l Japan: Arcs has become the second-biggest supermarket chain in Japan after acquiring rival Universe. Universe will become a wholly owned subsidiary in October through a stock swap. The deal will create a chain with 247 stores and sales of 400 billion yen. "We can continue expanding if two companies that are doing well combine," said Arcs president Kiyoshi Yokoyama.

l Brazil: French retail giants Casino and Carrefour are battling for control of Brazilian supermarket chain CBD. Casino co-controls CBD through a longstanding joint venture but this week Carrefour said it was considering a proposal to merge its Brazilian operations with CBD. Casino retaliated by raising its stake in CBD to 43.1%, a move that it said showed "commitment to Brazil and to CBD" (see The Top 50 Global Retailers, pp36-41).

l US: Supermarket chains Kroger and Safeway have suspended purchases from Iowa Select Farms amid claims of animal cruelty. Animal welfare group Mercy for Animals released a video which appears to show the pig farm's workers throwing piglets and castrating and clipping tails without painkillers. Iowa Select said it was investigating and had "zero tolerance for violations of animal welfare policies".

l Campbell Soup Company is to exit the Russian market as part of a series of initiatives to improve supply chain efficiency and reduce overhead costs, generating annual savings of around $60m, but affecting 770 jobs. It will also automate packing operations at its biscuit plant in Virginia, Australia; move production of soups from Paris, Texas to Napoleon, Ohio and Maxton, NC; and close its plant in Marshall, Mich. "While a workforce reduction is always a very difficult decision, these actions will streamline our organisation," said COO Denise Morrison.

l Pakistan: Food exports in Pakistan increased by almost $1bn between July 2010 and May 2011 to $3.9bn. Analysts said that the increase was down to higher prices rather than increased volumes. Food is now Pakistan's second-biggest export sector after textiles.