To follow is a brief review of retail news from around the world:
December 1 – When it comes to shopping, Canadians just aren’t clicking as only 2% of sales are made online
While bricks and mortar retailers remain justifiably panicked about losing sales to digital-only ecommerce players like Amazon, it still comes as a surprise to learn that online sales account for just two per cent of Canadian retail activity.Just as the country was hit last week with a deluge of marketing for the shopping bonanzas of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, new data from Statistics Canada released alongside the September retail figures revealed that in-store retail accounted for 98 per cent of Canadian retail sales, a total of $389 billion out of the $397-billion in sales — in the first nine months of 2016. Up until now, the agency had reported retail e-commerce activity in this country with a time lag of one to two years. “Considering that we have heard larger numbers from all sorts of sources in the past, the fact that it is actually that small comes as a surprise,” says Toronto-based retail analyst Ed Strapagiel. For further reading, go to Financial Post.
December 1 – Average Brit will spend £646 overall on Christmas this year
A new report shows the average Brit will spend almost half (44%) of their monthly salary on Christmas, while one in fifteen (6%) spend in excess of a month’s salary. The Christmas Spending Report from Nationwide Building Society looks into how the nation finances the big day and reveals that many Brits are left in the red, months after the decorations come down. In terms of the amount spent, the average is £646. However, one in five people admit to splashing out more than £1,000 ahead of the big day. See more at Housewares Live.
December 2 – Carrefour Expands Chinese E-Commerce Coverage
The website and app now covers six Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Kumming and Chengdu. Carrefour China has stated that it plans to extend its online coverage to more cities, such as Wuhan, by the end of the year. The ramping up of Carrefour’s online activities comes as the French retailer continues to make heavy weather of gaining traction in the market. For further detail, see Retail Week.
December 5 – Amazon Opening Store That Will Eliminate Checkout — and Lines
Amazon Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them — in one stroke eliminating the checkout line. The company is testing the new system at what it’s calling an Amazon Go store in Seattle, which will open to the public early next year. Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically. If this concept pans out, Amazon could potentially open 2,000 locations, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. That’s similar to an option being developed for customers to pick up items at Prime Now fulfillment centers. For additional information, see Bloomberg.
December 5 – Oster sales in Colombia averaging 1,700 units per day
Despite the difficult environment that some companies face in Colombia due to the strength of the dollar, Oster has increased their imports by 24% in 2016, and the blender segment has been able to sell on average 1,700 units per day. According to Felipe Gómez, general manager of Oster in Colombia, they sell more than one million electronics units and 480,000 are blenders, being the star product for the brand. “In October it relaunched the new online store, where consumers can from their computer or smartphone, find the most complete portfolio of the brand, know the latest technology for their cuisine and access offers, promotions among others. Oster’s commitment to the new online platform is to provide a new shopping experience that is both comfortable and safe for consumers, “said Gómez. For additional reading (in Spanish), go to America Retail.
December 6 – Amazon launches B2B Marketplace in Germany
It’s the first Amazon Business beachhead in Europe. Among the services it provides to sellers are offering exclusive pricing to individual customers and shipping via Fulfillment by Amazon. The anticipated invasion of Europe by Amazon Business has begun, starting in Germany, Amazon.com Inc. said today. And like in the United States, it launched after Amazon had already built a strong following with the retail-focused Amazon.com. Germany is Amazon’s largest market outside of the United States, with $11.82 billion in 2015 sales, or 11% of total sales of $107.01 billion. “Retail customers have been enjoying Amazon’s large selection, convenience and good prices for a long time,” says Markus Schoebel, director for Amazon Seller Services in Germany. “With Amazon Business, our business customers can now do the same.” For more, visit B2B E-Commerce.
December 6 – Four Factors That Are Driving China’s Consumer Surge
We know that China is the largest and fastest-growing consumer market in the world. What is less well understood are the forces that shape consumerism in the world’s most populous country. Is it merely self-indulgence and materialism? In what ways are consumers in China different from those in the West? Successful brands in China are able to tackle most or all of the four considerations. The consumer must not only be delighted with your product. The journey of the consumer must also respect these deep socio-cultural impulses. For details on the 4 factors, go to Forbes.
