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Walmart partners with MGM

Target: new private label

US: Walmart partners with MGM to boost its video-on-demand service
Walmart said it would partner with U.S. movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer to create content for its video-on-demand service, Vudu, which the retailer bought eight years ago. Walmart has been looking to prop up Vudu's monthly viewership that remains well below that of competitors like Netflix and Hulu, which is controlled by Walt Disney, Comcast, and Twenty-First Century Fox. Media outlets had reported the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company was looking to launch a subscription streaming video service to rival that of Netflix and make a foray into producing TV shows to attract customers.

US: Target launches new private label to compete with discounters & ecommerce giants
Target is launching a value-tier line of everyday items to help compete against deeply discounted products, with most of the new offerings costing less than $2 each. The new private label, Smartly, will arrive in Target stores and online October 14 (for delivery through Target Restock or click-and-collect through Order Pickup and Drive Up) and comprise more than 70 SKUs, from all-purpose cleaner and body lotion to paper plates and razor blades. Additional offerings will roll out through early 2019. Prices range from 59 cents to $11.99.

Scottish fund Baillie Gifford cuts stake in Spain's DIA
Baillie Gifford has cut its stake in Spanish supermarket group DIA from 8.5% to 5.6%, the third time in less than a month that the Scottish fund has reduced its holding. A long economic crisis helped boost discount retailer DIA's market share, but it has struggled since an economic rebound put more cash in Spaniards' pockets.

French supermarket Casino to remove E171 from shelves
Supermarket group Casino is to remove the additive titanium dioxide, or E171, from all of its products by the end of this year. E171 is a whitening additive often used in toothpaste and other cosmetics, food products, and medicines. The additive, which is still legal to use, has been linked to cancer. In a 2017 study, research group L'Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) called for manufacturers to be alert to the risks. Casino has now become the first supermarket to announce a zero-use policy from the end of 2018.

Penny Market Hungary appoints new CEO
German-owned discount supermarket chain Penny Market Hungary has announced the appointment of Florian Jens Naegele as CEO, taking over from Jens-Thilo Krieger, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Naegele officially took over the role on October 1. The new CEO is responsible for sales, supplies, expansion, marketing, construction, revision, quality assurance, and project management.

France: Carrefour and UNI Global Union renew agreement of cooperation
Carrefour group and trade union federation UNI Global Union have renewed their agreement to cooperate globally on workers’ rights in a meeting of the European Works Council held in Carrefour’s headquarters on 4 October. The move is aimed at establishing a basis for promoting responsible business throughout the company’s operations, including its supply chain and franchisees. This new agreement builds on the previous agreements that the retail giant entered into with the trade union in 2001 and 2015. UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman, said, “UNI has had a global agreement with Carrefour for 17 years and we’re pleased with the progress on workers’ rights but to be leaders in their field there is no room for complacency.”

Australia: Jobs to go in Coles supply chain shake-up after demerger
A demerged Coles will open two massive automated distribution centres as it follows Woolworths in stripping out costs and improving how it delivers stock to its supermarkets by investing in hi-tech robotic warehouses. Jobs will be lost as the centres are rolled out in New South Wales and Queensland over the next five years, resulting in the closure of five existing warehouses. Distribution in Western Australia won’t be affected. Coles did not provide details about the number of jobs to go but it has set aside between $130mln and $150mln this financial year to cover costs associated with redundancies and exiting existing leases.

Increased use of pedestrian Drives in France
Pedestrian Drives allow shoppers to place orders online and collect them from convenient locations in the centre of cities or towns. Retailers are marketing them as enabling shoppers to buy from a hypermarket’s range and prices, while not having to leave city centres. Pedestrian Drives are becoming increasing popular with retailers in France as they look to compete online and create profitable, last mile fulfilment solutions. Leclerc tested its first pedestrian Drive in Lille in 2017 and now operates a total of six in Anglet, Aurillac, Lille, Meaux and Reims. Leclerc has said it is aiming to open four more pedestrian Drives in Caen, Montbéliard, Montpellier and Toulon, without giving a timeframe for doing so. Meanwhile, Carrefour has opened 16 pedestrian Drives. The sites are a mixture of points being added into existing convenience stores in Paris, Lyon and Saint-Étienne and standalone pedestrian Drive sites. Cora experimented with Drive points in Metz in 2016 and Verdun in 2017, calling them “Cora in town”, while Auchan will open its first pedestrian Drive in Lille on 10 October 2018.

Vingroup retail arm acquires Vietnamese supermarket chain
VinCommerce, owner of the largest Vietnamese retail outlet chain, has bought out competitor supermarket chain Fivimart. The deal, whose value has not been revealed, delivers 23 Fivimart outlets to VinMart. VinCommerce, a member of the Vingroup business conglomerate, bought Fivimart from domestic company Nhat Nam JSC and Japanese retailer AEON, which held 70% and 30% stakes, respectively. VinCommerce CEO Thai Thi Thanh Hai said that her company’ vision is to have VinMart and VinMart+ (a chain of convenience stores) outlets not just in Vingroup’s apartment buildings and malls, but also in other neighborhoods.

Ahold Delhaize: Wouter Kolk becomes CEO of Europe and Indonesia
Wouter Kolk has started his new role as CEO of Ahold Delhaize Europe and Indonesia. Kolk has stepped into the role three months early. The retailer said his early appointment is to enable it ‘to fully capture the growth opportunities we have in Europe’. Kolk will be responsible for supporting the company’s local brands, delivering new strategies for Europe and developing digital, ecommerce and purchasing initiatives. He will work with a small team comprising a financial director, HR director and a director of strategy. The positions are in the process of being filled.

Volume of retail sales falls by 0.2% in euro area: Eurostat
The month of August saw the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade decreased by 0.2% in the euro area (EA 19) compared to July 2018, and remained static in the European Union (EU 28), according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. However, compared with the same period of 2017, the calendar-adjusted retail sales index increased by 1.8%. In the euro area, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.6% for automotive fuel and by 0.3% for food, drinks and tobacco, compared to July 2018, while non-food products remained stable.

Oxxo will open its first store in Peru
The Femsa-owned, convenience retailer Oxxo is expanding into Peru and will open its first store in the capital, Lima. Oxxo is Mexico’s leading convenience retailer and has expanded rapidly since 2010, adding over 1,000 stores per year. Oxxo has not yet been able to replicate success in its other markets, Chile and Colombia. Meanwhile, Oxxo has big plans for expansion in Peru. Femsa's Chief of Corporate Communication from Mexico commented: "In the case of Peru, this market represents an attractive option for Oxxo to take more customers to its value offer, so we have formed a team in that country, with the aim of starting operations in the coming months". The retailer hopes to open at least ten stores by the end of 2018 and 300 by the end of 2020.

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