Friday Tipsheet: Costco’s Prime Minister Iview | Amazon’s Obama Spokesman | Sears CEO Seahawks Analogy


What Amazon’s Hire of Former Obama Spokesman Says About Its PR Machine by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “The move signals Bezos’s desire to have a stronger presence inside Washington as Amazon becomes more powerful across industries as varied as warehousing, retailing, cloud computing and publishing. New initiatives such as its delivery drones have also seen it pushing the boundaries of regulation. Amazon lobbying chief Paul Misener is staying with the company, but now reporting to Carney.” Read more


Wal-Mart gives up on Twin Cities-area project by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “While Wal-Mart has built a presence in the Twin Cities in recent years — it has 69 stores in Minnesota — it’s largely missing from the west metro. There’s not a Wal-Mart store between Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Center locations.” Read more


After $160M loss, Sears CEO compares criticism to fateful Super Bowl play by James Covert at NY Post. “In drawing the lengthy analogy, Lampert — who has been roundly criticized for failing to invest ain and update Sears and Kmart stores — neglected to mention a crucial detail: the Seahawks lost.” Read more / Read the blog post


Canada’s Prime Minister Gave An ‘Exclusive’ Interview To Costco Magazine by Jennifer MacMillan at Huff Po Canada. “The interview raised some eyebrows on Twitter — along with the fact it was designer guru Sarah Richardson who made the cover, not the Prime Minister of Canada.” Read more


…Read the full interview at Costco Connection.  Read more


Inside Cabela’s first Charlotte-area store by Jennifer Thomas at Charlotte Business Journal.  See the 53 pics


Court rules J.C. Penney won’t have to pay punitive damages to Macy’s for selling Martha Stewart’s products by Barbara Ross at NY Daily News. “The judges said then-Penney CEO Ron Johnson was not entirely wrong to think that he had found a loophole in Stewart’s contract because it allowed her to sell her houseware items in her own store.” Read more


J.C. Penney makes progress but posts a loss by Maria Halkias at Dallas News. “Comparable store sales increased 4.4 percent as customers responded to the private brand merchandise that Penney brought back to its stores. But the chain is still trying to improve sales in the home department, children’s and footwear. Those categories continue to be hurt by “self-inflicted wounds,” CEO Mike Ullman said.” Read more


Canadian Tire shares hit record high after banner 2014 by Lisa Wright at The Toronto Star. “Same-store sales at Canadian Tire stores grew 2.8 per cent helped by its winter tire business. Same-store sales at the company’s FGL Sports banners were up 4.9 per cent which was driven by an increase of 9.4 per cent at Sport Chek. Its Mark’s clothing chain reported same-store sales rose 1.2 per cent.” Read more


Loblaw eyes some Target locations as profit more than doubles by Linda Nguyen at The Globe and Mail. “… Their network is not particularly complementary to the Loblaw network, (but) we have a team looking at the assets. We have identified the number of stores that could be complementary.” Read more


Guest Author: Rebuilding Empires by Thomas Lee (Excerpt 4 of 4). Published by St. Martin’s Press.

In some ways, Target, a company that prides itself on detailed long term planning, seems ill suited for such rapid rate of change.

For example, when Target first established its website a decade prior, the move prompted much division among its management ranks. At the time, Target stores were thriving, which made it hard for executives steeped in the Dayton department store culture to understand why the company would spend millions of dollars on a project that lost millions of dollars for the first few years of its existence.  

“I had a lot of arrows in my back,” said one former executive involved with the website.

For to survive, the Target executive said the company needed to remove the e-commerce team from the rest of the company so it could operate within its own culture. So Target established a separate headquarters for the website at the City Center complex, located just a few blocks north of main corporate building on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The move would only breed even more resentment among brick and mortar managers, the former executive said.

At the time, had the support of CEO Bob Ulrich. But even Ulrich grew uneasy with the project. During one meeting to review the website’s numbers, Ulrich dismissed the nascent e-commerce business as “middling.” To boost morale, the team later wore t-shirts around its office that read “NOT a middling business.”



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet is read worldwide by Retail Merchants & Executives and created early every weekday morning. We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Thursday Tipsheet: Target Wage Hike? | NY Times Hits WMT on ‘Hours’ | Lowe’s/Target Call Highlights


Wal-Mart CEO talks about pay raises, how customers shop and what he’s learned from critics by Anne D’Innocenzio at AP via Star Tribune. “McMillon, 48, spoke with The Associated Press exclusively about the pay and training increases, the fallout from the Bangladesh disaster and other issues that are affecting Wal-Mart. What follows are edited excerpts from a 40-minute interview at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.” Read the interview


Dollar Tree says Family Dollar stores could be re-branded by Katherine Peralta & Ely Portillo at Charlotte Observer. “Switching Family Dollar stores to Dollar Tree and vice-versa. “Most of the early re-bannering will be Family Dollar stores to Dollar Tree stores,” (CEO Bob) Sasser told investors. Family Dollar stores in the suburbs could be especially ripe for a transition, he said. “Our first priority was to take a look at the Family Dollar, underperforming Family Dollar stores that would perform better as Dollar Tree stores.” Read more


Dollar Tree Q4 Comp Sales +5.6%  Read the release


Target hints at grocery makeover by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “The impending changes are making suppliers nervous as they wonder if they will be part of Target’s plan, said Amy Koo, an analyst with Kantar Retail.” Read more


Target CFO John Mulligan Appears on CNBC  See the video


Target Q4 Comp Sales +3.8%  Read the release


***New Product Spotlight – A Message from CLUG.  The CLUG Bike Clip is the world’s smallest bike rack that is targeted at the urban cyclist and the casual enthusiast who are short on storage space for their bikes.  CLUG is a patent pending, high quality product that made the list of 2014 Best Stuff by GQ Magazine in their December 2014 issue.  CLUG is now ready for retail with its 100% recyclable, high volume packaging.  See the video.  See the sell sheet. Contact for more information.


