Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/28/12: H.Depot & Lowe’s Fear Strike; Amazon & 306/second


“Christmas Day retail traffic up 27% over 2011; Amazon & Walmart most visited sites” by Sean Ludwig at Venture Beat.  

Here’s the top ten list:

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 4.46.33 PM



“Home Depot to Lowe’s Busiest Season Threatened by Strike” by Chris Burritt & Brooke Sutherland at Bloomberg.  “Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. have the most at stake among retailers facing a dockworkers’ strike, with possible port closings cutting off shipments right before the lucrative gardening season.  Home Depot, the biggest U.S. home-improvement chain, is making plans in case 15,000 workers at ports from Maine to Texas walk off the job, and Lowe’s said that it is monitoring the talks. About 45 percent of the commerce that flows in and out of the U.S. goes through East Coast ports, according to the National Retail Federation.  Home Depot has contingency plans in the event of a strike.  Retailers “would be hit far and wide from apparel to home goods to patio furniture to barbecues,” Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Washington. “It is a major concern. At this point, we don’t anticipate a settlement.”  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/home-depot-to-lowe-s-busiest-season-threatened-by-strike.html


“Amazon Was Selling 306 Items Every Second At Its Peak This Year” by Jay Yarrow at Business Insider.  “Every year Amazon puts out a press release with a bunch of goofy facts about its business.    It’s free of hard facts about Amazon’s business, so if you’re trying to get a lead on its earnings, this is the wrong place to look. But, it’s a fun read for some context about Amazon’s sales.  This year it says it sold 27 million items on Cyber Monday, or 306 items per second, which is a record.  Best sellers at Amazon:

Health & Personal Care: Panasonic Vortex Nose and Facial Hair Trimmer; Braun Series Pulsonic Shaver System; and Philips Norelco SensoTouch 2D Electric Razor

Tools & Home Improvement: Nest Thermostat; Streamlight Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight; and DEWALT 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit

Automotive: Swiss+Tech Micro-Max 19-in-1 Keychain; Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger; and Reindeer Car Costume

Grocery: Donut Shop K-Cup Packs; Unique Sampler K-Cup Portion Pack; and Ekobrew Cup

See the full list of Amazon factoids and best sellers at: https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-holiday-facts-2012-12#ixzz2GLgGM4Vf


“Retailers Take on the Risk of Same-Day Shipping” by Stephanie Clifford and Clair Cain Miller at NY Times.  “Ivy Wu did not immediately need the navy lace cocktail dress she ordered the other day. But when a representative from Shoptiques, an e-commerce site, arrived at her Midtown Manhattan office with the dress only hours after Ms. Wu, 26, had placed her order, “I was really impressed that it was here,” she said.  This holiday season, same-day shipping has replaced free shipping as the new must-have promotion. It’s logistically complicated and money-losing — and may not even be a service that consumers want or need, analysts say. But retailers from Walmart to small shops like Shoptiques are willing to take the risk. Even the Postal Service has introduced a same-day option for retailers. And the reason is simple: fear of Amazon.com.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/business/fear-of-amazon-pushes-retailers-to-take-on-risks-of-same-day-shipping.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1356697749-UXywpo+ArSTiM4Ne1So3lQ


“Kroger’s Strategic Advantage Over Whole Foods Market And The Fresh Market” at Seeking Alpha.  “The fact that Kroger has a network of over 2,400 locations across the United States places the company at a strategic advantage against its smaller rivals due to its ability to adapt its current stores to meet the needs of customers who might otherwise go to Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, or another specialty food-retailer. For investors, this marks a company that has proven for 36 straight quarters that it can grow identical supermarket sales through continuing to innovate and use its strategic advantage: its location base.”  https://seekingalpha.com/article/1085151-kroger-s-strategic-advantage-over-whole-foods-market-and-the-fresh-market


Evolution of Wegmans Stores.  (Video collage from past to present.)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=D_4EbkTzbZ0


“Video captures tornado moving toward Alabama Walgreens” at CBS 6 – Virginia (Video and Text).  “A tornado rips through Mobile Alabama Christmas day, the whole thing caught on camera.  This surveillance video shows the twister coming through near a Walgreens store moving around cars and sparks flying from power lines.”  https://wtvr.com/2012/12/27/video-captures-tornado-moving-toward-alabama-walgreens/


‘”Random Shopper’ bot buys and sends Amazon gifts to owner without help” by Meghan Kelly at Venture Beat.  “…So he set out to create the Random Shopper. It’s a computer program that chooses random products in Amazon’s books, movies, and music sections. It is hooked up to the Wordnik application programming interface, which gives it a random word to search. From there it chooses a product at random and then buy it. The Random Shopper has a preloaded gift card and is outfitted to order; enter shipping, billing, and payment information; and then send off a gift to Kazemi every so often until it runs out of money.” https://venturebeat.com/2012/12/27/random-shopper/#pbOgAYI6f8biZrS7.99


“7-Eleven aiming to stock shelves with healthier food options” by Leigh Goessl at Digital Journal.  “Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is looking towards restocking its shelves with healthier options for customers. The company’s goal is to sell more fresh foods in the U.S. and Canada.  Over the past year, 7-Eleven has made a few changes geared towards selling foods that are healthier than the typical junk food fare. According to the New York Times, 7-Eleven plans to have 20 percent of its sales from fresh foods in stores located in the U.S. and Canada by 2015.”  https://www.digitaljournal.com/article/339836#ixzz2GLwf6Bg6


“Safeway Exceeds Cage-Free Eggs Goal” by Gina-Marie Cheeseman at Triple Pundit.  “Safeway Inc. is the first major grocery retailer in the U.S. to require all of its cage-free eggs to become Certified Humane. In 2008, Safeway started an initiative with its suppliers to source all Lucerne Cage-Free and O Organics shell eggs from farms that are Certified Humane. The Certified Humane label is administered by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC).”  https://www.triplepundit.com/2012/12/safeway-exceeds-cage-free-eggs-goal/






Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/27/12: HBR’s 100 Best CEOs; Walgreens needs to “chill”


“US retail sales creep higher in weak holiday season-early data” at Reuters. “Holiday-related sales rose 0.7 percent from Oct. 28 through Dec. 24, compared with a 2 percent increase last year, according to data from MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse…The latest holiday season sales would be the worst performance since 2008, during the last recession.  “The broad brush was Christmas wasn’t all that merry for retailers, and you have to ask what those margins look like if the top line didn’t meet their expectations. So it could be a very unmerry Christmas for retailers,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/26/usa-retail-holiday-idUSL1E8NQ1PT20121226


Harvard Business Review Ranks “The 100 Best CEOS in the World” in its Jan-Feb 2013 Issue.  Of note:

#1:  Apple’s Steve Jobs

#2:  Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

#35:  Google’s Eric Schmidt

#44:  Lowe’s Robert Tillman

#80:  Nordstrom’s Blake Nordstrom


“Walmart to Add over 200 Gas Stations to Existing Supercenters” by Shauna O’Brien at The Dividend Daily.  “Discount retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Murphy Oil Corporation have established an agreement to add additional gas stations to existing Walmarts.  Murphy Oil has entered into an agreement with Walmart to add gas stations to over 200 Walmart Supercenters. This project, which is expected to occur within the next three years, will provide fuel stations to locations in the Midwest and Southern United States.”  https://www.dividend.com/news/2012/walmart-to-add-over-200-gas-stations-to-existing-supercenters-wmt-mur/


“YOLOL: Drake Warns Walgreens and Macy’s to ‘Chill’ Over Sale of His Motto” by David Bevan at Spin.  “Walgreens…you gotta either chill or cut the cheque.”  Instagrammers following Drake’s feed over the holiday (he shares photos under the nom de snap champagnepapi) saw the Toronto-born rapper commenting publicly on the YOLO phenenomenon as he witnessed it taking shape in a rack of ball caps at the drugstore chain, as Noisey reports. Though frequent collaborator Rick Ross also uttered “YOLO” (that’s “You Only Live Once”) on “Lord Knows” from Drake’s Take Care, the acronym found life most famously on “The Motto,” a Weezy-enriched iTunes bonus track from that same album.”  https://www.spin.com/articles/drake-warns-walgreens-macys-chill-yolo-motto?utm_source=spintwitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=spintwitter


“Microsoft forges ahead with retail store expansion plans” by Roger Chang at CNET.  “Microsoft unveiled the next six locations for its expanding network of retail stores.”

Geekwire was the first to spot the announcement. Here’s a list:

  • The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
  • Dadeland Mall, Miami, Fla.
  • Beachwood Place, Beachwood, Ohio
  • Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
  • City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
  • St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis.


“Big Labor’s next move against Wal-Mart” by Sean Higgins at The Washington Examiner.  “Wal-Mart and Big Labor are perfect enemies. The nonunion retailer’s entire business model is based around keeping costs low, including labor costs. It has been extraordinarily successful too, but unions now think they have found its weak spot: the company’s supply chain…Big Labor has lately been attempting to organize work stoppages at warehouses and other facilities used by the retailer. They’ve had some modest successes.  In June, eight Mexican guest workers walked off the job at CJ’s Seafood in Breaux Bridge, La., a company that supplies Wal-Mart. They later filed a complaint against the supplier with the Labor Department. Wal-Mart has reportedly suspended the supplier.”  https://washingtonexaminer.com/big-labors-next-move-against-wal-mart/article/2516685#.UNxDf2_AfX4


“What If There Were No Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook?” by Frank Reed at Marketing Pilgrim.  (Comparison Chart from WSJ).  https://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2012/12/what-if-there-were-no-google-amazon-apple-or-facebook.html


“Target Hires LatinWorks After Hispanic Agency Review” by Laurel Wentz at AdAge.  “Target doesn’t make specific agency of record assignments, she said. The account does not include media planning and buying. Grupo Gallegos, an independent U.S. Hispanic shop, previously handled much of Target’s Hispanic work, often on a project basis. LatinWorks referred calls to Target.  Target ranks No. 29 among the 50 largest advertisers in Hispanic media, spending $45.6 million in 2011, according to Ad Age’s Hispanic Fact Pack.”  https://adage.com/article/hispanic-marketing/target-hires-latinworks-hispanic-agency-review/238922/

“Amazon most satisfying website to shop: Survey” at Reuters.  “Amazon.com Inc remained the best website for shopping online while JC Penney Co Inc suffered the largest drop in customer satisfaction of any major online retailer this holiday season, according to a survey released on Thursday…Amazon’s score was again 88 out of 100…Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which is trying to grow its online sales, scored a 78 for its Walmart.com website, down from 79 in 2011. Rival Target Corp’s website scored 79, up from 76 last year, when it had some struggles after taking over control of the site from Amazon.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/27/us-usa-retail-online-idUSBRE8BQ01820121227 


“Target tightens return policy again” at RTV 6 Indianapolis TV.  (Video and Text).  “But Target in 2011 reduced the return period for most electronics to 45 days, and in September 2012 reduced it again, to 30 days after the sale or after Christmas Day.  “Target, I came to find out,” she said, “that they had changed their policy in late September. But I purchased these items in October.”  Sure enough, the fine print on the front of her receipt states the deadline was 11/29/12… 30 days after her purchase.”    https://www.theindychannel.com/money/dont-waste-your-money/target-tightens-return-policy-again_36539902



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/26/12: Home Depot involved in Federal Probe; Walmart & Conde Nast


“Mayor Ray Nagin’s dealings with Home Depot a focus of federal probe” by Gordon Russell in The Times-Picayune.  “Just a couple of nagging details were keeping Home Depot from breaking ground on a new store in Central City in early 2007: The retailer needed the city of New Orleans to sell it several streets that were within the planned store’s huge footprint. And the sale of the streets was being held up by a pesky “community benefits agreement…But Home Depot wanted no part of such an agreement. And the retailer had an ally in Mayor Ray Nagin, who, as it turned out, also wanted something from Home Depot: a steady supply of work for Stone Age, the fledgling granite-countertop company he and his sons were trying to take to the next level.  Within the space of a few months, the community benefits agreement was dead, Home Depot had its streets, Stone Age had a contract to be the exclusive granite installer for four Home Depot locations around New Orleans, and a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new store…”  https://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/mayor_ray_nagins_dealings_with.html


