19 May, 2017

News Round-up: Wal-Mart vs. Amazon, Healthcare Victim of Cyber attack, New Presidential Order and more


This week’s news round-up looks at the ongoing battle between Wal-Mart vs. Amazon, UK hospitals falling victim to cyber attack, the subsequent new Presidential Order and more.

There’s been a lot happening this week, especially in Retail so that’s where we’re going to start.


Wal-Mart vs. Amazon

The Wal-Mart vs. Amazon battle continues with both companies working to out-technology the other.

Wal-Mart stated in acorporate blog post written by Jeff Muench, senior director of Business Development, that it’s “testing new approaches in two recently opened supercenters” in Tomball, TX, and Lake Nona, FL. Both stores feature new layouts and incorporate new technology to improve the shopping experience. The layouts bring new services into the store like beauty salons and tech repair. Health and wellness departments have been consolidated as well as baby, toys, kids’ apparel and kids’ shoes “to form a single destination to ease mom’s shopping journey,” Muench said.

Not to be outdone, Amazon announced this week its intentions to move into the pharmacy business. A CNBC report broke the news, causing shares of CVS Health and many other pharmacy companies to fall. Amazon has been contemplating the move for a while. CNBC reports that the company has hired a General Manager to oversee the strategy.


Swiss-based company Teleretail AG has developed a new delivery robot prototype that would be capable of traveling longer distances of up to 50 miles according to a TechCrunch report. Teleretail is planning a pilot of the robot in both the U.S. and Switzerland.

Lowe’s “Exosuit” courtesy of RetailDive


Lowe’s have teamed up with Virginia Tech to develop an “Exosuit” for its employees. The suit is equipped with lift-assistance technology to assist employees to lift and move products around stores. Four suits have been created and are being used in a pilot program by the stocking team at Lowe’s Christiansburg, Va. Store. The “Exosuit” is lightweight carbon fiber and essentially reinforces lifting form by absorbing energy and delivering it back to the user.


Salesforce has announced an enhancement to its Commerce Cloud Einstein platform. New capabilities enable retailers to support personalized, Artifical Intelligence-powered experiences for shoppers across the web, mobile, social, in-store and more.

Other News

Ralph Lauren names new CEO, longtime Procter & Gamble executive Patrice Louvet as the fashion and apparel brand’s new CEO. Louvet will replace outgoing CEO, Stefan Larsson.

Lidl is opening its first U.S.-based store this week in New York.


WannaCry Ransomware

UK-based hospitals were hit by a huge ransomware attached late last week. WannaCry, an international cyber attack, After a massive froze computers at many hospitals in the United Kingdom, forcing the suspension of many normal services. Many could only accept emergency patients. The malware hit thousands of additional computers, but no “catastrophic breakdowns” were reported. The feared second-wave did not hit.

Kaiser Permanente

Modern Healthcare reported this week that California-based health system Kaiser Permanente picked up a $1 billion operating gain in the first quarter of 2017 with $18.1 billion in revenue. The gain is much more than the $701 million in the first quarter of 2016.


For the second time this year, the U.S. Department of Justice sued UnitedHealth in a $1 billion Medicate overbilling case. Former UnitedHealth executive and whistleblower Benjamin Poehling stated that UnitedHealth changed diagnosis codes to make patients seem sicker, thus charging more. Officials then collected the extra as bonuses, reported The New York Times.


Presidential Order

In response to WannaCry, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at strengthening cyber security across the U.S. The order targets risks within the federal government and those posed to businesses and individual internet users.


Cisco cuts a further 1,000 jobs as it struggles to recover, despite reporting better than expected earnings for the fiscal third quarter, according to CNBC and Marketwatch. Cisco reported revenue of $11.94 billion for its third quarter, higher than the $11.89 billion revenue expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Cisco said it expects revenues to fall between 4% to 6% year-over-year in the fourth quarter.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) leads  the global cloud infrastructure market, but its closest rivals are growing faster than it is, according to data from Canalys, so watch this space.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) on Tuesday announced that it has created a new computer prototype that can manage more data than any other system like it in the world, reports Fortune. The new prototype contains 160 terabytes of memory, enough computing power to simultaneously manage the data found in 160 million books.



Six years after launch, London-based Fintech TransferWise, an international money transfer startup, was recently valued at a reported $1.1 billion, announced this week that it has finally reached profitability this calendar year and is “cash-generating”.

CPPIB Reports 12% Return for Year

Canada’s biggest pension fund reported a net asset return of 11.8% for its fiscal 2017, largely as a result of double-digit gains in equity investments.


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