NY Times: Next Goal for Walmart Workers: More Hours by Hiroku Tabuchi. “He says he constantly begs his managers for full-time work at the bustling Walmart superstore in Rosemead, Calif. He generally works around 28 hours a week, but can be assigned as few as 18. “I work as hard as I can, and when they offer me hours, I stay,” he said. “But when the time comes, and I beg them for hours because I’m not going to afford rent, they don’t want to help me.” Read more


A Target wage increase could be coming soon by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough expects a wage announcement Tuesday at Target’s annual analyst day in response to Walmart’s recent announcement that it will boost its minimum wage to $10 an hour. “I would assume that’s why Target’s not giving annual guidance today and that’s what they’re going to talk about on their analyst day,” Yarbrough said. “I would assume Target is going to match (Walmart) it or potentially take it even higher.” Read more


Wal-Mart exec says retailer still committed to U.S manufacturing push by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “…some say all has seemed quiet on the retailer’s push to return manufacturing jobs to the U.S. since the departure of former Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon, Wal-Mart disagrees…Catherine Johnson, seafood buyer at Wal-Mart for the past 5 years, said her team is seeking out locally sourced seafood items…“Next month we are traveling to Boston for a seafood show and we recently completed a trip to the Pacific Northwest to Pike’s Market. We source shrimp and what we can from the Louisiana Gulf,” Johnson said.” Read more


Ace Hardware reports record revenue and income for the year by Lewis Lazare at Chicago Business Journal. “Ace posted revenues of $4.7 billion, an increase over the previous year of $546.3 million of 13.2 percent.” Read more


Sears Revenue Falls 23.5%, Comp Sales -4.4%  Read more


Kohl’s Q4 Comp Sales +3.7%  Read the release


Lumber Liquidators warns of possible criminal charges at AP via St. Louis Post Dispatch. “CEO Robert Lynch said in a conference call Wednesday that news program “60 Minutes” may feature the company in an “unfavorable” segment this weekend. He said the story is related to a 2014 lawsuit that alleged the company did not properly warn customers that certain products may emit formaldehyde.” Read more


Guest Author: Rebuilding Empires by Thomas Lee (Excerpt 3 of 4). Published by St. Martin’s Press.

In his corner office at Target corporate headquarters, Jeff Jones keeps a copy of The Singularity is Near by futurist and Google engineer director Ray Kurtzwell. In the book, Kurtzwell argues that technological advances like computers and the Internet will create such exponential growth that it will eventually outstrip humans’ ability to comprehend the phenomenon.

“Target has been extraordinary at strategic planning,” Jones said. We’ve been very clear about our destination, of the initiatives we had to tackle. Keeping that same discipline and clarity is important, especially when you’re dealing with several hundred thousand employees that you’re trying to bring along on a journey. We just kind of knew it’s going to look like this and these are the things that will allow us to achieve our goals.”

“But in today’s world, given the pace of transformation, you need to also create the environment and the comfort level with the ambiguity of what that actually means. The cycles of innovation that are impacting humans, let alone impacting retail, are just faster than ever. We need to create a culture of comfort with the unknown so people still are driven to go fast and are destination oriented, they want to win, they’ve got goals, but they also recognize that arriving there just might not be the same linear path that it used to be.”


Target Q4 Earnings Call Highlights


Brian Cornell, CEO 

Our fourth quarter comparable sales increase of 3.8% was also stronger than the updated guidance we provided in January, as we saw unexpected strength in our store channel sales in the last two weeks of the quarter.

The digital channel growth contributed nearly a full percentage point to our fourth quarter comparable sales increase.

We’re seeing strong financial results from our eight City Target stores and we’ve seen very strong initial performance in the test of our first Target Express location, which opened here in the Twin Cities last August.

In 2015, of the 15 new stores we’re planning to open more than half of these are new formats with eight additional express stores and a new City Target set to open in Boston, next to Fenway Park.

I can tell you that the entire leadership team is prioritized, one, increasing traffic to our stores, and two, visits to our site. Kathee and I were recently out in the market together.

We spent several days visiting our stores, looking at competitive food retailers as we begin to build our reinvention plans for food.


Kathee Tesija, Chief Merchandising & Supply Chain Officer

We saw particularly strong trends in fourth quarter sales in our signature categories. Specifically, healthcare, beauty, apparel and home, all grew faster than our overall sales.

Within apparel, results were strongest in baby and kid, and home comps were led by domestics and seasonal items.

Our toy category had a fantastic quarter recording a double-digit increase in comparable sales.

Digital channel for the fourth quarter, we saw a high single-digit increase in visits, driven entirely by growth in mobile which includes both tablets and smartphones.

Orders were up well over 50% driven by very strong conversion increases on both the conventional site and mobile. 

Mobile accounted for more than 40% of our digital orders in the fourth quarter. 

