Friday Tipsheet: Costco Gets Its Peanuts | Hackathon Until Oct. 2015? | Target Loves Boxing Day


“Target Canada ♥ Boxing Day” by Thomas Lee at Star-Tribune.  “Target Corp.’s campaign to win over Canadian consumers continued Thursday with 6 a.m. store openings and early bird deals for one of the nation’s top shopping events of the year — Boxing Day…Boxing Day has actually lost some of its punch over the last two years. Canadian retailers are increasingly adopting Black Friday as the premiere shopping event of the season, mostly to win back shoppers who cross the U.S. border the day after Thanksgiving looking for holiday deals.”  Read more


“Aldi’s $3 Billion Expansion;  It Could Have Been Walmart Instead” by Kim Souza at The City Wire.  “Aldi recently announced a five-year, $3 billion, strategic plan to open 650 new stores across the nation…“The model of deeply discounted groceries and heavy private label is a model that could have been a winner for Wal-Mart. It could have co-existed nicely with Wal-Mart’s current grocery strategy which is still largely a branded house,” Long said.”  Read more


“In About 22 Months Retailers Will be Less Likely to Get Hacked (Until Then It Could Get Worse)” by Jennifer Bjorhus at Star-Tribune.  “There is no hard deadline, but by October 2015 retailers are supposed to be ready to accept the new smart cards…Retailers who aren’t ready to accept EMV cards on that date will be held responsible for any fraud…There is concern that as the U.S. market moves toward October 2015 there could be a surge of thefts as gangs try to take full advantage of the more easily plundered magnetic stripes.  “These attacks could increase between now and 2015,” Vanderhoof said.”  Read more


“Amazon: Here’s The Finally Tally For All The Insane Shopping Everyone Did This Holiday Season” by Jay Yarow at Business Insider.  “Over 1 million people joined Amazon Prime, the $79 service that gives you free two-day shipping, in the third week of Christmas. Amazon now has “tens of millions” Prime members.”  Read more


“Chart of the Day: The most requested gift cards (Walmart #1, Target #2)” by Izzy Best at CNBC.  See the Top 20 List


“Costco Gets Its Peanuts Back After Ruling from Bankruptcy Judge” by Dan Flynn at Food Safety News.  “In pre-Christmas hearings before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma in Albuquerque, a complex deal was reached that allows Costco to take possession of the shelled peanuts. The short version is that Costco will have to pay accumulated monthly storage costs to two local peanut storage companies. One is owed $14,700, and $10,731 is due to the other. ”  Read more


“Mobile Shopping Likely Contributed to UPS Shipping Debacle” by Maria Halkias at Dallas News.  “Mobile shopping may be contributing to the volume of packages.  It’s harder to build shopping carts on phones, so more mobile shopping may mean more packages,” Last said.  More than half of Amazon’s customers shopped from a mobile device this year…Overall this holiday season, 1 in 3 orders was done on a phone or tablet vs. 1 in 4 last year, according to Custora Pulse.”  Read more


“Report:  Holiday Sales Increased 3.5%” at SF Gate.  “Number of the day. 3.5%.  That’s how much retail sales rose during the holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. Sales were helped by deep discounts at malls and purchases of jewelry and children’s clothing.”  Read more


“Amazon Points Finger at UPS for Delays; Offers $20 Gift Cards” by Craig Trudell at Bloomberg via SF Gate.  “Amazon cited failures in UPS’s transportation network in messages to customers, saying its own fulfillment centers processed customers’ orders in time for holiday delivery. Amazon is reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers, spokeswoman Mary Osako said in an e-mail.” Read more


Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet Will Return 1/2/14


Have a Happy New Year!


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Thursday Tipsheet: UPS Blindsided | Costco: #1 Return Policy | Target: All OK in 2 Years?


