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Walmart Posts Sales Growth In 4Q And FY 2017

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart reported total revenue grew 1.0 percent to $130.9 billion in the fourth quarter of FY 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Excluding currency impact, total revenue grew 3.0 percent to $133.6 billion during the period, the company said. Same-store sales for Walmart U.S. increased 1.8 percent, pushed up by 1.4 percent increase in traffic, while Neighborhood Market comp sales rose about 5.3 percent. Also, Walmart U.S. posted strong growth, with sales and GMV rising 29.0 percent and 36.1 percent, respectively. Walmart International reported net sales dropped 5.1 percent to $31.0 billion; however, without currency impact, net sales grew 3.0 percent to $33.7 billion. For fiscal year 2017, total revenue rose 0.8 percent to $485.9 billion; without currency impact, however, total revenue grew 3.1 percent to $496.9 billion. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons ]
"Walmart U.S. Q4 comps grew 1.8% and Walmart U.S. eCommerce GMV grew 36.1%", Walmart, February 21, 2017, © Walmart Stores, Inc.
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Supermarket Bakeries Ride The Crest Of The Fresh Breakfast Trend

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In-store bakeries in supermarkets have one key advantage over other food channels like c-stores and quick service restaurants: their products are baked fresh each morning. Freshness is what attracts foodies and others looking for a unique breakfast experience. Norwalk, Conn.-based Stew Leonard’s bakers, for example, turn on the ovens at its five stores at 3 a.m. every day to make French butter croissants, apple cider doughnuts, and hand-shaped bagels that are boiled and hearth-baked. Currently trendy is anything mini-sized, including mini-croissants and mini-muffins, but also higher grain products like bran muffins and trail mix muffins. In-store breakfast bakery revenue, including sales of bagels, muffins, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and coffee cake, were up 2.8 percent during the 52 weeks ending December 31, 2016, according to Nielsen.
Julie Gallagher, "In-Store Bakeries Compete for Morning Share", Supermarket News, February 21, 2017, © Penton
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Walmart Posts Robust Quarterly Sales, But Big Drop In Profit

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s same-store sales were impressive during the winter holidays, but the company’s e-commerce battle with Amazon is hurting profit. Same-store sales rose 1.8 percent in the quarter that ended January 31, 2017, the tenth consecutive quarterly rise. But profit fell 18 percent as the company pursues its strategic goal of becoming “more of a digital enterprise,” as CEO Doug McMillion put it. Online sales, which included full quarter sales performance from Jet.com, acquired last September, rose 16 percent. E-commerce sales rose 21 percent in the previous quarter. Other downward pressures on profit include plans to raise store workers’ wages and lower prices. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Sarah Nassauer, "Walmart Posts Strong Holiday Sales, But E-Commerce Battle With Amazon Pinches Profit", The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items. [ Image credit: © Earth Fare ]
"Earth Fare Unveils New Non-GMO Product Line, Continues Decades-Long Commitment to Healthy Food", News release, Earth Fare, February 17, 2017, © Earth Fare
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Carrefour Sues Lidl For Alleged Unfair Business Practices

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour has filed a lawsuit with the Commercial Court of Evry against discount retailer Lidl for alleged unfair commercial practices. According to a report by Challenges, the French retailer is seeking damages for Lidl’s failure to comply with rules regarding promotion of products. Promotion rules require promoted products to remain in all stores for at least 15 weeks.
"Carrefour Takes Legal Action Against Lidl France", European Supermarket Magazine, February 17, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Waitrose Supermarket Chain Is In The Avant Garde Of Food Waste Handling

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Waitrose has been a pioneer in preventing and repurposing food waste. Five years ago it stopped sending waste to landfills. Surplus food that can’t be donated to charities is used to generate electricity. And it sells wonky (misshapen or ugly) produce at a discount. The chain has taken the program another step forward: its new fleet of delivery trucks runs on fuel made from food leftovers. The company’s ten eco-friendly trucks can travel 500 miles on the food-waste fuel, which is cheaper than diesel and emits about 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Waitrose chose waste-based gas after researching biodiesel (too expensive) and electricity (batteries too heavy, recharge time too long)
Adele Peters, "These Grocery Delivery Trucks Are Powered By Food Waste", Fast Company, February 17, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Kroger Recognized For Inclusive Corporate Buying Practices