“Wal-Mart Turns to Condé Nast for Beauty Magazine” by Erik Maza at Women’s Wear Daily.  “Buried within Wal-Mart’s Web site, beneath the red sales banners and loud holiday graphics, is a magazine called BeautyScoop. Thousands of stores also carry it, and it was mailed to millions of the store’s customers…BeautyScoop is something else. It has a model on the cover, for one. Its own logo — the name in a large type underneath a smaller Wal-Mart tag. Though wafer-thin — it runs just 12 pages — and produced on glossy stock, it is as close as a store catalogue can come to a magazine. And there are editorial features.”  https://www.wwd.com/media-news/publishing/wal-mart-turns-to-cond-nast-for-beauty-magazine-6552390?module=hp-topstories


“Amazon.com Just Entered the Brick and Mortar Retail Business in Seattle” by Mike King in Sound CRE.  “Amazon.com completed the acquisition of their corporate campus yesterday. The $1.154 billion transaction between Paul Allen’s Vulcan Real Estate is composed of 11 buildings with over 1.8 million square feet of space. The price equates to $644 per square foot.  An overlooked component of this deal is roughly 100,000 square feet of retail space in the mixed-use buildings. The retail space is currently 75% leased and Amazon will most likely turn over the leasing and management of the portfolio to a major commercial brokerage firm. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see a company who has long been the counter to brick and mortar retail, now becoming a landlord of brick and mortar retail businesses.”  https://www.soundcre.com/2012/12/22/amazon-entered-brick-mortar-retail-business-seattle/


“Analysis: Amazon, Google on collision course in 2013” at Reuters.  “Amazon wants to be the one place where you buy everything. Google wants to be the one place where you find everything, of which buying things is a subset,” said Chi-Hua Chien, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “So when you marry those facts I think you’re going to see a natural collision.”Both companies have a lot at stake. Google’s market capitalization of $235 billion is about double Amazon’s, largely because Google makes massive net earnings, expected by analysts to be $13.2 billion this year, based on a huge 32 percent net profit margin, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. By contrast, Amazon is seen reporting a small loss this year.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/23/net-us-google-amazon-idUSBRE8BM09420121223


“Whole Foods CEO to speak on new book” by Nicole Hoffman.  “Mackey’s book focuses on companies, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Costco and the Container Store, that have purposes beyond simply maximizing profits.”  https://press.org/news-multimedia/news/whole-foods-ceo-speak-new-book


“INSIGHT-How US retailers are building up their online muscle” at Reuters.  “The brave new world for U.S. retailers can be found in small cities like Martinsburg, West Virginia…That’s where department store chain Macy’s Inc recently opened a facility the size of 43 football fields – big enough to stock 1 million pairs of shoes – just to fulfill orders made online…”Today, tomorrow and going forward, you are comparing the experience in our store to the experience of sitting in your living room, in the comfort of your home, ordering something on your laptop, your smart phone or your iPad,” Home Depot Chief Executive Frank Blake told Reuters.  “Your willingness to put up with rude associates, dirty stores and out of stocks is just going to go down and down and down. Our bar on performance in our stores is going to go up and Chup and up,” he said.  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/24/us-usa-retail-ecommerce-idUSBRE8BN03J20121224


 “Target Plans For A Green Entry Into Canada” by Randy Woods at Earth Techling.  “Target will be one of the first companies in Canada to take part in USGBC’s LEED Volume Program, which streamlines the certification process for multiple buildings of a similar type. The design plans for the stores will include new systems to conserving energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and divert waste to landfills through recycling and reuse programs.  Target will retrofit several existing stores with LEED features. In 2011 Target acquired the 80-year-old Canadian retail outlet Zellers and will begin converting or selling off 220 stories once the Zellers brand is discontinued after this holiday shopping season. The first 24 former Zellers stores will open as renovated Target outlets in March and April across Ontario, Target said.”  https://earthtechling.com/2012/12/target-plans-for-a-green-entry-into-canada/


“Fixing Up A Few Cool (Ace) Hardware Stores” by Jesse Chimes at American University.  “A team of second-year MBA students in Associate Professor Parthiban David’s senior strategy capstone course took on a real-world challenge this semester as they consulted for the local ACE Hardware co-op, A Few Cool Hardware Stores…A Few Cool Hardware Stores is an independently owned group of seven retailers receiving support and discounted product pricing under the ACE Hardware co-operative model.”  https://www.american.edu/kogod/news/122112_ksbnews_mbacapstone.cfm


“Get Ready to Laugh:  This Old RadioShack Commercial Shows Everything You Wanted to Christmas in 1991” by Liz Klimas at The Blaze.  “You might not think about technology of yesteryear too often, but the holidays are a time to reminisce.  An old RadioShack commercial from 1991 shows just what you might have put on your Christmas list back then.”  https://www.theblaze.com/blog/2012/12/24/get-ready-to-laugh-this-old-radioshack-commercial-shows-everything-you-wanted-for-christmas-in-1991/


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Thanks for reading…


Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/21/12: Target Slashes Prices, Tracking Social Media Spend


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“Why Walmart Took Over Facebook for 72 Hours” by Brad Tuttle in Time.  “But does an increased presence by retailers in social media actually boost sales? The answer’s not clear. An IBM Digital Analytics report indicates that social media’s impact on sales appears to be minimal:  Shoppers referred from Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated 0.41 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday, a decrease of more than 26 percent from 2011.  The results of a study published by Forrester in the fall also came to the conclusion that in terms of overall online purchases, “less than 1% of transactions could be traced back to trackable social links.”  Data like this makes it sound as if it’s not particularly worthwhile for retailers to put much emphasis on social media. But while it looks as if Facebook and the rest don’t have much direct correlation to online sales, it’s much harder to determine whether or not shoppers ultimately wound up shopping in person at Walmart or another store over Black Friday weekend (or even days or weeks later) due to something they glanced on Twitter or Facebook. In some cases, shoppers themselves may not be fully aware that they were influenced in such a way by social media.”  https://business.time.com/2012/12/20/why-walmart-took-over-facebook-for-72-hours/


