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Alexa Chung named spokesperson for L’Oréal Professionnel

BY Gisselle Gaitan

L'Oréal Professionnel made a huge announcement with followers on social media. The hair care line revealed that it signed British writer and designer Alexa Chung to be the face of its Color Me French Parisian Nudes hair color collection and the Pro Fiber line.

New York City-based company shared the news by writing in an Instagram: “We are very happy to introduce @alexachung as our new L’Oréal Professionnel muse!” In another post, the company said, “Color Me French – Parisian Nudes technique is based on the combination of two shades for natural-looking, multidimensional, wearable and elegant color result!”

“A fashion designer, TV presenter, model, creative consultant and writer, Alexa Chung is one of the most recognizable style icons of her generation. She is the most Parisian of Londoners, and her effortlessly chic style strongly resonates with L’Oréal Professionnel’s fashion and Parisian anchorage,” the brand said in a statement to WWD.

Alexa also shared the news with her followers on social media by posting the first picture of her campaign with the caption, “Woop woop! Very happy to be joining the @lorealpro family this year. Presumably because I pretend to be French a lot, I am the muse for their #ParisianNudes collection.” 

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Dairy company Lactalis announces acquisition of siggi’s

BY Gisselle Gaitan

It has been announced that Lactalis, a dairy company whose brand of products includes Galbani, Parmalat and Stonyfield Farm among others has acquired Siggi’s for an undisclosed amount.

Icelandic style skyr yogurts company, siggi’s will continue to operate out of its New York City office and remain as a standalone company under its current leadership team, which includes its founder and CEO Siggi Hilmarsson and Bart Adlam as president.

"We're excited to join the Lactalis family which offers the opportunity to further fuel our growth," Hilmarsson, said. "Our core values of clean ingredient label and less sugar will remain 100% unchanged. Consumers everywhere are actively trying to reduce sugar in their diets so our offering has a global relevance."

J.P. Morgan Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor and The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Siggi's. Dentons US acted as legal counsel to Laval, France-based Lactalis Group on the sale.

"We are delighted to welcome Siggi's to the Lactalis Group, which further expands our yogurt platform in the U.S. with this unique and fast-growing yogurt brand. We look forward to supporting Siggi's as it continues to bring its retail partners exceptional dollar growth in the yogurt category," Emmanuel Besnier, president of the Lactalis Group, said.

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Analyst: Retail focus key to keeping Walgreens competitive

BY Neil Saunders

Walgreens kicks off its new fiscal with a mixed set of results. Overall sales are strong, aided by the integration of 375 Rite Aid stores and a robust performance from the U.S. retail pharmacy division. This growth was sufficient to make up for the slightly disappointing numbers from the international group, where same-store sales fell by 0.7%. Meanwhile, impairments in investments and an equity loss from earnings in AmerisourceBergen helped pushed down net income by 23%.

Just like the results, our views on Walgreens are also mixed. On the positive side, we believe that the core business is currently healthy and that initiatives like AllianceRx Walgreens Prime are helping the company to drive prescription volumes. We are also optimistic about the sales line, mainly because of the uplifts which will come from the integration of Rite Aid stores. Admittedly this benefit will accrue gradually as the full amalgamation of Rite Aid assets is not expected to complete until the end of fiscal 2020.

On the negative side, we are concerned about the competitive outlook following the announcement of the merger between CVS Health and Aetna. In our view, this has the potential to disrupt the industry and gives CVS a major advantage in the provision of healthcare, health advice, and health products. Ultimately, this increases the long-term risk of Walgreens losing market share across a number of health and prescription categories.

Fortunately, Walgreens has time to address this emerging competitive threat. However, its response needs to be far more comprehensive than merely relying on adding Rite Aid stores to generate growth. A much deeper review of how to expand services, improve loyalty, and increase customer share of wallet is required.

A good starting place is the retail side of the business. While this is an area of relative strength for Walgreens compared to CVS, the numbers remain disappointing. This quarter, front-of-store retail sales decreased by 2.8%, and comparable equivalents fell by 0.9%. Admittedly, behind these headlines, Walgreens is making some progress in beauty and health, but not by nearly enough to offset declines in categories like consumables and general merchandise.

We believe that the company has the potential to do a great deal better in retail, and as a first step should find ways of competing more effectively with high-growth beauty retailers like Ulta and Sephora. With the firepower of its own brands, like No. 7, behind it, Walgreens is in a unique position to create a compelling proposition. We do recognize the efforts made to date, but also think the execution in stores is somewhat lackluster. Away from beauty, reconfiguring the general merchandise offer is also necessary.

As much as retail is a start-point, it is not a complete defensive solution. Walgreens also needs to assess how it can deliver a better experience on the health side of the business. CVS and Aetna have talked about creating an Apple-style Genius Bar in stores – this is the type of thing with which we believe Walgreens should experiment.

Ultimately, Walgreens is not a bad business and, at present, we still see it as a much better retailer than CVS. However, this position has partly been achieved by default. That is now changing, and the market is set to evolve rapidly. Against this backdrop, Walgreens needs to be more innovative, more experimental, more customer-centric, and much faster in driving change.

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