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that provides an online platform for entrepreneurial B2B networking and education has ranked the Kroger Co. eighth on its top 50 list of corporate buyers who offer multicultural products and services. Omnikal, once known as Diversity Business, says Kroger was chosen by two million minority- and women-owned business owners. Omnikal.com is a division of Computer Consulting Associates, Inc. [ Kroger headquarters, Cincinnati, Ohio; Image credit: © Derek Jensen ]
"Kroger Named a Top 10 American Company for Inclusion", News release, Kroger , February 16, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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Lidl Eyes Opening First US Stores In Summer 2017

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount retailer Lidl plans to open its first 20 stores in the US in summer 2017. Earlier than what the company previously announced, the store openings are expected to ramp up to reach 100 stores within a year. US retailers are expectedly enhancing their ability to compete with the discounter, with Kroger, for example, expanding its Ruler Foods discount business, while organic food retailer Whole Foods launched its 365 lower-priced concept in 2016.
Victoria Bryan, "German discounter Lidl to open first U.S. stores this summer", Reuters, February 15, 2017, © Reuters
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Metro Plans To Have Over 2,000 Stores In Russia By 2020

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Metro said it plans to open more than 2,000 stores in Russia by 2020, according to Metro Cash&Carry Russia chief executive Jere Calmes. At present, the Germany-based retailer’s Russian operations are centered in the Moscow and St Petersburg regions.
Olga Sichkar, "Germany's Metro plans to add 2,000 franchise stores in Russia by 2020", Reuters, February 15, 2017, © Reuters
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Walmart Ends All Contracts With South Korean Shipping Companies

February 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has terminated all contracts with South Korea-based shipping companies following the Korean government’s move to allow Hanjin Shipping go bankrupt. One of Hanjin Shipping’s biggest consignors for over 20 years, Walmart is reportedly the most adversely affected by the debt-ridden shipping company’s filing for court receivership. Hanjin Shipping had handled about 10 percent of Walmart’s total freight volume, or as many as 30,000 containers, every year.
Jhoo Dong-chan, "Walmart cuts contracts with Korean shippers after Hanjin fiasco", Korea Times, February 14, 2017, © ktimes.com
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Tesco Moves To Make Sure Promo Prices Are Updated

February 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco is making sure that prices on stores’ on-shelf promotions are up to date. Tesco took the step following a story by an undercover reporter broadcast by the BBC Inside Out TV program. According to the reporter, promotional offers at two-thirds of Tesco stores visited had prices were out of date and not honored at the checkout. Also, some stores failed to remove old labels on the shelves even after reporters told them of the discrepancies.
Ian Quinn, "Tesco Orders Promotion Checks after Damning BBC Probe", The Grocer, February 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Smartphones Will Be The Pillar Of U.K. E-Commerce By 2020

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are rapidly becoming the technological engine powering e-commerce in the U.K., according to a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal. Within three years, mobile purchases will account for two-thirds of e-commerce sales – £43 billion – up from £13.5 billion in 2016. Another £14 billion of online retail will involve a smartphone in product research and price comparison, meaning that 80 percent of all U.K. e-commerce by 2020 will be handled over a smartphone. But despite these forecasts, U.K. retailers lag behind U.S. and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness, the report notes.  [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
Paul Skeldon, "Smartphone Shopping to Account for Two Thirds of UK E-Commerce by 2020, says Google, PayPal Study", Internet Retailing, February 10, 2017, © SJP Business Media
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Target Adds More Brands To Collection Of Natural Beauty Products

