By Ajay Chhibber, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations
More than 1,000 people have died so far in the tragic collapse of the Bangladesh textile factory, making it the second most deadly industrial accident in history after the gas leak in the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. The Bangladesh textile story is often cited as a great success of globalisation and one of the reasons for the progress Bangladesh has made in the last two decades. But the building collapse has also revealed the ugly side of doing business in the developing world: minimal regulations and standards. How many more such tragedies do we need before we come up with a better model of capitalism? Continue reading »
The shape of pharmacies to come?
Mexico’s revamped retail industry has seen its greatest transformation at the level of mom-and-pop stores: where disorganized, dingy and poorly-supplied grocery stores were once common in metropolitan areas, there are now brightly-lit, well-stocked and strategically located convenience stores.
Now another retail segment faces a similar revolution: pharmacies. And the company likely to lead this turmoil is, again, Fomento Económico Mexicano, or Femsa. Continue reading »
Africa is on the verge of a supermarket boom thanks to the (comparatively) freewheeling spending habits of its citizens and spending on food.
But any retailer or producer thinking about Africa may be too late – the investment and deals are already underway, according to Mohit Arora, director of agricultural banking at Standard Bank. Continue reading »
By Ifty Islam of Asian Tiger Capital Partners
The collapse of Rana Plaza, the eight-storey building housing garment factories in Savar, near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has seen more than 300 killed and over 1200 injured, with many hundreds still missing.
Coming only five months after 111 deaths in an earlier factory fire, the overwhelming sentiment in Bangladesh has gone from shock to moral outrage about the scant regard for human life among the factory owners. There have been violent protests across Dhaka by thousands of enraged garment factory workers. Continue reading »
The biggest domestic M&A deal in Thai history – a $6.6bn takeover by convenience store giant CP All of Siam Makro, a cash-and-carry bulk retailer with just 62 outlets in Thailand – made headlines on Tuesday.
But as one analyst asked on Wednesday, who is kidding who? Continue reading »
With the largest tumble in gold in three decades, the shares of Hong Kong’s three biggest jewellery retailers fell sharply this week, despite a rush of customers wanting to take advantage of lower bullion prices.
Investors were clearly more interested in the impact of lower gold prices on the stores’ margins than in the potential benefits of the surge in sales. Continue reading »
Wow. We knew Chinese babies were guzzling back so much foreign-made formula that British and supermarkets had to impose rationing. Now it appears their parents are handing over cans of stuff as gifts at Chinese new year, rather than the more traditional – and surely welcome – bottles of Scotch and Cognac. Continue reading »
Is the recent spate of bullish expansion announcements from Thailand’s supermarket chains just a bit of retailer one-upmanship, or an indication of serious corporate intentions?
Given the intense competition driven by emerging Thai consumers, it may well be the latter – and there has been a recent frenzy of capital investment by retailers to back it up. Continue reading »
A long-running spat between Turkey’s Sabanci and retail partner Carrefour has taken another downward turn: Haluk Dincer, head of Sabanci Retail and Insurance, says the group has lost patience with its French counterpart and that if it can’t get what it wants, it is ready to take legal action.
Serious stuff – though it hardly comes as a surprise. Continue reading »
What looked like the bottom may have turned out to simply be a ledge as new data shows that the Polish economy is still sinking, with retail sales coming in below expectations and unemployment continuing to rise.
Retail sales in February contracted by an annual 0.8 per cent, far below consensus of a 0.4 per cent increase, largely due to a slump in car and fuel sales. Retail sales rose by 3.1 per cent in January, an unexpected result that now seems to be a one-off. Continue reading »
Had its good intentions been realised, the Arab spring would have been a magnet for foreign direct investment. Sadly, the instability that has followed the ousting of some of the region’s most notorious dictators has had the opposite effect, scaring away new entrants and making many foreign businesses with a foothold put their expansion plans on hold.
Which makes the news that BIM, a Turkish discount supermarket giant, is planning a rapid expansion into Egypt all the more significant. Continue reading »
If there is one thing that China’s smaller cities do not lack, it’s sportswear stores. The average fourth-, fifth- and sixth-tier Chinese city – everyone defines their tiers differently – has a high street with multiple Chinese sportswear retailers lined up in a row. Do these towns really need more running shoes?
Adidas certainly thinks so and its latest greater China sales – up 15 per cent in 2012 – seem to indicate that it’s right. The German sportswear brand, currently number two by sales behind Nike, has expanded into 350 more Chinese cities in the past 18 months, to 900 in total. Of the 800 stores opened last year, 400 were in lower-tier cities. The goal is to have 1,400 cities buying Adidas by 2015. Continue reading »
South Korean companies are facing growing public pressure to convert contract workers to permanent staff amid increasing calls for a so-called “economic democratisation,” which is likely to improve workers’ conditions at the price of increasing employers’ costs.
The latest response to this pressure came from E-Mart, the country’s biggest supermarket chain, which said last week it would convert 10,000 temporary salespeople to regular staff from April 1. Continue reading »
After all the hot air surrounding the appointment of the Orbán-loyalist György Matolcsy as central bank governor, here’s a dash of cold water - a 4.1 per cent plunge in seasonally-adjusted retail sales in January, bigger even than the 3.7 per cent forecast.
That’s nine months in a row of decline and a stark reminder of the dire state of the economy, as it struggles with stagnation, heavy foreign currency denominated debt and investor concerns about prime minister Viktor Orbán’s unpredictable economic policies. Continue reading »
The war of the supermarket titans is back on.
Abilio Diniz, the chairman and former owner of Brazil’s biggest retailer, Pão de Açúcar, put out a statement on Tuesday accusing France’s Casino of “abusing its power” as the group’s new controller.
The latest source of contention between Diniz and Casino’s chief executive and key shareholder, Jean-Charles Naouri, is simple. Diniz plans to take on the role of chairman of Brasil Foods, the world’s largest poultry exporter, while remaining chairman of Pão de Açúcar. Naouri claims this presents a conflict of interest. Continue reading »