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Brexit delisting, Amazon’s bricks, life of a store manager and more

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What does Brexit have to do with supplier-retailer relationships in Great Britain? Apparently, plenty, after Tesco last week delisted Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and other popular Unilever products from Tesco’s online store.

The reason has to do with the wobbly British pound, which is down substantially since Britons voted to exit the European Union. Suppliers in Britain such as Unilever say they need to up their prices. But retailers like Tesco have no interest in paying more for goods.

Where will it end? Unilever’s banishment from Tesco.com was brief but the row isn’t over yet.

Tesco chief executive David Lewis said he will fight Brexit price hikes. Others suggest Unilever is using Brexit as an excuse to raise prices “even on products that are made in the U.K.”

Can Amazon squeeze the melons?

The big news out of the U.S. is that Amazon plans to open convenience-style grocery stores stocked with perishables such as meat and produce.

It’s an odd move for the king of e-commerce, but in some ways makes perfect sense. Despite the growing popularity of ordering groceries online, many shoppers still prefer to handpick perishables.

Amazon’s c-stores would allow them to choose their own fruit, vegetables and meat, then order canned goods and other non-perishables to be delivered to their home.

Will it work? Perhaps, but in opening food stores Amazon will be in direct competition with a slew of stores selling food, from Walmart to chains such as Kroger and well-run independents. Amazon’s awesome at online, but bricks and mortar…? Stay tuned.

The secret life of a store manager

The life of a supermarket manager isn’t glamorous. Days are long and the perks aren’t always obvious. So why do it?

Many of the reasons are found in “The secret life of a supermarket manager”, published in the British newspaper The Guardian. It’s an anonymous account of running a grocery store by a 20-something women. In the article, she explains her typical day and why she does what she does for a living.

“My store feels like a second home to me. I get up every morning at 4.30 a.m. to be able to get there before 6.30 a.m.,” she writes, noting that while her days are long the “pay is decent”

There are, of course, downsides. She feels bad that many of her employees aren’t paid well. Also, trying to make decisions based on endless sales data and other store metrics sent from head office can be “daunting”.

“By far the most rewarding part of my job is being able to make a difference in so many people’s lives,” she writes.

For instance, she says, “once, I interviewed a man who had a gaping hole in his CV. After asking a few questions, it became clear that he had done some time in prison. I hired him anyway. Recently he got promoted to trainee department manager. There are few achievements in my life that I am more proud of than that.”

Soda taxes: good for your health

The World Health Organization suggests countries impose sugar taxes on soda to curb consumptions.

Last week the U.N. health agency is recommending that countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks like sodas, sport drinks and even 100% fruit juices as a way to fight obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

WHO said obesity worldwide more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40% of people globally were overweight.

The agency also cited “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduced prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets. It said that tax policies that lead to a 20% increase in the retail prices of sugary drinks would result in a proportional reduction in consumption.

Drawing on lessons from campaigns to fight tobacco use, WHO said imposing or increasing taxes on sugary drinks could help lower consumption of sugars, bringing health benefits and more income for governments such as to pay for health services.

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