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Target is expanding its natural beauty care collections by adding more natural beauty brands, including Alaffia, Little Seed Farm, and Nubian Heritage, to the lineup. With millennial consumers showing preference for healthy and natural beauty options, the retailer seeks to position itself as their first choice for affordable natural beauty products. As part of this initiative, Target aims to achieve full ingredient transparency for beauty, personal care, baby care, and household care products by 2020. Target is requiring suppliers to remove toxic and dangerous ingredients, such as phthalates, propylparaben, and butylparaben, from their products.
Rachel Brown, "Target Boosts Selection of Natural Beauty Products", Women’s Wear Daily, February 10, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Wal-Mart Closes Stores, Lays Off Workers In Brazil

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart closed five stores in Brazil, as part of the US retailer’s downsizing efforts in the country. Affecting the Nacional and Todo Dia business units, the store closures came at the same time the company laid off employees from its commercial and administrative departments. Wal-Mart is expected to shut down more supermarkets in the country in 2017.
"Wal-Mart Continues Downsizing In Brazil, Closes Five Stores", European Supermarket Magazine, February 10, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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McDonald’s Experiments With Fast-Food Versions Of Regional Favorites

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A TV chef in San Jose, Calif., helped McDonald’s develop a fast-food variation of a local sandwich – snow crab on sourdough – that features crab meat, seasoned mayo, romaine lettuce and tomato slices. The company said the new sandwich is part of an ongoing strategy to incorporate regional flavors in new menu items, at least in the greater San Francisco Bay area. McDonald’s called an earlier experiment – Gilroy Garlic Fries – an “overwhelming success.” If the snow crab trial is a similar triumph, the company will offer it in the rest of its 250 eateries in the area. [ Crab Sandwich, image credit: © McDonald's ]
"McDonald's Tests Crab on Sourdough", News release, QSR Web, February 10, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Aldi Continues To Beat Back Resistance By Big U.K. Grocery Chains

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s big supermarket chains are resisting the successful invasion by German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all implemented strategies that sacrifice profit to fund price cuts, improve service, and retain market share. All say the price gap with the discounters has narrowed. But an Aldi exec says its own data show that “if anything, the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment.” And Aldi is still growing sales .Industry data show Aldi has overtaken the Co-operative to become Britain's fifth largest chain with a market share of 6.2 percent. It has grown total sales by 12.4 percent, thanks in part to an aggressive store building program.   [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
James Davey , "Aldi still thriving in U.K., despite rivals' claims, says CEO", Reuters, February 10, 2017, © Reuters
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Tesco Tests Program To Feed Bees With Discarded Sugar

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco is testing a program to donate unmarketable split bags of sugar from stores in Cornwall and Devon to a beekeepers group. The stores are also donating surplus sugar from in-store bakeries. Since 2007, the bee population has declined by 33 percent in the U.K. because of pests, diseases and fewer wild flowers. Bees have a difficult time making enough honey to feed themselves during the fall and winter. Commercial beekeepers supplement the bees’ diet with a feed made from dissolved sugar. The waste sugar donated by Tesco stores will be used to help feed bees bred and reared by a bee improvement program based in Cornwall.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco's Plan Bee: Spilt Supermarket Sugar to Help Feed Hungry Honey Bees", The Guardian, February 09, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Amazon Expands Its Order Fulfillment Capacity With Two New Centers in California

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com said it will build two new fulfillment centers in California, adding 2,000 jobs for associates who will pick, pack, and ship customer orders. The company did not say when the new centers in Eastvale and Redlands will open, but together they will have nearly two million square feet of storage space. A center being built in Sacramento is expected to open this year. Amazon employs 15,000 associates in California.
"Amazon to Create 2,000 New Full-Time Jobs at Two New California Fulfillment Centers", News release, Amazon.com, February 09, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Wal-Mart Gets Serious About Propping Up UK Unit Asda

