Tipsheet: No Free Bfast @ Costco | Amazon’s Drone Mothership | Meijer Photo Lab No-No | CVS/Menards Fire Back @ Regulators


Kate Spade on the hunt for a potential buyer by Carleton English & Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “On Wednesday, Kate Spade shares jumped 23 percent to $17.86 on reports that it was considering a sale.” Read more


Nasty Gal Receives $20 Million Offer From British Retailer Boohoo by Caroline Anderson at Los Angeles Business Journal. “Boohoo said the deal only included intellectual property assets and excluded operating costs. Nasty Gal reported $10 million in inventory in its bankruptcy filing, suggesting that Boohoo values the company’s intellectual property at around $10 million.” Read more


CVS fires back at Texas regulators in $30 million Medicaid fraud case by Ryan Autullo at Austin American-Statesman. “CVS Pharmacy, accused by the state of Texas of defrauding Medicaid of $30.5 million, is suing the state Health and Human Services Commission, claiming state officials approved the billing practices at the heart of the fraud case.” Read more


Apple dominates Samsung in Holiday gadget shopping while Google ‘struggled’ to excite by Arjun Kharpal at CNBC. “44 percent of activations globally were Apple devices, a decline from the 49.1 percent seen in a similar period in 2015, and 51.3 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, 21 percent of activations were Samsung devices, a tiny rise from 19.8 percent last year.” Read more


Amazon reveals plans to make deliveries using incredible airship drone base by Rod Chester & Jasper Hamill at The Sun. “The patent, granted by the US patent office in April but only uncovered this week by tech analyst Zoe Leavitt, describes motherships floating above cities that release drones that save energy by dropping with gravity before kicking in with their motors.” Drawings/Read more


Michigan mom petitions Meijer for candy-free checkout lane by Judy Putnam at Lansing State Journal. “She posted the petition two weeks ago and has 223 signatures so far. I definitely didn’t roll my eyes over another point she made: the uncomfortable conversations born from racy headlines delivered, again at child eye-level, in the magazines in the checkout lane. Kramer recalls having to explain “cocaine” to her young son at a time she wasn’t prepared to talk about that.” Read more


17% NEVER SHOP ON AMAZON – Not Everyone Wants to Shop on Amazon by Sara Germano & Laura Stevens at Wall Street Journal. “…roughly 22 million American households didn’t purchase anything through (Amazon) this year. Those Amazon holdouts tend to be older than U.S. shoppers overall, with an average age of 57 versus 49, respectively, according to Kantar, and they tend to earn less—$45,700 in annual income, compared with $62,800 among all shoppers. They are less likely to have or live with children.” Read more (subscription)


Suit: Versace used secret ‘code’ for black customers by Mayra Cuevas at CNN. “The manager instructed Sampiro “to say ‘D410’ in a casual manner when a black person entered the store,” according to the lawsuit. The manager explained the “code is used to alert co-workers that ‘a black person is in the store,'” the lawsuit said.” Read more


**A message from Fabe – Italian hand-crafted pillows prevent and relieve neck and back pain. Fabe’s Ergo Praxis pillow supports and aligns the head and neck to prevent cervical pain. Created in cooperation with Ludes University in Switzerland – it gets the body in the right position for a good night’s sleep. 100% Made in Italy. Ergo Praxis Specs | Fabe Website | Retailers request samples at Italy to America product connection


NO FREE BREAKFAST (OR TRAFFIC JAM) – Costco to offer discounts not free breakfast at new store opening in Taiwan at Focus Taiwan. “This will be the first time Costco has not offered free breakfast and gifts at the opening of a new outlet in Taiwan. The decision is intended to prevent a traffic jam in the vicinity of the new Xinzhuang store when it opens on Jan. 7. In April, (Costco) opened a store in the Taipei suburb of Beitou…Its offering of free breakfast and gifts attracted a great number of members who lined up before the store opened, causing serious traffic congestion, which prompted police to impose traffic controls.” Read more


NLRB alleges Menards purposefully misclassified delivery drivers by Nick Williams at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “We feel that the NLRB is wrong,” the company responded in a statement. “Our corporation has contracts with various corporations to deliver goods to our customers…We plan to vigorously defend ourselves against these ridiculous allegations.” Read more