“Target slashes prices on its Target + Neiman Marcus collection by 50%” by Thomas Lee in the Star Tribune.  “Target corporation, always quick to start and end a trend, slashed prices on all 60 pieces in its Target + Neiman Marcus collection on Thursday. About 20 shoppers, nearly all of them Target corporate employees who must have gotten a memo, stood patiently waiting for the security guard to let them in when the Nicollet Mall store opened at 7 a.m. All immediately rushed to the nearby Target + Neiman Marcus collection where Tracy Reese dessert plates quickly were cleaned off the shelves. Tory Burch’s lunch box, Diane von Furstenberg’s yoga mat and a rag & bone flask were also selling quickly. All items were still in stock this morning at Target.com, which also has the collection discounted 50 percent.”  https://www.startribune.com/blogs/184258761.html


 “Amazon invests in original shows, taking on Netflix and TV” by Julia Boorstin at CNBC News.  “The series are largely from industry veterans.  Alpha House, about four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington D.C., is written by Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau.  Browsers, a musical comedy about young people working at a news site, is written by an Emmy-winning writer from “The Daily Show” and a director from “30 Rock.”  The “Big Bang Theory’s” co-stars have written “Dark Minions,” an animated workplace series.  Another animated series, “Supernatural,” will be produced by a “Daily Show” producer.  “The Onion Presents: The News” is a scripted comedy set behind the scenes of The Onion News Network…”  https://www.wbir.com/watercooler/article/246408/141/Amazon-invests-in-original-shows-taking-on-Netflix-and-TV-


Whole Foods CEO on Store Count and Private Label (Video on CNBC).  https://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000136401


“Rite Aid Returns to Profit After 5 Years, Stock Surges” by Jennifer Booton at Fox Business.  “The Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug-store chain posted net income of $61.9 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $52 million, or 6 cents. The profit topped average analyst estimates of 3 cents a share in a Thomson Reuters poll.  Shares of Rite Aid soared more than 15% to $1.20 on the news.”  https://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2012/12/20/rite-aid-returns-to-profit-stock-surges-23/#ixzz2FgjtJPCh


Publix takes No. 9 spot among year’s ‘Top 10’ (in Cleveland) by Rick Norton in Cleveland Daily Banner.  “Publix is adding some beef to a burgeoning Cleveland market that some believe is already fat with grocers, according to an early October confirmation by the Florida-based company whose shopping aisles are stretching longer and wider across the Southeast…Cleveland is already home to popular grocery outlets like Cooke’s, BI-LO, Fresh N’ Low Cost Plus Foods, Walmart, Aldi and Food Lion.”  https://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/21193413/article-Publix-takes-No–9-spot-among-year%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98Top-10%E2%80%99?instance=latest_articles


“Williams-Sonoma accelerating global growth” by Renee Frojo in San Francisco Business Times.  “Williams-Sonoma is in full-on global expansion mode.  Just this month, the San Francisco-based company — which owns Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PTteen, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation and recently, Mark and Graham — announced the construction of four new stores in Australia and opened another Williams-Sonoma store in Canada.”  https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2012/11/30/williams-sonoma-accelerating-global.html 


“Supermarkets (in UK)  peg hopes on final weeks to lift market share” by Rosie Baker in Marketing Week.   “Tesco was the highest spending supermarket on TV and press investing £1.8m in the four weeks ending 2 December. Asda spent £11.2m, Sainsbury £7.3m and Morrisons £7.1m.  Aldi was the next highest spender investing £6.5m, a 36 per cent increase on last year.  The percentage of items bought on promotion remains at an all-time high of 36 per cent as retailers support festive ranges with in-store promotions. On the high street retailers are already turning to sales to drive footfall and attract shoppers.”  https://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/supermarkets-peg-hopes-on-final-weeks-to-lift-market-share/4005205.article


“Wal-Mart names Karen Roberts new general counsel” at Reuters.  “Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which is facing bribery investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, named a new general counsel, Karen Roberts, effective February 1, 2013.  Roberts replaces Jeff Gearhart, who now oversees the retail giant’s legal functions as well as its newly expanded compliance department.  Roberts, 42, has been with Wal-Mart for 17 years and will be responsible for “all legal matters affecting the company in its domestic and international markets,” the company said in a statement.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/20/us-walmart-generalcounsel-idUSBRE8BJ1AX20121220 


“Amazon sends mom a book wrapped in THIRTY FEET of paper” by Ian Garland at The Sun.  “Helen, 43, from north London said: “I was really surprised when I saw the size of the package as I couldn’t remember buying anything that big.  “The man in the sorting office actually joked that he didn’t think there was anything inside as it was so light.  I took it home and opened it and couldn’t believe what I saw. I’d unravelled 30ft of packaging paper before I got to the one book I’d ordered!”  https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4707341/Mum-gets-book-delievered-in-thirty-feet-of-wrapping.html#ixzz2Fga8hQiV



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/20/12: Walmart MBA, RadioShack in Afghanistan


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“Extreme Franchising: Bringing RadioShack to Afghanistan” by Nick Leiber at Bloomberg Businessweek.  “The next time you stroll through downtown Kabul, you might be able to buy batteries from a RadioShack outlet, the result of a new effort by the U.S. to shore up Afghanistan’s economy: selling American franchises to Afghan entrepreneurs.  The U.S. has set a 2014 deadline for troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and turn security over to Afghan military and police. That is prompting capital flight, depressing property values, and triggering other economic pain. That’s where franchising might fit—and an initial foray into the country proved promising, U.S. executives say.  “I didn’t have huge expectations going there that we would consummate an agreement, but after being there on the streets and seeing some fairly sophisticated [retail] operators in a very difficult climate, I’ve walked away with the fact that we would do business in Afghanistan,” says Martin Amschler, a RadioShack vice president who joined several American franchise executives to participate in a five-day matchmaking event in Kabul this week.”  https://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-07/extreme-franchising-bringing-radioshack-to-afghanistan