December 7 – Beijing tightens capital controls to manage stability risk.
The surging US dollar has presented Chinese officials with difficult policy choices. Almost a month after the US presidential election, expectations of Trump policies have continued to rattle the global financial markets. In particular, they have caused wide-spread jitters across emerging markets (EM) via a stronger dollar and higher US interest rates. While Latin America has been hit the hardest, Asia also suffered from capital outflows and currency depreciation, with countries of weak external matrix (e.g. Malaysia and Indonesia) bearing the brunt of the shock. The yuan has not been spared from this mini-rout. The onshore yuan rate shed 1.7 per cent in November, easing to 6.92 against versus the US dollar, a level that represents an eight-year low against the greenback. The offshore yuan rate went even further, easing to 6.95 per dollar before retracing to 6.89 per dollar recently. For further reading, see South China Morning Post.
Retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico said on Wednesday it will invest $1.3 billion in logistics in Latin America’s No. 2 economy, in what is perceived as a show of commitment to Mexico at a time of uncertainty after the election of Donald Trump. Wal-Mart has been looking to double sales in Mexico by 2024 by boosting its core business of running discount retail and membership stores, and expanding its fresh food business. For further information, go to CNBC.
December 8 – Mexico’s Black Friday
On-line sales during Mexico’s “Buen Fin” (Black Friday) sales promotion in November surpassed last year’s by 70%, the Mexican On-Line Sales Association (AMVO) reported. Top product categories for internet sales during the event included electronics, clothing, housewares and décor, entertainment and cosmetics. For additional information, see Reforma.
December 12 – 40 Canadian RONA Big Box Stores to Covert to Lowe’s Banner Starting in Early 2017
Lowe’s plans to convert 40 big box RONA stores across Canada to the Lowe’s banner starting early next year. The first stores to get the new name will be located outside Quebec. Another 17 big box stores in Quebec will be converted in 2019 once it adopts a new French-language information technology system that will then be rolled out to existing Lowe’s stores. The chain will have four store types: Lowe’s big box locations, large Reno-Depot stores mainly in Quebec, medium-sized RONA stores and small Ace hardware stores. Lowe’s is set to introduce a new prototype for RONA stores next year with four new stores and the overhaul of nine locations. Lowe’s and its affiliates operate almost 400 of these stores across Canada. To read more, go to The Globe & Mail.
December 12 – Winners of the Great British High Street Awards 2016 Announced
After four weeks of campaigning, 27 judges’ visits and over 500,000 votes, the results of the Great British High Street Awards 2016 were revealed Monday December 12. The overall champion (and winner of the town centre category) is Blackburn, which was crowned The Best High Street in Britain for 2016 in a ceremony held in London. The Lancashire town wowed the judges with the range of improvements put in place by the collaboration between the Business Improvement District (BID) and the council. They said “Their hard work to turn around the town is an inspiration to high streets across the country. See full list of winners at Housewares Live.
December 14 – Canadian retailers must disrupt or be disrupted
Competition among Canadian retailers continued to heat up this year, with some brands beefing up their physical stores and e-commerce offerings, while new entrants like Saks Fifth Avenue and Uniqlo joined the fray. Whether it was Saks opening up a Pusateri’s food hall in their stores or Hudson’s Bay spending more than $60 million to upgrade its Toronto distribution centre with a new robotics system, retailers worked to carve out their place in the cutthroat retail landscape. But not all retailers have been able to survive, with some like Danier scaling back locations or others like teen clothing chain Aeropostale and jewelry chain Ben Moss closing their doors in Canada for good. For further reading, see The Star.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “Steinhoff International Holdings NV and Shoprite Holdings Ltd. Wednesday said they are in talks to combine part of their businesses in a deal that would create an African discount retail giant dubbed Retail Africa. The combined entity would employ 186,000 people and would have generated around 200 billion South African rand ($14.6 billion) in revenue in the year to June 30, 2016.” More information is available from the Wall Street Journal.
