January’s top stories

5 February 2018 (Last Updated February 5th, 2018 14:42)

Walmart to launch Scan & Go app in more stores across US, and Amazon sells more than five billion items worldwide with Prime in 2017. Retail-insight-network.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2018.

Walmart to launch Scan & Go app in more stores across US

US-based retailer Walmart is planning to expand the availability of Mobile Express Scan & Go (Scan & Go) technology to 100 new stores across the country this month.

The app will enable Walmart customers to scan and bag items, including produce, as well as shop and pay directly with their phones.

With this feature, customers will no longer have to queue at the checkout registers.


Amazon sells more than five billion items worldwide with Prime in 2017

US-based electronic commerce retailer Amazon revealed that it has sold more than five billion products worldwide through its Prime service last year.

The company noted that last year, Prime members worldwide used digital benefits such as free same-day, one-day, and two-day shipping services.

According to the company, some of the bestsellers last year across the US include the Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot.


Starbucks opens new store in South Korea

The Starbucks Coffee Korea joint venture (JV) opened the country’s largest Starbucks store in Central Seoul near Jonggak Station.

The JV comprises Starbucks Coffee International and retail firm Shinsegae, which operates 11 department stores and 157 E-mart stores in South Korea, as well as ten stores in China, Vietnam and Mongolia.

Located in Jongro Tower, the new store features a 25m triangular bar on the second floor, making it the largest standalone bar in any Starbucks store across South Korea.


Co-op to open 100 new stores in UK

UK-based food retailer Co-op is planning to open 100 new stores and create 1,600 jobs in the country this year.

The company will use a £160m investment to open new stores and perform major overhauls at its existing 150 outlets.

The company intends to open more than 20 new stores in London and nearly 18 stores across various Scottish cities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Forres (Highlands) and Kilmacolm (Renfrewshire).


Spar enters Saudi Arabian retail market

Supermarket chain Spar International (Spar) entered the Saudi Arabian retail market with the opening of three outlets in Riyadh.

Spar’s entry into the Saudi Arabian market is in partnership with Al Sadhan Group. It plans to open another five new stores in Riyadh later this year.

The supermarket chain will initially focus on the mid-to-premium sector of the retail market and later launch stores to cater to all economic sectors.


Walmart in talks to acquire stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart

US-based retailer Walmart is said to be in talks with Indian e-commerce retailer Flipkart for acquiring a minority stake in the company.

According to a report published in The Economic Times, Walmart is planning to acquire a 20% stake in the Indian firm by March.

Earlier this month, a delegation comprising top Walmart’s officials believed to have visited Flip Karts head office located in Karnataka, South India.


Blain’s Farm and Fleet to open new stores in Michigan

US-based speciality discount retailer Blain’s Farm and Fleet is planning to open new retail stores in Michigan this year.

The retailer is said to have finalised Jackson and Portage for its new store, which will open later this year.

With the new stores, the total number of Blain’s Farm and Fleet stores will be increased to 40.


LuLu to invest $400m in shopping mall in Hyderabad, India

UAE-based retail company LuLu signed three memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the Indian state of Telangana.

According to the agreement, the company will invest $400m in the state to construct a 1.8 million square feet shopping mall in Hyderabad.

LuLu is also planning to set-up a food processing unit in Telangana and has agreed to establish logistics, and fruit and vegetable export processing units.


Rite Aid transfers 625 stores to WBA in US

US-based drugstore chain Rite Aid released an update on its plans to sell its stores to Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), following the previously disclosed Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement that was released last September.

Rite Aid is currently said to have transferred 625 stores and related assets to WBA, as well as received cash proceeds of $1.3bn, which will be used by the company to repay its outstanding secured loans totalling $970m.

As part of the asset purchase agreement, WBA has agreed to acquire 1,932 stores, three distribution centres and related inventory from Rite Aid for a $4.3bn cash consideration.


Steinhoff secures €200m loan in South Africa

South Africa’s retail holding company Steinhoff reportedly gained financial stability after it obtained monetary assistance from lenders in the country for interim liquidity support for the group’s European operations from its subsidiaries in South Africa.

According to the agreement, the South African lenders have agreed to offer an amount of €200m, €60m of which will be handed over to the company as the first instalment.

Steinhoff is seeking the necessary approvals and consent for further instalments of the balance.