“Christmas Meltdown:  UPS Blindsided by Late Web Buying Surge” by Shelly Banjo at WSJ.  “UPS determined late Tuesday that it wouldn’t deliver some goods in time for Christmas, as a spike in last-minute shopping overwhelmed its system. “The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokeswoman said.  Consumers were reporting missing deliveries from FedEx as well, although a FedEx spokesman said the company wasn’t experiencing significant delays.”  Read more


“UPS driver: 2013 ‘worst Christmas ever’ for delivery” by Natalie DiBlasio at USA Today.  “Social media exploded on Christmas with complaints about UPS and FedEx from customers furious about empty spots under their trees…”This has been the worst Christmas ever,” said Larry Ledet, 55, of Houston, who has been a UPS driver for 27 years…Even though Ledet and other UPS drivers have been pulling 60-hour weeks, thousands of holiday gifts didn’t arrive by Christmas.”  Read more


“It Never Ends:  8 in 10 Plan to Shop Year-End Sales After Holidays” by Tiffany Hsu & James Barragan at LA Times.  “Data firm ShopperTrak predicts that the after-holiday crowds will be the fifth-largest of the year…Wal-Mart, which expects Thursday to be one of its busiest shopping days of the year, said it is offering 25% to 50% off on thousands of items.”  Read more


“The Big Retail Brands That Drove Customers Away This Holiday (Costco #2, Lowe’s #5)” by Carol Tice at Forbes.  “As the 2013 holiday-shopping season winds down, which brands succeeded in hanging onto their customers, and which saw them stampede out the door to competitors?”  See the List / Read more


“Report:  Costco Has Top Return Policy (Target #6, Home Depot #7)” at  “A new investigation by GoBankingRates examined the return policies of more than 20 popular retail stores in the country. Its findings uncovered that a sizable number of retailers are offering some of the best return policies of 2013.”  See the Top Ten List


“E-commerce & its Dirty Little Secret:  Up to a third of all Internet sales get returned” by Shelly Banjo at WSJ.  “The stakes get even higher during the holidays, when return volume peaks. So this year, chains are digging through past transactions to weed out chronic returners, train shoppers to make better decisions or stem buyer’s remorse.”  Read more


“Home Depot Drops to #2 in Radio Spots; Macy’s Jumps to #3” at Radio Ink.  “Home Depot had been radio’s best advertiser for many weeks until last week when it was edged out by GEICO by 944 commercials according to media Monitors. GEICO ran 31,932 commercials on radio last week, compared to Home Depot’s 30,988.”  Read more


“Blogger who broke Target data breach story now trying  to track down the hackers himself” by Julie Bort at Business Insider.  “He believes he’s found the real life identity of a Ukraine man that has, Krebs alleges, been involved with various underground markets that sell stolen credit cards. He’s even engaged in an online chat with the person, while also admitting that he has no idea if this particular guy “was involved in hacking Target,” Krebs writes, adding, “but it’s a good bet that he at least knows who was.”  Read more


“Professor:  Target Data Breach Fraud may last Years” at WLFI-8 (IN).  “”People have to be vigilant for the next six months, year, even up to two years,” Rogers said…because criminals have gotten smarter, the wait to see if you are affected may get longer…”They figure out the prime time they are going to get caught is usually within the first few days of this being made public,” Rogers said.”  Read more


“Target caught ‘flat-footed’; Strives to repair image” by Thomas Lee at Star-Tribune.  “The fact remains that Target was behind when this first broke,” said Jason Maloni, who heads the data security and privacy team for the Levick strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C. “Anytime you are not controlling the release of information, you lose the opportunity to cast yourself in the role of the hero rather than the villain.”  Read more


“The Party’s Over:  Retailer Profits Not What They Used to Be During Holidays” by Thomas Lee at Star-Tribune.  “But with the glaring lights of the Internet, endless promotions, and perks like free shipping and price matching, the holiday season isn’t the Big Kahuna it used to be. The period accounts for just 20 to 40 percent of annual sales, down from two-thirds a decade ago, according to the National Retail Federation.”  Read more 


“Prada CEO:  U.S. Department Stores are Too Low-Rent” by Kyle Stock at SF Gate.  “In the most recent quarter, 86 percent of its (Prada) revenue came directly through its stores and websites, up from 53 percent five years ago.”  Read more


“This Is What It Looks Like Inside an Amazon Warehouse” by Jason Del Ray at All Things D.  See the 26 Pics


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Monday Tipsheet: Amazon is Most Trusted Retailer (Lowe’s #2) | 40% of Holiday Sales from Online?


