A weekly round up of the hottest international retail and consumer news.

1. Unilever goes natural

Unilever has announced that it will acquire Schmidt’s Naturals, a personal-care company based in the US city of Portland, for an undisclosed sum. Schmidt’s Naturals, founded in 2012 as a deodorant brand, has extended its offering to bar soap and toothpaste. The move by Unilever follows that of rival Procter & Gamble, which last month bought the Native natural deodorant brand.

2. AB InBev in Asian mega-brewery play

AB InBev, which now owns SABMiller, has opened a new brewery in China — the company’s largest in Asia. This is in line with its ambitions to take advantage of rising demand for high-end beer in the region. AB InBev, which is the world’s largest brewer, says the Fujian Province plant can produce 160,000 cans of beer an hour.

3. Nestlé in good health after Atrium deal

Swiss food giant Nestlé will buy Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations for US$2.3bn, continuing its expansion into the consumer health products sector. Atrium is expected to report sales of almost $700m this year. Given shifting consumer tastes and weak global economic growth, consumer conglomerates have been eyeing health care as a growth opportunity.

4. H&M looks to boost its online sales

In an effort to boost e-commerce, H&M will expand its co-operation agreement with the Alibaba Group’s Tmall to add additional brands on the Chinese digital platform. This comes as the Swedish retailer reported the biggest drop in quarterly sales in at least a decade after losing ground to Zara parent Inditex.

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