Wednesday Tipsheet: Target’s India Accelerator | Costco’s B.C. Booze | 56% Skip Black Fri.


“Target Wants To Launch An Accelerator In India” by Pankaj Mishra at TechCrunch.  “Target has long looked to India to fuel its software applications and back-office projects. Now, the Minneapolis-based retailer is doubling down on the country’s tech potential.  Come January 2014, Target is planning to launch the Target Accelerator Program, a corporate incubator – complete with funding, and possibly equity stakes.”  Read more


“H-E-B:  America’s Only Cross-Border Grocery Chain” by David Merrefield at Global Retail Brands.  “It operates stores in Mexico, and has done so for some 15 years, making it the lone U.S. conventional operator with stores outside the U.S. H-E-B’s Mexican venture is far from small. It has some 45 stores in the country and two distribution centers. Stores in Mexico are under the H-E-B banner plus a few under the Mi Tinda del Ahorro, a deep discounter. H-E-B’s sales volume in the country is about $1.2 billion.”  Read more


“Twitter woos Target and other Retailers” by Sarah Frier at Bloomberg via Star-Tribune.  “Hirschle’s mission is urgent. Twitter lags behind Facebook Inc. in dollars flowing from retailers, who are critical for the San Francisco-based company to win over following its blockbuster IPO. Retailer outlays on digital ads, which made up 22 percent of total spending in 2012, are projected to swell to $13.5 billion by 2017 from $9.4 billion this year.”  Read more


“Men Outspend Women During Holiday Season: ESPN Survey” by Meredith Derby Berg at Ad Age.  “A full 33% of men consider themselves the primary shopper for the household, up from 14% of men who described themselves that way in 1985, according to ESPN. That’s in part because 70% of women are now working outside the home, Ms. Singer said. “Retail has always been aimed at women and how women shop and behave, but men are the prime target if you’re looking to grow the sector.”   Read more


“Costco Wants Booze in B.C. Canada” by Peter Meiszner at Global News.  “The B.C. Private Liquor Store says they are not in favour of alcohol sales in grocery stores such as Costco or Superstore. They are also asking the provincial government to stop installing walk-in fridges without “chill charges” in government liquor stores, which they call an “aggressive attack” on private liquor stores.”  Read more


“Sears death spiral:  Canada to lay off nearly 800 employees” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  “The layoffs, which were unveiled on Tuesday, affect 712 employees in Sears’ repair services and parts business and 79 in its head office.  In all, the company has about 25,000 staff – roughly 1,800 at head office – down from about 31,000 two years ago when it had 122 department stores. Today it operates 118 outlets, but by early 2015 that number will drop to 111.”  Read more


“Cheap Gas is the Key to Robust Holiday Sales” by Josh Boak at AP via Star-Tribune.  “Many retail analysts have forecast a ho-hum sales gain of around 2 percent this year; others predict an increase of up to 3.9 percent. But steadily cheaper gas could send holiday sales shooting above 5.4 percent, analysts say.”  Read more


“Consumer Reports Poll: Fifty-Six Percent of Americans Plan to Skip Black Friday Shopping This Year”  “Seven in ten say ‘Too Many Crowds” is Biggest Reason They Won’t Shop.”  Read more


“Why Amazon is goosing Prime memberships” by JP Mangalindan at Forbes.  “Investment research firm Morningstar estimated earlier this year that Prime had 10 million members by the end of 2012 and projects that number could rise to 25 million by 2017. (For context, Prime members reportedly numbered between 3 million and 5 million in fall 2011.).”  Read more


“Walmart’s Susan Chambers (EVP) is 2013 Women of Excellence Recipient”  “The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) today announced the 2013 Women of Excellence Award recipients, and Walmart’s Susan Chambers was bestowed recognition for her exceptional business achievement and acumen.”  Read more


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See you again next Monday!

Tuesday Tipsheet: Wmart CEO Race: McMillon Wins, What’s Next for #2 Simon? | Costco & Lowe’s: Australian Headaches


“Wal-Mart Taps Veteran as New CEO” by Shelly Banjo at WSJ.  “In a meeting with senior managers in Bentonville on Monday, Mr. McMillon highlighted his commitment to following in founder Sam Walton’s footsteps by placing more focus on merchandise but also underscored the changing and evolving needs of the customer, according to a Wal-Mart executive who attended the meeting.”  Read more 


“Walmart CEO Race:  What’s Next for #2 Choice Bill Simon?” by Kim Souza at City Wire.  “Will Bill Simon remain at the helm of Walmart US? If not, does Duncan MacNaughton assume the helm of US operations? There could be a domino effect there,” Nicholas said…Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, believes Simon will stay on as CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. because he is connected to the brand, but said at some point he could get pushed out.”  Read more