“Report:  Amazon #1 Most Trusted Retailer (Lowe’s #2, Home Depot #3, Target #4…)” at Motley Fool. “Lowe’s is most popular among Baby Boomers. The company’s slogan of “Never Stop Improving” seems to be effective, but at the same time, that slogan doesn’t appeal to most Millennials…Home Depot attracts more Millennials.”  Read more


“NPD Group Claim:  Online Sales Will Account for 40% of Holiday Sales (Up from 26% in 2012)” by Jay Green at The Seattle Times.  “At the start of the holiday season, Cohen expected online shopping to account for 33 to 34 percent of total holiday sales, up from 26 percent in 2012. Now, Cohen believes online sales will account for closer to 40 percent.  Online retailers have benefited from a compressed holiday season.”  Read more


“Target:  Here Come the Lawsuits” by Mike Snider at USA Today via CNBC.  “Three class-action lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the theft of data on about 40 million credit and debit card accounts of shoppers at Target from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15. More than $5 million in damages is being sought in the cases, two of which were filed in California and one in Oregon.  The Attorney General in at least four states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and South Dakota—have asked Target for information about the breach. That’s the first step to a possible multi-state investigation into the breach.”  Read more


“Target Still Not Setting Limits on Red Cards” by Jason Del Ray at All Things D.  “Security blogger Brian Krebs reported Friday that some card info from the Target heist is already for sale on underground markets.  Chase’s decision to set limits and issue new cards comes as Target continues to say that it has no reason to believe that debit card PIN codes were stolen, while names, card numbers and expiration dates were.”  Read more


“Beyonce Goes to Walmart to Buy Her New CD;  Hands Out $37K in Gift Cards” by Rachel Maresca at NY Daily News.  “Beyonce not only spread holiday cheer to her fans when she released her surprise self-titled album last week, but on Friday she shocked shoppers with an impromptu trip to a Massachusetts Walmart. The 32-year-old songstress showed up to the store in Tewksbury around 7 p.m., grabbed a cart and started strutting through the aisles.”  Read more / See the Pics


“Toronto:  Ice Storm Doesn’t Stop Mall Shoppers – Even After Half the Stores Lose Power” by Jenny Yuen at Toronto Star.  “Sunday’s brutal ice storm failed to keep last-minute Christmas shoppers from hitting Yorkdale Mall, even though half the stores lost power.  People gasped as the lights flickered and turned off around 2 p.m., causing an evacuation of the food court to the lower shopping level. Still, there was a sea of people intent on Christmas shopping.”  Read more


“Amazon vs. Google: It’s A War for the Shopping Search” by Rolfe Winkler at WSJ.  “By directly helping searchers who know what they want, Google’s “product-listing ads,” as they are called, reduce the number of clicks before users get to the “buy” button. Searchers click on product ads 34% more frequently than regular text ads, according to Adobe Systems Inc.’s research arm.”  Read more


“Arts and crafts retailer Michaels to file for IPO” by Maria Halkias at Dallas Star.  “The timing, number of shares to be sold and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined, the company said in a press release Friday.  In 2012, it delayed plans for an IPO as it worked on improving the business and hiring a new CEO. On Friday, it withdrew the old registration statement.”  Read more


“Costco & Aldi Ignite Price War in Australia” at Sydney Morning Herald.  “Aldi has carved out a 5 per cent market share since it arrived in Australia in 2001, while Costco, which opened its first Australian store in 2009, has less than 1 per cent. IBISWorld predicts both chains will “grow strongly”.  “The biggest battle the industry is fighting today is against Aldi and Costco,” said Citi analyst Craig Woolford.”  Read more


“EBay’s Strategy for Taking On Amazon” by Jeff Himmelman at NY Times.  “Most people think of eBay as an online auction house, the world’s biggest garage sale, which it has been for most of its life. But since Donahoe took over in 2008, he has slowly moved the company beyond auctions, developing technology partnerships with big retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s, Toys ‘‘R’’ Us and Target and expanding eBay’s online marketplace to include reliable, returnable goods at fixed prices. (Auctions currently represent just 30 percent of the purchases made at…Read more


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Eye-on-Retail will return 12/26


Have a Merry Christmas!