Amazon scoops up land in downtown Seattle, pointing to potential 5th tower in new campus by Nat Levy at GeekWire. “Property records filed with the King County Department of Assessments Wednesday show Amazon affiliate Acorn Development paid $19.2 million for a half block along Seventh Avenue between Blanchard and Bell streets, across the street from the recently opened Day One tower.” Read more


Online traffic spiked by nearly 50% on Christmas Day compared to last year by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. “Meanwhile, at its peak, traffic to the tracked e-retailers was up by 78% compared to the 2015 average on Christmas Day.” Read more


Bankrupt shipper Hanjin selling terminal operations at Port of Seattle by Mike Rosenberg at Seattle Times. Read more


“CRASH SALE” –  J.Crew extends a promotion to make up for its site outage by Tracy Maple at Internet Retailer. Read more


Costco worker, wearing elf hat, performs life-saving CPR at Times Union. “I looked back and noticed a crowd standing over someone. I don’t know who, but someone said, ‘Mat, Mat, this lady needs help,’ ” Rios recalled. “I looked and immediately realized something was wrong.” Read more


50 of 2017’s Most Anticipated Movies by Ashley Lee at The Hollywood Reporter. Read more


Amazon tries to recreate Prime Day magic with the first-ever Digital Day sales event by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “For one day only, December 30th, Amazon will discount over 1,000 digital items across its site in order to encourage post-holiday spending.” Read more


Meijer photo lab employees allegedly circulate customer’s personal pictures by Alex Jokich at WWMT. “Jordan Areaux tells us she took her pregnancy announcement photos to the Meijer in Plainwell, hoping to surprise her family with the big news on Christmas Day. But she says the surprise was spoiled almost immediately, after workers in the store started spreading them around.” Video/Read more


Nursing student who helped save newborn abandoned in Louisiana Walmart says ‘God put me there’ at Montana Standard. “The first thing that came to my mind is either I’m going to start CPR or I’m going to give it a tap on the back to see if it starts breathing,” Bergeron told WBRZ. Bergeron said the baby made a sound and then started crying.” Video/Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Inventor of the famous Red Solo Cup dies at 84

Homeland Security agents took $15M in bribes

John Lennon car set to hit block at Barrett-Jackson

C-store veep works 41st consecutive Christmas

Phil Knight gifts $112 million in Nike stock

Watch this mesmerizing update on construction of Apple’s ‘spaceship campus’

These three hot e-commerce startups could have surprise IPOs in 2017

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Tipsheet: Costco Dues Hike? | Target’s Valley Expansion | Latifah Carjacked @ C-store


Holiday Sales May Have Jumped 4.9% in Biggest Gain Since 2005 by Lauren Coleman-Lochner at Bloomberg. “That would be the biggest increase since 2005. Customer Growth had previously predicted a 4.1 percent advance.” Read more


…Last-Minute Spending Surge Lifts Holiday Shopping Season at Fox Business. “Strong demand for furniture, home furnishings and men’s apparel from the start of November through Christmas Eve pushed U.S. retail sales up 4 percent, higher than the previously expected 3.8 percent, according to data from MasterCard’s holiday spending report.” Read more


Stores Tighten Return Policies by Herb Weisbaum at NBC News. “It’s surprising to me that these three big retailers (Costco, Macy’s, Kohl’s) put an end to their unlimited return policy for some or all categories of items,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of…The return period for drones is just 14 days at Target, 15 days at Walmart and 30 days at Toys “R” Us.” Read more


Amazon patents system to defend drones against hackers, jammers … and arrows by Alan Boyle at GeekWire. “If nothing else, the 33-page application illustrates how many things could possibly go wrong with an autonomous navigation system for unmanned aerial vehicles” Read more


Ex-Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon on how Trump will impact U.S. businesses at Fox Business 4:17 video


BP Buys Woolworths Gas Stations for $1.3 Billion at Fortune. “Hardware wasn’t so great … this is another area of their business that they weren’t really managing well,” said Juliana Roadley, a market analyst at stockbroker Commonwealth Securities.” Read more


Target To Expand On Its Silicon Valley-based Tech Showroom Open House by Sam Schaust at Twin Cities Business. “Target has temporarily closed its experimental retail venture Open House in effort to renovate the San Francisco shop to include new features, such as an early-stage products showroom dubbed “The Garage…” Read more


