In the retail industry, the gap between winners and losers is still widening. Just 25 front-runners have captured more than 90 % of global growth in market capitalisation, as financial markets are rewarding retailers who are best armed for the post-corona era. Who are they?
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Despite a sharp increase in turnover, Alibaba has recorded its first loss in nine years. The reason being, the Chinese government imposed a record-breaking fine on the e-commerce company for monopoly practices at the end of last year.
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Since the corona pandemic, e-commerce has been an absolute top priority for food retailers, but the profitability of online shopping remains a major challenge. McKinsey defines three conditions for a successful digital transformation.
In an increasingly digital world, retailers need to rethink how they fill their square metres of selling space. "Innovation in retail is not limited developing a new store concept, it's about adopting a shopper-driven philosophy."
China has imposed a fine equivalent to 2.3 billion euro on online shopping giant Alibaba for monopoly practices. In December, the Chinese competition watchdog launched an investigation into the empire of billionaire Jack Ma.
The Chinese government has had enough of the unbridled power of its technology giants. After heavy interventions and a billion-dollar fine for e-commerce giant Alibaba, it would also be Tencent's turn. Now, both rivals are forced to seek rapprochement between each other.
During the corona crisis, luxury department stores proved surprisingly agile. Now they need to become stronger brands, by focusing on new services and storytelling. "Digital is a tool, not a goal," says Selvane Mohandas of sector organisation IADS.
Following Amazon, Alibaba has also announced record sales: in the past quarter, e-commerce sales grew by 38 per cent, thanks to the Singles Day shopping frenzy. However, the Chinese government casts a dark shadow.
Is it a fulfilment centre or a store? The future will be all about a mixture of the two: hybrid shops. The Covid-19 pandemic has given stores a new purpose, notes real estate player CBRE.
What does 2020 teach us about the future of retail? There will be a wave of consolidation to face up to "monster ecosystems", believes Marc-André Kamel, head of the global retail department of consultant Bain & Co.
California has given the go-ahead for a commercial delivery service with self-driving vehicles. Robotics start-up Nuro plans to start deliveries as early as next year, without a driver.
Ant Group, Alibaba's sister company, was nearly carved up by the Chinese authorities: the creator of AliPay is forced to restructure its operations. China is the first country to do what experts have been advocating for years: curbing the power of technology giants.
The Chinese government is opening an investigation into Alibaba (AliExpress, Tmall) to see whether the e-commerce giant is abusing its dominant position. Is the Internet empire, which the government itself created, becoming too powerful?
On Monday, Gucci launched its first online flagship store on Alibaba Group's Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform. Early next year, the Italian fashion company will open a second online store.
When it comes to digitisation, the Chinese are well ahead of the West. The Chinese are also one step ahead when it comes to containing the coronavirus. It is no surprise then that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has a few tips ready for 2021.
Singles Day, the yearly bargain festival of Chinese web shop Alibaba, has once again become a great commercial success. A total of 498 billion yuan (almost 64 billion euros) worth of goods were traded.