In home, we have begun testing highly inspirational vignettes to show product in lifestyle settings which we’re rolling out to another 15 stores this quarter. 

Farther back in the testing phase, we are looking at innovations to bring even more fun to our toy area.

On Black Friday, 10% of our iPhone app revenue was from guests purchasing on their phone while they were simultaneously shopping one of our stores.

35% of the time guests who picked up a digital order also shopped the store on the same visit.

Following the addition of Mannequins at the apparel floor pad, in more than 600 stores last fall, we are planning to roll them out to another 400 stores this quarter.

Based on the guest response to our enhanced, entertainment and electronics experience which is currently in 42 stores, we plan to roll this environment out to another 275 stores this year.


John Mulligan, CFO

Digital channel sales increased a robust 36% in the fourth quarter.

Outlook for Q1: We expect our comparable sales to increase about 2%, driven by an increase in digital channel sales of 30% or more, combined with the modest growth in store channel sales.

Read the full transcript via Seeking Alpha



Lowe’s Q4 Earnings Call Highlights


Robert Niblock, CEO

Comparable sales growth of 7.3%.

Comp growth was driven by a 4.9% increase in comp average ticket and a 2.3% increase in comp transactions. 

 All 14 regions had comps greater than 5%.

Canada delivered double-digit comps in local currency for the seventh consecutive quarter.

Approximately one-half of homeowners now believe the value of their homes is increasing.


Rick Damron, CPO

Purchases made on, approximately 60% are picked up in store.

Above-company average comps in flooring, kitchens, appliances, lumber, building materials, millwork and outdoor power equipment.

Our interior project specialist program has an average ticket above $10,000…So we are expanding into another 470 stores in 2015 reaching over three-fourths of our stores by year-end. 

Lowe’s now has the number one and number two brands making us the destination for pneumatic tools, particularly for the pro.

We are also completing our beta test of, which has been well-received by our pilot customers.

We will reduce our total marketing spend even while increasing our presence in targeted digital media.

Our pro accounts grew 24% during the quarter. was up 25% for the quarter, 2.5% of our total sales for the year.


Bob Hull, CFO

Looking at monthly trends, comps were 6.7% in November, 7.2% in December and 8.2% in January.

For the year, we expect a total sales increase of approximately 4.5% to 5% driven by a comp sales increase of 4% to 4.5% and the opening of 15 to 20 stores, which includes six Orchard and two city center locations.

Kitchens, flooring, millwork, all three of those categories are the furthest away from where they were back in the peak. What I can tell you is, at the peak, those items were — those three categories were close to 19%, 20% of our sales. Today, they are 16% to 17%. 

Read the full transcript via The Street



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet is read worldwide by Retail Merchants & Executives and created early every weekday morning. We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Wednesday Tipsheet: Lowe’s US +7.4% | Wmart’s New Green Portal | H.Dep Call Highlights


Lowe’s Q4 US Comp +7.4% “Lowe’s today reported net earnings of $450 million for the quarter ended January 30, 2015, a 47.0 percent increase over the same period a year ago…Fiscal year 2015 outlook: Comparable sales are expected to increase 4 to 4.5 percent, the company expects to open 15 to 20 home improvement and hardware stores.” Read the release


Lowe’s Beats Street at CNBC. “The company posted earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $12.54 billion.Wall Street expected the home-improvement behemoth to post earnings of 43 cents a share on revenues of $12.31 billion, according to consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.” Read more


Target to Webcast Q4 Earnings Conference Call Today at 9:30 AM CST  Webcast


Target Shrinks the Big Box to Woo City Dwellers at Bloomberg.  See in-store video from store near Univ. of MN


Wal-Mart eyes ‘phase three’ of its sustainability plan, critics want more by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “At the retailer’s 2015 Sustainability Milestone Meeting held in San Bruno, Calif on Tuesday, (Doug) McMillon shared a recently shot video clip of former Wal-Mart leaders revisiting the sustainability origins…The majority of meeting time was devoted to brief panel discussions that featured suppliers and other partners. Wal-mart did announce along with the meeting its “Sustainability Leaders” shop. It’s part of the Walmart website that helps customers find and buy products from suppliers “leading in sustainability.” Read more


Wal-Mart launches online shop that features green products, suppliers at AP via Fox Business. “The portal, which features more than 12,000 products in 80 different product categories like toys and printers, comes six years after the world’s largest retailer launched its own index that rates suppliers’ impact on the environment.” Read more


***A message from Eye Dig It Safety Sunglasses: Don’t Sacrifice your Safety for Style. Set your sights on this pair of chic sunglasses to find the best of both worlds. Maximum visual perception and shatter/scratch-resistant protection, Eye Dig It helps protect eyes from debris and provide UVA and UVB protection…and women love the stylish look and feel.  Available in Black and Tortoise Shell. See the sell sheetFor merchandising information contact


Macy’s explores new off-price concept – Mum on details by Andy Brownfield at Cincinnati Business Courier. “I’m not going to tell you until we start rolling it out, but the team feels very optimistic that we will do well. Again, this is one of those things we’ll let the customer vote and see what she says.” Read more


Fortune: Macy’s off-price chain to be more like T.J. Maxx than Nordstrom Rack by Phil Wahba. Read more


Former Employee Suing Costco for Religious Discrimination by Kristin Thorne at WABC-TV New York. “The devout Muslim says he was working as a cashier’s assistant at the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn in September of 2012 when pork came across the conveyor belt. It’s against his religious beliefs to touch either pork or alcohol. Camara says after telling his managers this, they transferred him outside collecting the shopping carts.” See the video / Read more