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart plans to use its resources and strengths as the world’s largest retailer to revive the sales performance and regain market share of its UK business Asda. After Wal-Mart acquired Asda in 1999, the UK retailer performed strongly as the country’s most affordable supermarket. Germany-based discount retailers Aldi and Lidl, which opened in the UK in 1990 and 1994, respectively, grabbed market shares from Asda. Wal-Mart will lend Asda its purchasing strength, which enables it to lower prices and costs.
James Davey , "Wal-Mart aims to leverage British arm Asda back to health", Reuters, February 08, 2017, © Reuters
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Whole Foods Posts Record-High Sales For 1Q 2017

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales grew 1.9 percent to $4.9 billion for the 16-week first quarter ending January 15, 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Same-store sales, however, dropped 2.4 percent during the same period. According to the retailer, net income was $95 million, which was 1.9 percent of sales. EBITDA were $360 million, or 7.3 percent of sales, while diluted earnings per share were $0.30. Excluding charges, net income was $123 million, or 2.5 percent of sales, with diluted earnings per share at $0.39. EBITDA was 7.6 percent, with return on invested capital at 12 percent, the company said.
"Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results", Whole Foods, February 08, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Aldi To Remodel 1,300 Stores While Continuing Aggressive Store Expansion

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount grocery chain Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion renovating and expanding its 1,300 U.S. stores to accommodate customer demand for modern, convenient shopping with “a focus on fresh items,” including produce, dairy and bakery products. Remodeled stores will have open ceilings, natural lighting and eco-friendly building materials, such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting. The remodeling plan will go forward concurrently with the building of 650 new stores to reach its goal of 2,000 U.S. stores by the end of next year. [ Image credit: © Aldi Inc. ]
"Aldi Unveils $1.6 Billion Nationwide Store Remodel Plan To Enhance Customer Shopping Experience", News release, Aldi Inc., February 08, 2017, © Aldi Inc.
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Lidl Names Second CEO In Three Years

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Lidl has dismissed CEO Sven Seidel, replacing him with Dane Jesper Hojer, according to parent company Schwarz Group. Appointed CEO in March 2014, Seidel left the company due to differences over strategy, the company said. Hojer has worked for Lidld for more than a decade and was recently head of the company’s international buying operations.
Emma Thomasson, "Lidl replaces CEO after less than three years", Reuters, February 07, 2017, © Reuters
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Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]
Brielle Jaekel, "How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017, © Napean LLC
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Amazon Says List Of Users Of Payments Service Grew By 10 Million

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said more than 33 million customers have used its Amazon Payments electronic payment platform as of February 2017. Launched in 2013, the service had a cumulative total of 23 million customers in 2016. Known as Pay with Amazon, the service lets customers use their Amazon accounts to pay for purchases made on other online stores.
Jillian Stampher, "Amazon Adds 10M Users to its Payments Service, Escalating PayPal Rivalry", GeekWire, February 07, 2017, © GeekWire, LLC
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German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth. [ Image credit: © The Good Food bei RTL Aktuell ]
Irene Banos Ruiz, "First German Supermarket Sells Waste Food Only", Deutsche Welle, February 06, 2017, © Deutsche Welle
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Royal Ahold, Delhaize Grocery Brands Restructure To Focus On Local Markets

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The constituent companies of Royal Ahold Delhaize are embarking on a year-long restructuring program to strengthen their retail grocery brands – Giant Foods, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop, Peapod, Hannaford, and Food Lion – by consolidating business support services while tailoring commercial strategies to local markets and communities. The more localized brand-centric strategies of Ahold USA and Delhaize America will include dedicated resources such as category merchandising, assortment, pricing, promotions, marketing and format teams. The parent company said the restructuring will be completed by early 2018. It also announced that the Stop & Shop New York Metro and Stop & Shop New England divisions will be consolidated.   [ Image credit: © Royal Ahold Delhaize ]
"Ahold USA and Delhaize America announce plans to further strengthen brands ", News release, Royal Ahold Delhaize, February 06, 2017, © Roral Ahold Delhaize
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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.” 
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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
"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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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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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.
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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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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