Weekly News Roundup

August 3, 2018

Image: ABC News

Brisbane school rocked by flu outbreak

A Brisbane primary school has been urging parents to keep their children at home after a mass flu outbreak saw 15 staff and almost 200 students struck down with the virus.

There will be a skeleton staff on at Middle Park State School for parents that can’t keep their kids at home but they are being told to stay away if possible.

A team of cleaners is scrubbing down classrooms after outbreaks of both influenza A and B affected about a third of students at the school. While the school will accept students on Friday, parents have been told to do what they can to make alternative arrangements.

“The school is taking additional preventive and precautionary measures to assist in managing this situation and will conduct additional hygienic cleaning of school premises over the coming days,” the Queensland education department said in a statement.

Apple becomes first US-listed trillion-dollar company

Apple has became the first $1 trillion publicly listed US company, crowning a decade-long rise fuelled by its ubiquitous iPhone that transformed it from a niche player in personal computers into a global powerhouse spanning entertainment and communications.

The tech company’s stock jumped 2.8 per cent to as high as $US207.05, bringing its gain to about 9 per cent since Tuesday when its reported June-quarter results above expectations and said it bought back $20 billion of its own shares.

Started in the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976, Apple has pushed its revenue beyond the economic outputs of Portugal, New Zealand and other countries.

Along the way, it has changed how consumers connect with one another and how businesses conduct daily commerce.

Apple’s stock market value is greater than the combined capitalisation of Exxon Mobil, Procter & Gamble and AT&T. It now accounts for 4 per cent of the S&P 500.

Aldi supermarket strategy is unlikely to challenge Woolworths and Coles

Dick Smith has laid the blame for closing his Australian-made processed food lines squarely at the feet of Aldi Australia.

He accused the German retailer of “extreme capitalism” and warned the CEOs of Woolworths and Coles that “unless your companies move towards [Aldi’s limited range and high proportion of private brands], you will very likely become uncompetitive”.

But this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of Aldi’s strategy and the limits of its appeal in the Australian market.

An important element of Aldi’s strategy is a severely limited range of “preselected” products, overwhelmingly private brands. The company’s smaller range (some 1,500 store-keeping units as opposed to 20,000 to 30,000 in a large Coles or Woolworths outlet) has several advantages — in terms of store footprints, warehousing infrastructure and supplier discounts, to name a few.

A proportion of these savings are passed on to consumers to ensure their appeal with households wanting to stretch their shopping dollars further.

This strategy and disciplined execution propelled the company’s growth.

From its first two stores in the Sydney suburbs of Marrickville and Bankstown, Aldi gradually expanded across the eastern seaboard. It was not until 2016 that Aldi started opening stores in South Australia and Western Australia.

These new territories promised significant growth opportunities while store openings in the established territories were largely restricted to gap-filling.

By 2018, Aldi was operating more than 500 outlets around Australia and claiming roughly 13 per cent of the Australian supermarket industry. Aldi’s gain in market share has overwhelmingly come at the expense of the smaller, independent supermarkets (IGA-affiliated as well as others).

Coles and Woolworths have chiefly responded to Aldi through price cuts and by boosting their share of private brands. While competition in the Australian supermarket sector has increased, it remains a lucrative oasis in comparison to international markets.

This weekly news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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