December 15 – Sodimac Colombia ends year with excellent results
Sales of Sodimac Colombia S.A recorded growth of 7.1%, closing at the end of the third quarter of 2016 (end of their fiscal year). Sodimac Colombia S.A., owner of the Homecenter and Constructor stores, today presented a complete balance sheet of its operation in 2016, which demonstrates the good behavior of all its financial, operational and sustainability indicators. Likewise, Sodimac anticipates an optimistic outlook for performance in 2017. Sodimac Colombia ends 2016 with 38 physical stores in 23 cities and includes several virtual sales channels, reaching the entire nation. For additional reading (in Spanish), see America Retail.
December 15 – Lazada scales up with Redmart in Asia
Southeast Asia’s largest ecommerce site Lazada is rolling out a series of initiatives to expand its capacity in the region, with help from online grocer RedMart that it recently acquired. Lazada Group’s Online Revolution, also known as 12.12, has again proven to be the biggest online shopping event in Southeast Asia, ringing up US$40.5 million in sales. With the theme “Brands for All”, the 12.12 event featured more than 500,000 offers and flash sales from more than 1,000 brands and 55,000 sellers. About 60% of the gross merchandise value (GMV) of the December 12 event came from mobile. Lazada covers six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It also runs 12 warehouses and 92 distribution centres from which it conveys goods directly to buyers. For more, see Retail Analysis.
December 15 – U.K. Retail Sales Growth
Bloomberg reports that “U.K. retail sales unexpectedly rose in November as Black Friday discounts led consumers to splurge on electronics and household goods.” In addition, there was a 3.8% increase in online sales month over month. More coverage is available from Bloomberg.
December 19 – Japanese clothing and home products retailer Miniso opens first stores, has big plans for Mexico
Miniso has just opened its second outlet in Mexico but intends to have 100 in operation within five years. The co-founder of the chain of low-cost stores that sell home, health, beauty, technology, fashion and other products wants the brand to have a presence similar to that of Costco and Zara. Junya Miyake said last Friday during the opening of the firm’s second Mexican store, located in a Mexico City shopping center, that it marks Miyoso’s entry into the Latin American market, specifically Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Panama and Ecuador. See more at Mexico News Daily
December 20 – Lidl Growth Plans
The London Telegraph reports today that Lidl plans to “create 5,000 jobs in London and invest £70m in a new UK headquarters in the capital as the German supermarket reaffirms its commitment to Britain following Brexit. The budget retailer said the jobs are part of plans to open nearly 250 new stores in London as it pushes ahead with a three-year £1.5bn UK investment plan.” Additional information is available from The London Telegraph.
December 20 – Crate & Barrel opens its first store in Colombia
The furniture and household goods chain Crate & Barrel inaugurated its first warehouse in Colombia in a 2,000 square meter store in Parque La Colina Shopping Center, located north of Bogota. “The chain of US origin with more than 50 years of market experience and a presence already in nine countries, arrives in Colombia with the purpose of making available to its customers 2,000 square meters in the sales room and a complete value offer that includes Household goods, appliances and furniture,“ the company said in a statement. For more details (in Spanish), read America Retail.
December 22 – Amazon invests single largest fund in its India business
Amazon has invested Rs 20.1bn in its India business, which is the single largest fund infusion so far as it continues to compete for India’s growing ecommerce market. Amazon has invested heavily in India in 2016 in a bid to be the largest ecommerce player. This recent capital investment of Rs 20.1bn in its main Indian unit, Amazon Seller Services, means that the total capital invested by Amazon has gone up to over Rs 70bn in the last 12 months. According to The Economic Times, Amazon India has continued to show significant growth of over 100% this year despite the industry being reportedly flat. Taken from IGD Retail Analysis.
The International Business Council is a special interest group of IHA members, dedicated to helping its membership market and sell their products internationally by sharing information, providing networking opportunities and offering programs to assist, support, and educate. Membership is free to all regular, IHA members – visit the IBC website to learn more.