Walmart expands home delivery in fight with Amazon

Online revenue growth slowed at Walmart in the most recent quarter, causing some analysts to question its strategy to compete with Amazon. (Reuters)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Walmart expands home delivery in fight with Amazon

NEW YORK: Walmart will expand its grocery home delivery services to more than 100 metro areas this year from an existing six cities as the retailer steps up a fight against rival Amazon.com.
Walmart said on Wednesday the service would be rolled out to more than 40 percent of US households by the end of the year. Deliveries will cost $9.95 with a minimum $30 order and companies like Uber Technologies will provide transport. Other delivery companies will be added later this year.
“We will be pretty aggressive with it,” said Tom Ward, vice president of digital operations on a call with reporters.
The move will complement Walmart’s rollout of curbside grocery pickup, which is currently available in 1,200 stores and will be added to a 1,000 more stores this year. It also allows Walmart to compete with Amazon’s two-hour Prime Now service for shoppers of its loyalty program.
The expanded service allows the Bentonville, Arkansas based retailer to get its store shoppers to transact with the company online, where they spend twice as much. It also comes at a time of intense competition within the grocery space and follows Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year. Amazon has also expanded food delivery options from Whole Foods in six metro areas over the past month. Walmart’s other brick-and-mortar rivals like Kroger and Target have invested in similar services.
Online revenue growth slowed at Walmart in the most recent quarter, causing some analysts to question its strategy to compete with Amazon. Company officials said Walmart was still on track to increase its e-commerce sales by 40 percent this year.


Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

Updated 21 June 2018
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Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

  • Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months
  • MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds

LONDON: Saudi Arabian equites are poised to attract up to $40 billion worth of foreign inflows, following a landmark decision by index provider MSCI to include the Kingdom’s stocks in its widely tracked Emerging Markets index.

"MSCI will include the MSCI Saudi Arabia Index in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, representing on a pro forma basis a weight of approximately 2.6% of the index with 32 securities, following a two-step inclusion process," the MSCI said in a statement late on Wednesday night Riyadh time.

“Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in MSCI’s EM Index is a milestone achievement and will likely bring with it significant levels of foreign investment,” Salah Shamma, head of investment for MENA at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Arab News. 

“It is a recognition of the progress Saudi Arabia has made in implementing its ambitious capital markets transformation agenda. The halo effect of such a move will be felt across the stock exchanges of the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).”

Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months to bring local capital markets more in line with international norms, including lower restrictions on international investors, and the introduction of short-selling and T+2 settlement cycles.

Such reforms prompted index provider FTSE Russell to upgrade the Kingdom to emerging market status in March, opening the country’s stocks up to billions worth of passive and active inflows from foreign investors.

MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds. The inclusion of Saudi stocks in the index, alongside FTSE Russell’s upgrade, is forecast to attract as much as $45 billion of foreign inflows from passive and active investors, according to estimates from Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes. 

The upgrade announcement was widely expected by the region’s investment community, following a similar emerging markets upgrade announcement by fellow index provider FTSE Russell in March. 

“MSCI index inclusion will be a historic milestone for the Saudi market as it will allow for sticky institutional money to make an entry in 2019 which will help deepen the market,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh.