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International

All retail news from Europe
  1. (Advertorial) From 21st to 25th of October, Paris will be the world's food capital. 7,200 French and international exhibitors will be presenting their innovations among 21 exhibitions sectors.

     

    A mini-revolution

    Something is stirring on planet Food… a major phenomenon that SIAL Paris simply had to reflect. It is a mini-revolution which, almost under the radar, is throwing a whole new light on what we put on our plates, and reinventing the way we feed ourselves: Alternative Food – to give it its name - is all about concocting healthier food, more respectful of nature and of animal well-being.
     

    This Alter’Native Food Sector, a show within a show, will be welcoming 300 exhibitors, renowned experts on healthy eating, and the stars of innovation in this field, whatever their country of origin.
     

    Over the 5 days of the exhibition, visitors will be able to exchange with each other and find out about everything that Alternative Food has to offer them, in terms of both innovation and opportunity, by way of conferences and bilingual guided visits to the sector from two perspectives: alternative ingredients and health. The topics proposed include an overview of superfoods, the "clean label", agriculture 2.0, sustainable development, and animal well-being.
     

    Don’t wait any longer! Claim your badge now to benefit from our EARLY BIRD offer on www.sialparis.com

  2. Microsoft is working on its own technology that should render checkouts in stores obsolete. The American company says it wants to be an ally for the retail sector, mostly in its struggle against Amazon Go.

     

    Automatic scans

    Stores without checkout are the latest hype in the retail sector, especially in supermarkets and convenience stores: most major retailers are trialling automatic scanning processes, so that customers do not need to queue any more at the checkout zone. Microsoft is developing its own technology that should be able to understand what shoppers put in their cart, sources tell Reuters: a camera on a shopping cart is designed to register what customers buy. Walmart has been named as an important candidate for a possible collaboration.

     

    Microsoft's challenge to Amazon is not coincidental: the Washington-based company suffers heavily from Amazon's impact on its cloud services. The company as therefore decided to assemble a team of a dozen people to work on artificial intelligence for stores. Moreover, six partners are working on side projects for similar systems, based on Microsoft's cloud services. However, it remains to be seen if the Microsoft based systems will be able to reduce the cost of their technologies, as their intended target the retail sector already struggles with paper thin margins... 

  3. BackMarket, a French start-up that wants to be a marketplace for refurbished smart phones, tablets and laptops, has secured a 41 million euro investment. The most famous new investor is Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury group LVMH.

     

    Goal: enter American market

    Arnault, the richest man in France, has joined forces with Eurazeo (an investment fund from France and Luxembourg) and other, unnamed investors. The sizes of each individual investment and the total valuation of the start-up also remain undisclosed. BackMarket needs the investment for its planned conquest of the American market: "We want to become a truly global player", says CEO Thibaud Hug de Larauze in the French media. He expects the market of refurbished devices to explode, as do new investors Eurazeo: "The potential is enormous, meaning up to several billion euro." 

     

    Unlike Dutch competitor Leapp, that went bankrupt earlier this week, BackMarket remains a pure online player. A good call, say analysts: in its fruitful early years the Dutch company also was a pure online player, and it was its rapid expansion to brick stores that ultimately cost too much money and killed off the company. 

  4. Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo has made another important step towards its expansion in Belgium: it has founded the company "bvba Jumbo Belgium".

     

    New step

    Belgian business newspaper De Tijd discovered the existence of the new company in the Belgisch Staatsblad (government gazette of Belgium). Rumours about the Belgian expansion of Jumbo have existed since 2017, but were quickly denied by Jumbo. Nevertheless, real estate agents told RetailDetail that they had already started a search for up to thirty suitable locations. Later on a first location was found in North-Belgian Bree (as of yet still officially unconfirmed), the only official sign up till now was a job ad for a Belgian real estate manager.

     

    Jumbo is the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, only behind Albert Heijn. Owners are the Van Eerd family, who also own restaurant chain La Place since the demise of its former owner V&D. Jumbo has three formats: regular supermarkets between 800 and 1800 sqm, smaller Jumbo City stores and four large Foodmarkt stors, in which the chain adds restaurant experiences to the grocery shopping.

  5. Trade unions and management have finally reached an agreement at Carrefour Belgium, which will be presented to the employees later this week. An early retirement scheme has however shocked some of the political parties.

     

    233 fewer jobs cut

    There would be no straight dismissals, Belgian newspaper La Libre found out: most jobs would be cut through voluntary termination of employment and through the early retirement for people aged 56 or over. Moreover, 233 jobs would be saved altogether as no stores would close, limiting total job loss to around 1,000. Those are still necessary as the company's headquarters will be made more efficient and a number of hypermarkets made smaller. Employees who decide to leave voluntarily will receive a handsome bonus, while those who stay can count of an assured employment of 4.5 years. 

     

    However, one measure is still threatening the agreement: the clause that employees can go on an early retirement from the age of 56, still granting them 95 % of their former wages. The Belgian government has to agree to such measures though, as they are quite costly for its budget. Flemish nationalist party NV-A stated that Minister for Work Kris Peeters should not give his permission to a measure that "gives such a wrong signal" to everyone who has to work longer and to companies who are looking for new staff. 

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