“Costco Urged to Sign ‘Behavior Code’ ” by Blair Speedy at The Australian.  “The code prohibits a range of behaviors complained of by suppliers, including demands for lower prices once contracts have already been signed and payment in return for products being displayed on more prominent shelves…Speaking to The Australian, Costco Australia managing director Patrick Noone said he had no plans to sign the code.  “As far as I understand, it’s a code of conduct for Woolworths and Coles.”  Read more


“Target CMO Jeff Jones to Host Black Friday Twitter Chat”  “Jeff Jones, EVP and CMO, will be out and about in Columbus, Ohio on Thanksgiving.  He’s excited to serve as A Bullseye View’s on-the-ground scout to provide insights on the night’s events. He’ll share his Black Friday observations, from bestselling items to crowd reports, during our #TargetChat starting at 10:00 p.m. ET via @ABullseyeView.”  Read more


“Does Lowe’s Want Out of Masters (Australia) Joint Venture?” by Stephen Bartholomesuz at  Business Spectator.  “Masters stores are pitched as a premium offering compared to Bunnings, with more visually appealing layouts and lower stock densities…But they aren’t necessarily the kind of stores that would attract tradespeople and hard-core DIY handymen who frequent Bunnings…Lowe’s had an option to put its one-third interest in Masters, which was extended earlier this year to October next year…The fate of the option will eventually provide some insight into how Lowe’s is thinking about how the venture is tracking.”  Read more


“Closed & Proud:  Menards takes out full page ad to say its Not open on Thanksgiving Day” by Nick Bohr at WISN 12 News.  “Menards has gone so far as to buy a full page newspaper ad explaining they’re closed because Thanksgiving “should be celebrated with all those we hold dear.”… “Not only aren’t you open, but you seem to be making a statement about it,” WISN 12 News reporter Nick Bohr said.”  See the Video / Read more


“Eddie Lampert considers sale of Sears Canada” by James Covert at NY Post.  “Lampert is interviewing multiple banks including Goldman Sachs about conducting a prospective process, according to sources close to the situation.”  Read more


“Rebuttal from Sears:  ‘False Statements’ from NY Post”  “It is false to claim that Mr. Lampert, the CEO of Sears Holdings, is interviewing or otherwise is in talks with investment bankers about Sears Holdings’ interest in Sears Canada. Similarly, the claim that Mr. Lampert is conducting a ‘beauty contest’ also is false.”  Read more


“Best Buy’s Risky Black Friday Twitter Campaign” by Jason Del Rey at All Things D.  “The electronics retailer has purchased Twitter ads asking shoppers to create seven-second Vine videos while waiting in line on the big shopping day…I asked Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter about the chance of someone videoing a confrontation and using the #VineinLine hashtag to publicize it.”  Read more


“The Coming Price War in Canada” by David Friend at Financial Post.  “A survey released by Level5, a brand strategy adviser, found that consumer sentiment for Target is on level with the struggling operations of Sears Canada.  Some customers likened Canada’s version to “Target Lite,” with lackluster prices and an atmosphere that, despite renovations, still had the feel of the Zellers outlets that occupied the same spaces for years before…“All the Canadian companies are now running and seem to be more prepared than they were before. We’re in a period of transition.”  Read more


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Mon. Tipsheet: Costco: New Carts, Prawns & Gas for Canada | H.Depot’s ‘Mob’ Heist | Menards Causing Headaches


“Walmart Haters Try to Ignite Social Media Controversy” by Laura Clawson at Talking Union.  “A Thunderclap touting Black Friday as Walmart’s Super Bowl was identified as being from “a proud associate.” But it turns out that proud associate was Umang Shah, Walmart’s director of social strategy. Outed by Eric Ming as the originator of the Thunderclap, Shah argued that “proud associate” wasn’t deceptive.”  Read more


“It’s Come to this – Costco’s New Shopping Carts Reviewed like a New Car” by Consumer Bob at San Diego 7 NBC.  “Costco GM Jesse Sanchez said not only are carts lighter, but they have a new design element that works with the type of products Costco sells.  “The nice thing is they’re lower on the sides,” Sanchez said. “Makes it easier to get items in and out of ‘em.”  See the Video / Read more


“Costco Dilemma – Are they ‘Shrimp’ or ‘Prawns’ ?” at Weekly Times (Australia).  “Costco, which is what you get if Bunnings started selling groceries, was flogging “shrimps” last week at it new Ringwood store.  Shrimps! Shrimps are what Aussies use to bait fish hooks. Prawns are what Aussies put on the barbecue.  If Costco really wants to endear itself in the Australian market place, it might start by at least adopting the lingo.”  Read more