Friday Tipsheet: Target: Hack Timing ‘No Coincidence’ | Breaking: Walgreen Q1 Comps +2.4%


“Breaking:  Walgreens Q1 Front-End Comp Sales Up 2.4%”  Q1 sales increased 5.9 percent from the prior-year quarter to a record $18.3 billion. Front-end comparable store sales increased 2.4 percent in the first quarter, customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.2 percent and basket size increased 2.2 percent, while total sales in comparable stores increased 5.4 percent.  Prescription sales, which accounted for 64.7 percent of sales in the quarter, increased 7.3 percent, while prescription sales in comparable stores increased 7.2 percent.”  Read the Full Q1 Release


“Walgreens Q1 Conference Call Today at 8:30 AM ET”  Listen to the Webcast


“Shop at Target? Maybe in a Few Weeks” by Kelli Grant at CNBC.  “The breach of data for 40 million shoppers at Target over the heart of the holiday shopping season could cast a pall over the few days left before Christmas…”I probably won’t go there for a few weeks until they figure this out,” Lane said. Instead, she’ll head to the nearby Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart…Other Target customers concerned about their accounts were unable to get answers Thursday. Target’s credit card web site has been down, and its toll-free hotline for questions about the breach was jammed.”  Read more


“Expert:  Timing of Hack Planned; Target Won’t Cancel Cards This Close to Christmas” by Jennifer Bjorhus & Steve Alexander.  “Marcus Rogers, a professor of cyberforensics at Purdue University, said one option to prevent the risk of compromised card numbers being used by thieves is to immediately cancel the cards and issue new ones.  But Rogers said canceling huge numbers of credit and debit cards in the late days of the holiday season would cause “chaos” that retailers want to avoid so close to Christmas.  For the thieves, the timing is no coincidence,” Rogers said. “They are betting that Target and the credit card companies don’t want to hurt the economy by canceling the stolen cards.”  Read more


“Walmart:  Most Prolific Holiday Advertiser with 40+ Unique Pieces of Creative” by Karl Greenberg at MediaPost.  “Its top ad, “Christmas Magic,” bested the average score by 26%. The ad is also the highest-scoring Walmart ad since July 2010. Consumers found the ad’s message to be a good example of the spirit of the season.”  Read more


“See Walmart’s #1 Rated “Christmas Magic” Ad”  See the Video


“Optimism:  Target’s Data Breach Won’t Hurt the Retailer” by Paula Rosenblum at Forbes.  “When TJX suffered its massive data breach in 2007, sales continued to rise, as did the company’s stock. Retailers are not held responsible beyond any fines they have to pay if they did something to contribute to the theft… I don’t expect to see Target suffer any loss of business as part of this breach, nor do I expect to see shoppers’ credit card accounts suffering huge, non-reimbursable losses. Stolen card numbers will be passed around to various credit card processors quickly and losses will be stopped.”  Read more


“Newcomers turn up the heat in Houston’s grocery wars” by Olivia Pulsinelli at Houston Business Journal.  “Some are speculating that the war is about to see its first casualty. Randalls is shuttering one of its top Houston stores, a 74,000-square-foot location in the Westchase Shopping Center, and parent company California-based Safeway Inc. has shown signs of struggling in other areas of the country, as well.”  Read more


“Rite Aid cuts full-year profit forecast; shares off 10%” at CNBC.  “This outlook contrasts that of CVS Caremark Corp, which said on Wednesday that it expected sales and earnings to rise in 2014 and forecast good growth in its pharmacy benefits management business.”  Read more


“Report:  People Are More Freaked Out by Hacking Than Tracking” by Liz Gannes at All Things D.  “Some 75 percent of those surveyed said they are worried about hackers stealing their personal information, while 54 percent are worried about their browsing history being tracked by advertisers.”  Read more


“Study:  Serial Returners Cut Online Retailer’s Profits by 50%” at The Economist.  “Mr Schulze studied 5.9m transactions in Germany, involving 166,000 customers, for a large European online retailer. He looked only at those who had bought at least five items over a five-year period, and found that 5% of them sent back more than 80% of the things they had bought; and that 1% of customers sent back at least 90% of their purchases. Without the cost of returns, the retailer’s profits would be almost 50% higher, the study found.”  Read more


