Tipsheet: Costco Nuts a Hit on Tmall | Instacart Cuts 12 Recruiters | Huge Container Ship Docks in LA


UPS CEO: ‘Very comfortable’ with Amazon relationship by Tom DiChristopher at CNBC. “Current and former unnamed executives told the Journal they believe UPS’ hub-and-spoke system…is becoming obsolete…Responding to that claim, (CEO David) Abney said UPS’ business “has changed a lot” (and) “I absolutely do not agree that that is a concern.” Read more / See the video


INSTACART’S CRAZY-GROWTH DAYS MAY BE COMING TO AN END – Instacart, the $2 Billion Grocery Delivery Startup, Lays Off 12 In-House Recruiters by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “Instacart also used the holidays to bury the announcement that it was raising both its minimum delivery and annual subscription fees by 50 percent. Minimum delivery fees are increasing in most instances from $3.99 to $5.99. At the same time, the annual fee for Instacart Express, a membership that includes unlimited two-hour and scheduled deliveries, is jumping from $99 to $149.” Read more


Report: Medical Privacy Breaches at CVS and Walgreens by Sean Captain at Fast Company. “A new report by the investigative journalists at ProPublica uncovered plenty of privacy breaches, suggesting that the government has been shoddy at enforcing the law and in tracking repeat offenders. CVS, for example, violated HIPAA 204 times between 2011 and 2014.” Read more


Why Alibaba Wants Chinese Shoppers to Buy American by Leena Rao at Fortune. “It’s a scene straight from a Napa Valley tourism brochure—but it’s taking place 6,200 miles away from that cradle of Cabernets. Beyond the gardens lies the industrial sprawl of Hangzhou, China; a thick cloud of urban smog hangs just a few feet above the party. And the California-style tasting area is a pop-up, built on the campus of e-commerce giant Alibaba as part of a campaign by Mondavi to tap Alibaba’s enormous customer base…” Read more


Fortune: How Jeff Bezos aims to conquer India by Vivienne Walt. “Amazon agreed to let Fortune spend a week on the ground exploring its barely two-year-old operation in India—a journey that took us through four cities, from north to south, veering from razzmatazz glitz to grinding poverty, sometimes within a matter of hours…” Read more


**A message from Black Flag® Brand: When the flag flies, pests die. The Black Flag® indoor/outdoor pest arsenal arms homeowners in the battle against invading bugs. Offering quick, decisive formulas that act fast and never back down, Black Flag insect and rodent controls get the job done, and take no prisoners. It’s time to Let It Fly. Check out our videos | Visit us on Facebook


HAPPENED AT WALMART: Miami Dolphins Player Pays for Woman’s Items in Store After She Assists Him in Line. Days Later He Receives a Mysterious Package. by Kaitlyn Schallhorn at The Blaze. “I just wanted to tell you again, thank you so much. Your mom I’m sure is very proud of you,” she wrote. “Not only are you a professional football player for the Miami Dolphins, but most of all, a wonderful kind person, too.” Read more


Feds Say Whole Foods Can’t Stop Employees From Recording Conversations at Work by Clint Rainey at Grub Street. “The manual’s ostensible explanation is that the rule serves to “eliminate a chilling effect on the expression of views that may exist when one person is concerned that his or her conversation with another is being secretly recorded.” But the National Labor Relations Board wasn’t convinced.” Read more


COSTCO NUTS A HIT ON TMALL – These Are The U.S. Products That Sell Well On Alibaba’s Tmall by Leena Rao at Fortune. “On Singles Day (Alibaba’s version of Black Friday) in 2014, Alibaba sold 3 tons of Costco Nuts on Tmall. This year, Costco sold 245 tons of mixed nuts, in 2 pound bags. On Singles Day in 2014, Costco sold $3.5 million worth of nuts and other merchandise on Tmall. On Singles Day in 2015, it sold $3.5 million in just the first hour.” Read more


The largest container ship ever to arrive at a North American port is now docked in Los Angeles by Chris Kirkham at LA Times. “The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which arrived Saturday at the Port of Los Angeles on a maiden voyage from China and South Korea, can carry nearly a third more cargo than the largest ships that currently call at the San Pedro Bay ports.” See the pic / Read more


MORNING TWEET – Target’s Jeff Jones: My absolute favorite! #bestteaminretail #youmaketarget Mom’s FB post thanking Target workers goes viral … via kare11


GameStop Says We’re No RadioShack as Investors’ Doubts Increase by Christopher Palmeri at Bloomberg. “GameStop appears to be the big holiday loser as digital and e-commerce increasingly eat into its business,” Evan Wilson, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, wrote in a Dec. 28 note to investors.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Mom’s FB post thanking Target workers goes viral

Uncle buys plane toy on Amazon with jet noises – but claims it plays Muslim prayers instead

Disney builds robot car that climbs walls, thanks to consumer drone technology

Honest Tea Removes Donald Trump Quote From Tea Bottle Cap

Macy’s recalls Martha Stewart cookware

Target Is Already Celebrating Valentines (10 Photos)

