REI climbs to new heights with record sales by Angel Gonzalez at Seattle Times. “We’ve gone back to who we were,” (CFO Eric) Artz said in an interview. REI’s outdoorsy gospel also spread more quickly than ever before, with 945,000 new members joining the co-op. That brings the number of active members (those who’ve spent money there in the past 12 months) to 5.5 million, a nice bump after two years when the membership rolls stayed flat at around 5 million.”Read more
Wal-Mart Fights Bid to Curb Gun Sales by Dow Jones at Nasdaq. “A U.S. appeals court showdown looms next month for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in a case with potentially broad impact on how much influence investors can have over their companies. The dispute concerns Wal-Mart’s sales of assault rifles with high-capacity magazines…”Read more
Fresh & Easy discloses plans to close up to 50 of its 200 stores by Elliot Zwiebach at Supermarket News. “In addition, the company said it is working with ADMI, the company behind the design of the Apple Store, to design “the Fresh & Easy store of the future —a concept the company believes represents the future of convenience retail and puts Fresh & Easy into a category of one: the only fresh-food convenience store.” Read more
After Target wage hike, labor groups turn to drugstore chains by Nandita Bose at Reuters via Business Insider. “Given the current momentum, we expect a faster chance of success in hiking minimum wage within the retail space which includes drug chains, than say the fast food sector,” said Marc Goumbri, a spokesman for the UFCW.” Read more
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Lowe’s Adds $5 Billion to Repurchase Program by Nicholas Turner at Bloomberg.Read more
Organic dairy farming struggles to keep up with demand by Tom Meersman at Star-Tribune. “I can’t tell you enough what it matters to have a Costco or a Target or a Wal-Mart really embrace organics,” he said. “It’s a demand drive on an amount of milk that’s just not there right now.”Read more
SEC to allow shareholder vote on Wal-Mart independent chairman by Nathan Layne at Reuters.Read more
Baltimore: Small merchants brace for competition from Amazon’s Prime Now by Lorraine Mirabella & Natalie Sherman at Baltimore Sun. “I can’t tell you what the future is going to look like,” said Piper, 51. “Hopefully I’m not out of business in 10 years, but if I am … it’s probably because of the Internet.” Read more
Amazon Loses Its General Manager Of Payments Following Wallet Shutdown by Sarah Perez at Techcrunch. “We understand that (Matt) Swann has now moved to Citigroup to head up its cards and payments business instead, confirming earlier reports. He’s no longer at Amazon, though his departure and his replacement haven’t yet been officially announced.”Read more
Inside Gap’s Plan to Get Back into Your Drawers by Danielle Sacks at Fast Company. “Defeat, it turns out, smells a lot like cinnamon rolls. On a Saturday afternoon in January, the cheap-caloried aroma of Cinnabon permeates New Jersey’s two-story Livingston Mall, distracting visitors from an increasingly visible reality. The 43-year-old shopping center’s fleet of modest stores—so familiar and accessible to customers for more than a generation—are turning into a liability…”Read more
Canada’s economy in a funk, could actually shrink in first quarter by Michael Babad at Globe & Mail. “January may well show a contraction in the area of 0.1 per cent to 0.3 per cent, economists now believe, having seen a series of weak indicators from the factory floor to the shopping mall. “February isn’t likely to be much better, suggesting that Q1 growth will come in well below 1 per cent and a negative print cannot be ruled out,” said senior economist Benjamin Reitzes of BMO Nesbitt Burns.”Read more
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