Slideshow: Walgreens New Honolulu Flagship Store at Pacific Business News.  See the 43 pics


West Coast Port Gridlock Hits Inventory at Home Depot and Macy’s by Hiroku Tibuchi at NY Times. “The West Coast situation has been tough, with 12- to 16-day delays in getting our imports in,” Mark Holifield, Home Depot’s executive vice president for supply chain and product development, said on a call with analysts…Karen M. Hoguet, Macy’s chief financial officer, said that shipment delays were only just starting to hit inventory levels…About 12 percent of the department store chain’s first-quarter merchandise was delayed, Ms. Hoguet said. Read more


Can Walmart Get Us to Buy Sustainable Products? by Andrew Winston at Harvard Business Review  Read more


Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO New Mansion at Palm Beach Post  Aerial View Pic


The Wal-Mart headline you probably missed by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “(Walmart) said it will offer fixed schedules to some of its associates each week, starting next year. It will also allow employees to sign up for open shifts on a first-come, first-serve basis, and continue to give workers their schedules at least two and a half weeks in advance.” Read more


Guest Author: Rebuilding Empires by Thomas Lee (Excerpt 2 of 4). Published by St. Martin’s Press.

In many ways, Cartwheel represents an enormous cultural shift in Target. The product was conceived in just a matter of months by a new unit inside the company that focuses on quickly converting ideas to actual products. In addition, Target designed Cartwheel on the fly, knowing full well that the service was flawed but released to the public anyway with the hope that it could improve the product based on customer feedback.


Normally, whether it was a marketing campaign to promote Taylor Swift’s album or the launch of a design collection from Jason Wu, the retailer would spend years planning every meticulous detail and then launch the project with the full force of a tsunami.


But with Cartwheel, Target wanted to do something completely alien to its culture: make mistakes. The team proposed a low key “Beta launch” for only employees and some customers so the company can collect data and work out any bugs in the system before Cartwheel made its debut in earnest.


“It was a big cultural moment for Target,” said chief marketing officer Jeff Jones. “We’re going to put something in the world that we know is not perfect. We’re going to take guest data and we’re going to improve the product based on what the guest shows us they want through their actions.”


“We are testing, in any given day in Cartwheel, over 100 data experiments,” he continued. “We are continuously learning about how do we make the user experience better, what kind of offers do people want, how do they download the app, when do they use the app, is it pre-trip or in the store.”


“In the startup world, you wouldn’t get criticized for that,” Jones said. “You would be told that’s innovation. But Target, because we’ve always focused on crisp, and flawless execution, we would never have done that in our past. We’re demonstrating a new kind of thinking. Putting a beta product into the world is what happens in Silicon Valley every day. Of course there are things to criticize about it, but we don’t take that as criticism, we take it as user feedback to improve the functionality.”


Home Depot Q4 Earnings Call Highlights:


Craig Menear, President & CEO

All departments had positive comps.

For the year, our online business grew over $1 billion, a growth rate of over 36%.

Almost 40% of our online orders were picked up in the store.

2015: we expect comp growth in the U.S. of approximately 4.5% and total company comp growth of approximately 3.3 to 4.5%.


Ted Decker, EVP Merchandising

Nine departments had comps above the company average for Q4: tools, lumber, millwork, lighting, décor, building materials, kitchen, bath, and hardware.

We saw double digit comps in compressors, siding, roofing, ladders, concrete, fasteners, and several lumber categories…patio doors, windows, interior doors and exterior doors.

In 2014, we reviewed 154 product categories or roughly a third of the store.

Q4 total comp transactions grew by 4.9% and for the year we set a new transaction record with over 1.4 billion total transactions.

Transactions per ticket under $50 (approximately 20% of U.S. sales) were up 3.1% for the fourth quarter.

Transactions per ticket over $900, (also approximately 20% of U.S. sales) were up 10.3% in the fourth quarter.

We track our 40 largest classes, and 16 of those have not recovered from peak.

We’re going to invest in another 170 stores expanding appliances.

Coming soon callouts: 

We’re excited about the launch of our new color solution center, featuring Behr, Glidden, and our Home Decorators Collection paint brands…We plan to roll it to all U.S. stores by the end of the second quarter.

…introducing new and exclusive products in Milwaukee, Makita and DeWalt.

Grills: we have a new and exclusive brand launch with Nexgrill and are introducing several exclusive models from Weber and Kitchenaid.

Vigoro’s new colored mulch in red, black and brown offers a 12-month color guarantee at a great value.


Carol Tome, EVP & CFO

Comp sales for U.S. stores: 8.8% in November, 8.6% in December, and 9.3% in January.

For the year, our gross data breach expenses were approximately $63 million, and after expected insurance recovery our net data breach expenses were approximately $33 million.

During the fourth quarter we opened three new stores, two in Mexico and one in Canada.

In 2015, we will open six stores, five in Mexico, one in Canada.

Dot-com contributed 100 basis points to our comp in Q4.

Pro credit card: We do have a pilot underway in a number of stores with extended terms, user terms that you can’t find any place, and our pros are responding very well to that.

Read the Q4 earnings call transcript via Seeking Alpha



Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet is read worldwide by Retail Merchants & Executives and is created bright and early every weekday morning.  We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Tuesday Tipsheet: H.Depot Comp +8.9% | Dick’s CEO $12M Mansion | Target Slashes | Aldi Build 450 in TX?