“ to Become First Major US Retailer to Accept Bitcoin” by John Southurst at Coin Desk.  “’s CEO, Patrick Byrne. The company had hinted at accepting bitcoin in a New York Times interview in October, but Byrne said he was waiting for more legal clarification before going ahead. It now seems to be moving towards a more definite schedule.”  Read more


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Thursday Tipsheet: Target: Hacking Issue ‘Resolved’ | Sam’s Wants 10/Yr in China | Amazon & Fake Babies


Target Releases Statements on Data Breach; Says Issue Has Been “Identified and Resolved”:

“Target Confirms Unauthorized Access to Payment Card Data in U.S. Stores”  “Target is working closely with law enforcement and financial institutions, and has identified and resolved the issue…Approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been impacted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013.”  Read the Statement


“Target Releases “Dear Guest” Letter;  Says Hack Didn’t Effect or Canada”  “We have determined that the information involved in this incident included customer name, credit or debit card number, and the card’s expiration date and CVV (the three-digit security code)…We recommend that you closely review the information provided in this letter for some steps that you may take to protect yourself against potential misuse of your credit and debit information.”  Read more


“Target Breach:  Could the Timing Be Any Worse?” by Steve Alexander and Jennifer Bjorhus at Star-Tribune.  “It’s uncertain whether the news could depress Target sales during the rest of the holiday season. But Krebs said Target could pay a price if banks look to recover costs stemming from the security breach from the retailer.”  Read more


“Amazon:  Save Money.  Have a Fake Baby” by Matthew Yglesias at Slate.  “If you join Amazon Mom, those savings get kicked up a notch to 20 percent. And there’s no monthly fee and no extra commitment to buy stuff. You just need to tell Amazon some stuff about your baby…Except your baby can be fake. My baby, Tim Duncan Crawford, named after my wife’s favorite basketball player and given her surname, was born on Dec. 14. Except he’s just a lie I created to get cheaper soap.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart to Expand Sam’s Clubs in China” by Laurie Burkitt at WSJ.  “There are 550 Sam’s Club stores in the U.S. and 300 million people, said Mr. Foran, speaking to reporters on Wednesday. “There are 10 Sam’s Clubs here,” he said, noting that there are 1.34 billion people and few rivals in the space. Wal-Mart will open two more Sam’s outlets in China in 2014, but he hopes to boost the rate of growth each year after until it reaches 10 new stores per year in six to seven years.”  Read more


“Jim Cramer: The Enormous Value of Employee Retention at Costco & Whole Foods” at CNBC.  “Jim Sinegal, the now-retired CEO of Costco and the most revered retailer alive, has insisted to me over and over again that Costco has become great because there is virtually no turnover. So this, and not just the membership card, is the real Costco advantage, as it lowers the cost of a store by 30% to 40% vs. the competition.”  Read more


“Walmart:  $200 Million Duck Dynasty Empire at Stake after Stars Anti-Gay Comments” by Clare O’ Connor at Forbes.  “What, then, will Walmart do? The big box giant is responsible for about 50% of this year’s incredible $400 million in Duck Dynasty-related retail sales, with Phil Robertson’s mug gracing its bestselling t-shirt in both men’s and women’s apparel.” Read more


“The Whole ‘Amazon Competes With Costco’ Story Is Unrealistic” by Paulo Santos at Seeking Alpha.  “ has more than 3 times the selling, general and administrative costs of Costco. Just shipping the product out to the customers exceeds Costco’s entire cost base. And the picking, packing, paying and warehousing the products also exceeds Costco’s entire cost base.”  Read more


“Target CEO Issues Rare Statement to Reassure Wall Street” by Thomas Lee at Star-Tribune.  “Amid tepid expectations for holiday sales, Target Corp. issued an update Wednesday saying that it is satisfied with how it has fared so far this season…“I’ve never seen them do this,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones Investments in St. Louis.”  Read more


“Walmart:  Judge Tosses $1 Mil Intercom Lawsuit:  Not Responsible for Teen Who Ordered Black Shoppers to Leave the Store” by Jim Walsh at USA Today.  “The lawsuit asserted Battie was in the Black Horse Pike store in March 2010 when a youth announced over the public-address system: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people must leave the store.”  The lawsuit described the incident as an “imminent terrorist threat” that caused emotional distress and resulted in “substantial sickness” for Battie.” Read more