Costco May Make it More Expensive to Shop its Stores in 2017 by Brian Sozzi at The Street. “While hesitant to come right out and say it will raise membership dues, Costco executives have given several signals this year that an increase looms large.” Read more


**A message from the 2017 Philadelphia Gift Show – See emerging artists and gift, home décor, and color trends! Get a sneak peak in our Product Spotlight, and see our list of unique exhibitors. Sweetening the pot, this all-category gift show runs concurrently with the Philadelphia National Candy, Gift & Gourmet Show. See it all January 6-9, 2017, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, PA. Register now | Website


For Many Retailers, the Price Isn’t Right by Sara Germano & Khadeeja Safdar at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subscription)


Wegmans planned expansion in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood on hold by James Fink at Buffalo Business First. Read more


NO HATCH FOR YOU – Parents furious after thousands of the must-have Hatchimal Christmas toys fail to ‘hatch’ by Laura House at Daily Mail. “She was in tears for most of the day yesterday and inconsolable” another wrote. Some said they had tried to ‘rub’ their toys for hours without any sign of ‘hatching’ while others had to manually hatch the toys.” Read more


Police seek Amazon Echo data in Bentonville hot tub murder by Nat Levy at GeekWire. Read more


…Amazon refuses to let police access US murder suspect’s Echo recordings at The Guardian. Read more


Dogs gunned-down by off-duty deputy at Home Depot parking lot after attacking manager by Nancy McCleary at The Fayetteville Observer. Read more


Fiery Phones and ‘Hazardous’ Washing Machines Can Still Be Purchased Through Google Shopping by George Sleffo at Ad Age. Read more


Amazon sold nine times as many Amazon Echo devices this holiday by Brian Heater at TechCrunch. Read more


The 10 Most Marketable Athletes Of 2016 by Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes. Top 10 list


Queen Latifah carjacked at Shell station by Jaclyn Schultz at Fox 5. “Queen Latifah became another unfortunate victim of a crime trend plaguing drivers throughout south Fulton County: thieves jump into a driver’s seat while someone is pumping gas, and quickly take off.” Read more


Woman makes $1 million buying designer purses online then returning Chinese knock-offs to US department stores by Sarah Dean at Daily Mail. “She ran her elaborate scam for years across America, making fraudulent returns at over 60 department store locations in 12 states…her scheme defrauded department stores out of more than $400,000. She was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 months in prison.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Dog treats laced with cannabis are a big business

What the World’s Top Chefs Like to Eat at Home

Rent the Runway has raised a $60 million investment led by Fidelity

How a penny-candy store survives in pricy Manhattan

Coleman closing Colorado HQ, eliminating 54 jobs

Cinnabon forced to delete Carrie Fisher tribute tweet – accused of cashing in on her death

Man stabbed, killed inside Target on Christmas Eve; 2 jailed

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Tipsheet: Toys R Us Pushes C.Cards @ Workers | Fired H.Dep Workers Picket | Mall Melees | V Day Cards Out | Flight to Table


Reports of mall disturbances light up social media by Susan Miller at USA Today. “Disturbances that led to some malls being evacuated included reports from Elizabeth, N.J.; Fayetteville, N.C.; East Garden City, N.Y.; Aurora, Colo.; Tempe, Ariz.; Beachwood Place, a suburb of Cleveland; and Memphis. About 10 people were injured during a melee at the Jersey Gardens mall in Elizabeth on Sunday evening, Mayor Chris Bollwage said in a tweet.” Read more


…Fights, disturbances shut down malls across U.S. at Reuters. Read more


Fired Home Depot workers ask community to help them get jobs back by Shaun Ryan at The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Several motorists driving by gave the men a “thumbs up.” One man, who was headed into the parking lot, turned around and shouted out his window that he was going to Lowe’s instead.” Read more/Pics/Video


…prepared to lose home, cars amid fallout by Jessica Schroeder at NY Daily News. “Spector revealed that due to his current unemployment, he is unable to travel to see his kids — ages 3 and 6 — for Christmas. “I’m going to lose my car and I won’t be able to travel to see my kids in New Jersey for Christmas … It isn’t gonna happen for my kids and it sucks,” Spector said.” Read more


