Germany: A weak start to Christmas trading has prompted Metro Group to issue a profits warning. It now expects both full-year sales and pre-tax profits to be slightly lower rather than in line with last year’s figures of €67.3bn and €2.4bn. Metro CEO Eckhard Cordes said that despite earlier optimism Christmas business was failing to grow compared with last year.
India: The Indian government has reversed a decision to open up its $400bn retail market to foreign companies. After a week of widespread protests, the government pulled the plug on a plan that would have given the likes of Walmart the right to majority ownership of domestic retailers. The plan has been “suspended until a consensus is developed through consultations among stakeholders”.
Thailand: Tesco claims to have opened the first zero-carbon hypermarket in Asia. The Tesco Lotus in Bang Pra, Thailand, features green technologies including a wind turbine, hydro-carbon powered fridges and low-wattage LED lighting. “It’s particularly fitting that the first carbon-neutral store in Asia opened in Thailand as it is home to the first Tesco ‘environment’ store, which opened in 2004,” said group climate change director, Helen Fleming. Tesco’s goal is to become a carbon-neutral business by 2050.
Germany: R&R Ice Cream has agreed to buy German manufacturer Durigon Gelato, having snapped up French ice cream company Pilpa in September. Durigon had sales of €20m in 2010 and makes ice cream tubs from 200ml to 5000ml for the own-label market in EU markets. UK-based R&R plans to invest in the Durigon factory and grow the own-label business in Germany.
US: Self-service tills at the Lucky supermarket chain have been hit by fraudsters who fitted a device to steal the debit card details of customers and then make withdrawals from their bank accounts. A spokesman for Lucky said it appeared that the device transmitted customers’ financial data via Bluetooth to the thieves outside the store. Police in California have received more than 110 complaints of fraud, including one person who had $3,000 stolen from their account.