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Today’s Tipsheet: Costco Cage-Free Commit | W.Foods Fined $500K | Amazon’s 3rd Skyscraper | Top 10 Hangover Dishes


Meet Wish, the $3 Billion App That Could Be the Next Walmart by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “The company has taken the direct-to-consumer fad to the extreme, connecting buyers directly to Chinese manufacturers who ship to customer’s doors from factories, cutting out middlemen and markups along the way. That helps explain the dirt cheap prices, from $7 sweatpants to $15 smartwatches, but also the long delivery times of two to three weeks.” Read more


Whole Foods Will Pay $500,000 to End New York Pricing Investigation by Craig Giammona at Bloomberg. “The company said that there was no evidence of “systematic or intentional misconduct” but agreed to pay the fine to “put this issue behind us,” according to a statement on its website.” Read more


Returns spawning a huge industry of middlemen dedicated to figuring out what to do with all those goods by Shan Li at LA Times via Star Tribune. “For the average retailer, returns cost 4.4 percent in revenue lost to items that can’t be resold or must be discounted, research firm IHL Group said in a report.” Read more


Credit card chips mean longer lines for shoppers by Tim Donnelly at NY Post. “It’s so annoying it’s not even funny,” says a cashier at the Trader Joe’s in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She was walking a customer through several attempts to get the reader to accept her card while the line stretched to a full lap of the store.” Read more


HUNGOVER AND HUNGRY – Diners ordered these dishes at much higher rates on New Year’s Day by Katie Little at CNBC. “On Jan. 1, people were 3,252 percent more likely to order a deep-dish pizza than usual. Hash browns were the next-biggest gainer on New Year’s Day, jumping 290 percent.” See the top 10 list / Read more


** Trade Show Spotlight – Retail Buyers Love ASD Market Week!

“I go to five different markets – if I had to give up a market this is the last one I’d give up” Retail chain owner
“It’s a very profitable show for us.” Buyer, Hallmark 

See retail buyer testimonials. On February 28 – March 2, 2016, discover hot new products and stylish finds from over 2,600 vendors in categories including: fashion & accessories, beauty & fragrance, gift & home, toys & novelties and many more. Learn more about ASD / See category list | Register Now


Amazon will start building third Seattle skyscraper next fall by Marc Stiles at Puget Sound Business Journal. “It will have a 38-story building and an eight-story building, and together will total just over 1.1 million square feet of office space.” Read more / see the pics


After months of pressure, Costco commits to a cage-free egg supply by Deena Shanker via Quartz. “We are working with our suppliers toward a complete and sustainable transition to a cage‐free supply chain.” The superstore chain says that it has already made major strides: In 2006, only 2% of the eggs it sold were cage-free, now 26% are.” Read more | Read the release


…Nestlé Plans to Switch to Cage-Free Eggs by 2020 by Michael Desjardin “The announcement means that in as little as five years, Nestlé will need to completely change the way it sources eggs—about 20 million pounds worth per year. That’s a a tall order.” Read more


Target’s 2016/2017 Store Opening List at A Bullseye View.  See the list & store pics


FedEx cites ‘unprecedented surge’ in online sales in latest sign of blockbuster holiday for e-commerce by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “FedEx said that package volume “far exceeded all previous records.” Read more


Samsung Pay Will Launch Online Payments In the U.S. by Catherine Shu at TechCrunch. “In an interview with Reuters, Samsung global co-general manager Thomas Ko said Samsung Pay will roll out to more smartphone models next year…” Read more


Apple Devices, “Phablets” Dominate Holiday Sales by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “And while Apple won the top spot again, with a 49.1 percent share, it’s actually down 2.2 points from last year, when it had 51.3 percent market share. And its new iPad Pro hasn’t yet had much impact on its market share, Flurry also found.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Huffington Post: Dear Target: All I Wanted for Christmas Was a Black Doll

Michigan kicker Kenny Allen took his $315 spending spree at Best Buy and turned it into a generous gesture

LA Times: A rare peek inside Michael Jackson’s former Neverland ranch (video)

The Economist: How countries spend their money (chart)

Former CEO of Bergdorf Goodman Sheds Light on Holiday Retailing Failures, Successes

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Today’s Tipsheet: Retail Sales +7.9% | KY Mall Mayhem | Bezos Wants Oscar | Italy Targets Pizza Ovens


U.S. holiday retail sales grow a ‘solid’ 7.9 percent: MasterCard at Reuters. “Online sales grew 20 percent in the holiday season this year, MasterCard Advisors, which tracks customer spending, said in a report on Monday.” Read more


How an emerging labor movement in China’s Wal-Mart stores threatens expansion ambitions of all Western retailers by Linda Van Der Horst at Financial Post. “Their dispute is part of an emerging labour rights movement, and the consequences are far reaching. “In five to 10 years, (Chinese) workers will be able to reclaim the union through collective bargaining, and that [would be] the biggest national union on earth with bargaining power,” says Han Dongfang, founder and director at China Labour Bulletin.” Read more