Toys ‘R’ Us pushes credit cards on workers for sales boost by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “The toy retailer recently put signs on tables in employee break rooms urging them to increase Ebitda, or earnings before interest, depreciation ad amortization, by pushing company credit card accounts, a store employee told The Post. “On the back side are mathematical formulas for calculating incremental sales and Ebitda, as though some clerk were actually going to sit down and do this to see just how much money they can make for the bosses,” the employee told The Post.” Read more


Newborn found in New Roads Walmart trashcan reported ‘good, stable and eating’ at The Advocate. “Kyandrea Thomas, 34, or Baker, is believed to have given birth to the child inside the Walmart bathroom, McDonald said. Thomas was arrested and booked Saturday morning into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.” Read more


Amazon’s newest brand, Wickedly Prime, brings its private label food business out of stealth mode by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “Amazon has launched a new private label food brand that is notable in part because it’s much more obvious that it’s a product of the online retail giant — starting with the name, Wickedly Prime, and the logo, a version of the Amazon smile with a tongue.” Read more


Surging U.S. Dollar Could Blow Up Walmart’s Bottom Line by Brian Sozzi at The Street. “The extent of the damage in the fourth quarter could come as a surprise to many on Wall Street as Walmart’s full earnings guidance of $4.20 to $4.35 a share assumed no change in currency rates when it was issued in mid-November.” Read more


**A message from Black Flag® – We take no prisoners. In the battle against indoor and outdoor pests, it’s every man for himself. Arm yourself with Black Flag insect and rodent controls. Our tough, no-nonsense formulas are packed with a powerful punch to make short work of home insect invaders. Whether you’re battling crawling, flying or stinging insects or fending off mice, when the flag flies, pests die. Let it Fly. Facebook page


VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS READY – San Diego: Bargain shoppers focus on items for next Christmas by Roger Showly at San Diego Union-Tribune. “As stores opened, San Diegans stood in lines of 20 to 50 deep at Best Buy, Target and other retailers…Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, most workers got Monday off…“We could see a mini-Boxing Day in the U.S.” with this Dec. 26, Cordero said.” Read more


Former Costco employee awarded $250,000 over customer’s alleged harassment by Lauren Zumbach at Chicago Tribune. “Suppo alleged Costco didn’t do enough to intervene after a customer, over the course of about a year, repeatedly asked her on dates, hugged and touched her without consent, filmed her at the store and continued harassing her after she reported the incidents to managers.” Read more


Here’s what it’s like inside Zulily 3 days before Christmas by Marc Stiles at Puget Sound Business Journal. 19 pics


Metro Vancouver shoppers go mad with Boxing Day blowouts by John Colebourn at Vancouver Sun. “The doors at Best Buy opened at 6 a.m. and Nikic said it was busy all day. “This is the biggest day of the year for us,” she said…“Boxing Day you buy for yourself,” said Nikic. “People are happy here, they are now getting what they want for Christmas.” Read more


Holiday shopping in 2016 evolved into something more civilized by Maria Halkias at Dallas Morning News. Hour-by-hour chart/Read more


Whole Foods managers say they were fired for blowing whistle on unpaid bonuses via NY Daily News. Read more


Fred’s adopts shareholder rights plan after ‘unusual and substantial’ activity in its shares at MarketWatch. “The rights plan, also known as a poison pill, is designed to prevent a hostile takeover of the company and to avoid certain default provisions of its credit facilities from being triggered.” Read more


FLIGHT TO TABLE – Duck blind goes gourmet: Hunters served three-course meal when chef does on-site cooking by Sarah Baker Hansen at Omaha World-Herald. “There’s a line of camouflaged men munching chocolate croissants and cinnamon twists and drinking hot, percolated coffee made on the blind’s two-burner gas stove. And, on this morning, there will be three courses from chef Nick Strawhecker..” Read more


Hilarious photo shows a ring of shopping carts blocking a vehicle that was double parked at Walmart at Daily Mail. Pic


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Walmart truck driver gets lost, ends up overturning off small bridge

Twin Cities getting nearly a dozen more supermarkets in 2017

Fremont council to vote on amended Costco chicken plant plan

Challenge 2017: ‘Pets, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ will dominate the retail landscape

Navy aims to mimic Wal-Mart to get more sailors choosing military health care

Wegmans accused of Fair Credit violations

Consumers did a lot of holiday shopping on Sundays this December

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Tipsheet: JCP’s HVAC Test | Escalator Dumps 40 | Costco Golf Balls +2 Hrs | R.Aid -3.4% | Bed/Bath -1.4%


