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Target: same-day delivery through Shipt expands to all major product categories

Amazon and Orange combine voice assistant technology

US: Sears to take $443mln in charges arising from store closures
Bankrupt U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp will take a charge of about $443mln arising from store closures, a regulatory filing showed. The company said some of the charges have already been incurred in the third quarter, while the remaining charges will be booked in the fourth quarter. Total costs related to closing 73 Sears stores and 28 Kmart stores in the third quarter ended November 3 amounted to $229mln, the company said earlier this month.

US: Kroger divests digital coupon, rebate publishing unit to Inmar
The Kroger Co. is divesting its digital coupon and rebate publishing unit to Inmar, a technology and data analytics firm based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You Technology is a cloud-based digital offer platform that enables digital offers for redemption at Kroger and other U.S. retailers. Through the deal, You Technology will become a part of Inmar, and Kroger will hold a long-term services agreement for continued delivery of digital offer management services from the firm.

US: Target's Shipt to expand to all major product categories
Target is expanding its same-day delivery through Shipt to include all major product categories by 2019, according to a company blog post celebrating the one year anniversary of the $550mln acquisition. The same-day delivery service will also add "hundreds" of new jobs at its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. A Target spokesperson did not expand on specific timing or SKU count of the assortment expansion. Shipt currently offers same-day delivery on more than 55,000 groceries, essentials, electronics, toys and other products. The move means apparel and home goods, among other categories, will soon be available for same-day delivery. That said, grocery is the most popular category so far, according to Target, which added that shoppers tend to buy fridge staples like eggs, milk and bananas.

Amazon and Orange combine voice assistants
Amazon has partnered with France-based telecommunications company Orange to combine their voice assistant technology. Orange’s chief executive, Stephane Richard, said the partnership would enable users of its voice assistant, Djingo, to purchase Amazon products and services. Orange developed Djingo in conjunction with Deutsche Telekom. The partnership with Orange is the second Amazon has made in France in recent months. Amazon signed a similar agreement with another France-based telecommunications company, Iliad, which will lead to the integration of Alexa technology into the former’s set-top boxes.

Carrefour Brasil wholesale unit to keep pace in store openings
The wholesale division of Carrefour Brasil, the nation’s largest retailer, plans to keep up its aggressive pace of store openings for at least the next three to four years, the unit’s chief executive officer told Reuters. The Atacadão division, Carrefour Brasil’s fastest growing by sales, has met its goal of opening 20 new stores this year and plans to continue that pace, CEO Roberto Müssnich said in an interview.

Australia: Organic supermarket About Life collapses after numerous legal disputes
Organic food retailer About Life has fallen into voluntary administration after a series of legal disputes with suppliers over the last 18 months. The independent grocer is understood to have closed all of its eight stores recently and on Wednesday morning had shut down various social media accounts and sections of its website. It is now under the control of administrators from Farnsworth Shepard, who were not available for comment on Wednesday morning.

Japan: 7-Eleven tests facial-recognition technology
7-Eleven Japan has opened an experimental concept store in Tokyo offering payment through facial-recognition technology developed by NEC. The trial is a precursor to a planned rollout of unmanned convenience stores in locations such as office buildings, car parks and factories allowing consumers to purchase essential items where it may not be commercially viable to operate a full-scale staffed store. The test store is located inside a building which is home to companies from the NEC group and can be accessed only by employees.

Italy: Carrefour partners with Supermercato24
As part of an agreement with pure ecommerce retailer Supermercato24, Carrefour products have been added to the company’s online platform. Shoppers in Bergamo, Bologna, Brescia, Brianza, Como, Genoa, Milan, Monza, Turin and Udine will have access to Carrefour’s products initially. Orders through Supermercato24 are picked by a dedicated shopper and delivered to a shopper’s home in one hour. Carrefour Italia’s director of marketing, customers, services and digital transformation, Pierre Queau, said: “Carrefour Italia is very attentive to innovation and continues to invest in solutions that can improve the shopping experience of its consumers, both online and at the point of sale. The partnership with Supermercato24 is part of this strategy, increasing the coverage of our ecommerce network and allowing us to offer our customers an increasingly convenient, simple and fast purchase experience”.

Holland: Jumbo takes delivery of first DAF CF Electric
DAF Trucks has delivered its first fully electric truck to Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo. The CF Electric has been developed in a joint venture between DAF and VDL, and will be used by Jumbo to supply its supermarkets in the south of the Netherlands. Jumbo CEO Frits van Eerd was handed the keys to the DAF CF Electric by DAF Trucks President Harry Wolters alongside Willem van der Leegte, President and CEO of VDL Groep. The first DAF CF Electric to enter in-service operations represents a significant milestone for DAF Trucks, VDL and Jumbo. Delivery of the fully electric DAF commercial vehicle marks the start of a series of long-term field tests using both fully electric and hybrid trucks.
Source: to partner with Thai government to boost cross-border trade
Chinese e-commerce platform will join hands with the Thai government to promote trade between China and Thailand. and its Bangkok-based joint venture JD Central will cooperate with an international trade promotion division under the Thai commerce ministry, China News Service reported. The Beijing-based firm will offer small and medium-sized Thai companies support in terms of retail, business insights, delivery, and online payments to enter the Chinese market.

Spain: Former Lidl CEO Holland steps down from DIA Board
Spanish retailer DIA has announced that Karl-Heinz Holland and Sergio Antonio Ferreira Dias have stepped down from its board of directors. Both Holland and Dias were proprietary directors nominated by Letterone Investment Holdings, S.A, a major shareholder in DIA. Their resignation from the board came into effect on 18 December. Holland is a former chief executive of Lidl Group, a position he held for six years as part of a 23-year career with the discounter. He joined the Letterone advisory board in May 2017. In a statement, DIA said that both Holland and Dias have informed DIA that their "resignation is motivated by their intention to focus on working, on behalf of Letterone, on the design and development of a potential long-term sustainable plan for the Company".

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