AMAZON ISSUES ‘EPIC POST-HOLIDAY NEWS RELEASE’: Amazon Prime adds more than 3M new members in 1 week at peak of holiday shopping season by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “In keeping with its annual tradition, Amazon issued an epic post-holiday news release, featuring cherry-picked growth stats and whimsically imprecise factoids…” Read more / read the release


Mall Mayhem: Over 1,000 Teens Shut Down Kentucky Mall by Molly Shapiro at ABC News. “As they responded, those calls continued to mount up and they could not handle the volume of calls that they were receiving,” he said. The incidents involved between 1,000 and 2,000 teens, McDonald said. Calls continued to pour in, so police requested assistance from neighboring agencies.” Read more


…”SHOTS FIRED”, POLICE SAY A PARENTAL ESCORT POLICY COULD HAVE PREVENTED at USA Today “You have to give our officers some credit,” McDonald said. “They were being cussed at, stuff was thrown at them. … It could have been much, much worse.” Read more / See the video


Why Carol Meyrowitz, CEO Of TJX, Is Retailer Of The Year by Walter Loeb at Forbes. “With the exception of Ms. Meyrowitz, the retail industry is largely void of dynamic leadership. In the many times I asked a retail CEO “what is your vision for your company;” I have received few good answers…” Read more


Don’t like the gift card you got for Christmas? Target, other retailers will offer you a trade by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “Teri Llach, Blackhawk’s chief marketing officer, noted that a company survey found that only 38 percent of consumers were aware of gift card exchanges, so there’s still a lot of room for growth.” Read more


…Get a Crappy Present? Zappos Will Trade You a $100 Gift Card and Give the Gift to Charity by David Griner at Adweek. “For the first 500 callers to (800) 927-7671 between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Dec. 26, the online retailer will offer a $100 Zappos gift card in exchange for any unwanted present you might have received, regardless of where it was purchased.” Read more


**New Product Spotlight. A message from SpinChill – Get warm drinks cold in 60 seconds! Don’t wait half an hour to get the party started – get the party started fast: Just clip it on, stick your drink in the ice, and Spin it for a Minute! See how it works | YouTube videos Contact to request a sample.


Wal-Mart considers closing 5 percent of Brazil stores at Reuters. “Wal Mart is also considering leasing part of some stores to home furnishings retailers in several regions across Brazil to generate additional revenue, Valor said.” Read more


Eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon currently are coloring books designed for adults (!) by James R. Hagerty & Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at WSJ. Read more (subscription)


NY Times: Mattel Takes a Risk, With Barbie and Bugs by Rachel Abrams. “Even though crickets have a life span of only a few weeks and are often sold as iguana food, they had to be able to survive inside the Bug Racer. “We’ve done a ton of bug, insect research,” Mr. Cody said, pointing out the separate chamber for food. “We haven’t lost a cricket behind the wheel yet.” Read more


WALL STREET JOURNAL WON’T LET UP ON THERANOS: At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags by John Carreyrou. “The night before a big meeting with a Swiss drug company in 2008, Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and a colleague sat in a Zurich hotel, sticking their fingers with a lancet. They drew drops of their own blood to try the company’s testing machine, but the devices wouldn’t work…After two hours, the colleague called it quits, leaving Ms. Holmes still squeezing blood from her fingers to test it again.” Read more (subscription)


JEFF BEZOS TELLS GERMAN NEWSPAPER HE REALLY WANTS TO WIN AN OSCAR: Amazon boss reveals plans to make 16 feature films a year and says ‘Now I want an Oscar’ by Daniel Bates at Daily Mail. “He said that the movies will be shown in cinemas but they will be available on Amazon’s online streaming service, Amazon Prime, much more quickly, instead of a months-long wait for a DVD or online release.” Read more


If you loved watermelon Oreos, you may be a ‘harbinger of failure’ at Bloomberg via Chicago Crain’s. “Did you love McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, Frito-Lay Lemonade, Colgate Kitchen Entrees, and Watermelon Oreos? If so, you’re probably a “Harbinger of Failure”—a consumer whose taste is so unusual that companies can use your preferences to figure out what not to sell. “Some customers can actually be a strong signal of future failure,” says a paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing Research.” Read more


Why Myanmar’s massive jade industry is so deadly by Parick Winn at GlobalPost via USA Today. “On Dec. 26, another large landslide was feared to have killed dozens…Myanmar’s jade mines are among the bleakest places in all of Asia. In these zones, death is so common and lawlessness so obscene that the government forbids almost all outsiders from coming to take a look.” Read more


SHIPPING PALLETS ARE A THING?! A Design Trend No One Could Have Predicted by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin at Inc. “The DIY aesthetic and the trend of raw, unfinished materials are colliding. As a result, an odd thing is popping up in cool offices: shipping pallets.” See the pics