Home Depot Q4 US Comp Sales +8.9% “The Home Depot today reported sales of $19.2 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, an 8.3 percent increase from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 were positive 7.9 percent.” Read the release


CNBC: Home Depot profit rises 36%, warns on currency by Katie Little. “Oppenheimer & Co. Managing Director Brian Nagel told CNBC this was “another very good report from Home Depot” which illustrated both the company’s strength from an operational standpoint and signs that the home improvement market is solid.” Read more


In wake of dock pact, some ‘ships in a hurry’ depart so fast they leave cargo behind by Steve Wilhelm at Puget Sound Business Journal. “Carriers want to get back on schedule, and so they’re leaving early,” she said. “Maybe we were surprised to find the ships were leaving early, unexpectedly early, and leaving cargo behind.” Read more


Target Slashes Free Shipping Minimum to $25 at A Bullseye View. Read more


…The move gives Target the lowest free shipping threshold among retailers in the top 25 of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, except for Nordstrom by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer.  Read more 


Wal-Mart de Mexico Chief Financial Officer to Retire by Amy Guthrie at WSJ. “Chief Financial Officer Rafael Matute, who has worked at the retailer for 28 years, will be replaced by Wal-Mart Latin America CFO Pedro Farah.” Read more (Subscription)


Amazon negotiating for Twin Cities distribution center site by Sam Black at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “ is negotiating to buy 66 acres in Shakopee to develop a large distribution center…the two sides are very close to a purchase agreement for about half of the Shenandoah Business Park, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.” Read more


Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO buys South Florida mansion for $12M by Brian Bandell at South Florida Business Journal. “The 8,946-square-foot home sits on 1.05 acres along a private beach at 11610 Turtle Beach Road. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home was built in 1977 and valued by the county appraiser at $5.4 million.” Read more


***New Product Spotlight – A Message from CLUG.  The CLUG Bike Clip is the world’s smallest bike rack that is targeted at the urban cyclist and the casual enthusiast who are short on storage space for their bikes.  CLUG is a patent pending, high quality product that made the list of 2014 Best Stuff by GQ Magazine in their December 2014 issue.  CLUG is now ready for retail with its 100% recyclable, high volume packaging.  See the video.  See the sell sheet.  Contact for more information.


Target Gives ‘Caroline’s Cart’ a Test Run in 20+ Cities this Spring by Nadine Maeser at WBDJ 7 CBS – Roanoke. “Caroline’s Cart is  unique because it has a 5-point harness and allows a person to face the shopper while they browse the aisles…(Amanda) McClelland says she plans on asking other stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club to get the cart as well.” See the video / Read more


Amazon Fuels DHL Unit Expansion on E-Commerce Boom in India by Adi Narayan at Bloomberg. “Up to five years ago, you never had e-commerce figuring in BlueDart’s list of top five verticals,” said Monteiro, who oversees all of Blue Dart’s operations. “Today, it is the largest vertical and demand is far outstripping supply.” Read more


Aldi sees potential for 450 stores in Texas by Maria Halkias at Dallas News. “The company is looking for producers and growers of all sizes, (Hector) Alejandro said. “Some companies may only be able to supply us in one or two states,” he said.” Read more


Morgan Stanley: Dicks Sporting Goods Could Take Market Share From Sports Authority by Kevin Riley at Benzinga. “40 percent of The Sports Authority’s 451 stores are within 5 miles of Dick’s 603 stores (65 percent within 10 miles). Read more


Chef Jenn creates gourmet seafood for Wal-Mart by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “Last summer she said a friend emailed her a news piece about Wal-Mart holding its first Open Call in Bentonville looking for new suppliers…McCullough met with Catherine Johnson a seafood buyer at Wal-Mart and still had no expectations that the retailer would want to stock her seafood entree…She made a few trips back to Bentonville and we launched in 300 to 400 stores to start,” Johnson said.”  Read more


Home Depot data breach court battle will unfold between May and August by David Allison at Atlanta Business Chronicle. Read more


Ann Taylor, Chico’s Seek Buyers to Overhaul Aging Brands by Lindsey Rupp at Bloomberg. “Both Chico’s and Ann have been in discussions with private-equity buyers, according to people familiar with the talks. Neither company has announced a deal.” Read more


Guest Author: Rebuilding Empires by Thomas Lee (Excerpt 1 of 4). “When Target first started to develop Cartwheel in early 2013, the retailer had modest expectations for its social savings tool. More so than other retailers, Target enjoys a web-savvy customer base that loves to chat about their purchases just as much as they like to buy them.

Partnering with Facebook, the retailer would offer daily deals to customers, who could later redeem the offers via their mobile devices at Target stores. Shoppers could earn even more discounts if they convinced their social media friends to sign up for Cartwheel and redeem deals.

“People love talking about Target, our differentiated product or content,” said multichannel chief Casey Carl. “They love to share their thoughts on it. ‘Hey, I just got this great dress. I’m going to wear this here. What do you think? Fantastic.’”

But something else happened. Much to their surprise, shoppers weren’t just sharing deals on Facebook: they were visiting Target stores more often and buying more stuff per trip, Carl said.

