Retail Insights from Retail & Tech No 27

Retail news and trends to watch out for


  • The Hainan hotspot. Travel retailers are flocking to build business in the Chinese island resort of Hainan – one of the travel-retail channel’s few bright spots at present. Over the past few weeks, Swiss travel-retailer Dufry signed an agreement with state-owned company Hainan Development Holdings to develop duty free on the Chinese island. It plans to open a downtown duty-free shop in Mova Mall in Haikou covering more than 38,920m2 (418,931ft2). Meanwhile, France-based Lagardère Travel Retail teamed up with Chinese state-owned Hainan Tourism Investment Development to open a new duty-free operation in downtown Sanya at the end of December spanning more than 30,000m2 (322,917ft2). And LVMH-owned DFS partnered with Shenzhen Duty Free Group to develop a 30,000m2 (32,2917ft2) retail space that will feature the retailer’s largest beauty hall.


  • Ulta gets into ads. US-based beauty retailer Ulta Beauty is said to be in talks to launch its own advertising arm. According to reports, Ulta approached ad buyers to sell adverts that show up as sponsored products on its e-commerce platforms, in addition to programmatic ads on publishers’ sites and social-media platforms like Facebook. The move is part of a growing trend of retailers looking to establish advertising and retail media businesses. US-based drugstore chain Walgreens launched its own advertising media network last month, offering brands ad placements on, in its stores and on third-party digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook.


  • Financial diversification. Retailer Walmart is to move deeper into financial services, with the launch of a new fintech start-up in partnership with investment firm Ribbit Capital. The fintech will create affordable services for both consumers and employees, and will enable Walmart to further cultivate its relationships with its large customer base. Walmart already has some financial services, including Walmart Credit Card, Walmart Money Card, check cashing, money transfers and installment financing.


  • Digital expertise. UK-based department store Harvey Nichols has named Clare Horner as its new beauty director. The move is seen as indicating the retailer’s digital ambitions, given that Horner was most recently managing director of online beauty subscription business Latest in Beauty. Harvey Nichols also recently appointed Manju Malhotra ceo. On announcing her appointment, the company highlighted that it would invest in its online business, which has seen sales more than double over the past two years and continues to grow at high double digits.