Pizza Ovens Targeted as Italy Combats Air Pollution by John Follain at Bloomberg. “In Lucca in Tuscany, as in Terni in central Italy and in Rovigo in the north, authorities won’t allow traditional New Year and Epiphany bonfires made of wood and shrubs.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

CNBC: This could be the next blow to department stores

Florida woman turns Walmart into personal buffet while riding drunk on motorized shopping cart

Harvard Business Review: Up to a third of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees

Hershey dumps sugar beets because of GM concerns

And the brands played on: how EDM can sell almost anything

Peyton Manning hires Ari Fleischer amid HGH allegations

How an online shoe retailer ‘neutralized’ the U.S. border and cracked e-commerce in Canada

The man who saved Jack in the Box’s brand after its E. coli crisis has advice for Chipotle

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Today’s Tipsheet: NY Times Features Bullseye | Costco Outbreak Over | $95K Jacket Stolen


NY Times: Target’s Dog Mascot Learns New Tricks in Marketing Blitz by Hiroko Tabuchi. “We started thinking about how to bring Bullseye to more people,” said Jeff Jones, Target’s chief marketing officer. “It’s a fun dog, so scrappy and fearless.” Read more


Cincinnati: Thieves crash van into Downtown Saks Fifth Avenue store by Patrick Brennan at Cincinnati Enquirer. “Two vehicles approached the store at about 6:01 a.m., Cincinnati police said. A minivan twice rammed the gate and glass doors in order to get inside.” Read more


Ex-PetSmart Exec Joins Under Armour by Ryan Sharrow at Baltimore Business Journal. “(Chip) Molloy, a native of Maryland and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, was executive vice president and CFO at Phoenix-based PetSmart from 2007 to 2013.” Read more


Costco E. coli outbreak appears to be over at Reuters. “The most recent illness in this outbreak reported to CDC started on Nov. 3, the federal agency said.” Read more


Shoplifters Steal $95,000 Jacket from Mag Mile by David Matthews at DNAinfo. “Staff at the Ralph Lauren store, 750 N. Michigan Ave., confirmed a $95,000 “Purple Label” alligator trench coat was stolen last week.” Read more


Analyst: Dick’s Sporting Goods-Cabela’s Merger ‘Makes Sense’ via Benzinga “He added that there could be $200MM in cost reduction, translating to 2 percent of the combined cost structure. The estimated cost reduction would be achieved over a three-year period.” Read more


Yesterday on Today: Guns topping Christmas lists thanks to terrorism concerns, fear over restrictions by Scott Stump at NBC. “Last month, the FBI ran more than 2.2 million firearm background checks on potential buyers, a 24 percent increase from November 2014. On Black Friday, a record 185,345 background checks were processed by the FBI.” Read more / See the video


DC: Wegmans Eyes Second Urban Format Store by Michael Neibauer at Washington Business Journal. Read more


**A message from ASD Market Week – ASD is the trade show with the highest ROI! On February 28 – March 2, 2016, we open the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Center to 45,000+ attendees looking to shop the world’s widest variety of wholesale lifestyle accessories and general merchandise at the lowest price points available. Discover hot new products and stylish finds from over 2,600 vendors in categories including: fashion & accessories, beauty & fragrance, gift & home, toys & novelties and many more. Learn more about ASD / See category list | See the show floor video | Register now


Chicago: Target plans new Lincoln Park store by Ryan Ori at Chicago Crain’s. “Target plans its fourth smaller-format store in Chicago next year, when it will move into a Lincoln Park space occupied by another Minneapolis-based retailer, Best Buy. Target will open a 32,000-square-foot store in July at 2650 N. Clark St., said company spokeswoman Kristy Welker.” Read more


Wal-Mart’s Puerto Rico Tax Case ‘Eye-Opening,’ Judge Says by Fola Akinnibi at Law 360. “A Puerto Rico federal judge said Tuesday that he needs more information from the debt-ridden territory before he can decide whether to toss a Wal-Mart subsidiary’s challenge to a tax hike that allegedly targets big-box stores, claiming it “is not a typical case.” Read more (subscription)


Amazon Seeks to Ease Ties With UPS by Laura Stevens & Greg Bensinger at WSJ. “Amazon has poached more than 40 UPS supervisors, managers and executives in the last three years, according to an analysis of LinkedIn data. In September, Kniffen Kelly, a 16-year veteran working on engineering UPS’s transportation networks, left to become Amazon’s director of sort center engineering.” Read more (subscription)


Bass Pro: Family’s outrage after Santa refused to take a seated photo with their special-needs baby by Kelly McLaughlin at Daily Mail. “The Bass Pro Shops in northwest San Antonio, Texas, has since apologized after their Santa Clause refused to sit down and instead took a standing photo with Baby Celeb Self.” Read more


Kroger’s app now sorts grocery list by aisle by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. Read more