J.C.Penney’s HVAC Test by Maria Halkias at Dallas Morning News. “A display for Trane at Penney’s Collin Creek Mall store in Plano says the HVAC service is coming soon…Other Penney stores are part of the HVAC test, but the company wouldn’t say how many. It’s a “small number of stores,’ said Penney spokeswoman Sarah Holland.” Read more


Bed Bath & Beyond Q3 Comp Sales -1.4% Press release


Costco restocks popular Kirkland golf ball, only to run out in two hours by Joel Beall at Golf Digest. “The good news is the in-house Kirkland ball was back on shelves December 20. The bad news? The ball is out of stock again. And this time, it was only accessible for two hours. As soon as the ball became available, consumers complained that the Costco website was jammed.” Read more


Rite Aid Q3 Comp Sales -3.4% “…consisting of a 4.7 percent decrease in pharmacy sales and a 0.4 percent decrease in front-end sales.” Press release


The U.S. just dumped Alibaba back on its ‘notorious’ counterfeit markets blacklist by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “Alibaba Group President Mike Evans said the company was “very disappointed” by the decision and questioned whether it was “influenced by the current political climate” in the U.S., where president-elect Donald Trump has already taken a hard stance against the country’s current trade relationship with China.” Read more


IKEA agrees to $50 million settlement in dresser tip-over case at Reuters. “Two U.S. toddlers died in separate 2014 incidents when MALM dressers fell on them. A 22-month-old boy was killed this year in a similar incident.” Read more


Union Says Walmart Is Discriminating Against Black Customers by Locking Up Black Hair Products by Ashley Weatherford at NY Mag. “Hair products locked up, an extra layer of security,” begins a new national commercial spot. “But only for some shoppers, black shoppers. That’s what three Virginia Walmart stores did.” Read more/Video


Amazon will cover the cost of shipping your donations to Goodwill by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. “Amazon is participating in a free shipping program, called Give Back Box, that encourages customers to reuse their cardboard boxes. After shoppers receive a box from Amazon, they can repack it with household goods they want to donate. Amazon will cover the cost of shipping so customers can simply print a label from and drop the package off at a post office. Carriers deliver the boxes to the nearest Goodwill.” Read more


How TJ Maxx Ignored the Internet and Won by Kim Bhasin & Lindsey Rupp at Bloomberg. “They’re not worried about it at all,” says Mickey Chadha, an analyst at Moody’s Investor Service who considers the T.J. Maxx’s online penetration negligible. “The product is right at the right price. Online is only as good as the product.” Read more


**A message from the 2017 Philadelphia Gift Show – See emerging artists and gift, home décor, and color trends! Get a sneak peak in our product spotlight, and see our list of unique exhibitors. Sweetening the pot, this all-category gift show runs concurrently with the Philadelphia National Candy, Gift & Gourmet Show. See it all January 6-9, 2017, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, PA. Register now | Website


Mass. will be home to America’s largest medical marijuana facility by Catherine Carlock at Boston Business Journal. Read more


Brick-and-mortar stores having a rough holiday shopping season by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “One designer falling on hard times is Yoana Baraschi, whose fashions have been carried in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale’s…After 15 years Baraschi closed down her business this week, according to industry sources.” Read more


Target shoppers falsely accused of shoplifting by employees in social media post by Karen Jordan at ABC 7. “Another employee tweeted a picture of the girls, saying the store manager told her to follow them. By the time their mom picked them up, screen shots of the tweet picked up stream on social media, making its way to their family and friends. “Once you put it out there on the internet you can’t take it back,” said Mochan.” Video/Read more


The Container Store Wraps Gifts for Free At Ten Airports Nationwide Today Press release


‘Moana’ sails at the box office, but it could sink in the toy aisle by Sarah Whitten at CNBC. “For ‘Moana’ you have the dolls, the boat, the demigod and the fish hook and that’s about it,” Silver said…The trouble for “Moana” is her outfit isn’t as iconic.” Read more


Almost 40% of young adults live with their parents hitting a 75-year high in America at Daily Mail. Read more


Millennials are driving the board games revival by Luke Graham at CNBC. “Global sales of games and puzzles have grown from $9.3 billion in 2013 to $9.6 billion in 2016, according to Euromonitor International, with expected year-on-year growth of more than 1 percent this year.” Read more


