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Alibaba: market value tumbles $30bln after margins decline

Bar codes to disappear from supermarket goods within 5 years

Aldi Australia’s future: store locations, no online experience
Aldi Australia’s expansion will continue across the nation this year, as it opens new stores in nearly every state. The German retail giant, which opened its 500th store in Australia in November last year, is set to open a further 32 new stores with seven in NSW. Two of them will be based in Wetherill Park and Warners Bay and will open in the first half of the year. In Queensland, eight stores are coming early this year with two confirmed for The Gap and Dalby, though there is local speculation that Aldi plans to open stores in North Queensland.

Japan: Aeon to venture into East Malaysia in 2Q
Aeon Co (M) Bhd plans to launch an Aeon shopping centre in Kuching, Sarawak, during its second quarter ending June 30, 2018. Aeon corporate management ED Poh Ying Loo said the retailer plans to open one to three more MaxValu outlets this year alongside its first mall in East Malaysia. “There will also be one Aeon mall in Kuching by early 2Q,” he said at the MaxValu Prime launch in Kuala Lumpur. He added that the company is primarily focusing on urban areas such as the Klang Valley for its MaxValu expansion this year.

Belgium: Carrefour wishes to install self-checkouts in hypermarkets

Carrefour Belgium announced during a special meeting of its works council, held at the company’s head office in Evere, its intention to put in several self-checkouts in its hypermarkets, during the next two years. The company further indicated its position in a communiqué. To justify the installation of self-checkouts, Carrefour explains that this type of check-out is popular with customers, is “ideal for quick purchases,” and avoids long queues.

UK: Bar codes to disappear from supermarket goods within 5 years
Bar codes will disappear from supermarket goods in as little as five years, experts have predicted, as international retailers with UK branches are in talks to adopt new technology for tills. New "invisible" bar codes printed over the entire surface area of packs are replacing traditional black straight line bar codes in the US, and are set to make their way to the UK. Digimarc, a US firm which provides invisible bar codes, said they will come to Britain as early as this year.

Sri Lankan Fest begins at LuLu Hypermarket
The Sri Lankan Festival was launched for the first time, at all LuLu outlets in Qatar under the theme ‘Rasavat Sri Lanka’. The festival “mainly exhibits Sri Lankan ethnic/grocery items and agricultural/organic produce”, LuLu Group has said in a press statement, noting that it highlights the “diverse culture, deep-rooted values and culinary heritage of Sri Lanka.”

Aldi expands organic food ranges in Germany
German discounter Aldi has announced it will add more than 60 new organic products to its private-label ranges in the country this year. The retailer said that in 2018 it will focus on developing its organic range so that the entire household shopping can be done purchasing only organic. The expansion will see Aldi Süd’s organic range grow almost 30%, from around 240 products currently, to about 310 products by the end of the year, including trial products, seasonal, promotional and standard items at the discounter.

China: to sell £2bln of UK products to Chinese consumers, China’s leading online retailer, has announced plans to sell £2bln of UK goods to Chinese consumers in the next two-to-three years. The number of UK brands on JD has doubled over the last two years, with sales in 2017 growing 100% year-on-year. In order to promote even greater sales of British goods, JD will launch special campaigns for seasonal products and undertake other activities to give brands more opportunities to reach Chinese consumers. JD will kick off with a 24-hour “Celebrate Britain” sales promotion for UK products this April to introduce the “Best of Britain” to Chinese customers.

Malaysia: Supermarkets rolling out QR code payment via Nets
Supermarkets have begun to embrace Nets' QR code, the cashless payment system that hundreds of hawkers have been using since last September. It works with a customer scanning a QR code on the payment terminal, which then accepts payment from Nets. Cold Storage aims to be the first to roll it out at all its stores by the end of this month. Giant, which has already begun to offer this, aims to do the same by the middle of this year, while Sheng Siong plans to introduce it by the end of the year.

China: Alibaba market value tumbles $30bln after margins decline
Alibaba Group shares fell the most in 18 months and cut its market valuation by about $30bln after investments in brick-and-mortar assets and digital media squeezed profit margins in the December quarter. The Chinese e-commerce giant reported revenue that topped analyst estimates and raised its growth forecast for the 12 months ending in March to 55 to 56%. But operating margin shrank to 31% in the last quarter from 39% a year earlier. Shares fell 5.9% in New York trading, the sharpest decline since June 2016.

US: Midwest Retail Group sells its 14 7-Eleven stores
Midwest Retail Group LLC, 7-Eleven's largest U.S. franchise group, has sold its 14 convenience stores in southeastern Wisconsin to a new franchisee, CSP Daily News has learned. The new franchise owner is Greg Evans, who previously owned the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard c-store chain. In early 2010, 7-Eleven purchased 16 c-stores from Rock Island, Ill.-based MHC Convenience LLC, parent company of the chain of 20 Mother Hubbard's Cupboard locations in Illinois and Iowa.

US: Bon-Ton Stores clinches bankruptcy financing-sources
Bon-Ton Stores Inc, one of the largest U.S. department store operators, has secured a loan that will allow it to file for bankruptcy as early as Sunday, according to people familiar with the matter. The move will make Bon-Ton, which has about 260 stores and nearly $1bln in debt, the first major U.S. brick-and-mortar retailer to file for bankruptcy this year.

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