Shoppers are opening those promotional emails by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “Despite the fact that retailers, travel companies and other consumer-facing brands are sending out more emails, the percentage of people who opened those messages reached 17.5 percent. That’s up from 16.7 percent the prior year.” Read more


Three Black Lives Matter organizers barred from Mall of America protest, but not the masses by Nick Halter at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “Mall of America’s latest over the top waste of tax payer $ to silence free speech has failed miserably. See you tomorrow,” Black Lives MPLS tweeted after the ruling.” Read more


Inside Chipotle’s Contamination Crisis – Smugness and happy talk about sustainability aren’t working anymore by Susan Berfield at Bloomberg. “For a long time, smug worked pretty well for Chipotle Mexican Grill. It’s grown into a chain of more than 1,900 locations, thanks in part to marketing—including short animated films about the evils of industrial agriculture—that reminds customers that its fresh ingredients and naturally raised meat are better than rivals’ and better for the world. The implication: If you eat Chipotle, you’re doing the right thing, and maybe you’re better, too…” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Fortune: Hall of Shame: The 9 Worst Marketing Fails by Retailers in 2015 (Walmart #1, Target #5)

How Nike Escaped The Apparel Armageddon

Why Target is aiming at urbanites for growth

New NBA Store Has an ‘Endless Aisle’ Thanks to E-Commerce Partner

Pantone’s color factory is a superb example of how humans and computers can work in harmony

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Today’s Tipsheet: W.Foods Forms Crisis Response Team | Macy’s #1 in Radio | The Elusive Yeti Rambler


Kroger launches a new fresh food concept by Steve Watkins at Cincinnati Business Courier. “It will open its first Main & Vine shop in the Seattle-area town of Gig Harbor, Wash…The store will offer customers “fresh, affordable” local produce and meat and local craft beer and wine.” Read more


Whole Foods Forms Crisis Response Team by Will Anderson at Austin Business Journal. “It’s very difficult to prove your innocence in the court of public opinion when people want to believe what they want to believe,” co-CEO and Whole Foods founder John Mackey told the Austin American-Statesman.” Read more


First Walmart, Now Trinity Church Campaigns Against Gun Sales at Cabela’s by Liz Moyer at NY Times. “It wants Cabela’s to stop selling weapons that can fire more than eight rounds without reloading. Trinity made the request in a shareholder proposal for the next annual meeting of Cabela’s shareholders.” Read more


Valeant Deal With Walgreens Has Unusual Twist by Jonathan D. Rockoff at WSJ. “Essentially, Valeant is buying back its own drugs from Walgreens and then reselling them on consignment to the pharmacy, said a person familiar with the matter. The transaction is a title swap because Walgreens isn’t returning the drugs, that person said.” Read more (subscription)


Starbucks projects yet another gift card windfall by Angel Gonzalez at Seattle Times.”The company says that more than $25 billion has been loaded onto its gift cards since they were launched a decade and a half ago. That’s about the gross domestic product of Trinidad and Tobago.” Read more


Search for Elusive ‘Yeti’ Daunting for Holiday Shoppers by Sarah Nassauer at WSJ. “It wasn’t a hot toy causing the 33-year-old hairstylist from Dacula, Ga., to go to such lengths. It was a $40 stainless-steel insulated mug, called the Yeti Rambler. “I have a friend who is in Illinois for business and has gone to 15 different stores,“ says Ms. Inman.” Read more (subscription)


Macy’s Knocks Home Depot from Perch at Radio Ink. “Macy’s ran (around) 49,000 commercial last week. moving to the top spot…The Home Depot was pushed down to third with its 35,605 commercials. In fourth was Walgreen’s with 34,105. And rounding out the top five was JC Penney.” Read more


Amazon Coaches Merchants To Sell Smarter by Leena Rao at Fortune. “Selling Coach, which is part of Seller mobile app, is one of a number of new features that Amazon has rolled out over the past few months to merchants who sell in its marketplace, Amazon told Fortune exclusively.” Read more


**New Product Spotlight. A message from SpinChill – Get warm drinks cold in 60 seconds! Don’t wait half an hour to get the party started – get the party started fast: Just clip it on, stick your drink in the ice, and Spin it for a Minute! See how it works | YouTube videos Contact to request a sample.


How Canadian Tire is grappling with the economics of e-commerce by Hollie Shaw at Financial Post. “We are in the midst of a transformation, because the economics of e-commerce aren’t there yet,” Allan MacDonald, Canadian Tire’s chief operating officer, said in an interview. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions.” Read more


Kroger: Charles Mitchell, VP of operations to retire after 43 years with the company at Supermarket News. Read more says it can’t guarantee Christmas delivery by Hadley Malcolm at USA Today. “A banner placed at the top of Jet’s website last week delivers the blow, alerting customers that Jet, “can no longer confidently guarantee delivery,” by Dec. 25 on items that aren’t eligible for two-day shipping.” Read more


Holiday Stress: Out of young adults who felt stress in a social situation, 51% of them say they depend on social media to get them through the holiday celebrations by Jonathan Chew at Fortune. Read more


Goldman Fund Said to Lend $750 Million for Petco Takeover by Michelle Davis at Forbes. Read more


Why Amazon built a warehouse inside a Midtown Manhattan office tower by Ben Fox Rubin at CNET. “We’re standing right in the center of Manhattan. That’s both a blessing and a challenge,” Stephenie Landry, the worldwide director of Prime Now, said in the middle of the warehouse floor Monday.” Read more / See the video


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Woolworths Follows Macy’s, Costco With Plans for Tmall Shopfront

Adweek: Why Do You Get a 2-Foot-Long Receipt for a Pack of Chewing Gum?