Is Amazon Europe’s Next Top Model? by Aaron Ricadela at Bloomberg. “Zalando ruled fashion e-tailing. Then you-know-who came along…” Read more


Finish Line’s Stumble Is a Warning for Athleisure by Shelly Banjo at Bloomberg. “Apparel sales fell a whopping 50 percent in the quarter from the year before. A cursory glance at the women’s tops available on Finish Line’s website helps explain why: The unadorned jackets — in mostly dull blacks and grays — and plain, over-sized tanks struggle to compete with the color splashes, wild prints, and flashy styles that are fashionable today.” Read more


Hershey Names COO Michele Buck as Chief Executive at Fox Business. Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Target Shopper Falls on Escalator, Takes Down 40 Other Riders

Montreal’s Rockefeller-style Christmas tree is an epic failure

NYC pols support victims’ lawsuit against Walmart over sale of bullets used to kill three

Lowe’s employee says she was fired for calling 9-1-1

Woman Gets Banned From Mall For Racist Rant at J.C.Penney

American Airlines’ top executives wearing controversial “itchy” uniforms to make a point

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Tipsheet: Costco Expands Chicken Plant 44% | Target Reduces Nascar | 7-11 +77 Drone Deliveries | 780M Painkillers @WV


7-ELEVEN BEATS AMAZON to the first regular commercial drone delivery service in the U.S. by April Glaser at Recode. “Seventy-seven customers in Reno, Nev., have now received items ordered from 7-Eleven delivered to their doorsteps via drone. All 77 flights were from one store to a dozen select customers who live within a mile of the shop.” Read more


Charles Redfield – Walmart’s top U.S. food exec began as a Sam’s Club cashier by Jennifer Joyner at The City Wire. “He and his wife Sue have two sons, Matthew, 13, who was born in Bentonville, and Avery, 17, who was born in Canada…“What’s next for me is to make sure I see both of my boys through high school and on to college and help set them up for success in life. Sue and I are excited about what the future holds for both them and us,” Redfield said.” Read more


Walgreens shoppers stay more engaged when wearables update their data by April Berthene at Internet Health Management. “Consumers participated about four times longer in a health tracking program if an activity tracker automatically logged her data, versus programs that require a consumer to manually enter her results, according to the study from the Scripps Translation Science Institute…The study analyzed data from 315,744 consumers who participated in the Walgreens Balance Reward for healthy choices program throughout 2014.” Read more


TV station gets exclusive look at Costco’s expanded chicken processing plant plans in Fremont by Nick Starling at KMTV 3. “The processing plant expands from 250-thousand square feet to 360-thousand square feet. The investment in the project skyrocketed from $180-million to $275-million dollars. Interim city administrator Brian Newton said usage of water, sewer, electric and gas will all increase which is a win for the city, “It’s all good news so we’re really tickled to have them.” Video/Read more


SELF-GIFTING AT A 20-YEAR HIGH – 42.6% of shoppers buying items for themselves by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “Beemer described the bump as part of the “Trump effect” that has driven the stock markets to new highs.” Read more


Walmart trims its Christmas Eve hours at CNN. “…it will close at 6 p.m. this Saturday. In recent years it has closed at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.” Read more


Walgreens, Rite Aid Divest 865 Stores To Fred’s Pharmacy For $950M by Bruce Japsen at Forbes. Read more


…“We got a very good price on these stores,” said Fred’s finance chief Rick Hans. Fred’s shares surged 85% to $20.75 in Tuesday afternoon trading. by Paul Ziobro & Brent Kendall at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subscription)


**A message from NY NOW – Shop Bold New Trends from 2,400+ Top Home, Handmade + Lifestyle Gift brands this February and elevate your merchandise mix! NY NOW, the industry leader bringing innovation and design across Home, Lifestyle Gift + Handmade collections, will take place at the Javits Convention Center in NYC this February 4 – 8, 2017. 2016 show recap video. NY NOW is your source for volume buying & private label programs. Register now and view comprehensive market details throughout the extensive NY NOW website.


