ESM's Top Retail Stories Of 2017
As 2017 comes to a close, ESM – The European Supermarket Magazine is looking back on some of the top stories that made headlines this year.
It was a busy twelve months in the world of retail, with mergers and acquisitions that have shaken the industry on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as expansion plans, closures, personnel changes, and new innovations and trends.
In June, online retail giant Amazon stunned investors and analysts with its $13.7 billion purchase of organic grocer Whole Foods – a deal that firmly plants Jeff Bezos’s firm into the bricks-and-mortar space. Here's what the analysts had to say about the acquisition.
Meanwhile, closer to home, UK supermarket giant Tesco made waves when the company announced its intention to buy wholesale company Booker in January. However, the £3.7 billion deal was subject to an in-depth investigation from the country's Competition and Markets Authority, and the two parties were only given final approval to proceed last week. Analysts say that the merger could lead to a 'revolution in the convenience market'.
Elsewhere across Europe, Carrefour signed a purchasing agreement with electronics retailer Fnac Darty, Spain's DIA has expanded its joint venture with Groupe Casino, and online grocer Ocado also signed a partnership with Casino, which will see it develop a ‘scalable, modular end-to-end solution’ to help support the French operator’s online channels.
New deals and acquisitions were also big business in the world of brands this year.
Consumer goods giant Unilever announced ten new acquisitions during 2017, including its purchase of Starbucks' Tazo Tea, as well as Pukka Herbs, Sir Kensington's condiments, Brazilian organic food business Mae Terra, personal care company Sundial Brands, deodorant brand Schmidt's Naturals, and cosmetics company Carver Korea.
However, the company also made a significant divestment this year. Earlier this month, the group agreed to sell its margarine and spreads business to KKR & Co. for €6.83 billion, ridding the Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods giant of one of its worst-performing units as it focuses on faster-growing food and personal-care niches.
Elsewhere, McCormick agreed to acquire Reckitt Benckiser Group’s food business for $4.2 billion, Nestlé announced plans to acquire vitamin-maker Atrium Innovations, Ferrero purchased US confectionery company Ferrara, Campbell Soup Company is set to acquire Snyder's-Lance, while Hershey is snapping up Amplify Snack Brands, and last week Raisio announced that it is selling its confectionery business to Valeo Foods in a €100m deal.
Meanwhile, in the packaging world, Netherlands-based drinks bottler Refresco reached a conditional agreement with a consortium of PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation for a €1.62 billion takeover.
Movers and Shakers
There were also a number of significant leadership changes this year. In July, French retailer Carrefour confirmed that Fnac Darty chief executive Alexandre Bompard was set to succeed Georges Plassat as chairman and CEO of the company.
Carrefour also announced the creation of a new group executive committee, comprised of existing managers from the group as well as external appointments to bring complementary expertise.
Elsewhere, Ahold Delhaize established a new company for its American operations, Ahold Delhaize USA, and appointed Kevin Holt as the unit's new CEO.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company announced that Zoran Bogdanovic is set to lead the company following the death of CEO Dimitris Lois; UK supermarket Asda announced that Roger Burnley, its deputy chief executive, will take over as CEO of the business in January; Moët Hennessy named Philippe Schaus as its new CEO; the former CEO of Lidl's Danish operations, Finn Tang, was named as the new head of rival discount retailer Aldi Danmark; Coop Sweden appointed Magnus Johansson as its CEO; General Mills elected Jeff Harmening as its new chief executive; and Dirk Van de Put, president and CEO of McCain Foods, became the new chief of Mondelēz International, succeeding Irene Rosenfeld.
In July, investor Nelson Peltz announced his intentions to win a board seat at Procter & Gamble, saying the consumer-products company’s stock has underperformed peers because of P&G’s “slow-moving and insular culture". Peltz was finally named to the company's board earlier this month, following a long proxy battle.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.