Amazon’s Bezos taunts Musk over SpaceX rocket landing

Hy-Vee Launches Grocery Delivery in All 240 Stores

Bloomberg: How the Queen of Home Shopping Does Christmas

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For advertising information contact Jason Long at

Today’s Tipsheet: Target: 3rd Small Store in Philly | Bass Pro Memphis: 2 Mil Visitors | If Amazon Ran the Stock Market


Toys ‘R’ Us CEO banking big on ‘Star Wars’ success by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “If (CEO David) Brandon can turn around the financial fortunes of the deep-in-debt toy chain, hit certain financial benchmarks and put it in position for an IPO…he can pocket a whopping $100 million over his five-year contract, sources familiar with the executive’s deal told The Post.” Read more


Bezos Takes Hands-On Role at Washington Post by Lukas I. Alpert & Jack Marshall at WSJ. “When Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos received an email from a reader complaining about the time it took for the mobile app to load, he immediately fired off a note to the newspaper’s chief information officer. The message was simple: fix it…” Read more (subscription)


Philly: Target finds site for 3rd Center City store by Natalie Kostelni at Philadelphia Business Journal. “A Target spokeswoman declined to disclose additional information about the third store at this time but did say “Philadelphia is a priority market for the company.” Read more


Costco’s Australian profits surge as sales exceed $1 billion by Sue Mitchell at The Sydney Morning Herald. “In 2016 Costco plans to open its third Sydney store, at Marsden Park, its second in Brisbane and its fourth in Melbourne, at Epping.” Read more


Wegmans is ranked No. 1 in Boston-area supermarket survey by Meagan McGinnes at “Surveyed consumers ranked Wegmans number one for quality—and 93 percent of respondents rated it “superior” overall, the Globe reported.” Read more


Shipping mania: rushing to deliver millions of holiday gifts by Scott Mayerowitz at AP. “The humming is constant; a low-pitched drone from 155 miles of conveyer belts racing packages in every direction. Boxes shift from one belt to another and bump into a metal wall. Thud. Thud. Thud. In the background, trucks beep and jet engines roar. Forget jingling bells and ho-ho-hos, these are now the sounds of the holidays…” Read more


Walmart to Stay Open Until 8pm on Christmas Eve by Chris Matthews at Fortune. “In a press release, Walmart stressed the consumer demand for Star Wars related merchandise.” Read more


Bass Pro Shops’ Memphis Pyramid hits 2 million visitors mark by Doug Owen at KY3. Read more


**A message from Black Flag® Brand: When the flag flies, pests die. The Black Flag® indoor/outdoor pest arsenal arms homeowners in the battle against invading bugs. Offering quick, decisive formulas that act fast and never back down, Black Flag insect and rodent controls get the job done, and take no prisoners. It’s time to Let It Fly. Check out our videos | Visit us on Facebook


Staff at Amazon’s German warehouses are going on strike in the run up to Christmas by Emma Thomasson at Reuters. “But an Amazon spokeswoman said only a small minority of staff were on strike. “There is absolutely no impact on our customer delivery promise. The vast majority of our employees are working,” she said.” Read more


Walmart gives $1.4 billion to charity in 2015  Read the release via Yahoo


Target in initial development of its own mobile wallet at Reuters. “However, Target has not tested the wallet in its stores so far, said the third source, who was not authorized to disclose the details.” Read more


FTC Rejects Staples – Office Depot Deal “The FTC rejected the company’s offer without making a counteroffer. The company is still willing to continue negotiations with the FTC to reach a settlement that addresses FTC concerns.” Read the release


Cramer: Amazon should run the stock market at CNBC. “Cramer envisioned a system where an investor could buy a put option on oil, using Amazon Prime of course, for commission free trading and a pop up would appear that said “If you dislike oil here, you might want to buy a put option on the S&P 500.” Read more / See the video Mobile App Surpasses 2 Million Downloads Read the release


Wal-Mart driver in Tracy Morgan crash to seek dismissal: lawyer by Frank McGurty at Reuters. “Kevin Roper’s rights were violated, his attorney David Glassman said, because a federal court refused to allow him to ask for a stay in a civil suit that the “Saturday Night Live” entertainer brought against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

