COVID-19 latest news from Asia-Pacific

04 May 2021
India’s second wave of COVID-19 infections continue to worsen, with no signs of slowing down.  The country’s overwhelmed healthcare system faces a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccines.  This has prompted another round of movement restrictions, with shorter operating hours even for grocery operators and other essential services.  And as more frontline workers report unwell, re...
29 April 2021
Shopping malls will reduce operating hours in 18 high-risk provinces. The context After a year of relatively minor outbreaks, Thailand is recording its biggest and fastest spread of COVID-19. The number of cases has increased to 61,699, doubling the number since the start of April. There are 178 fatalities. The Thai government has yet to start mass vaccinations. New hours will take effec...
10 March 2021
Monthly data updates from 7-Eleven, Lawson and Ministop, focusing on sales, customer footfall and average customer spend in Japan.    Japan’s convenience channel shrinking For the fiscal year ending February 2021, all stores sales fell -2.8% at 7-Eleven, -8% at Lawson and -7.4% year-on-year (YoY) at Ministop. Driving differentiation and defining the role of the convenience store hav...
10 November 2020
Monthly data updates from the three largest convenience chains in the world, 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson, focusing on sales, customer footfall and average customer spend in Japan.  FamilyMart post positive monthly all store sales, but only due to new stores For October, FamilyMart posted positive monthly all store sales for the first time this fiscal year. However, this was due to the r...
06 November 2020
We round up the latest developments leading to the 11.11, the largest online Global Shopping Festival. Highlights from 1 - 3 November The first parcel was delivered within 11 minutes to a customer in Wuhou District in Chengdu 100 brands topped gross merchandise volume of CNY100m in 111 minutes after sales officially began. They include Nike, Adidas, Apple, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Xiaom...
06 November 2020
A global strategic partnership between Alibaba, Richemont and Farfetch will provide brands improved access to China’s luxury market. Partnerships expanding the ecosystem Farfetch will launch on Alibaba Group’s Luxury Platforms in China, e.g. Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion and Luxury Soho platforms as well as cross-border marketplace Tmall Global. Alibaba and Richemont will invest US$500m i...
06 November 2020
Alibaba Group has released its Q2 results for the three months ending 30th September. Revenue increased 30% to CNY155.1bn (US$22.8bn) YoY. Growth slowing, but still relatively strong   The number of annual active customers on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces increased by 15m to reach 757m. Mobile MAU’s reached 881m at the end of September. Ahead of the retailer's 12th annual shopping eve...
20 October 2020
Last week, Alibaba Group President Michael Evans joined NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay to discuss Alibaba’s response to COVID-19, and how the pandemic has altered the retail landscape in both the short term and long term. We share some of the key highlights. What has been the journey for Alibaba and its merchants since Feb 2020? Alibaba has been adjusting the business to respond to the ...
14 October 2020
Japan's four largest retailers, Seven & i Holdings, Aeon, FamilyMart and Lawson, have posted their H1 results for the six months from March 1 to August 31, 2020. Summary and our view The big four’s H1 results continue to show the negative impact of COVID-19 has had on convenience retailing in Japan. Average spending per customer at convenience stores has increased, but this has not been eno...
14 October 2020
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) is planning to open 100 automated convenience stores over the next four years. Expansion of cashless stores Following the outbreak of COVID-19, plans to expand JR East’s unstaffed convenience store concept have accelerated. The company launched the first cashless NewDays convenience store at its Musashisakai Station (Tokyo) last year. In March, it then lau...
09 October 2020
Alibaba is set to acquire a stake of around 10% in travel duty-free company Dufry. New Retail and digital transformation Full details of the deal have not yet been disclosed. It would, include, however, a new joint venture setup (51% owned by Alibaba and 49% by Dufry). As part of the JV, Dufry will contribute its existing travel retail business in China. Dufry is the world’s largest duty...
25 August 2020
Grab and Unilever will collaborate to protect Grab drivers and riders, connect small business retailers to online channel and dispatch products to retailers using GrabExpress drivers. GrabProtect through Unilever products Unilever will be equipping vehicles in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines with Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and Cif disinfectant sprays, at no cost to driver-partners or...
18 August 2020
Central Retail Corporation reports a total Q2 revenue of THB41,376m (US$1,327m) and a net loss of THB2,519m (US$81m), driven mainly by government measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Store closures in non-food segment The main decline came from the fashion segment with revenues falling by 47.6% year-on-year due to government measures to close stores in Thailand and Italy. Revenue from...
18 August 2020
BJC’s consolidated revenue for Q2 2020 reached THB38,604 (US$1,239m), declining by 13.2% due to lower sales across most of its segments except healthcare. Grocery retail segment was also adversely impacted due to COVID-19 measures. Grocery retail sales decreased by 11.7% BJC recorded sales of THB25,698m for its grocery retail business, a drop of THB3,292m (US$106m) or -11.7%. Same-store-sal...
06 August 2020
The world's largest international health and beauty retailer, A.S. Watson, has posted its results for the first half ending 30 June 2020. COVID-19 severely impacts H1 revenue A.S. Watson's retail division is split into five subdivisions, Healthy & Beauty Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, Asia and Other Retail Total retail revenue fell -11% to HKD73.6bn (US$9.5bn) In local curr...
30 July 2020
Dairy Farm has released its H1 results for the six months ended 30 June. Consolidated sales including 100% of associates and joint venture increased 6% to US$14,547m, but subsidiary sales fell 9% to US$5,240m. Overall performance mixed Sales by the Group’s subsidiaries fell mainly due to the annualised impact of the stores closures in 2019 under the Group’s space optimisation plan in Southe...
29 July 2020
McDonalds announced results for the second quarter 2020 ended 30 June 2020, the period when global COVID-19 restrictions had most impact on store trading. Summary As of 30 June 2020, nearly all McDonald’s restaurants around the world were open to serve customers Total revenue fell from US$5,409.8m in 2019 to US$3,761m in 2020 Systemwide sales decreased 24% Operating income decli...
23 July 2020
Pre-COVID, food-to-go was the hero of the food and drink market - growing at twice the rate of the grocery retail with high levels of dynamism and innovative thinking from retailers and specialist operators. However, as lockdown restrictions rolled out across country after country, consumers’ daily routines changed overnight.  Coffee shops and takeaways in cities, transport hubs and shop...
17 July 2020
A.S. Watson is introducing Watsons GO contactless payment system in Watsons stores in Hong Kong and Singapore. Digital initiatives accelerated by COVID-19 Watsons GO was recently launched in Hong Kong, allowing customers to scan the bar code of a product with the Watsons mobile app and pay for it directly through Alipay HK. Watsons GO payment system was originally scheduled for release at t...
13 July 2020
AEON has provided new ways for shoppers to buy their groceries during the lockdown period due to COVID-19 in Malaysia. Its latest initative is to launch a new supermarket online service on 14 July 2020. New online grocery shopping platform AEON is launching its own online grocery platform at https://fresh.myaeon.com.my . The service provides delivery within 30 minutes of its fulfilment cen...