This week in FMCG

Woolies self serviceQuite a roller coaster week it has been in the Australian FMCG industry.

Shoppers were stranded at a supermarket giant due to a technical glitch; A pharmaceutical giant has announced plans to acquire to boost retail operations; Dairy giants’ acquisition deal got a greenlight; Sheep deaths led to industry reform; Liquor giant workers went on strike again; Convenience store chain bagged top international award; Coffee giant announced plans to shut down US cafes to re-train employees on racism and a multinational giant reported pharmaceutical deal and strong sales growth.

Shoppers stranded after Woolies IT glitch

Woolworths’ shoppers had to abandon their trolleys this week when they grocery had to do an IT update after a technical glitch hit about half of its 995 Australian stores and attached BWS liquor outlets for about 30 minutes. Registers came back online at 4.30pm. AAP reported Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said “this type of incident should not occur and we apologise unreservedly to our customers and store teams for the inconvenience caused.”

Priceline announced its searching for acquisitions to expand further

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) has announced its plans to acquire to boost its retail operations. API which operates Priceline health and beauty stores, and supplies Priceline, Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice pharmacies said it will continue to open more stores despite challenging consumer sentiment. Chief executive Richard Vincent said the company is looking for modest acquisitions that it can readily fund, and which will enhance the group’s retail operations.

FIRB approved Murray Goulburn, Saputo deal

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has given a stamp of approval with the sale of Australian dairy processor Murray Goulburn to Canadian dairy giant Saputo $1.3 billion takeover. AAP said both companies hope to have the deal finalised by May 1.

Sheep deaths outcry prompts reforms

Australia’s live animal exporters have agreed to ensure the welfare of animals, after the controversial deaths of about 2400 sheep en route to the Middle East. AAP reported Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council voted to support the establishment of independent observers to travel on voyages to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer this year.

Third strike at XXXX Brisbane brewery

Workers left the XXXX Brisbane brewery last Wednesday and held a third strike. It came after an ongoing enterprise bargaining negotiations with management and the union claimed beer production could move away from Queensland, which was rejected by XXXX management, according to AAP. We’ll keep track of the brewing news next week.

7-Eleven’s Slurpee won international ‘Shorty Award’

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven Australia’s Slurpee has won an international social media ‘Shorty Award’ for the second year in a row. The ‘Slurpee tap of war’ campaign was recognised abroad. 7-Eleven head of Brand and Communications, Jess Richmond, said the campaign gained “almost 400,000 total taps, more than 4.5 taps per second. We had an average of six rematches per player, and lots of player sharing on social media from a completely organic campaign, not supported by spend.”

Starbucks cafes to shut down for racial training

Starbucks announced it will close down 8,000 company-owned US cafes on May 29 so 175,000 employees can undergo racial tolerance training. It came after people protested and called for boycotts after the arrest of two black men waiting in a Philadelphia store.

AAP said Starbucks’ new chief executive Kevin Johnson has apologised for the recent event. He was already fighting to boost traffic to Starbucks amid competition from coffee sellers ranging from hipster cafes to fast-food chains and convenience stores. The 8,000 temporary store closures will almost certainly have an impact on sales. Starbucks did not confirm how many hours the stores would be shut down on May 29, but the afternoon is the slowest time for Starbucks’ business. A controversial week for the coffee store giant.

Procter & Gamble reported flat Q3 profit, Merck deal

Global giant Procter & Gamble has reported flat fiscal third-quarter profit as it faces increased competition for consumer products such as shaving cream and household goods. The company also said it is paying $US4.2 billion ($A5.4 billion) for Merck KGaA’s consumer health unit, adding products and geographic reach. AAP reported products include nutritional supplements for pregnant women, cod liver oil capsules and back pain balm.

That’s it for now this week in the FMCG world. We’ll be back again on Monday morning to report the latest industry news. Have a great weekend!

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