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As part of their strategic relationship, Walmart and Rakuten have opened their first ecommerce store in Japan. We look at the model being used and implications for future expansion.

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Promotions and new hires within leadership team.

Chief business officer for Walmart India appointed

Following the departure of its chief operating officer, Walmart India has announced Sameer Aggarwal as its chief business officer. Aggarwal will now oversee strategy, merchandising, cost analytics, ecommerce, technology, marketing and replenishment for the retailer in India.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Aggarwal has worked previously for Yum! Brands in Thailand and Sainsbury’s in the UK. He joined Walmart India in April of this year as the executive vice-president, chief strategy and administrative officer. He will report to country CEO Krish Iyer.

In addition, the retailer has hired Anuj Singh as head of category merchandising. Singh brings with him more than 20 years of experience from Nestle, Philip Morris International and Hindustan Lever. He will lead merchandising programmes across all categories as well as private label development for Walmart India.

Movements in Flipkart’s management team

Flipkart’s chief executive officer, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, has also announced key appointments within its various departments. He has named key personnel to head up Flipkart’s grocery, appliance and smartphones business units.

These management changes should place both Walmart and Flipkart in a better position to compete in India’s grocery retail market

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We look at the prospects for the online grocery channel in Canada as major retailers step-up their investments.

Forecasting 21.0% CAGR through to 2023

Although the online grocery channel has seen an increased level of activity this year, it represents only a small proportion of the overall grocery market, estimated at 0.8%. This is forecast to grow to 1.8% by 2023, with a CAGR of 21.0% expected over the period.

Source: IGD Research

Loblaw: building sector leadership with store pickup

Loblaw has set the pace in the channel. Its store pickup program reaches 70% of Canadians, serviced out of over 520 stores and 28 spokes, including 19 Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Its home delivery partnership with Instacart extends to 60% of Canadians, with the service available in 18 markets. Following a successful pilot of its membership-based program, PC Insider, this year, a larger scale roll-out is planned in 2019. The retailer is also testing a pickup service through its No Frills and Maxi discount banners.

Walmart: partnering to win in urban locations

Walmart has also been pushing hard with its ecommerce programmes. In the latest quarter, sales increased over 20%, underpinned by the expansion of grocery pickup to 40 additional locations. The retailer has also formed new partnerships to help it reach customers in urban locations, where it has relatively fewer stores. In Toronto, it has partnered with Penguin Pickup to open co-branded pickup locations for online grocery orders in the downtown area.

In Vancouver, it has partnered with to use its Food-X food delivery platform to offer grocery home delivery in Metro Vancouver. Walmart Canada has also announced plans to offer home delivery through Instacart.

Sobeys: building capabilities with Ocado partnership

At Sobeys, works has begun on its first Customer Fulfillment Centre (CFC) which is being developed in partnership with UK-based Ocado. The retailer expects to launch its grocery ecommerce solution into the Ontario market in the spring of 2020. This partnership, which utilises Ocado’s automated robotic technology is expected to help the retailer deliver a compelling, lower-cost proposition at scale, enable it to reach new catchments and offer an extended range of products. This will build on its established ecommerce business in Quebec.

Metro: developing omnichannel meal solutions

Having focused initially on Quebec with both grocery pickup and delivery, the retailer is turning its attention to the Ontario market in 2019. In line with the broader brand proposition, the retailer has aimed to build a differentiated, customer-centric proposition, keeping fulfillment and delivery in-house. However, the retailer has extended its ecommerce presence by making a majority investment in Miss Fresh, a leading meal kits company. The retailer has also started to pilot hot food delivery in a programme with UberEats in Montreal.

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We look at the strategies of some of the major US retailers, for who Black Friday is a major event and a kick-off to the critical holiday season.

Sales impact spread across five-day weekend

Although Black Friday is the traditional key shopping day in the US, with many retailers opening their doors a day earlier on Thanksgiving Day and launching pre-Black Friday deals, this has become a multi-day event. The growth and development of the online channel, along with dedicated events such as Cyber Monday and Green Monday, have also shifted impact of Black Friday itself. The National Retail Federation estimates that 164m consumers plan to shop over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, with Black Friday being the busiest day with 71% planning to shop.

General merchandise focused event

While grocery retailers are mainly focused on the Thanksgiving meal opportunity, Black Friday events are typically centred on general merchandise product categories, with toys, TVs, computers and mobile phones being at the heart of many retailers’ plans. Toys is a major focus this year, following the exit of Toys R US. All the major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon have extended their ranges and bought more inventory. Walmart and Target have also increased the amount of space dedicated to the category in-store. Kroger has also added ‘Geoffrey’s Toy Box’ to nearly 600 stores for the holiday season, offering a selection of toys which were once exclusive to Toys R Us.

Source: Kroger

Creating an in-store party atmosphere

One of the new ways that Walmart is aiming to drive traffic to its stores this year is with a “Light Up Black Friday” party for customers. Running from 4pm to 6pm on Thanksgiving Day, before shopping officially starts of 6pm, this will be a large-scale sampling party, with the retailer giving away an estimated four million cups of coffee and two million Christmas cookies. Walmart will also be looking to make the in-store shopper journey as easy as possible. The store map feature within the Walmart app will transition to a Black Friday version, while ‘Check Out with Me’ associates will be positioned around the store.

Source: Walmart

Exclusive deals for loyalty card holders

Target has already been active on the promotional front, offering a series of deals since the start of the month. However, it is making several promotions available exclusively for REDcard holders this week, who will also receive an additional 5% saving as part of the loyalty programme. The retailer is also locating team members across the store who can take payment from customers, enabling them to skip traditional checkouts.

Activating across the Amazon ecosystem

At Amazon, the aim is to bring-to-life its entire ecosystem across the promotional period. In addition to deep price discounts at, it will also be showcasing its devices at Amazon Pop-Up locations, offering savings on food orders through Amazon Restaurants and launching curated holiday gift guides. At Whole Foods Market, it is offering Prime member deals across turkeys and offering a $20 discount for new Prime Members. Prime member turkey pricing was one of the first deals introduced by the retailer last year following its acquisition by Amazon.

Source: IGD Research

Thanksgiving dinner meal solutions

At most grocer retailers, Thanksgiving meal essentials are the primary focus. While turkey pricing is used as a footfall driver, most retailers are also supporting with price-led initiatives for side dishes and desserts. Full Thanksgiving dinners are also available for delivery or pickup from several retailers. Websites are also used for providing recipe ideas and preparation guides. From Thanksgiving, these will transition into holiday-led campaigns, with a focus on baking, hosting and entertaining.

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