This week’s coverage on just-food had the World Retail Congress at its centre. The event, held in London, heard Tesco CEO Philip Clarke say retailers should look to “mass personalisation”. It also gave us the chance to interview India’s Future Group on the country’s reforms to allow more foreign investment into its retail sector. Elsewhere, General Mills signalled it was looking to emerging markets for acquisitions, Dole Food Co. sold off assets to Japan’s Itochu Corp. and B&G Foods entered the snacks sector with the purchase of the New York Style and Old London brands.

World Retail Congress 2012
International retailers this week gathered at the ExCel centre in the east of London for the 2012 World Retail Congress where for three days, leading executives discussed the challenging global economy, the evolution of the multi-channel shopper and the need to build sustainable businesses. just-food was at the event to bring you the news and events.

WRC 2012: Think personal to thrive, says Tesco CEO Clarke
Tesco CEO Philip Clarke has said retailers must embrace a strategy of “mass personalisation” as consumers increasingly use new channels to shop.

India’s government eases rules on retail FDI
Nine months after opposition forced India’s government to put reform on hold, it has pushed through changes that will allow overseas retailers to invest in multi-brand outlets.

The just-food interview – Rakesh Biyani, MD of Indian retailer Future Group
With India – and the prospect of wide-ranging economic reforms in the country – in the international business headlines, there are few other more opportune times to meet Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director of Future Group, one of the country’s largest retailers.

US: General Mills looks to emerging markets for M&A deals
US food group General Mills has said it will look to the emerging markets for acquisition opportunities as the company faces a decline in domestic sales.

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On the money: Disposals give “flexibility” for growth, says Dole
Dole Food Co. has said the sale of its global packaged food and Asian fresh businesses to Itochu Corp. will cut its debt and allow it more “flexibility” to look at growth opportunities.

US: B&G Foods acquires New York Style and Old London snack brands
New Jersey-based food group, B&G Foods, has acquired the New York Style and Old London brands from Chipita America in an all-cash deal worth around US$62.5m.

FRANCE: Sodiaal, Synutra sign investment deal
French dairy co-operative Sodiaal has signed a partnership deal with Chinese infant formula firm Synutra for the construction of a milk-drying facility in France.

UK: Vion “receives three bids for Hall’s facility”
Dutch food group Vion has received interest in its Hall’s of Broxburn site in the UK – a plant set for closure – from three potential bidders, according to Scottish government minister John Swinney.

On the money: ConAgra past and future acquisitions key to growth
US food group ConAgra Foods said acquisitions helped drive “stronger” top- and bottom-line growth in its first-quarter and insisted it will continue to look for M&A opportunities.