“That actually wasn’t how we designed it,” he said. “But I will tell you that we’ve done a major pivot from what we originally conceived it to be. About half of our guests are actually using it in-store. The best description is like your weather app. They’re using it all the time as a utility app and as an inspirational thing where the social element really plays.”



Eye-on-Retail is a daily tipsheet read by thousands of Retail Merchants & Executives every weekday morning. Eye-on-Retail is created and delivered early AM every day.  We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at


Monday Tipsheet: H.Depot Protest | Sports Authority Default? | Target & $1 Bil in Naturals


Most West Coast ports in full swing to make up for lost time at Seattle Times. “Three terminals at the Port of Seattle were full Sunday, with five vessels waiting to be unloaded as most West Coast seaports were back at full operation after a deal was reached Friday with dockworkers…Dockworkers in Los Angeles worked an overnight shift for the first time in weeks Saturday night…It will take six to eight weeks for West Coast ports to recover from the cargo backlog, according to the Port of Oakland and the National Retail Federation.” Read more


…“Just based on the mathematics, it will be about three months before we return to a sense of normalcy” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. by Laura Stevens at WSJ. Read more (Subscription)


Sports Authority said to be at ‘high’ risk of default at CNN Money. “At these operating levels, Sports Authority’s capital structure is unsustainable over the longer term, and the risk of a default … is high,” wrote analyst Michael Zuccaro in the note.” Read more


Target doubling initiative on organics, naturals at AP via Anne d’Innocenzio at AP. “Company officials believe sales for the brands included in the program could hit $1 billion this year, and if this initiative were a stand-alone brand, it would already be one of the company’s 10 largest labels, according to Kathee Tesija, executive vice president and chief merchandising and supply chain officer.” Read more


Retailer claims Big Tobacco is aiding smugglers, ‘robbing’ New York by Richard Morgan at NY Post. “Philip Morris and Reynolds American allocate “massive amounts of boxed cigarettes to stores in their home states (soft-pack markets), knowing that most of this product will become contraband as it is bootlegged into New York,” the group, the New York State Association of Wholesale Marketers and Distributors, wrote in a letter this month to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.” Read more


Mall of America shoppers take terror alert in stride by Paul Walsh at Star-Tribune. “The cautionary message came from Jeh Johnson, U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, after the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab released a video calling for attacks on Western malls. The video specifically mentioned the Mall of America.” Read more


Protest closes Home Depot store in Northern CA by Wendy Lee at SF Gate. “An anti-police protest drawing more than 100 people shut down a Home Depot store in Emeryville Saturday…Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Home Depot, said the store’s standard practice is to allow police to release information related to an investigation. “We understand the concern when something as serious as this happens in a community, but it would be inappropriate for us to independently release information while an ongoing investigation is going on,” Holmes said.” Read more


Canada: Sears, Hudson’s Bay mattress discounts under investigation by Marina Strauss & Jeff Gray at Globe & Mail. “The federal Competition Bureau is investigating whether Canada’s two major department-store retailers have touted bogus discounts of their mattresses…the bureau stepped up its inquiry into Sears Canada Inc. and Hudson’s Bay Co. sale pricing and the Federal Court has agreed to order the merchants to produce records about their price strategies within 75 days.” Read more


Mother of Amazon founder to address Women’s Day event at Yakima Herald. “Bezos will speak at Heritage during International Women’s Day, to be celebrated March 7. It will run from 10 a.m. to noon; doors open at 9 a.m.” Read more



Eye-on-Retail is a daily tipsheet read by thousands of Retail Merchants & Executives every weekday morning. Eye-on-Retail is created and delivered early AM every day.  We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Friday Tipsheet: Admired: Costco #16, Wmart #38 | Fortune Profiles Cornell | Eataly


Fortune: World’s Most Admired Companies 2015 (Amazon #4, Costco #16, Walmart #38…)  See the Top 50 list


…Target falls 19 spots from No. 29 to No. 48 by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal  Read more


Yesterday: Walmart CEO Appears on CNBC  “We make wage adjustments all the time. We just decided this is a really good moment to be more bold,” Doug McMillon said in a “Squawk Alley” interview. “Right now we want to make sure everybody is crystal clear how vital our store experience is to our future.” See the video / Read more


Wal-Mart Q4 Earnings Call Transcript  Read the transcript


Target Has a New CEO: Will He Re-Energize the Retailer? by Phil Wahba at Fortune. “The Target executives were taken aback. They had just learned that their new CEO, Brian Cornell, had been out on his own with customers, incognito, exploring one of the company’s stores. It was a big departure from the way the process-heavy discount retailer had always operated. Store visits, ostensibly intended as intelligence-gathering missions, were meticulously planned affairs, only slightly less formal than, say, a presidential visit. Every relevant national manager and local functionary would be notified in advance, each step choreographed, the “regular shoppers” handpicked and vetted. About the only thing missing was a brass band playing “Hail to the Chief.”…” Read more


Best Buy follows Target in testing Curbside shopping by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “Best Buy is testing the service at four Bay Area stores. Target is testing it in 11 Bay Area stores.” Read more


West Coast terminal operators bypass union leaders – make contract offer directly to dock workers by Emily Parkhurst at Puget Sound Business Journal. Read more


NY Times: Trappings of Chinese New Year Left at Sea by West Coast Port Dispute by Hiroku Tabuchi & Alexandra Stevenson. “There’s not enough sticky rice to make the dumplings. We don’t have holiday cookies or mung bean cakes. We’re running out of soy sauce,” said Jacklyn Sher, manager of H. C. Foods.” Read more


