ]
"7-Eleven Has Egg-cellent Idea, Adds Pizza for the Morning Crowd", PR Newswire, January 17, 2017, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Alpecin Launches Retail And Online Channels In China

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dr. Wolff is now selling its Alpecin line of shampoos in China. According to the company, it entered the China market in April 2016 to help ease Alpecin shortages in Germany and provide Chinese consumers with convenient and safe channel for buying the anti-hairloss shampoos. Alpecin products are available in more than 2,000 Watsons stores across the country, as well as on e-commerce site Tmall.
"Alpecin Opens Official Retail Channel in China Helping to Cool Down Massive Product Demand from Chinese Cross-Border Shoppers in Germany", PR Newswire, January 17, 2017, © PR Newswire
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Whole Foods Closing Last Three Regional Kitchens

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market (Austin, Texas) will close three East Coast regional kitchens that employ about 500 people. The affected workers in the facilities in Everett, Mass.; Landover, Md.; and metro Atlanta were given 60 days’ notice of the impending closures, which are part of an ongoing consolidation strategy. The company hopes to shift as many of the employees as possible to other jobs. The kitchens – they prepared a variety of ready-to-eat foods – are the last to be shuttered. Similar items are prepared in stores in other areas of the country or are supplied by vendors.  [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Gary Dinges, "Whole Foods Closing 3 Regional Kitchens, Trimming 500 Jobs", Austin American-Statesman, January 17, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Asda Offers Cheapest Grocery Prices In UK, Which? Report Shows

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Asda is the UK’s supermarket with the lowest prices in 2016, according to a new Which? research from the Consumers’ Association. Per the report, Asda’s basket of 80 items, which include Dolmio sauch, Nescafe Gold Blend, and Warburton bread, cost an average of £154.14. Morrisons was the second cheapest at £160.19, followed by Sainsbury’s with £162.11 and Waitrose with £172.27. Results of the monthly comparisons also revealed that Asda was consistently cheaper than its rivals.
"Asda cheapest supermarket of 2016", Which?, January 13, 2017, © Which?
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Carrefour Announces Plans To Expand E-Commerce And Acquire Tecno Stores

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As part of its expansion moves in markets across Europe, Carrefour announced plans to expand its e-commerce operations in Belgium. Steps the company plans to take include increasing the number of pickup points from the present 84 to 184 by the end of 2017. Also, the retailer plans to extend its collaboration with bpost to expand coverage of its home delivery service in the country. Carrefour said it also will do a test run of the bringr-enabled home delivery service launched by bpost. In addition to e-commerce expansion, the company also plans to acquire nine Tecno stores from Tecno Kempen.
"Carrefour Belgium growing store base and online", Retail Analysis, January 13, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff.  [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Shelly Whitehead, "Why Gluten-Free isn't a Dying Trend", Fast Casual, January 13, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Kroger Adds International Paper Chairman And CEO Sutton To Board Of Directors

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co. said International Paper chairman and CEO Mark S. Sutton has been elected to the retailer's Board of Directors. Sutton is a member of The Business Council and of the Business Roundtable. He is also a member of the board of directors of the American Forest & Paper Association. Sutton will serve until Kroger's annual shareholders' meeting in June 2017. [ Mark S. Sutton;  Image credit: © International Paper Co. ]
"Kroger Announces Mark Sutton Elected to Kroger Board of Directors", Kroger, January 12, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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Walmart India Appoints Fortuna Public Relations As Communications Consultant

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart India said it has named Fortuna Public Relations as its communications consultant. Wholly owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walmart India owns and operates 21 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in nine states across the country.
"Walmart India appoints Fortuna PR as communications advisor", Economic Times, January 12, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Amazon Announces Plan To Create 100,000 New Jobs In US

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it plans to create 100,000 new full-time, full-benefit jobs in the US by middle of 2018. According to the company, these jobs are for people with “all types of experience, education, and skill levels.” As of 2016, the company employs 180,000 workers, making the online retailer one of the largest employers in the country. More than 10,000 military veterans are part of the company's workforce, while 9,000 employees have taken part in Amazon's Career Choice program, which pays 95 percent of tuition for degrees in high-demand professions, such as aircraft mechanics and computer-aided design.
"Amazon to Create More Than 100,000 New, Full-Time, Full-Benefit Jobs across the U.S. over the Next 18 Months", Amazon, January 12, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Filipino Cuisine Will Be All The Rage In 2017 In The U.S.