“Home Depot EVP Sells 29,602 Shares of Stock” by Zach Kirkland at WKRB.  “Home Depot EVP Marvin Ellison unloaded 29,602 shares of Home Depot stock on the open market in a transaction dated Thursday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.57, for a total value of $2,355,431.14. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 194,645 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,487,903.”  Read more


“New Menards in Davenport, IA Causing Headaches” by Akilah Davis at KWQC 6 News.  “It’s a lot of construction noise. Jackhammers and tractors and they even had a helicopter,” said Eric Finch.  Those are all concerns neighbors living in this neighborhood say they have a problem with. They say since the construction started they say their sleep patterns haven’t been the same.”  See the Video / Read more


“Canadians Crossing into U.S. to Load-Up on Cheap Costco Gas” by Frank Luba and Gordon McIntyre at The News Tribune.  “Fears have emerged as thousands of British Columbians cross the border from Washington state loaded with cheap U.S. gas in jerry cans.  “You have 100, 200 gallons of gasoline in just regular gas cans — should that vehicle become involved in a collision, the result has the potential to be catastrophic,” said Sgt. Jason Hicks of the Washington State Patrol.  On Tuesday, Nov. 19, at least half of the vehicles lined up at the Bellingham Costco gas station had British Columbia plates.”  Read more


“Kroger CEO Dillon reveals a key to company turnaround” by Steve Watkins at Cincy Business Chronicle.  “We were only able to do that once we were honest with ourselves,” Dillon said. “As individuals, the only way to truly see yourself is in the mirror, and the mirror is other people. We need to develop a capacity for getting feedback.”  Read more


 “ShopperTrak Expects 10% Fewer Shoppers in Brick & Mortar Stores this Holiday Season” by Laurie Kulikowski at Dallas News.  “ShopperTrak specifically expects traffic in electronics and appliance stores to fall by 11.5% compared to 2012, however, retail traffic in apparel and accessories is expected to rise 5%.”  Read more


“Walmart’s Newest Board Member” at The City Wire.  “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced that its board of directors has appointed Pamela Craig, retired chief financial officer of Accenture, as a new member of the company’s board, effective immediately.”  Read more


“Lowe’s and Good Morning America’s Close Working Relationship” at Newscast Studio.  “We noticed recently that ABC has been airing a promotion for Lowe’s that appears to have been shot on the “Good Morning America” Times Square set…the spot seems to imply that Lowe’s (or at least Lowe’s products) are responsible for the upkeep and perhaps even the construction of the “GMA” studio — though it would be interesting to see how the set designer and fabricator feel about that!”  Read more


“Mobster tries, fails ‘pathetic’ $164 Home Depot heist”  by John Marzulli at NY Daily News.  “The arrest couldn’t come at a worse time …Spata is free on $1 million bail in a separate federal racketeering case and is scheduled to be sentenced next month. Federal prosecutors are expected to seek revocation of his bail because of the shoplifting arrest, sources said.”  Read more


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Friday Tipsheet: Costco’s Secret Codes | Target & Dollar Tree – Call Highlights | 1st Wmart C-Store on Track


Dissecting Target’s Q3 Earnings Call:  Top 10 Main Things

Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman & CEO

* Guests continue to consolidate trips as evidenced by a slight decline in our third quarter transactions which was offset by an increase in average ticket.

* The response to Cartwheel, our digital coupon portable, has been remarkable. Cartwheel now has nearly 3 million users.

* In Q3, we opened our eighth CityTarget.  We opened our first CityTarget stores more than a year ago and we’re seeing very strong comparable sales growth in these locations.


Kathryn Tesija, EVP Merchandising & Supply Chain

* Electronics had a great quarter, driven by sales in mobile devices and video games.  Apparel and home categories both saw small declines in comparable sales.

* Q3 trends were strongest in jewelry, accessories, and newborn infant toddler. In home, sales trends were strongest in domestics.

* Next week, we will be testing a special offer in Northern California stores where all apparel and accessory items will be 40% off from the timely open on Thanksgiving through close of business on Saturday. This offer will be available in 89 stores.

* Top categories for in-store pickup include baby, furniture and electronics, and our strongest markets have been New York, Chicago and Seattle.

* Following the strong guest response to our Chicago test of our Baby 360 layout which features added service and enhanced presentation, last month, we extended the test to an additional 20 stores across the country.

* We are also excited about results from our Beauty Concierge program, which we extended this month to another 95 stores in new markets across the country, including New York, New Jersey, San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth.

* We’ve rolled out a subscription service that allows guests to order baby diapers, training pants, wipes and formula to their doorsteps on a recurring schedule…expanding service…adding a limited assortment from categories like coffee, personal-care, paper towels, and toilet paper.

