Switzerland: Migros cuts Amigos purchase platform
Migros decided not to continue the experiment attempted with the Amigos "social" shopping platform. This concept, tested in Zurich and Bern, provided for individuals to run errands on behalf of others in a spirit of mutual assistance. Launched in April 2018, the portal Amigos.ch will be stopped on December 10, the distributor announced in a statement. The orange giant has ensured that its concept has benefited from a positive echo and strong demand. But faced with the risk of the portal becoming a classic online shopping website, Migros has decided to put an end to the project.
More than half of EU consumers have environmental impact in mind when shopping, new survey reveals
The European Commission released its 2019 edition of the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard. It shows that the overall gap in consumer conditions is narrowing between the different regions of the EU; that consumers are more aware about their environmental footprint; and that consumer rules enable trust in the marketplace. Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “The latest figures show that over 70% of consumers trust retailers to respect their rights, but they also show that work to improve consumer conditions and trust must continue. And the New Deal for Consumers will indeed further strengthen the hand of consumers and authorities. I am glad to see that consumers are increasingly aware of their environmental footprint when shopping. As the Christmas season approaches, I encourage all consumers to engage with trustworthy traders, know their rights, and indeed buy responsibly”.
UK: Ocado to open first 'mini' robotic warehouse
British online grocer Ocado will open its first “mini” robotic warehouse in Bristol, western England by early 2021 it said, signaling its warehouse technology can be rolled out more quickly and in a bigger range of locations. While Ocado’s retail business holds only a 1.4% share of Britain’s grocery market, its technology has powered the group’s 8.1bln pound ($10.4bln) stock market valuation, enabling it to secure partnership deals with supermarket groups around the world, including Kroger in the United States. “This is not about Bristol, but about what it says for its technology biz”, said Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne.
Auchan evolves strategy for Ukraine
Auchan is looking to grow the presence for its proximity formats in the Ukraine, after a successful roll out in the last 12 months. The move away from larger formats is being driven by local shopper trends to buy close to home, smaller baskets more frequently. The smaller stores have a more targeted range, which is also echoing shoppers’ buying habits, which are focusing on purchasing everyday staples, rather than wanting a wide choice.
Poland: Eurocash Group's abc stores to introduce parcel service
Polish retailer Eurocash has announced plans to introduce parcel delivery service - My Package - for online purchases in its abc grocery stores. The service will allow abc customers to pick up their online orders at a convenient time and location. One of the largest chain of grocery stores in Poland, abc operates around 8,600 outlets, owned by independent entrepreneurs, mainly in smaller towns. Eurocash spokesperson, Jan Domański, said: "We hope that soon store owners and their customers will experience the first benefits of its implementation. The pre-Christmas period is the most important time for the e-commerce industry, in which online sales are the highest throughout the year."
Australia: Coles opens new innovative store
Coles has opened its latest iteration of its urban supermarket format 'Coles Local' in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. The retailer has pitched the store as its 'most innovative' supermarket yet, with extensive shopper research having been conducted to tailor the offer to the local area. With the typical age of people due to shop at the store between 20-35 and 60% of residents owning dogs, Coles has introduced some interesting new features. These include a living herb wall, a pick and mix bar for dog treats, a self service pineapple coring machine and the largest range of vegan and vegetarian products in Australia.
Britain's Ocado signs technology partnership with Japan's Aeon
British online grocer Ocado has signed a technology partnership with Japan’s Aeon to help the retailer establish an online business, its first deal in Asia. Ocado has signed a string of deals with supermarket groups around the world to sell its software and hardware, including Kroger in the United States. The deal will see Aeon establish a national fulfilment network to serve the whole of the Japanese market.
Foreign retailers race for piece of China’s expanding spending pie
More foreign-funded retailers are accelerating their expansion in the Chinese market, which has posted robust growth in recent years as the country is continuously upgrading its consumption structure, officials and industry analysts said. "Overall, foreign retailers are opening more branches in the China this year, featuring more new brands, flagship stores and new business models", Gao Feng, spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry, told a regular briefing. Zhang Yi, CEO of Shenzhen-based iiMedia Research, told the Global Times that China's retail industry is flourishing. "The growth trend is optimistic and inviting, especially for foreign companies". China's retail sales increased 8.1% year-on-year in the January-October period to 33.48tln yuan ($4.8tln), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Indian retailer Future's shares surge as regulator approves Amazon investment
Shares in Future Retail Ltd surged 13%, after India’s antitrust body approved a deal that would give Amazon.com Inc a minority stake in one of the country’s top retail groups. Future Retail in August announced the deal that would result in the U.S. online retail giant acquiring a 3.58% stake in the company, which runs over 1,500 stores in India and owns budget department store chain Big Bazaar. The companies had not disclosed the value of the deal, which would help Amazon push deeper into India’s booming retail market. In a brief statement, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it had approved Amazon’s purchase of a 49% stake in Future Coupons Ltd, an entity that owns about 7.3% of Future Retail, adding that it would soon provide a detailed order.
Japan: Retail sales slump the most since 2015 as tax hike hits demand
Japan’s retail sales tumbled at their fastest pace in more than 4.5 years in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to cut spending, raising a red flag over the strength of domestic demand. The Japanese government increased the nationwide sales tax to 10% from 8% on October 1, in a bid to fix the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden, which is more than twice the size of the country’s gross domestic product. Retail sales fell 7.1% in October from a year earlier, pulled down by weak demand for big ticket items such as cars and household appliances as well as clothing, trade ministry data showed, with department stores hit particularly hard. The drop was the biggest since a 9.7% fall in March 2015 and worse than a 4.4% decline predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.
New Zealand: Amazon US the only option for Kiwi online shoppers after GST change
Most of Amazon's international sites are suspending sales to New Zealand because they are not yet able to comply with changes to GST laws. A law change requiring foreign firms to levy GST on their sales to New Zealand customers comes into effect on Sunday. The change applies to foreign firms that send goods worth more than $60,000 to New Zealanders each year, and to items costing less than $1000. An Amazon spokeswoman said sales from Amazon sites other than the United States will be suspended in the lead up to Christmas as the company grapples with the technical aspects of the law change. Sales will continue from Amazon US which is able to add GST to New Zealand sales.
US: Meal kit maker Purple Carrot debuts plant-based incubator
Meal kit company Purple Carrot just launched The Garden Incubator, an early-stage startup program for plant-based products. Venture capital firm Unovis Partners is also providing funding for this program through its New Crop Capital fund. Participating startups will get support in strategy, branding, marketing, e-commerce, operations, fulfillment and data analytics. Additionally, some companies will receive up to $250,000 in seed funding. The Garden Incubator will be an investor, an incubator and a launchpad for companies looking to expand and raise awareness for future investment and growth, the release from Purple Carrot states.
US: Walmart continues to grow thanks to online, grocery sales
Retail giant Walmart is hoping to leverage recent online success to continue its pattern of growth. Walmart continues to grow sales in the U.S. thanks largely to its grocery business. U.S. comparable sales grew for the 21st straight quarter with both strong traffic in stores and growth online. Digital sales increased by more than 40%. While Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told NBC many categories were strong, the retailer’s food business and its expanding delivery and pickup options is what’s driving shoppers to spend.