For many retailers around the world, the outbreak has been a “catastrophe”.
Most retailers had to close offline stores due to the requirements of epidemic prevention, and the reduction in the frequency of consumer traveling led to a reduction in spending on non-essential items.
On the other hand, as consumers buy more goods online, the e-commerce and logistics industries have gained new opportunities, and innovative retail business models such as live-streaming e-commerce, fresh food e-commerce, and community group buying have developed rapidly.
In the past two years, the traditional supply chain has been greatly challenged, and it has also ushered in the opportunity to accelerate the change.
Research and observation from the financial report data of global retailers and their actions may be able to predict new changes and new trends that may occur in the global retail industry in the context of the normality of global epidemic control.
Let’s take a look at the changes in the top 10 global retailers under the epidemic.
Accelerated divesting majority overseas stakes
Over the past two years, Walmart has accelerated its strategy of divesting majority stakes in overseas operations.
In August 2018, 80% of the shares in the Brazilian market were sold to Advent International; the Indian e-commerce group Flipkart was acquired in August.
A planned sale of supermarket chain Asda to Sainsbury’s in 2019 was abandoned due to an antitrust deal, but in February 2021, Walmart sold a majority stake in Asda to a convenience store operator for £6.8bn. The main founders of EG Group are the Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital. Walmart will retain its equity investment in Asda and take a board seat.
In November 2020, Walmart sold its Argentina operations to Grupo de Narváez.
In March 2021, it sold a majority stake in Japan’s wholly-owned subsidiary Seiyu Supermarket to investment firm KKR and e-commerce company Rakuten, retaining only 15% of the company.
Expand the strategic layout of omni-channel
Launched multiple delivery/pickup in-store programs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and China, and announced participation in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program.
In September 2020, the company launched Walmart+, a new membership program that includes unlimited free shipping, fuel discounts, and convenience tools for home shopping.
In the same month, it also announced a preliminary agreement to purchase a 7.5% stake in TikTok Global and signed a commercial agreement to provide TikTok Global with e-commerce, logistics, payment, and other omni-channel services, but due to the Biden administration’s security concerns about Chinese technology companies, the agreement was put on hold in 2021.
Amazon did not make any retail business acquisitions in fiscal 2019. But there was a $315 million investment in customer service optimization.
Amazon continues to invest in its Prime membership program and delivery, with more than 150 million paid Prime members worldwide as of the end of 2021. Brazil has seen the fastest growth in paid Prime memberships since its launch in September 2019.
Amazon Fresh Delivery for $14.99 a month is now a free perk for Prime members. Members in more than 2,000 U.S. cities and towns get free two-hour grocery delivery, and grocery orders at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market more than doubled in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.
In fiscal 2019, a total of 16 U.S. warehouse clubs and 4 international warehouse clubs were added (including the first warehouse club opened in China).
In March 2020, Costco completed the $1 billion acquisition of Transform Holdco (Sears/Kmart) intralogistics company Innovel Solutions. As a logistics solutions provider, Innovel provides “final mile” delivery, installation and “white glove” services for bulky items in the United States and Puerto Rico.
As of fiscal 2019, it had 12,500 stores in 33 countries.
A loyalty program, the Lidl Plus shopping app, was launched in 2019 and launched in its tenth market, Ireland, in July.
In October 2020, it abandoned plans to enter the UK online grocery market, closing Lidl’s digital logistics division, which was established in 2018.
In June 2020, Schwarz Group acquired the German e-commerce platform real.de to provide online services to complement its traditional brick-and-mortar supermarket business in Kaufland.
Kaufland operates around 1,300 stores in Europe and announced its exit from the Australian market in 2020.
Outside the retail sector, it is developing its own cloud service platform, Stackit. In May 2020, it acquired Camao IDC, a software franchise, and plans to expand its IT services to external customers in 2021.
In June 2018, it acquired Home Chef, a food package delivery service company.
Sold its convenience store business unit to EG Group for $2.15 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
In 2019, it spun off its investment in natural-foods retailer Lucky’s Market, which filed for bankruptcy protection soon after.
The sale of the non-retail businesses You Technology and Turkey Hill Dairy was also completed in the same year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance
In November 2020, the company and McKesson announced the completion of a joint venture project to merge their respective wholesale businesses in Germany, Alliance Healthcare Deutschland and GEHE Pharma Handel, with Walgreens Boots Alliance holding a 70% controlling stake.
In 2021, the company announced the sale of the bulk of Alliance Healthcare’s wholesale distribution business to pharmaceutical wholesaler Amerisource Bergen for $6.5 billion, while continuing to execute the two companies’ strategic distribution agreement.
In July 2020, it invested $1 billion in its partner Village MD to open 500 to 700 physician-staffed clinics within its U.S. pharmacies over the next 5 years.
In December 2020, Home Depot completed the $8 billion acquisition of former subsidiary HD Supply Holdings, Inc., a leading wholesale distributor of maintenance, repair and operation products in North America.
The 11,235 discount stores opened in 19 countries belong to two companies, Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord. The two companies now share a co-branded credit card service provider and may consider a merger in 2022. The IT system is currently being adjusted; By the end of 2020, most of the private labels in both product lines should be the same.
Apart from its partnership with Instacart in the US and the establishment of Special Buys, a portal for wine sales and non-food deals in the UK, Aldi has historically made little investment in e-commerce.
In September 2020, Aldi Süd switched to online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. The company has launched a click-and-collect pilot project for online purchases, and plans to achieve a project promotion rate of about 25% in 900 stores nationwide by the end of the year.
Aldi is also working with on-demand delivery service Deliveroo to roll out the trial to around 130 stores in the UK. The service allows customers to order nearly 400 Aldi products through the Deliveroo app.
In 2021, Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord announced another major decision to jointly expand their previously independent local market e-commerce activities. The two companies will each hold a 50% stake in the new joint venture Aldi E-Commerce Verwaltungs GmbH.
Of the top 10, only CVS Health and Kroger have no overseas retail business. CVS sold its Brazilian subsidiary DLogaria Onofre to Brazilian company Raia DRogasil in July 2019.
Streamlined and optimized 545 hypermarkets, closed 28 stores, and completed the transition to two models (compact hypermarkets and supermarkets) in Poland.
In Asia, the company’s operations in Thailand and Malaysia saw strong growth in profitability.
In June 2020, it agreed to sell its Polish business to Salling Group, with the transaction expected to close in spring 2021.
In December 2020, sold its Asian business (nearly 2,000 supermarkets in Thailand and 74 supermarkets in Malaysia) to the CP Group (Charoen Pokphand Group) entity for US$10.3 billion.
Jack’s, a new discount store launched in the UK in 2018 to compete with Aldi and Lidl, has grown very slowly, with just 12 stores open as of fiscal 2019.
In March 2020, the ‘Aldi Price Match‘ campaign was launched across the UK’s major store network to price match hundreds of Tesco and branded products with Aldi.