“Behind the Staples and LinkedIn Joint Content Venture, “Succeed”” by Joel Keller at Fast Company.  “For now, the Succeed site consists of a discussion board moderated by LinkedIn’s editorial staff, where discussion is ether generated by one of the moderators or one of the 6,700 subscribers to the group, and a small-business-oriented edition of LinkedIn Today, the site’s newsfeed. But both companies see the potential for more, and Staples is looking to how expanded content might link back to their initiative to make their retail website and stores more than just places to buy supplies.”  https://www.fastcocreate.com/1682103/behind-the-staples-and-linkedin-joint-content-venture-succeed


“Ex Microsoft exec plans marijuana shops for the wealthy” at KGW.  “Shively is planning to roll out a chain of retail pot stores, selling to the Cognac/BMW/country club set. He’s presently using his own money to float the idea, but he and his partners say they don’t expect any problem finding deep, deep pocket investors to back the expansion of the chain if legal pot proves a viable industry in Washington.  “We’re focused on Baby Boomers – basically wealthy Baby Boomers,” said Shively. “It’s a $100 billion industry in search of a brand. Never in the history of capitalism – forget America, in the world – has such a giant vacuum existed,” said Shively.  His brand is will be “Diejo Pellicer,” which will offer the highest quality pot-products and is named after his great grandfather, who grew and sold hemp back in the 1800s. Shively and his plans have been parodied overseas, where he’s called the “Bill Gates of bud” in a Chinese video.”  https://www.kgw.com/news/business/Ex-MIcrosoft-exec-plans-marijuana-shops-for-the-wealthy-182557331.html


 “Walmart Sustainability Strategy Taught to MBA Students” at Environmental Leader.  “The Walmart Sustainability Case Project, an in-depth analysis of the retailer’s effort to develop and implement goals of creating zero waste, selling sustainable products and using 100 percent renewable energy, will be used to teach business students and executives about sustainability and business development.  University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business associate professor Andrew Spicer, who led the Walmart Sustainability Case Project, will teach the full case series this spring in a course on corporate sustainability in the school’s international MBA program.”  https://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/12/19/walmart-sustainability-strategy-taught-to-mba-students/


“The golden age of retail therapy? Glimpse inside Dallas’s original Neiman Marcus store in 1945 reveals how Texas oil wives spent their money” by Tamara Abraham at The Daily Mail.  “As we dash around buying gifts this holiday season, it is difficult to imagine that shopping was once a very different activity indeed.  A newly-released set of images from 1945, taken by LIFE from inside the original Neiman Marcus store in Dallas, Texas, reveal how the city’s oil wives and heiresses would spend their money.  Published again this week in TIME, the photographs show models parading the latest looks for customers lounging in armchairs. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2248122/Glimpse-inside-Dallass-original-Neiman-Marcus-store-1945-reveals-Texas-oil-wives-spent-money.html#ixzz2FYUmTabX


Amazon’s Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos Named NRF’s Gold Award Recipient.  “The National Retail Federation is pleased to announce that Amazon, Crocs, Kohl’s and lululemon are the recipients of its prestigious annual awards. The award winners are selected each year by select members of the NRF Board who comprise its Award Committee. The recipients, each company’s top ranking executive, will accept their awards during the Annual Retail Industry Luncheon at NRF’s Annual Convention and EXPO, Retail’s BIG Show, on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121219006692&div=-1245645151


“RadioShack names two top executives” by Katherine Cromer Brock at The Dallas Business Journal.  “Troy Risch, most recently vice president of stores at Target Corp., has been named executive vice president of operations, according to an announcement from the company.  Huey Long, who has worked with Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Amazon and Sam’s Club, has been named executive vice president of strategy and consumer insights.”  https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/blog/morning_call/2012/12/radioshack-names-two-top-executives.html


Seven in Ten Americans Want Retailers to Enhance the In-Store Shopping Experience, SapientNitro Survey Reveals.  “Seven in ten (70%) Americans agree that “retailers could do more to enhance the in-store shopping experience.” Highly valued enticements include:

The ability to buy products in-store but have them shipped to home for free (79%)

Free Wi-Fi (63%)

Interactive displays or kiosks that provide additional information or recommendations about a product (57%)

Exclusive in-store mobile offers (56%).


Among smartphone users, a majority would also like:

To view store circulars/flyers on their phone (67%),

In-store navigation smartphone apps (59%), and

The option for mobile payment or to check out by scanning their mobile phone (59%).



“Tuesday Morning names former Michaels Stores CEO to board” by Steven Thompson at Dallas Business Journal.  “Tuesday Morning Corp. added Michael Rouleau to its board of directors, the retailer said Thursday.  The Dallas-based closeout retailer has seen a series of management and board changes over the past several months.  Rouleau previously was president and CEO of Michaels Stores from 1996 to 2006, before the company was sold. Rouleau also was executive vice president of retail operations for Lowe’s in the 1990s, co-founded Office Warehouse in 1988 and was one of Target Corp.’s first 25 employees.”  https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2012/11/29/tuesday-morning-appoints-former.html

Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/19/12: “How Walmart Used Payoffs in Mexico”, Kroger/Dollar Stores May Benefit from Food Inflation


“The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico” by David Barstow in NY Times.  “But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe.  The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda’s field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart’s store.  Problem solved.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/business/walmart-bribes-teotihuacan.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  