“Alaska U.S. Senator Pens Letter to Incoming Walmart CEO” by Mike Mason at KDLG.  “U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski is continuing to lobby the largest retailer on earth to carry products made with salmon from Alaska. On Wednesday Senator Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to the incoming CEO of Walmart outlining her concerns with the current purchasing practices of Walmart in regards to salmon from Alaska.” Read more


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Wednesday Tipsheet: Walmart Likes Beyonce – Pokes Target in Eye | Costco Settles for $8 Mil


“Wall Street Guy Goes To Wal-Mart To Mock Protesting Workers” by Hayley Peterson at Business Insider.  “He asked Wal-Mart patrons whether they supported higher wages for the retailer’s workers, and then demanded that they prove their allegiance by giving him 15% of whatever they spent at Wal-Mart that day. He claimed the money would go to Wal-Mart workers.  “Would you contribute 15% of the price of that TV for the Wal-Mart workers?”  The man declined.  “But they are counting on you to pay higher prices!” Schiff yelled.  The video was clearly edited, but in every case, the shoppers declined to donate money.”  See the Video / Read more


“Walmart Loves Beyonce’s New Album (And Has Fun Poking Target in the Eye)”  by Keith Caulfield at Billboard.  “Walmart, will be carrying “Beyonce” and it should be in their stores by the end of the week.  Walmart is “happy to be able to carry her album and support all physical music,” says Walmart spokesperson Sarah McKinney…Billboard estimates that iTunes is the largest seller of music in the U.S., with about a 41% share of the market in 2012. Walmart had 10%, while Amazon (9%) and Target (5%) were the third and fourth-largest sellers, respectively.”  Read more


“Target Takes Social Media Hits for Not Stocking New Beyoncé Album (but @TheCosby defends!)” at Twitchy.  “Some are suggesting that racism is at play, and possibly sexism as well.”  Read the Tweets


“Costco Settles Lawsuit for $8 Million:  Females Passed Over for GM Jobs Could Collect up to $300,000” by Angel Gonzalez at Seattle Times.  “Costco Wholesale has tentatively agreed to pay $8 million and change its promotion procedures to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleges it failed to give female employees an equal shot at management jobs.  In the proposed settlement, the Issaquah-based retailer agreed to establish an $8 million fund to compensate women in the lawsuit.”  Read more


“Whole Foods goes local in Brooklyn, gentrifying area near Superfund site” by Beth Cowitt at Fortune.  “Much of the produce will be as local as it gets — supplied by the 20,000 square foot greenhouse on the building’s roof. When it’s fully up and running in a year, it will be the first commercial-scale, fully operational greenhouse atop a retail outlet.”  Read more


“Amazon May Get Its First Labor Union in the U.S.” by Brad Stone at Bloomberg.  “According to John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW, Amazon and the union have now reached an agreement to go forward with this election. It will be held on Jan. 15 in a conference room at the Delaware facility; only members of the group of 30 technicians will be allowed to vote.”  Read more


“Who’s Buying Costco Stock?  Not the Insiders – They’re Selling” by Ben Alberstadt at via Next iPhone News. “Insider buying is best served when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the latest six-month time period, Costco Wholesale Corporation has experienced zero unique insiders buying, and 11 insider sales.”  Read more


“Holiday Apparel Sales Weak; 40% Off is the New 20%” by John Ewoldt at Star-Tribune.  “Apparel, usually considered the reliable star for every holiday shopping season, is dimming almost as badly as during the recession of 2008, said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Nomura Equity Research…Target slashed 40 percent off all regularly priced apparel and accessories in a select group of 89 stores in northern California during Thanksgiving weekend, according to Amy Koo, an industry analyst at Kantar Retail.”  Read more


“Online Retailer Faces Lawsuit After Fining Couple $3,500 For Negative Review” by Hayley Peterson at Business Insider.  “Jen Palmer contacted to remove her post, but the website told her there is a $2,000 charge for taking down reviews. When the Palmers didn’t pay the $3,500 fee within 30 days, the company contacted credit bureaus, which dinged their credit score, the lawsuit says.”  Read more


