April’s top news stories

8 May 2018 (Last Updated May 8th, 2018 15:47)

Metro received approval from the Competition Bureau to acquire Jean Coutu Group for $4.5bn and Sainsbury’s confirmed plans to merge with Asda. Retail-insight-network.com wraps up the key headlines from April 2018.

Metro to acquire Canadian pharmacy retailer Jean Coutu for $4.5bn

Canadian food and pharmaceutical retailer Metro received approval from the Competition Bureau to acquire Jean Coutu Group for approximately $4.5bn.

Expected to close on 11 May, the transaction will form a new $16bn merged entity combining pharmaceutical retail stores of both companies in the country.

Jean Coutu is a Canadian pharmacy retailer currently operating a network of 419 franchised stores in New Brunswick, Québec and Ontario under PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Santé, PJC Clinique and PJC Santé Beauté brands.


Sainsbury’s confirms plans to merge with Asda

UK’s second-leading retail chain Sainsbury’s confirmed plans to merge with Asda, currently owned by US supermarket giant Walmart, and promises the merger will lead to lower prices.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe also pledged the deal would not result in store closures and job losses. He said: “This is a transformational opportunity to create a new force in UK retail, which will be more competitive and give customers more of what they want now and in the future.

“It will create a business that is more dynamic, more adaptable, more resilient and an even bigger contributor to the UK economy. Having worked at Asda before Sainsbury’s, I understand the culture and the businesses well and believe they are the best possible fit.”


Spar International enters Sri Lankan retail market

Independently owned and operated retailer Spar International announced entry into Sri Lanka through a collaboration between SPAR South Africa and Ceylon Biscuits.

As a part of the collaboration, the new company, Spar Sri Lanka, will open 50 new stores in the country by 2023, with a focus on developing independent Spar retailers.

The expansion of the company into Sri Lankan retail market marks the sixth market in Asia and 48th globally.


Toys R Us Canada obtains court approval to sell its business

Toys R Us Canada obtained approval from the US and Canadian courts for the sale of its business to Ontario-based investment management firm Fairfax Financial Holdings.

Expected to be complete by this quarter, the deal is subject to customary closing conditions, such as remaining court and applicable regulatory approvals.

The transaction will strengthen the company’s stakeholders, including customers, suppliers and landlords by offering stability.


EG Group acquires Kroger convenience store business for $2.15bn

British gas station operator EG Group completed the acquisition of convenience store business unit Kroger for $2.15bn in the US.

The deal covers 762 convenience stores, including 66 franchise operations in 18 US states, along with Turkey Hill, Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb, Quik Stop and Loaf ‘N Jug brands.

The retail chain’s supermarket fuel centres and Turkey Hill Dairy brand were exempted from the transaction.


Walmart to launch revamped e-commerce website

Global retailer Walmart is set to launch its revamped e-commerce website to create cleaner and more modern digital shopping experience.

Starting this month, the new shopping website will be made available for customers with a new look and feel.

As part of the redesign, the website will feature more local and personalised elements, offering various products from diapers and laundry detergents to dining room tables.


Alibaba to acquire remaining stake in Ele.me for $9.5bn

E-commerce retailer Alibaba Group is set to acquire the remaining shares in Chinese online delivery and local services platform Ele.me for $9.5bn.

Along with its affiliate Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group, Alibaba currently owns approximately 43% of the outstanding voting shares of Ele.me.

The acquisition will integrate Ele.me’s business into Alibaba’s ecosystem and advance the group’s New Retail strategy to provide seamless online and offline consumer experience in the local services sector.


Sainsbury’s trials zero-emission electric cargo bikes to deliver orders

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced a trial of grocery delivery service by electric cargo bikes.

To launch the trial, Sainsbury’s has partnered with UK-based e-cargobikes.com, which will supply the retailer with purpose-built bikes.

Sainsbury’s will use five zero-emission bikes to deliver groceries across South London to deliver from Streatham Common store. The company plans to complete 100 orders a day to local customers, who place online grocery orders.


GNC Holdings to close 200 stores

US-based vitamin retailer GNC Holdings is planning to close approximately 200 stores across its portfolio this year as part of its ongoing store portfolio optimisation.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company currently operates 8,905 locations across the world, including 3,385 corporate stores in the US and Canada, 1,083 domestic franchise locations, 2,428 Rite Aid franchise locations and 2,009 international locations.

The retailer is now conducting favourable lease re-negotiations and is considering relocation opportunities to reduce the number of expected stores from closing.


Target introduces pick-up delivery service to 270 US stores

US discount retailer Target introduced a new Drive Up service across 270 stores in Florida, Texas and the South-East.

Allowing customers to have their order delivered to their car, the new service aims to enhance consumer convenience and is a part of the retailer’s plans to serve customers through the supply chain and digital technologies.

To use the service, customers can place orders on the Target app, which will inform them when the items are ready for collection.