“Food Inflation May Help Kroger, Dollar Stores: Chart of the Day” by David Wilson at Bloomberg.  “Retailers will be able to raise prices about 3 percent without a meaningful decline in demand, Heinbockel wrote. This will pave the way for faster sales growth, lower expenses as a percentage of revenue, and higher earnings before interest and taxes, the report said.  Kroger Co. the country’s largest owner of supermarkets, will be “a clear beneficiary” because sales are already on the rise, Heinbockel wrote. Fourth-quarter sales will increase as much as 3.5 percent at stores open more than a year, the Cincinnati-based company said last week in a filing.”  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-18/food-inflation-may-help-kroger-dollar-stores-chart-of-the-day.html


“Ace Hardware acquires 85-store Westlake Ace Hardware chain” by Dian Stafford at The Kansas City Star.  “The Westlake Ace Hardware chain, based in Lenexa, has been acquired by Ace Hardware Corp. in a transaction valued at $88 million.  The 85-store Westlake chain had been owned by Goldner Hawn Johnson and Morrison, a private equity firm, since 2006.   Ace, based in Oak Brook, Ill., now is the sole owner of the Westlake chain, which operates in 33 communities in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.”  https://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/18/3971480/westlake-ace-hardware-acquired.html#storylink=cpy


“Dollar General selling MS Points, printed right onto receipt” by Alexander Sliwinski at Joystiq.  “Dollar General stores will now allow customers to purchase Xbox Live points right at the register, with codes printed out on the receipt. Customers can purchase points in denominations of $19.99, $24.99, $49.99 and $59.99 directly at the register.  “Through Dollar General, we are proud to offer Microsoft not only its first entry into the general merchandise retailer channel, but also the implementation of the first nationally available PIN via receipt redemption for the Xbox,” said Dave Etling, vice president of business and product development at InComm, the company whose tech makes this whole thing possible.”  https://www.joystiq.com/2012/12/17/dollar-general-selling-ms-points-printed-right-onto-receipt/


“Staples unveils Velocity Lab in Cambridge” by Ira Kantor at Boston Herald.  “Office products chain Staples today unveiled its new Velocity Lab in Kendall Square, which will house teams responsible for designing and implementing new e-commerce and mobile solutions across the company’s global business units.  The Velocity Lab can house up to 75 associates and features an open floor plan, collaboration space, telepresence capabilities and hoteling options for visiting employees and guests, the company said.  Staples will also use the Velocity Lab to host groups of students from local universities to collaborate on research and innovation projects.”  https://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2012/12/staples_unveils_velocity_lab_cambridge


“Amazon and JibJab team up for last minute gift ideas” by Jackie Kass at The Examiner.  “On Dec. 18, Amazon announced that it has teamed up with JibJab for last minute holiday gift giving. If you’re a busy parent looking for last minute gift ideas, this could be your answer to unique and personalized gifts that can be ready to send in minutes.  “Customers who showed an interest in gift cards might like to know that Amazon.com gift cards are now available as personalized JibJab videos starring you or anyone else whose photo you have. See you and your friends dance, sing, rock out, or just be silly. Send a gift card by e-mail or Facebook with instant delivery, or schedule up to a year in advance,” Amazon said in an email sent to customers on Tuesday.”  https://www.examiner.com/article/amazon-and-jibjab-team-up-for-last-minute-gift-ideas


“5 Key Lessons (Apple’s) Tim Cook Learned in 2012″ by Pete Pachal in Mashable.  “Apple’s Tim Cook Era is now fully underway. It’s been over a year since Cook officially took over as CEO, leading the company through unprecedented highs (soaring stock price!) and cringe-inducing lows (those disastrous maps). With each major decision and public appearance, the picture of Tim Cook gets a little clearer, and gives us clues about how he’ll define Apple in the coming years.  If that picture of Cook is still somewhat blurry, however, it’s not just because he’s notoriously private, and that Apple is even more notoriously secretive. It’s because he’s changing, too. Tim Cook in December 2012 isn’t the same CEO as Tim Cook in January 2012. From his actions, he’s become more confident, more image-conscious and more hands on than before.  Put simply, Cook has been learning on the job as CEO.”  https://mashable.com/2012/12/18/tim-cook-2012/


“Dick’s Sporting Goods suspends sales of modern rifles, takes guns off display at Conn. store” at The Washington Post.  “A sporting goods chain says it’s suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the school shooting in Connecticut.  Dick’s Sporting Goods also says it’s removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown, where the massacre took place.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/dicks-sporting-goods-suspends-sales-of-modern-rifles-takes-guns-off-display-at-conn-store/2012/12/18/bc071d96-4924-11e2-8af9-9b50cb4605a7_story.html


“Staples among best in delivery in national survey” by Laura Finaldi at The Boston Globe.  “That’s according to a study of delivery speeds for the top 25 online US retailers in November by STELLAService, an independent research company. It found the Framingham-based office supply company tied with online apparel retailer Zappos and office products seller Office Depot for the fastest delivery time.”  https://bostonglobe.com/business/2012/12/19/staples-zappos-office-depot-rank-tops-for-speedy-online-deliveries-according-research-firm/cfuJw3eDZXEVEKGjOTHSDL/story.html


Walgreens First Quarter 2013 Earnings Release, Conference Call Scheduled for Dec. 21.  “Walgreens will release its fiscal 2013 first quarter earnings results at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday, Dec. 21, followed by a conference call with Walgreens management beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.  The conference call will be simulcast through Walgreens investor relations website at: https://investor.walgreens.com. A replay of the conference call will be archived on the website for 12 months after the call. A podcast also will be available on the investor relations website.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121218006597&div=-1245645151



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/18/12: Home Depot Acquires Blacklocus, Amazon Gamechanger


“Home Depot Starts Innovation Lab in Austin by Acquiring Blacklocus” by Kira Newman at Tech Cocktail.  “Today, BlackLocus announced that it was acquired by The Home Depot and will become the Home Depot’s Innovation Lab in Austin, Texas.BlackLocus makes business software for retailers that turns lots of data into understandable, actionable information. As part of Home Depot, it will help the big-box retailer decide on pricing, which selection of items to carry, and the best item descriptions…Home Depot acquired another startup, Redbeacon, in January. Redbeacon is a website where conusmers can get quotes from service providers like plumbers and carpenters. Since then, Redbeacon has set up kiosks in Home Depot stores to recruit users. According to the Wall Street Journal, that was Home Depot’s first acquisition since 2006.”  https://tech.co/home-depot-innovation-lab-austin-blacklocus-2012-12