Read the Full Transcript via Morningstar


“Canadian consumers give Target the cold shoulder” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  “Many Canadians had shopped at Target stores south of the border and expected the same low prices and trendy fashions – and were disappointed on both counts.  Even when initial demand was strong, Target’s fledgling supply chain couldn’t keep up.”  Read more


“Jesse cracks the Costco price tag code” by Jesse Jones at King 5 News (Seattle).  “A price ending in .00 is probably the best deal you will find in the store. It means the manager wants the item out. And once it’s out, the product is gone for good. Also look for the asterisk. That means the product is discontinued. A combination of a .97 and an asterisk means you are getting a last chance good deal.”  See the Video / Read more


“Walmart’s 1st C-Store on track for Spring ’14 Open” by Kim Souza at City Wire.  “In the highly competitive world of retail, Wall Street continues to watch Wal-Mart’s deteriorating comp sales while other big boxes like Costco remain their “darling choice”. “Testing a c-store is a big signal to Wall Street that the company is working diligently to turn around its recent sales woes. It could also be a competitive signal to current and would-be competitors that Wal-Mart isn’t going to blindly stand by and concede sales to smaller stores any longer,” Long said.”  Read more


“ Matches Amazon’s $35 Free Shipping Minimum for the Holidays” by Jason Del Rey at All Things D.  “Walmart said on Wednesday that it is lowering its free-shipping minimum at from $50 to $35 for the holiday season, effective on Thursday.”  Read more


“Sears Q3 Comp Sales Down 4%, K-mart Off 2.1%”  “The decline at Sears Domestic reflects decreases in most categories including the consumer electronics, lawn & garden, tools, home appliances and apparel categories, as well as declines at Sears Auto Centers, partially offset by an increase in the home category.”  Read more


“Lowe’s Restructures Canada Leadership Team” at Digital Journal. “Leadership changes at its corporate office in Toronto have taken place over the past few months and include key appointments and newly created roles in Merchandising and Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain, and Finance and Administration…The new appointments include: Nick Padovano, Igor Halencak and Tony Tutolo.”  Read more


“Macy’s pushes tech after daughter calls CEO ‘uncool’ “ by Alexander Coolidge at Cincy Enquirer.  “Lundgren (CEO) said they’re making so much progress (in technology), it’s changed his mind about the viability of most of the company’s stores…“If you would have asked five years ago ‘Do you think you have too many stores? – you need to close a bunch of stores,’ I would have said ‘Yes, probably so,’…(today) “If it doesn’t sell in my smallest store in Wisconsin, then I can pull that inventory and ship it to the customer from that Wisconsin store to the customer who wants it in Roosevelt Field“  Read more


Dissecting Dollar Tree’s Q3 Earnings Call:  Top 7 Main Things

Bob Sasser, President and CEO

* Total sales increased 9.5% to $1.885 billion, and comp store sales increased 3.1% driven by increased customer traffic.

* We’re on track with our new store opening plan for the full year 2013, which includes 340 new stores and 73 relocations.

* We now offer frozen and refrigerated product in 3,115 stores and we expect to add another 25 installations by fiscal year-end.

* Our top performing categories in the third quarter were checkouts, frozen and refrigerated products, stationery, party supplies and candy.

* We opened 10 new Deal$ stores in the third quarter ending the quarter with a net total of 214 (no $1 restriction at Deal$).

* Canada:  Opened 16 new stores and ended the quarter with 176 Canadian stores achieving our plan to grow our store count by 25% for the year…We believe the Canadian market can support up to 1,000 Dollar Tree stores.

* Dollar Tree and Deal$ Direct now offer more than 3,800 items online…Traffic on the site exceeded 5.6 million unique visitors in the third quarter, a 25% increase over the third quarter last year.

Read the Full Transcript via Morningstar


“Dollar Tree profits drop 19 percent, disappointing Wall Street” at UPI.  “Profits fell to $125.4 million, or 58 cents a share, down from $155.4 million or 68 cents a share in the year-ago period.”  Read more


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Thursday Tipsheet: Breaking: Target Q3 Comps +.9% | Lowe’s Call Hlights | Wmart & New Suppliers


“Breaking:  Target Q3 Comp Sales Up Sluggish .9%”  “In third quarter 2013, sales increased 2.0 percent to $16.9 billion from $16.6 billion last year, reflecting a 0.9 percent increase in comparable sales.”  Read the Full Release


“Target earnings beat; shares slip on light sales” at CNBC.  “Target on Thursday reported comparable sales rose a smaller than expected 0.9 percent in the third quarter, blaming what it called “constrained” consumer spending, and it lowered its full-year profit forecast.” Read more


Top Ten Things Heard on the Lowe’s Q3 Earnings Call:

Robert Niblock, Chairman & CEO

* Comparable sales for the quarter were 6.2%, once again, driven by balance of ticket and transaction growth.

