retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Nielsen is out with a study saying that global consumer confidence seems to be firmly in the "cautiously optimistic" column, as it "edged up one index point in the third quarter to a score of 98—up from 97 in the previous quarter and up two points from the start of the year. The index, which has been on a slow and steady rise since the first quarter of 2012, has now exceeded a pre-recession level of 94 for three consecutive quarters … Regionally, consumer confidence in the North America region improved the most, rising four points to 107—a score that matches Asia-Pacific’s score for the first time in Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence history (since 2005)."

The study goes on to say that "among the world’s biggest economies, consumer confidence saw a four-point jump in the U.S. (to 108), and increases of one point in Germany (97), three points in the U.K. (93) and four points in Japan (77) from the second quarter."

Fox 5 News in Las Vegas reports that Kroger has decided to convert six of its Food 4 Less locations there to its Smith's banner, will close others, and will pull out of the southern Nevada market entirely by the beginning of next year.

FierceRetail reports that Dekkers Davidson, CEO of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), said yesterday that retailers that are part of the MCX coalition that is developing the CurrentC mobile payments system are free to leave the coalition and use rival systems - such as Apple Pay - at any time. "They can make decisions for their consumers as they see fit," he said.

Davidson also responded to reports that Current C is perceived as merchant-friendly because it generates more usable shopper data by saying that "merchants do not share data with MCX, and that it belonged in the hands of the individual retailer. There is no consolidation of merchant information at this time. He added that there is no consumer information stored on a device in the physical world."

• In London, the Times reports that the fraud investigation into Tesco's accounting practices "could drag on for years," with experts saying that it "could take three to seven years to conclude any investigation into Tesco, “particularly if the matter progresses to a prosecution."
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