JCP names new CIO with Target background

Rick Ross’ ‘Black Market’ Allegedly Pulled From Walmart Over Donald Trump Lyric

Tired of renting, Chanel pays a record price for its Rodeo Drive location

USA Today: Internet of Things puts energy grid to test

Politico: How America’s Top Junk-Food City Went on a Diet (and Fattened Its Economy)

Mall of America ‘prepared to use all remedies’ against Black Lives Matter protesters

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Today’s Tipsheet: NYC Mayor Pressures Retailers | ’60 Minutes’ @ Apple Store of Future | Target Int’l @ 108 Countries


’60 Minutes’ Goes Inside Apple HQ for a Peek at the Apple Store of the Future by Dawn Chmielewski at Recode. “The “60 Minutes” segment, to air at 7:30 pm Sunday, gains access to Jony Ive’s “secret” design studio at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. It also gives Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook a platform to discuss encryption, corporate taxes and manufacturing products in China.” Read more


Reports: Amazon is starting its own air cargo operation, wants to use 20 Boeing freighter jets by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. “The Seattle Times also reported about Amazon’s plans on Thursday, but noted that the company is looking to lease jets, not purchase them, because it does not have an Air Operator’s Certificate, among other reasons.” Read more


Grocery Shakeout as Organic Goes Mainstream by David Randall at Reuters. “The number of organic items now available in traditional grocery stores is up between 35 percent and 50 percent over the last year, according to estimates from investment bank Piper Jaffray.” Read more


REI hires National Geographic executive as CFO by Angel Gonzalez at Seattle Times. “Her arrival means that Eric Artz, who until now ran the company’s financials, will devote himself to his role as chief operating officer.” Read more


Women’s merchandise costs 7% more than those aimed at men by Erin Durkin at NY Daily News. “Gender discrimination is never acceptable, and when we know that women continue to make less than men every year, the findings of this study are insult to injury for female consumers,” said Mayor de Blasio, who said the city would pressure retailers to change gender disparities in pricing.” Read more


** Trade Show Spotlight – Retail Buyers Love ASD Market Week!

  • “I go to five different markets – if I had to give up a market this is the last one I’d give up” Retail chain owner
  • “It’s a very profitable show for us.” Buyer, Hallmark 

Go inside the trade show here. On February 28 – March 2, 2016, discover hot new products and stylish finds from over 2,600 vendors in categories including: fashion & accessories, beauty & fragrance, gift & home, toys & novelties and many more. Learn more about ASD / See category list | Register Now


Shoppers in 108 countries have ordered from Target’s Int’l website at A Bullseye View. 

  • Most Remote Shipments: New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Azerbaijan
  • Cheapest Item Purchased: up&up Erasers (just $.49!) sent to Hong Kong
  • Most Expensive Item Purchased: Upside down, pre-lit Christmas Tree sent to Italy
  • Top Seller so Far: Enfamil Premium Infant Formula  Read more


Kroger’s Marmer to lead anti-poverty effort by Sharon Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. “(Lynn) Marmer is group vice president of corporate affairs for Kroger, from where she will retire Feb. 1.” Read more


Black Lives Matter plans Mall of America protest Dec. 23 by Jim Hammerand at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said on Facebook that it will call off the “BlackXmas2″ demonstration if authorities release video recordings of the police shooting death of Jamar Clark and prosecute the officers involved.” Read more


…Chicago: #BlackChristmas Protesters Plan Magnificent Mile Takeover by Alex Nitkin at DNAinfo. “Christmas Eve: Demonstrators at the event, dubbed #BlackChristmas will at meet at noon at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive and make their way up to Oak Street.” Read more


Best Buy hopes faster free shipping will rein in holiday procrastinators by Kavita Kumar at Star Tribune. “(Best Buy) is trying to rein in last-minute holiday shoppers by offering free two-day shipping for online orders placed by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.” Read more


The Whole Foods Co-CEO Has Saved Up 338 Days of Vacation Time by Anders Melin at Bloomberg. “With technology today, forget it — you’re never off,” said Jon Luther, former CEO of Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., who did take vacations but would spend mornings on work calls before switching to relaxation mode.” Read more


New NBA Flagship Store Set To Open In NYC by Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes. “It will be the only NBA Store in the U.S. There are 151 outside the U.S.” Read more


Canada: Head start on suds sales has Loblaw’s rivals crying in their beer by Vito Pilieci at Postmedia  News via Financial Post. “Competitors are questioning why Loblaw Cos. got an apparent head start on selling beer that allowed one of its outlets to be the site of a photo opportunity for Premier Kathleen Wynne.” Read more


The cashmere sweater at Macy’s I’m following? It’s 80% off today by John Ewoldt at Star Tribune. “Since I purchased the $195 sweater for $69.99 on Black Friday weekend, the price has changed to $97.50, $79.99, $78, $68.25 and a week ago, $52.49. That’s when I foolishly wrote “At 73% off, I don’t think I’ll get much of a lower price, even after Christmas.” I guess that I just don’t know Macy’s very well because today, you buy that sweater for $39.99.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Target: Disgruntled worker crashes car into Target store (gets stuck head-first in cart upon exit)