* We also saw strength in all regions of the country, with double-digit comp performance in Florida, as well as particular strength in California and Arizona.  Canada delivered double-digit comps.

* Ticket growth: Less than $50, up 3%; $50 to $500, up 5.6; and greater than $500, up 8.6%

Gregory Bridgeford, Chief Customer Officer

* We performed particularly well in large project categories such as flooring and kitchens and appliances.  We also performed well in fashion fixtures and paint.

* At the end of the third quarter, we had completed resets, representing approximately 80% of our business, and we expect to substantially complete the initial round of resets in 2013.

* Housing is on quite an upturn in the fashion fixtures category in kitchens and appliances. And it’s really interesting because it’s more of a refresh than a remodel activity.

* The financial benefit of value improvement is greatest once we have reached stabilization, that is, when we are past clearance and selling only new assortments. We estimate that roughly 2/3 of our business was at this stage at the end of the third quarter.

Robert Hull, CFO

* Looking at monthly trends, comps were 7.3% in August, 5.6% in September and 5.8% in October.

* For the quarter, comp transactions increased 3.6%, and comp average ticket increased 2.5%.

Rick Damron, COO

* Sales of Pro continue to outpace our DIY consumer, and did so again in this quarter. Our average ticket increased by $2.38 year-over-year.

Read the Full Transcript via Seeking Alpha


“Lowe’s is no Home Depot; Outlook Disappoints” by Dhanya Skariachan at Reuters.  “On a conference call, Lowe’s executives said discretionary spending on larger home projects was still far below pre-recession peaks. They also said competition in the appliance market had eaten into the company’s gross margin.”  Read more


“Lessons Learned by new Wal-Mart suppliers” by Kim Souza at The City Wire.  “Jason Long, CEO of Shift Marketing Group, said suppliers should be bold with their questions, but not needy.
“Wal-Mart merchants have plenty of headaches already, so as a new supplier it’s important that you choose your moments. It’s all in the approach. Think through what you’re going to say before you say it. Ask yourself, ‘What is the goal of this discussion?’ Be concise, smart and focused and you’ll earn the respect of your merchant over time,” Long said.”  Read more


“Dick’s to shift floor space plan in 2014” by Tim Schooley at Pittsburgh Business Times.  “Less space for fitness equipment and coats. More for youth and women’s apparel.  As Dick’s Sporting Goods prepares for the major year-end holiday sales season, the company is also making plans to shift how it will allocate the merchandise on the floor space of its more than 500 stores next year.” Read more


“Why JC Penney’s $1.97 pants could spoil Christmas” by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC.  “Although Penney’s reported on Wednesday that same-store sales fell 4.8 percent in the third quarter, the company reiterated that its performance improved in October and expressed optimism related to a stronger November.  J.C. Penney shares fell initially on earnings news but quickly rebounded based on these comments.”  Read more


“Walmart:  Shoplifters Flocking to This Denver Store” by Sadie Gurman at Denver Post.  “Police officers, frustrated by 841 calls for service at the Stapleton Walmart in the past year, even tried parking empty squad cars in front of the doors as decoys until those, too, became crime victims.  “At the end of the day we pick up the car, and it’s been spit on and kicked, and you can only cry wolf so often,” said Cmdr. Les Perry of the District 5 police station.”  Read more


“Costco Apologizes For Bibles Labeled As ‘Fiction’ “ by Ashley Lutz at Business Insider.  “Costco was quick to apologize, saying that the Bibles were mislabeled by a distributor.  “However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake.”  Read more 


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Wednesday Tipsheet: 100’s Line Up @ Costco | Lowe’s Comp +6.2% | H.Depot Call Highlights | Wgreen Cuts at HQ


“Lowe’s Q3 Comps Up 6.2%”  “Sales for the quarter increased 7.3 percent to $13.0 billion from $12.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012, and comparable sales for the quarter increased 6.2 percent. For the nine month period, sales were $41.8 billion, a 5.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and comparable sales increased 5.1 percent.”  Read more


“Hundreds Stand in Line for New Costco in Melbourne, Australia” by Emma Hastings at Herald Sun.  “The grocery giant opened its second Melbourne store at 8am, with a ribbon-cutting and speech by Minister for Employment and Trade Louise Asher.  Costco spokeswoman Kyla White said some shoppers had lined up since 6am today to be the first inside the Ringwood store.”  See the pics / Read more