Amazon Two-Hour Deliveries Come to Prime Members in Brooklyn by Jason Del Rey at Recode.  Read more


Haberman hires Target alum as creative director by Clare Kennedy at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “Haberman Inc. has hired its new creative director from Target Corp. Jeff Berg joined Minneapolis-based marketing agency in January.” Read more


P&G: Expect most deals to sell brands by summer by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. “P&G chief financial officer Jon Moeller told Wall Street analysts the impact of total divestitures will reduce the company’s annual sales by 14 percent, up from a previous figure of 10 percent. P&G officials said the change was a “refinement” of their brand-shedding plan.” Read more


Target Canada steps up discounts by Hollie Shaw at Financial Post. “On Thursday, Target was specific in its e-mail blast to customers — the 40% off cuts applied to goods including magazines, books, CDs and DVDs and paper products. Groceries and household products such as cleaning supplies and diapers are now 20% off.” Read more


Eataly Charms the World With Italian Fare and Flair by Austin Carr at Fast Company. “Eataly’s business is booming. This location, across from Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, is doing $85 million in annual revenue. Its even larger counterpart in Chicago, which opened in late 2013, is on pace to hit $50 million this year, nearly matching the gross sales of its flagship store in Turin, Italy. And that’s on top of the 15 other Eataly locations in Italy; the 11 in Japan; and the large-scale outposts soon opening in London, Hong Kong, Moscow, Munich, Paris, São Paulo, Sydney, and Toronto, among other cities.” Read more


Celebrate This Terrible Winter With The Highlights Of Amazon’s Summer Preview by Anthony Ha at TechCrunch. “ hosted a summer preview event in New York City today, and I’ll be real honest: I thought there was going to be more tech stuff.” See the video / Read more


Rite Aid Announces First-Ever Innovation Challenge “If a product idea is chosen, the creator will be receive a $2,500 advance along with ongoing royalties from product sales and be named as the inventor on any patent issued. There is no limit to the number of ideas that may be selected.” Read more


Nordstrom Q4 Comp Sales +4.7%  Read the release



Eye-on-Retail is a daily tipsheet read by thousands of Retail Merchants & Executives every weekday morning. Eye-on-Retail is created and delivered early AM every day.  We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Thursday Tipsheet: Wmart Q4 Comp: US +1.5%, Sam’s +2.0% | Target Tests REDperks | B.Buy Tries Seattle


Walmart Q4 Comps:

US: +1.5%

Sam’s (no fuel): +2.0%

Neighborhood Market: +7.7%

Ecom Sales +22% for the year

Read the release


Walmart: We’re giving 500,000 people a raise by Myles Udland at Business Insider. “Current and future associates will benefit from this initiative, which ensures that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above today’s federal minimum wage, or $9.00 per hour, in April. The following year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour.” Read more


…Doug McMillon: “The investment in these initiatives is more than $1 billion for this fiscal year.” Read the release


Target quietly launches REDperks rewards app by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “If shoppers spend $500 at Target, they will get 5 percent off an entire trip to Target…REDcard users can combine their 5 percent discount with their REDperks discount…For now, REDperks is only available on Apple mobile devices in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. market.” Read more


Happening Today: Wal-Mart’s Doug McMillon Speaks with CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla on “Squawk Alley” Read the release


Court awards Target Canada pharmacists $100,000 for legal proceedings by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail. “The situation facing the pharmacists is not pleasant,” Justice Morawetz said in his ruling.” Read more


***A message from Eye Dig It Safety Sunglasses: Don’t Sacrifice your Safety for Style. Set your sights on this pair of chic sunglasses to find the best of both worlds. Maximum visual perception and shatter/scratch-resistant protection, Eye Dig It helps protect eyes from debris and provide UVA and UVB protection…and women love the stylish look and feel.  Available in Black and Tortoise Shell. See the sell sheetFor merchandising information contact


Best Buy is opening a tech office in Seattle (a few blocks away from Amazon) by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “Best Buy’s 32,000-square-foot office will be on the top floor of the Seattle Times building, in the tech-centric neighborhood of South Lake Union. It will be the retailer’s first such office outside of Minnesota and will initially employ about 50 engineers, product managers and web developers. Down the road, Best Buy said it could have more than 100 employees there.” Read more


…WA kicked in $200,000 in incentives from Gov. Jay Inslee’s strategic reserve fund by Jon Talton at Seattle Times. Read more


Amazon Couture: Jeff Bezos Wants to Sell Fancy Clothes by Kim Bhasin & Lauren Sherman at Bloomberg. “What’s missing—what can be improved upon—is that there is theater involved in fashion,” says Ari Bloom, founder of New York-based A2B Ventures, a strategic advisory firm that works in fashion, food, and wellness. “Amazon’s brand positioning has really been about convenience and price. Fashion is often about experience.” Read more


…How Fashion Became the Fastest Growing Part of Amazon at Bloomberg. “Amazon Fashion President Cathy Beaudoin discusses Amazon Fashion, the fastest growing division at the company, what they offer and who their customers are.” See the video


Feds say Wal-Mart was biased against lesbians at Chicago Tribune. “(Walmart) said it expanded its policy in 2014 to include same-sex couples.”While we disagree with the finding of reasonable cause, we have notified the EEOC of our willingness to meet with them and Miss Cote to discuss resolving the matter,” spokesman Randy Hargrove said.” Read more