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Tuesday Tipsheet: Target Disses Beyonce | Lowe’s & Amazon & Protesters | Gander Sues Cabela’s


“Target No Fan of Beyonce:  Refuses to Sell New Album” at Variety. “Target will not sell Beyonce’s new album because she released it online first, the company announced Monday.  “At Target we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, and when a new album is available digitally before it is available physically, it impacts demand and sales projections,” Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski told Billboard.”  Read more


“Bloomberg Report:  Amazon #1 in Online Availability of ‘Top 100 Toys’ at 95%;  Walmart & Target Lag at 55% & 40% Respectively” by Matt Townsend at Bloomberg.  “Pricing:  On 12/12 Wal-Mart’s prices were 5.3 percent lower than Target, 8.5 percent below Kmart and 9.9 percent lower than Toys “R” Us, the survey showed. If the legion of third-party merchants on Amazon were included, Wal-Mart was 13 percent cheaper. Exclude them, and Amazon pulled ahead by 2.8 percent.”  Read more


“Home Depot: In-Store Discussion Leads to Employee Building Ramp for Wheelchair-Bound Woman” by Denys Bucksten at Chicago Tribune.  “Ristow talked to store manager Leo Delgado and then motioned for the Federmans to follow him to where they met Antonio Flores, a carpenter who also works in the garden department.  “They talked for a very short time and Dan turned to me and said, ‘Merry Christmas! We are going to build a ramp for you.’ ”  “Not only did they build it, they delivered it to Rob’s house the next day, Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving,” said Daryl Federman.”  Read more


‘Tis the Season for Protests:

“Lowe’s Can’t Win:  Pulls Ads from ‘All American Muslim’ TV Show – Faces 100 Protesters Outside of Detroit Store” by Jeff Karoub at HuffPo.  “The Florida Family Association has said more than 60 companies it emailed, from Amazon to McDonalds, pulled their ads from the show, but Lowe’s is the only major company so far to confirm that it had done so. The group accused the show of being “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”  Read more


“Amazon:  Hundreds Were Expected, a Few Dozen Show Up at HQ to Protest Treatment of German Workers” by Manuel Valdes at Seattle Times.  “On the same day that more than 1,000 workers at in Germany walked off the job in a labor dispute, a few dozen people rallied in solidarity Monday outside the online retailer’s Seattle headquarters.”  Read more


“Gander Mountain sues Cabela’s for using Gander website names to redirect Internet traffic” by Steve Alexander at Star-Tribune.  “Gander Mountain is accusing Cabela’s of Sidney, Neb., of trademark infringement and cyber­squatting over Cabela’s use of the websites and, which direct web visitors to”  Read more


“Walgreens’  “Secret Checklist”  Extends Prescription Wait from Minutes to Days” at WTHR-Indy / NBC News.  “WTHR has obtained an internal document the nation’s largest drug store chain has been trying to keep secret. It reveals why Walgreens is now turning away some customers and refusing to fill their prescriptions.  “We were told patients are not supposed to know we’re using [this],” said pharmacy technician Marianne Ryan. “But I don’t think it should be some big secret. This form had to be filed out by the pharmacist, so I think patients should know what’s on it.”  Read more / See the Checklist


“Ousted J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson Doesn’t Want to Talk About It” by Maria Halkias at Dallas News.  “Former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson has been nearly silent since being forced out as CEO in April.  He says he has chosen not to talk publicly about the department store chain because he doesn’t want to interfere with the company’s turnaround efforts.”  Read more


“Online Retailers:  Let it Snow” at Reuters.  “Retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc and Tractor Supply Co that provide snow supplies and winter wear are likely to benefit from the storm that came just a week after another massive storm froze the Southeastern United States, analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said.  Back-to-back weekends with some disruption caused by weather may lead to more discounting and online shopping.”  Read more


“Inside Brooklyn’s First Whole Foods (Eight Years in the Making!)” by Natalie Musemeci at NY Daily News.  “The 56,000-sqare-foot market was delayed so long by snags in the approval process, site remediation and construction that the upscale grocery giant had ample time to make the store shine, said spokesman Michael Sinatra.”  Read more / See the Pics


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Monday Tipsheet: Target: Out-of-Stock on Toys & Green Beans | H.Depot/Lowe’s: Ask & You Get a Better Price