“Debate emerges (again) on spinning off Sam’s Club” by Kim Souza at City Wire.  “Robb Voss, a retired executive and one of the original team members to found Sam’s Club, told The City Wire he begged Wal-Mart co-founder Sam Walton several times between 1983 and 1990 to move Sam’s headquarters out of Bentonville…Long said Sam’s Club is “good” and will likely remain so as long it operates under Wal-Mart.  “But if the retailer aspires to be best-in-class and delight the consumer they should give serious consideration to separating Sam’s Club from Wal-Mart,” Long said.”  Read more


“Walmart CEO Bill Simon Appears on Neil Cavuto / Fox Business News (from 11/18)”  “Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon on being open Thanksgiving Day, employee pay and unions.”  See the video interview


Home Depot Q3 Earnings Call Highlights:

Frank Blake,  Chairman & CEO

* Mid-South, Southeast and Pacific North regions had our strongest comp performance with double-digit gains.

* 10 consecutive quarters of transaction and ticket growth.

* The recovery of our pro business continues in the third quarter, our pro business slightly faster pace than our consumer business.

* Sales from our online channels, including those picked up in our stores, were up over 50% and are now approximately 3% of our total sales.

* Mexican business positively comped for the quarter. That makes 40 quarters in a row for 10 years of quarter-over-quarter positive comp growth.

* Canadian business had positive comps for the eighth quarter in a row.


Craig Menear, EVP Merchandising

* All merchandising departments posted positive comps. Kitchens, lighting, décor, lumber, electrical, indoor garden, paint and bath were above the company average.

* Comps above the company average in categories, such as lighting, countertops, floor tile, window coverings, faucets, vanities, fixtures, and special order carpet.

* Double-digit growth for appliances both in-store and online in the third quarter.

* Exterior stains and water sealers, pressure washers and exterior paint, all posted comps above the company average.

* Transactions for tickets under $50, representing approximately 20% of our U.S. sales were up 3.1% from third quarter. Transactions for tickets over $900 also representing approximately 20% of our U.S. sales, were up 10.3% in the third quarter.

* We’re seeing customers willing to step up (with) things that we tested, for example a 100 gallon Japanese maple tree for $3,000 this spring. And we were actually quite surprised at how that sold.

* Brand call outs:  Nest detectors, Kevo Deadbolt from Kwikset, Cree TrueWhite LED bulb, Ryobi, Makita, Milwaukee, Rigid & Husky.


Carol Tome, CFO

* During the third quarter, we opened two new stores in Mexico for an ending total company store count of 2,260.

* We now expect fiscal 2013 sales to increase by approximately 5.6%, with positive comps on a 52-week like for like basis of approximately 7%.

* We think home price appreciation has been the biggest contributor of our sales growth this year…home prices are up 10% year-on-year and if you look at the composite index maybe up closer to 13%, but still 25% lower than their peak.  So we think that there is a lot of room for recovery and it’s not going to stop in the short term.

* People who have positive equity in their home spend three times as much as those who have negative equity in their home.

* We beat our sales plan by about $700 million and we beat our earnings plan from an earnings per share perspective by about $0.10 per share.

Read the complete Q3 Home Depot earnings transcript


“Home Depot Registers 50% Rise In Digital Sales” by Mark Walsh at Online Media Daily.  “Online sales now account for 3% of the company’s total sales, which is double the share from a year ago. The number of overall transactions overall were up 13 million in the quarter, with 1 million of those coming through its online channels.”  Read more


“Amazon Expanding Its Own Private Label Offering to Supermarket Goods” by Jason Del Rey at All Things D.  “One of the (job) listings, for a financial analyst, mentioned the “launch of the Private Label Business in Consumables.” In another, for a “Senior Product Manager, Consumables Private Label,” Amazon said it is looking for the new hire to help “launch new high quality Amazon-branded products to our global customers.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart CIO’s Advice For Women In IT” by Laurianne McLaughlin at Information Week.  “Karenann Terrell has a passion for developing female IT leaders and encouraging young women to study science and math. As executive VP and CIO for Wal-Mart, she speaks to this topic from a high-profile position, but with a level of candor and practicality that’s unusual among C-suite executives.” Read the interview


“Walgreen’s Set for HQ Layoffs – Could Cut Up to 17% of Workers”  at Chicago Business Journal.  “While it’s not clear if the layoffs are related, Raymond James & Associates said today it was downgrading Walgreen shares, saying, “we have a tough time envisioning a material improvement in Walgreen’s core [earnings before interest and tax] considering the tougher generic comparisons this year…” Read more


