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For Now, Aldi Is Top Dog In The Discount Retail Grocery Biz

Retail grocery analyst Planet Retail expects German food discounter Lidl to grow more robustly than competitor Aldi in the coming years, but it will not unseat Aldi as the global number one in discount food sales. Aldi’s sales in 2017 – including Aldi Nord and Süd – will total €83.3 billion ($89 billion), compared to Lidl’s €76 billion. But Lidl will catch up over the next five years. By 2022, both chains will be doing about €105 billion. The leveling out will take longer, Planet Retail says, because of Aldi’s strong, and growing, presence in the U.S., where Lidle is also beginning to establish roots. [ Image credit: © Aldi  ]

"Aldi remains the number one worldwide discount store", FreshPlaza, April 20, 2017

Unilever Posts Strong Revenue Gains In First Quarter Of 2017

Unilever PLC reported revenue jumped 6.1 percent to €13.3 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter in 2016. According to the company, underlying sales rose 2.9 percent, higher than analyst forecasts of 2 percent. Underlying sales in emerging markets increased 6.1 percent, with price up 5.3 percent and volume 0.8 percent higher. Unilever said it has increased its quarterly dividend by 12 percent to €0.3585 per share.

"Unilever Trading Statement First Quarter 2017", Unilever, April 20, 2017

Post Sees Wheetabix Acquisition As Vehicle To Expand Overseas

Breakfast cereal maker Post Holdings expects its acquisition of the iconic British breakfast food Wheetabix to expand its presence in the U.K. and other international markets, including China. The $1.76 billion purchase is the latest in a series of buys the company hopes will balance the slack growth environment prevailing in the packaged foods industry. Post is acquiring Weetabix from Bright Food Group Co., a Chinese conglomerate, and from minority shareholder Baring Private Equity Asia. Bright has owned 60 percent of Weetabix since 2012, when Wheetabix was valued at $1.5 billion (including debt). Baring has owned the other 40 percent since 2015. Post has agreed in principle to create a joint venture with Bright and Baring to manage ...  More

"Post Buying Weetabix in $1.76 Billion Deal", The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2017

Overhaul Of Beverage Program Is Key To McDonald’s Turnaround Plan

In an effort to boost customer transactions it has lost since 2012 – a total of 500 million since it retired the dollar menu – McDonald’s is gradually revamping its drink offerings, beginning with a market test in the Midwest and South. The company has introduced a line of slushies made with Minute Maid orange juice, including one flavor, cherry limeade, that is a direct assault on a hallmark offering of competitor Sonic. The McDonald’s slushies test will involve 6,000 restaurants. The company is also overhauling its McCafe program – cheaper prices, new flavors – to grab coffee-loving customers away from rivals like Starbucks.  [ Image credit: © McDonald's  ]

"McDonald's Launches Line of Slushies in Midwest and South", Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2017

Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

One hundred Starbucks stores in Chicago are testing the new Mercato lunch menu targeted at diners looking for a vegetarian, protein-based lunch. The new menu items include salads, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit. Salad options, available at $8 or $9, include za'atar (Mediterranean spice blend) chicken and lemon tahini, green goddess avocado, seared steak and mango, and turkey and fire-roasted corn. Sandwiches ($5 to $8) include a Cuban, a burrata and basil pesto, and an almond butter with strawberries and jam. If the new lunch items are successful, the menu will roll out nationally. [ Seared steak, mango salad, image credit: © Starbucks  ]

"Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017

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