“Amazon, Advertising’s Sleeping Giant, to Awaken in 2013” by Tim Peterson at AdWeek.  “Amazon made a splash during October’s Advertising Week while previewing its advertising business, but that was merely a ripple compared to the waves the e-commerce behemoth has coming for 2013 and beyond.  Over the past year, Amazon has built a proprietary real-time bidding platform that plugs into exchanges and supply-side platforms, including Google’s AdX and PubMatic. This platform lets the company retarget its users across the Web based on their browsing and purchase habits on Amazon’s owned-and-operated properties. That could be a game changer. Given Amazon’s recommendation engine and general deal-closing prowess, the company’s data should have advertisers drooling.”  https://www.adweek.com/news/technology/amazon-advertisings-sleeping-giant-awaken-2013-145964?page=1


“Walmart Takes Largest Share of Mobile Traffic and Transactions” at RIS.  “The mobile shopping experience at Apple, Best Buy and Kohl’s got high marks for customer satisfaction, but Walmart, ranked fifth in customer satisfaction, attracts the largest percentage of both mobile browsers and purchasers. In a recent consumer survey measuring the mobile performance of the leading brick-and-mortar retailers, Target came in fourth and CVS ranked sixth in customer satisfaction. Slow load times, poor navigation and checkout problems were the main reasons for low customer satisfaction levels…The survey is another indicator of the growing prevalence of showrooming: 41% of respondents made a purchase on their mobile device after shopping in-store, with 31% citing a better price as the main reason.”  https://risnews.edgl.com/retail-trends/Walmart-Takes-Largest-Share-of-Mobile-Traffic-and-Transactions83774


“Nordstrom family scion keeps up with Amazon online” in Reuters.  “The future of retail came to Jamie Nordstrom not in a dream, but though his email inbox from Amazon.com Inc, the online retailer that Nordstrom now targets as his biggest rival.  The 40 year-old, great-grandson of Nordstrom Inc founder John W. Nordstrom and president of Nordstrom Direct ordered a fishing tackle box from Amazon last year. And then he received emails from Amazon about other tackle boxes for five straight days.  On the sixth day, Amazon sent an email to buy an additive that is often used to preserve gasoline in boats stored over the winter — an example of Amazon’s strength crunching customer data to provide more relevant recommendations.  “I was like, ‘Crap, I need some of that.’ They got me and all I had to do was literally hit a button. That’s incredibly valuable,” Nordstrom said during an appearance at the Milken Institute Global Conference earlier this year.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-nordstrom-ecommerce-executive-idUSBRE8BG0VJ20121217


“H-E-B expecting 15,000 for dinner” by Jacob Beltran in My San Antonio.  “About 15,000 guests are expected Saturday at the 20th annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing at the Convention Center.  Besides a holiday meal, attendees will be treated to free long-distance calls, health screenings and live entertainment.  H-E-B public affairs manager Danny Flores said the feast, set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., aims to bring people together during the holidays.  https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/H-E-B-expecting-15-000-for-dinner-4124420.php#ixzz2FMf1NQlR


“Microsoft’s Retail Strategy Absolutely Stinks” by Rocco Pendola at The Street.  “On its own, Microsoft — as a brick-and-mortar retail proposition — stinks.  Walk into one of its stores. The only thing that looks like it makes any actual sense (or money) is Xbox. Microsoft really doesn’t feature its other success story, Office, much at all. So you’re stuck with a bunch of these Surface tablets and random laptops.  Microsoft’s mounting of a copycat of Apple’s retail blueprint is embarrassing enough; it’s even worse that it does so with a wholly unprepared product line.”  https://www.thestreet.com/story/11793902/2/microsofts-retail-strategy-absolutely-stinks.html


“Staples president Michael A. Miles Jr. plans to resign in February” by Chris Reidy at Boston.com.  “Staples Inc., the office-supply giant headquartered in Framingham, said Monday that Michael A. Miles Jr., president and chief operating officer, will resign from the company, effective Feb. 2.  Miles has accepted a position with Berkshire Partners, the Boston-based investment firm, Staples said in a press release.”  https://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2012/12/17/staples-president-michael-miles-plans-resign-february/4rfktRWcdxGlNkSYyPxtuL/story.html


“Nielsen and Twitter Establish Social TV Rating”.  “Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, and Twitter today announced an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market. Under this agreement, Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter, slated for commercial availability at the start of the fall 2013 TV season.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121217006059&div=-1245645151


“Amazon smartphone reportedly in production, set to go on sale in mid-2013” by Jake Smith in 9 to 5 Mac.  “Rumors have been in the air for several months that claim Amazon will compete in the handset space with its own offering, much like it did with its Kindle Fire line of tablets. According to a new report from the Taiwan Economic News, the Internet retail giant has selected the infamous Foxconn to manufacture the handset. Additionally, Amazon is said to have ordered 5 million units and will launch the device at $100 to $200 sometime in the second quarter or third quarter of 2013.”  https://9to5mac.com/2012/12/17/amazon-smartphone-reportedly-in-production-set-to-go-on-sale-in-mid-2013/


“Office Depot Adds PayPal to Online Payment Options”.  “To use the service at checkout, www.officedepot.com customers provide their existing PayPal account information, and they can securely link their bank account, debit or credit cards to their PayPal account. Their stored shipping and billing information quickly processes the payment and items are shipped directly from Office Depot. A record of the purchases will be available on customers’ PayPal accounts and the payment details will be available for future purchases, allowing customers to speed through checkout. PayPal also provides protection against eligible unauthorized payments.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121217005083&div=-1245645151


Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/17/12: Walmart Discounts Apple & Cozies up with Facebook


“Stores offer same-day delivery to compete with Amazon” by Shan Li at LA Times.  “The EBay Now pilot project was launched in August, partnering with the likes of Macy’s, Target and Best Buy. Basically, a customer orders an item on a smartphone and an EBay “valet” personally delivers by the end of the day for a $5 fee. (The first three deliveries are free.) The service was expanded to New York last month.  “It was awesome,” said Kling, 30. “I’m normally addicted to online shopping, but it literally took just 30 minutes from when I ordered the Nexus to when the concierge delivered it. I was still sitting in my barber chair.”  https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-same-day-delivery-20121214,0,2225974.story


“Facebook cozies up with Walmart for mobile-ad blitz” by Dara Kerr at CNET.  “Walmart’s collaboration with Facebook was different from a typical mobile ad campaign on the social network. Instead of paying by ad clicks, Walmart pre-bought millions of ads that then overwhelmed any other retailers advertising on the cyber shopping weekend.  Overall, the retailer bought 2 billion ads on Facebook to post throughout the holiday season, which includes the 50 million ads that it bought during the Black Friday experiment. Walmart declined to say how much these ads cost.”  https://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57559494-93/facebook-cozies-up-with-walmart-for-mobile-ad-blitz/


“Walmart Discounting iPhones and iPads With Apple’s Blessing” by Tricia Duryee at All Things D.  “The 16 gigabyte iPhone 5 will cost $127, compared to the original price of $190 (with a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless, Sprint or AT&T). Wal-Mart is also selling the 16GB iPhone 4S for $47 — nearly half off. The 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi will cost $399, or $100 off.  Interestingly, the 30-day promotion has Apple’s blessing. A Walmart spokeswoman told Retuers that the discounts were arranged with Apple. But, after making a few inquiries, the discounts proved difficult to find in a handful of locations in Washington and California.”  https://allthingsd.com/20121215/wal-mart-deeply-discounting-iphones-and-ipads-with-apples-blessing/


“Amazon’s Monthly Visitors Could Fill 60 Disneylands” by Bob-Al Greene at Mashable (Infographic and Text).  “Imagine Amazon is a brick and mortar store, with a sprawling parking lot and front doors that slide open as you approach. As you step inside, what do you see?  The number of products available on Amazon could fill 1,290 Wal-Mart Supercenters. If you’ve ever gotten lost in one of those shopping megaplexes, then this kind of scale should make your brain hurt.”  https://mashable.com/2012/12/16/how-big-is-amazon/


“Watch the Tractor Supply profile that ABC can’t air” by Nevin Batiwalla at Nashville Business Journal.  “ABC’s “Nightline” did a story recently on how Brentwood-based Tractor Supply Co. ignored the recession. It never aired.  That’s apparently because reporter John Berman, who spent time at a Tractor Supply sales meeting and toured a new store in New Hampshire, left ABC for CNN.”  https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2012/12/the-tractor-supply-story-that-never.html

Link to video:  https://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/tractor-supply-recession-proof-retailer-17946784


“Houston, we have an office supply problem” by Matt Clark at UT-San Diego.  “Another government agency has claimed it was overcharged by retailer Office Depot under the same contract the San Diego Unified School District used for $17.3 million in purchases between 2007 and 2010.  Houston auditors released a report last week claiming the city was overcharged up to $6.6 million when retailer Office Depot failed to honor certain best pricing promises for the contract, which the city used for $19.2 million in purchases between 2006 and 2010.”  https://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/dec/16/houston-we-have-office-supply-problem/ 


Kroger Names Lynn Gust President of Fred Meyer Stores” at Herald Online.  “Gust was born and raised in Vancouver, Wash. He is a member of the Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center Advisory Board; on the board of directors of the Western Association of Food Chains; and on the board of directors of the Northwest Grocery Association. He is also a past chair of the Board of Directors of Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. He and his wife live in Portland and have four children.”  https://www.heraldonline.com/2012/12/14/4485968/kroger-names-lynn-gust-president.html#storylink=cpy


“CVS to buy 19 pharmacies in Texas” at MarketWatch.  “The Woonsocket, R.I., company said Friday that it will buy the stores from Texas chain Medicine Chest during the last weekend in December. It did not disclose terms of the deal.  CVS will operate nine of the locations and relocate 10 into nearby CVS pharmacies.  CVS is the second-largest U.S. drugstore chain with more than 7,400 locations. It trails only Walgreen Co.”  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cvspharmacy-to-acquire-19-medicine-chest-pharmacy-locations-in-texas-2012-12-14


“Apple Opens Largest West Coast Store on Santa Moncia Promenade” by Jason Islas at Santa Monica Lookout.  “Hundreds turned out Saturday morning to be among the first inside the new Apple store on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, the largest on the west coast, according to Apple officials.  People lined up almost the full length of Third Street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Broadway, eagerly awaiting the 9:00 a.m. opening of the newest Mac store, a building that is over 8,000 square feet with glass store front and ceiling.”  https://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2012/December-2012/12_17_2012_Apple_Opens_Largest_West_Coast_Store_on_Santa_Monica_Promenade.html


“Walmart vs. Big Banks: The Battle For Poor Customers” by Halah Touryalai at Forbes.  “What’s important in this relatively new (but tamed) battle between retail banks and retailers is that the consumers they are fighting for are down-market. Consider that one in four (28.3%) of all U.S. households conduct some or all of their financial transactions outside of the mainstream banking system. These folks are dubbed the “underbanked” or “unbanked”–people say they do not have enough money to open a traditional bank account or who say do not need or want an account. They’re exactly who Walmart is going after.  You might think big banks have a “you can have ‘em” attitude toward retailers’ efforts with this lower-income demographic but you might be wrong. An increasing number of retail banks (mostly ones with smaller investment banking operations) are looking to lure low-income customers by offering products like pre-paid cards and pay-day loans.”  https://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2012/12/14/walmart-vs-big-banks-the-battle-for-poor-customers/


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