“Heads Up Retailers:  Best Buy Ready to Go ‘Bare Knuckles’ this Holiday Season” by David Phelps at Star-Tribune.  “Best Buy Co. Inc. said Tuesday that it will resort to bare knuckles if necessary to gain sales and market share in the looming holiday season.  In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Hubert Joly sounded combative as he exhorted his company into retail battle for the next six weeks.  “We’re in this to play to win,” Joly said. “Best Buy is back. Our strategy is to be price-competitive. We will not be shy about investing in winning the holiday season.”  Read more


“Staples quarterly sales fall 4 percent” at Reuters.  “Sales fell to $6.11 billion from $6.35 billion.”  Read more


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Tuesday Tipsheet: Breaking Comps: H.Depot +8.2%; Dick’s +3.3%; B.Buy +1.7% | Costco’s Fictional Bible


“Home Depot U.S. Comps Jump 8.2% in Q3.”  Highlights:

* U.S. comps +8.2%

* Overall comps +7.4%

* # of customer transactions +4%

* Avg. ticket +3.2%

* Sales increased 7.4% to $19.5 Bil

* Raises full year comp guidance to +7%

*  Frank Blake: “”Our third quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in the housing market and our solid operational performance.”

Read more


Q3 2013 The Home Depot, Inc. Earnings Conference Call:  Today at 9:00 a.m. ET   Listen to the Webcast


“Dick’s Q3 Comp Sales Up 3.3%”  “Net sales for the third quarter of 2013 increased 6.7% to $1.4 billion. Adjusted for the shifted calendar, due to the 53rd week in 2012, consolidated same store sales increased 3.3%, compared to the Company’s guidance of approximately flat to an increase of 1%.”  Read more


Q3 2013 DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. Earnings Conference Call Today at 10:00 a.m. ET  Listen to the Webcast


“Costco:  Analyst ups stock price target nearly 15% after visiting new North Plainfield, NJ store” via Seeking Alpha.  “Analysts with the firm walked away impressed after a meet-and-greet with regional managers.A check of stores showed a new focus on products from North Face and Uggs shoes – as well as a wide assortment of Under Armour apparel.”  Read more (Subscription required).


“Best Buy Q3 U.S. Comps Up 1.7% (Compared to Down 4% Last Year).”  We delivered a Domestic comparable store sales increase of 1.7% and non-GAAP diluted EPS of a better-than-expected $0.18, and we continued to make substantial progress on our key Renew Blue priorities. This progress included, most notably driving a 15.1% increase in Domestic comparable online sales.”  Read more


Q3 2014 Best Buy Co., Inc. Earnings Conference Call Today at 8:00 a.m. ET  Listen to the Webcast


“Wal-Mart ups the ante on Black Friday yet again” by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC.  “Not to be outdone by other large retailers, Wal-Mart Stores announced Tuesday that it will kick off its Black Friday deals one week early.  The retailer said it will mark down prices on a number of toys and electronics starting Nov. 22, in stores and online.  The news follows Sears and Kmart’s announcement last week that they would offer Black Friday deals to “Shop Your Way” rewards customers one week early.”  Read more


“After the Storm in Illinois:  Tarps, Generators, Fencing & Roofing Supplies in Demand” at Quad-City Times.  “The Home Depot in Normal sold a large number of generators on Sunday and stayed open all night to accommodate people who lost power because of the storm.  There also has been a demand for fencing, roofing materials, extension cords and related materials…Holly Anderson of State Farm said the insurer had received about 1,800 homeowners’ claims in Illinois, 1,200 in Indiana and more than 550 in Michigan.  “We expect those numbers to continue to go up,” Anderson said.”  Read more


“Home Depot Hits the Ground Running after Indiana Tornado” by Bob Cox at Journal Review (IN).  “Maxwell (Red Cross) said a phone call to her office early Monday was another example of local people helping in times of crisis.  “My very first call on Monday was from Michelle Wright, who heads up the volunteer team at Home Depot,” Maxwell said. “Michelle immediately asked what her team could do, and we put together a list of needed supplies. Home Depot employees loaded the delivery truck and drove it to Mellott later in the morning.”  Read more


“Costco — the Bible is fiction” by Todd Starnes at Fox News.  ““All the Bibles were labeled as fiction,” the pastor told me…I called Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash. hoping to get answers. The nice lady who answered the phone told me she was aware of the issue and chalked it up to a “human error at a warehouse.”  “It’s all fixed,” she said.  But actually, it’s not fixed – because there’s a boatload of Bibles in the Simi Valley store still marked as fiction.  At that point, the nice lady on the phone became not-so-nice and promptly informed me that Costco doesn’t talk to the press.”  Read more