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food trend watchers might be right at last about Filipino cuisine being the next big thing. Using Google as a key metric, searches for “Filipino food” have doubled since 2012. Searches for the term “lumpiang” – it’s a crunchy Filipino spring roll – have gone through the ceiling (up 3,350 percent). Food writer Kate Krater is certain Filipino food will be a phenomenon in 2017 for several reasons, including the fact that a “marquee restaurant” – Bad Saint in Washington, D.C. – landed in the No. 2 spot on Bon Appétit’s annual Best New Restaurant list for 2016. A high-profile chef (lvin Cailan) has become a Filipino food champion. And Filipino-style restaurants are popping up all over the U.S  [ Lumpiang frying, iImage credit: © BrokenSphere, Wikimedia  ]
Kate Krader, "Filipino Food Is the Next Big Thing—Again", Bloomberg Pursuits, January 12, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Target Launches Haircare Product Range Developed By Celebrity Stylist Kristin Ess

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Target will launch Kristin Ess Hair, a line of haircare products developed by celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess on January 5, 2017. Featuring 15 products, the range includes styling powder and a reconstructive mask, with prices ranging from $10 to $14. As part of the company's efforts to promote the product launch, Target will launch a related social media campaign.
Faye Brookman, "Target Taps Social Star for Hair-Care Collection", Women’s Wear Daily, January 11, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Tesco Posts 8th Consecutive Quarter Of Sales Growth

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco reported group like-for-like sales grew 1.5 percent and UK like-for-like sales rising 1.8 percent in the third quarter, covering the 13-week period ending November 26, 2016. According to the company, the quarter is the eighth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth. For the six-week Christmas sales period, which ended on January 7, 2017, group like-for-like sales grew 0.3 percent, with UK like-for-like sales expanding 0.7 percent.
"Tesco Third Quarter and Christmas Trading Statement 2016/17", Tesco, January 12, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Alibaba Plans To Acquire Department Store Chain Intime Retail Group

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is leading a group of investors seeking to acquire department store chain Intime Retail Group Co. for as much as $2.6 billion. Through the proposed partnership with traditional retailers, Alibaba founder Jack Ma seeks to create a new business model for the online and offline retail markets. Alibaba believes that its “superior computing power,” experience selling billions of dollars of goods online, as well as its strong relationships with government and leading brands will enable it to succeed.
"Jack Ma Bets $2.6 Billion He Can Revamp China Retail Sector", Bloomberg Technology, January 11, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Wal-Mart Set To Lay Off Hundreds, Reports Say

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reportedly planning to lay off hundreds of employees in January 2017. Previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, the round of job cuts is expected to impact the retailer's human-resources department the most. Wal-Mart has been working to cut its operating costs, as it deals with rising e-commerce-related expenses and higher wages for its employees.
Molly Smith, "Wal-Mart Said to Be Cutting Hundreds of Workers This Month", Bloomberg, January 11, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Tesco Names Bellini Chief Customer Officer

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco announced the appointment of Alessandra Bellini as chief customer officer. Effective March 1, 2017, Bellini's appointment includes her being part of the company's Executive Committee and of the UK leadership team. Bellini came from Unilever, where she has worked for more than 20 years.
"Tesco appoints Chief Customer Officer", Tesco, January 11, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Chinese Consumers Are Adapting Priorities As China Changes

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an interview, Delon Wang, Manager of Asia Pacific Trends at Mintel, warned that the rapid growth seen in China’s consumer goods industry might slow as economic growth decelerates and the population adapts priorities to the new China, focusing for example on buzzwords like ‘ancient’ and ‘old’. Mintel’s Global New Products Database indicates that product claims including the word "ancient” on packaging grew 56% in the first half of 2016 within China’s beauty and personal care and food and drink and categories. Wang said that consumers are demanding authenticity, and they are increasingly concerned about health and the environment. Value remains another key attribute for consumers. More consumers are also looking at opportunities to be entrepreneurs themselves in a bid to improve financial security during turbulent economic times, and many are choosing subscription purchasing for their fitness and beauty items. Brand loyalty is highest among the middle-class consumers (68% versus 50% for consumers overall). Other factors at work within China include technological advance – such as the Internet of Everything and smart devices – and retail innovation and evolution, such as pop-up stores. [ Image credit: © Oanh ]
Natasha Spencer, "China’s cosmetics and consumer trends in 2017 part I: A change of pace", Cosmetics Design, January 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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