1. Walmart beats analyst expectations for Q4
Walmart reported strong fourth quarter results earlier today. Comparable sales rose 4.2% in Q4 2018 as against consensus estimates of 3.3%. Total revenue was up to $138.8 Billion, slightly grazing past analyst projections of $138.7 Billion and adjusted EPS came in at $1.41, ahead of the projected $1.33. The company’s eCommerce sales rose 21% (YoY) and its US eCommerce sales grew 43% (YoY) in the fourth quarter. CEO Doug McMillon was quoted as saying “Our commitment to the customer is clear — we’ll be there when, where and how they want to shop and deliver new, convenient experiences that are uniquely Walmart,”
2. Juul targets UK convenience stores
US Vaping brand Juul has announced that it plans to launch in UK convenience stores by mid-March. According to an article on Talking Retail, Juul Labs UK will be investing in a dedicated field resource team for this channel, who will provide retailers with stock, POS, insight and category advice. The brand reportedly first launched in the UK through specialist vaping stores and then through Sainsbury’s. It is now seeing the convenience store market as a key market to improve the lives of 7.4 million adult smokers.
3. IKEA looks to go omnichannel in India
IKEA announced that it plans to have an omnichannel presence in India going forward. According to a report, IKEA’s India CEO Peter Betzel was quoted as saying that IKEA plans to have three formats of stores – big stores, online and smaller stores in India. It opened its first big store in Hyderabad, India in 2018 and has planned to open another 24 such outlets by 2025. Its online presence will be based in Mumbai, where it will expand to the smaller stores category.
4. Amazon Australia launches click-and-collect
Amazon has partnered with after-hours logistics solution provider ParcelPoint to give shoppers access to over 1,300 locations comprising petrol stations, shopping centers, and pharmacies to pick up their orders. This is the first delivery solution that Amazon has launched in Australia, since launching its two-day delivery for Prime members in 2018. Customers can now take advantage of this delivery solution and pick up their orders at an Amazon pick-up location and drop-off items – for returns – at one of ParcelPoint’s drop off locations that are convenient to them.
5. Amazon’s potential China merger – Should Alibaba be worried?
Talks are reportedly underway to merge Amazon’s Chinese unit with NetEase-owned-Kaola, the largest Chinese eCommerce platform for imports. Kaola imports at least 5000 brands from over 80 countries, largely bought directly from overseas manufacturers. Next in line to Kaola are Alibaba’s Tmall Global and JD Worldwide. The merger talks come at an interesting time when Amazon has struck a deal with Western Union to cater to unbanked shoppers across Asia.