“Philly ABC-TV Report Ranks Food Stores” by Amy Buckman at 6 ABC.   “It’s a unique situation where Wegmans is offering just superior service and products for prices that are well below what the big chains are…Walmart’s prices were very low. Target’s prices were somewhere about 10% below the big chains prices. So, again, you would save money by shopping at a Target. The problem is at the regular Target stores and at Trader Joe’s even, you have this problem where you may have to suplement your shopping at those stores by shopping at a regular supermarket.” Read more / See the Video


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Monday Tipsheet: Should Wmart Get Rid of Sam’s? | Costco #5 Down Under | Walmart Invades Twin Cities


This Weeks Earnings Calendar:

11/19:  Home Depot, Dick’s, Best Buy

11/20:  Lowe’s, JCP, Staples

11/21:  Target, Dollar Tree


“Costco Opens Stores #4 and #5 in Australia” by Anne Davies at Sydney Morning Herald.  “In fiscal year 2012-13 Costco snared $600 million of the grocery and retail market. While it remains a minnow compared with Woolworths, whose supermarket division accounted for more than $50 billion in sales, the newcomer, as is Aldi, is showing it is possible to penetrate the supermarket duopoly.” Read more 


“Walmart Invades Target’s Hometown” by Shannon Prather at Star-Tribune. “We still can’t figure out why they are putting them so close,” Ryan said…With its aggressive north-metro expansion, Wal-Mart has eclipsed Target on its home turf. Minnesota now has 79 Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs vs. 75 Targets.  And north-metro shoppers can expect more.”  Read more


“Target hires super sleuth to coax toy sales” by Janet Moore at Star-Tribune.  “For more than a quarter-century, Jonna Mendez traveled exotic corners of the globe as a CIA operative, often in disguise and wielding tiny spy cameras just like the ones that made James Bond famous.  Now retired, she has a new title this holiday shopping season: Kids’ Gift Detective for Target Corp.”  Read more


From the Archives (5/13):  After Walmart’s recent earnings call we’re dusting off the “Should Walmart get rid of Sam’s” discussion:

“Too Big to Succeed – It’s Time to Break-up Walmart: Analyst” by Jeff Macke at Yahoo Finance.  “Doctor Sozzi has a prescription for what’s ailing the world’s largest retailer: “get rid of Sam’s Club… it doesn’t belong in the company especially when the focus is clearly on investing online and winning internationally.”  Only under the umbrella of Walmart as a parent could a company as large as Sam’s Club get lost in the shuffle.”  Read more / See the video


From the Archives (5/13):  “The History of Sam’s Club” by Kim Souza at City Wire.  “General Mills came on board early selling Cheerios in large bags designed for restaurants. Kellogg’s did not want to accommodate Sam’s multipack requirements for years, according to Moore, who said Sam’s had about 200 clubs before Kellogg’s would agree to the requirements.  “At one point we were selling so many units of Cheerios, General Mills told us we were destroying their own sales to foodservice so they discontinued the large bag sales to Sam’s.”  Read more 


“Chicagoland:  New player – Mrs. Greens – hopes to eat up part of grocery market” by Robert Channick & Samantha Bomkamp at Chicago Tribune.  “A new organic player is sprouting up in the Chicago grocery market…New York-based chain Mrs. Green’s Natural Market opened Friday in Lincoln Park, taking on upscale competitors like Mariano’s and Whole Foods…Mrs. Green’s is hoping to have at least six Chicago locations, according to Shige Hatanaka, senior vice president of operations.”  Read more


“Apple Stores Are Great and All, but Do They Have Giant Slo-Mo Snow Globes?” by Liz Gannes at All Things D.  “Google is setting up six pop-up shops for the holidays — though word seems to have gotten out prematurely, as its Winter Wonderlab site keeps going down. The stores seem to be set in suburban shopping areas, rather than floating on fanciful barges.”  Read more / See the video


“Macy’s eyes on millennial prize” by Alexander Coolidge at Cincy Enquirer.   “Macy’s is reaching out to a newer, younger shopper: the fickle, financially insecure 13- to 30-year-old whose sales are essential for a happy holiday shopping season and beyond.  Although still in the early stages, a growing roster of so-called Millennial merchandise gave Macy’s an edge to beat Wall Street expectations last week, executives said.”  Read  more


“A Grocery Store In A Bus Drives Fresh Food To The Food Deserts” by Adele Peters at Fast Company.  “Step inside a reconditioned city bus in Chicago this Thanksgiving, and you can buy cranberries and green beans where commuters once sat. The Fresh Moves mobile produce market– which inspired other pop-up grocery stores across the country– plans to reopen on the weekend of November 23, intent on proving to larger supermarkets that there’s a market for fresh produce in food deserts.”  Read more


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