“Target’s Lean Inventory Problem:  Out-of-Stock on 60% of Top Toys; Where are the Green Beans?” by Thomas Lee at Star-Tribune.  “Out-of-stocks seem to be more frequent in groceries, with customers complaining that even SuperTargets frequently run out of basic items.  “I went to Target two days before Thanksgiving and they were completely out of fried green beans…” Twin Cities resident Alyssa Beck wrote in an e-mail. “I went to Cub and found displays of fried green beans in two different parts of the store.”…Target on average replaced its entire inventory just 6.4 times, according to the Kantar Retail consulting firm, based in Boston.  By comparison, Amazon and Wal-Mart turned their inventory 8.3 times. In fact, Target’s inventory is much closer to that of Walgreens, a pharmacy chain.”  Read more / See the Video


“Target’s Glory Days May be Over” by Lee Schafer at Star-Tribune.  “What really stands out is something that’s pretty basic for a company that operates stores, and that’s traffic. Measured by the number of transactions, it only seems to go in one direction, falling now for four quarters in a row…A lot has to go right for Target to achieve its goals, but even if it all comes together, the company will be spending less to reach its earnings-per-share goal rather than selling more.  With Target, we really had come to expect more.”  Read more


“Report: Makes More Than 2.5 Mil Price Changes Everyday (Compared to 50,000/day @”  at Profitero.  “Profitero’s analysis also reveals that has increased its number of daily price changes ten-fold over the last 12 months. At the beginning of December 2012, the online retailer implemented just 269,113 price changes.”  Read more


“Name Your Price – Home Depot & Lowe’s Permit Managers to Beat Competitor’s Price by 10%” by Hilary Stout at The Boston Globe.  “The bargaining practices are more commonplace for home and sporting goods or electronics, but even higher-end retailers like Nordstrom have price-matching guidelines — though they usually do not broadcast the terms….Joe Marrapodi, one of the founders and the chief executive of, a new name-your-own price website, walked into Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s…casually asked employees if they were open to bargaining. Both the sales representatives and the managers said yes without hesitation, he said, and cited specific price-matching policies.”  Read more


“Owning a Kindle boosts spending on Amazon by $443” by Philip Elmer-Dewitt at CNN Money.  “$443: The difference between how much Kindle owners spend on Amazon each year ($1,233) and the annual spending of Amazon members who don’t own Kindles ($790).” Read more


“San Francisco:  In Defense of Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags” by Debra Saunders at SF Gate.  “Padilla’s SB405 exempted food stamp recipients because, he told me he feared a bag ban would have a negative “impact on low-income families.” As if their bags are different.”  Read more


“Portland:  Reacts to Walmart Outcry; May Require Future Stores to Prove ‘They Provide a Positive Impact to the Community’ “ by  Geoff Pursinger at Portland Tribune.  “The Tigard City Council is considering imposing additional regulations on big-box retailers in response to citizen reaction after a Walmart began construction on Southwest Dartmouth Street earlier this year.  At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, councilors discussed the possibility of imposing a variety of new rules against big-box stores, including banning overnight parking and requiring tenants to prove they provide a positive impact on the community.”  Read more


“Campers help Amazon keep up with holiday rush” by Bruce Scheiner at AP via Seattle Times.  “They’re dubbed the “CamperForce” by the world’s largest online retailer. Hundreds of campers are assigned packing, sorting and collection duties at Amazon warehouses in Kentucky, Kansas and Nevada — roles meant to keep orders flowing during the yuletide rush.”  Read more


“Two Sides to Every Story:  Sheriff Helps Walmart Fights Back on ‘Price Matching’ Story that Went Viral” by Robert Anglen at AZ Central.  “Cantrell’s outburst was witnessed by store employees, store managers and customers, the sheriff said.  “A female customer who was standing in line was so alarmed by Cantrell’s behavior, she had to leave the store to calm her child, who was visibly frightened,” Babeu said, adding that Cantrell threatened to wait for the employee outside and return to the store to beat him.  Babeu said deputies were called but Cantrell had left the store.  When Cantrell returned to the Walmart on Dec. 5, employees called the sheriff’s office to have Cantrell removed.”  Read more


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