At a glance: 10 highest-paid female CFOs (Carol Tome #8)

Walmart Crushes Holiday Video Views , Has #1 Viral Video

Butter shortage forces Canada’s dairy commission to import 8.8-million pounds of butter 

Walmart Touts Friday No-Minimum Free Shipping

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories


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Today’s Tipsheet: Safeway Skimming Empties Accounts | Gawker Hits Menards | Ebay in Malls | Amazon’s 40% Share


Thieves Have Been Stealing Credit & Debit Card Info at Safeway Stores by Martha C. White at Time. “Shoppers who visited Safeway stores in California and Colorado found their bank accounts emptied after cybercrooks infiltrated the checkout terminals in card “skimming” scams. “Safeway confirmed it is investigating skimming incidents at several stores,” cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs wrote on hisKrebs on Security blog.” Read more


…Krebs: Skimmers Found at Some Calif., Colo. Safeways Read the report


Organic groceries go discount as Walmart Canada rolls out new label by Jamie Sturgeon at Global News. “Walmart Canada has quietly launched a new lineup of organic products under its Great Value store brand…About a dozen Great Value “Organic” products can be found on the website that weren’t there previously. The products, which range from cookies to pastas to popcorn, display the federal logo certifying each item as organic.” Read more


CVS Slams Walgreens Over Valeant Distribution Deal by Phil Wahba at Fortune. “This is another example of Valeant attempting to circumvent what PBMs do for payers,” (Larry) Merlo told Wall Street analysts at the CVS investor day in New York. “These actions ultimately drive up costs for payers when you think about the use of prescription co-payment programs.” Read more


Rite-Aid Q3 Comp Sales +0.3% Front-End / +1.2% Pharmacy Read more


CVS Analyst Day: Read the release | See Full PowerPoint | See Helena Foulkes PowerPoint


Gawker Slams Menards over Labor Relations by Hamilton Nolan. “Last week, Menards made news when it was revealedthat it made managers sign a contract stating they would lose 60% of their pay if employees formed a union on their watch. That provision has reportedly been removed after a backlash ensued, but not soon enough to prevent a complaint against the company being filed with the National Labor Relations Board.” Read more


Target to expand its North Texas online fulfillment capabilities next year by Maria Halkias at The Dallas Morning News. “The plan is to hire 160 people to work at the online fulfillment side beginning in February. It’s holding a job fair at the distribution center on Jan. 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.” Read more


**A message from Orchard Road Canning – Decorative Series lids deliver excitement and innovation to the home canning category! Orchard Road’s Decorative Series features three distinct designs: Wild Daisy, Fruit and Gingham. See the designs here Contact for program information.


EBay Will Be Popping Up In Shopping Malls by Leena Rao at Fortune. “The online marketplace is installing temporary outposts at Westfield Malls in the U.S. so that shoppers can sell the holiday gifts they don’t want. On Dec. 26 and 27, eBay will let people list items online themselves at the dedicated outposts.” Read more


Amazon reworking rules for product reviews by Jay Greene at Seattle Times. “The Times article reported on coordinated attacks by Amazon reviewers on Scarlett Lewis, the mother of a 6-year-old boy murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut three years ago.” Read more


Dick’s Sporting Goods: California woman reported to police for inquiring about AR-15 ammo says she was racially profiled by Tobias Salinger at NY Daily News. “Officials in the sporting goods retailer’s national office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday night. A Dick’s clerk grew concerned when Sangha looked nervous during her visit to the store last week, and staff didn’t know she was a gun safety instructor.” Read more


Pier 1 Q3 Comp Sales -0.7% Read the release


Meet Etsy’s hands-on advocate for its handmade sellers by Teresa Novellino at New York Business Journal. “Since Etsy senior vice president of members and community Heather Jassy is based about 127 miles north of the company’s Brooklyn headquarters, in the city of Hudson, it’s easy to think of her as the small-town mayor of a crafting community…” Read more


Amazon took in nearly 40% of e-commerce spending from Nov. 1 through Dec. 6 by Spencer Soper at Bloomberg. Read more


‘Accidental fur’: Company turns roadkill into fashion by Phillip Marcelo at USA Today. “Paquin works with animal control specialists to gather the carcasses, but skins many of them herself. She considers the process almost sacred and doesn’t care much for the “roadkill” label.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Forbes: Target’s Fashion Blunders In Social Media

Trader Joe’s: Triple Ginger Brew recalled for bursting

P&G veteran named CEO of major hotel chain

Amazon has big plans for Uber-like ‘Flex’ package delivery service, job postings reveal

Fox’s ‘Empire’: Turning a hit show into a retail star

Mystery Santas pay $484,000 in Walmart holiday layaway

Marissa Mayer loyalists defend lavish, $7M holiday party

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories


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