What’s next for Albertsons? by Nancy Luna at Orange County Register. “With the merger of Alberstons and Safeway complete, the Register asked company officials to weigh in on pending changes for the grocery giant…” Read more


NY Times: Same-Day Delivery Resurges, Adding Alcohol by Danielle Beurteaux. “(Drizly) had to trudge through some mud,” he said. “It was a fight to get consumers, it was a fight to get stores, it was a fight to get investors.” Read more



Eye-on-Retail is a daily tipsheet read by thousands of Retail Merchants & Executives every weekday morning. Eye-on-Retail is created and delivered early AM every day.  We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at

Wednesday Tipsheet: Loyalty: H.Depot, Costco #1 | Satisfaction: Wmart #12 | T.Supply #1,400


Wal-Mart de Mexico net profit surges at Market Watch. “Retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico reported a 42% surge in fourth quarter net profit Tuesday…The company, which accounts for around 6% of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s annual sales…reported quarterly net profit of 10.4 billion Mexican pesos ($698 million), as total revenue increased 4.3% to 129.44 billion pesos.” Read more


Amazon’s One-Hour Delivery Service Goes Live Across Manhattan by Jordan Crook at TechCrunch. Read more


2015 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index:

#1 Price Clubs: Costco

#1 Discount: Walmart

#1 Home Improvement: Home Depot

#1 Sporting Goods: Dick’s Sporting Goods

See the winning brands in each category


American Customer Satisfaction Index Rips Walmart by Catey Hill at Market Watch. “Walmart tied with armed forces store Exchange as the worst-rated department or discount store, in recent past years, it’s been the single worst-scoring store.” See the 13 discount stores ranked


Plans for TargetExpress in St. Paul take shape by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “Target’s newest and smallest stores are turning out to be kinda like snowflakes – no two will be exactly the same. That is becoming increasingly apparent as plans take shape for the second TargetExpress location in the Twin Cities, slated to open in July in St. Paul’s Highland Park.” Read more


Walmart Labs: Why we chose OpenStack for Walmart Global eCommerce written by Amandeep Juneja, Sr. Director of Cloud Operations and Engineering. Read more


New platform taps do-it-yourself sports merchandising by Benny Evangelista at SF Gate. “Coveroo has an exclusive deal with Major League Baseball…and has licensing agreements with the NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer, the Canadian Football League and the NCAA. Coveroo CEO Christopher Boone says the service taps into “the creative genius of the crowd,” without running afoul of the law. “As you would imagine,” Boone said, teams “were initially very hesitant.” Read more


CVS fights cost of new cholesterol drugs by Cynthia Coons at SF Gate. “Express Scripts has about 30 percent of the U.S. pharmacy benefits management market, and CVS about 27 percent, according to Robyn Karnauskas, an analyst with Deutsche Bank.” Read more


What toys won over the toughest critics at Toy Fair? by Christina Cheddar Berk at CNBC.  Read more / See the video


Home Depot to Present at Raymond James 36th Annual Conference  9:50 a.m. ET on March 3, 2015


Tennessee: Kroger Marketplace swapping furniture for clothes at The Tennessean “We are replacing furniture with apparel in our Marketplace stores,” (Melissa Eads, spokeswoman for Kroger) wrote in a recent email to the Gallatin News Examiner. “We will carry brands such as Carhartt, Fila, Champion, Dickies, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., Jockey Activewear, Hanes Classics and Gloria Vanderbilt.” Read more


Cabela’s to Open First North Carolina Store on April 16th by Amanda Jones Hoyle at Triangle Business Journal. Read more


The cop who forced Target to drop their Irish t-shirts by Seamus Palmer at Irish Central. “The designers of the t-shirt saw fit to adhere to the British viewpoint that the northernmost six counties are not part of the island of Ireland, so they simply left them out. No, they didn’t just exclude them by way of a border line…they simply left them out.” Read more


Houston: Grocery stores go to new extremes for shoppers’ attention by Erin Mulvaney at Houston Chronicle. “The H-E-B opening Wednesday in tony Tanglewood boasts 91,000 square feet of not just traditional staples but also such foodie bait as a sushi bar, hummus in bulk sizes and a booth to order takeout barbecue…Kroger has already announced it will invest $409 million in the Houston region with new stores and upgrades. An estimated half of the 2.7 million square feet of retail development underway in Houston is said to be grocery.” Read more


…HEB strikes a new blow in the grocery store wars: Big name chef raises the bar “Our customers want food that tastes good — not just food that’s fast,” McClelland says. “The idea was to have people come in, eat our food and say ‘That’s not what we expected out of a grocery store.’ We’re trying to raise the level of expectations.” Read more


Tractor Supply Company Announces Grand Opening of 1,400th Store  Read the release


Ohio shoplifter arrested for 109th time in CVS bust by Doyle Murphy at Daily News. “Ferguson had a getaway car waiting and roared down the road where he was stopped by a couple of old acquaintances from the South Euclid Police Department, authorities said. They asked for his ID as a matter of procedure. He allegedly gave them the name of his brother. “Probably the majority of his arrests are just like that,” South Euclid Sgt. Mike O’Connor told the Daily News.” Read more



Eye-on-Retail is created early AM every weekday and read by thousands of Retail Merchants & Executives every morning. We love data, earnings reports, executive presentations and stories off the beaten path that get at what’s happening in the world of retail. Contact us at