Luxury retailers lead in speedy shipping service at Luxury Daily. “At the top of Kurt Salmon’s leaderboard was Coach, which delivered in two days. Following was American Eagle, Burberry and Kate Spade, who all got packages to their destinations in three days.” Read more


Follow the pills and you’ll find the overdose deaths – Drug firms poured 780M painkillers into West Virginia amid rise of overdoses by Eric Eyre at Charleston Gazette-Mail. “One mom-and-pop pharmacy in Oceana received 600 times as many oxycodone pills as the Rite Aid drugstore just eight blocks away. In six years, drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills, while 1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers, a Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation found.” Read more


Target Reduces Nascar Sponsorship With Kyle Larson In 2017 at Fox Sports. “Sources said the move frees up about 5-10 primaries worth of inventory on the #42. Target’s deal expires on the NASCAR side after 2017, and the retailer ended a 27-year partnership on Ganassi’s IndyCar side after the ’16 season.” Read more


I’M GETTING THIS FOR MY OLDER BROTHER – HE’D BETTER LOVE ME FOR THIS – Customers wait hours outside Best Buy for new NES Classic at ABC 12. Video


Woman on journey to Costco in every state stops in Houston at ABC 13. Video/Read more


FedEx Plays Hardball With Retailers as Profits Get Squeezed by Paul Ziobro & Ezequiel Minaya at Wall Street Journal. “You can get a lot of volume that is completely non-compensatory and just not make any money,” Mr. Smith said on a conference call Tuesday. “There are a large number of transportation and logistics companies that prove that every quarter, making no money.” Read more (subscription)


Amazon going all Uber in Boston by Jordan Graham at Boston Herald. Read more


Houston’s first car vending machine officially opens by Joe Martin at Houston Business Journal. “The Houston vending machine is Carvana’s second in the U.S., but is the company’s largest. It is eight stories tall…After inserting the coin into the machine, the pre-owned car is dispensed out of the machine and into one of the garage bays on street level.” Read more | Video how it works


UPS Takes a Stake in Retail Returns Specialist Optoro by Jennifer Smith at Wall Street Journal. “Launched in 2010, Optoro employs close to 500 people in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Nashville, Tenn., where it opened a distribution center this year. Customers include Home Depot Inc., Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and” Read more (subscription)


Amazon’s Echo is still mostly out of stock in the week leading up to Hanukkah and Christmas by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “The black-colored version won’t be back until Jan. 16; the white model is slated to return on Dec. 30. The smaller Echo Dot device has been out of stock for at least a few days, too, and isn’t expected back until Dec. 27. Same goes for both devices on the websites of retail partners like Best Buy and Lowe’s.” Read more


Costco to open branch in New Taipei’s Xinzhuang District at Focus Taiwan. “The Xinzhuang branch will be the 13th Costco outlet in Taiwan.” Read more


Sears & PetSmart discounts online orders picked up in stores by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. “The 20% discount for Sears’ customers is good through Christmas Eve, while PetSmart offers a one-day discount for in-store pickup.” Read more


Costco CFO sticking it out with down fund by Juliet Chung at Wall Street Journal. “Richard Galanti, chief financial officer of Costco Wholesale Corp. and an investor with the fund since its inception, described himself as “a believer” given the fund’s long-term record. He said he was keeping his money at the firm and that York’s smaller size might improve performance. “Is a little smaller better? It can’t hurt,” Mr. Galanti said.” Read more (subscription)


For Cash-Strapped Monks, Selling Fruitcakes Is A Saving Grace by Jodi Helmer at NPR. “The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965… “After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little,” quips Harrison.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Drunk Wal-Mart semi-truck driver fall out of truck, blocks traffic

Hawk decides to make Lowe’s home – snacks on birds that fly into the store

Academy Sports surprises elementary students with bikes

Amazon, Walmart urged to stop selling “spying” doll

Body found behind Walmart missing head & genitals

H-E-B purchases 17 acres near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in SE Austin

43% of homes in Vancouver cost more than $1 Million

A controversial GOP plan could boost the taxes on a sweater from $1.75 to $17

One businessman says Amazon kept his merchandise—and his money

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Tipsheet: Hannaford Close-Up | Tough Mudder to Launch Chain | McMillon Movie Buff | Lowe’s Proposal


Six retailers to drop on-call scheduling amid state probes by Daniel Wiessner at Reuters. “The companies to end on-call scheduling are Aeropostale, Carter’s, David’s Tea, Walt Disney, Pacific Sunwear of California and Zumiez Inc.” Read more


The Limited may shut down by Fareeha Ali at Internet Retailer. “Pointing to disappointing Q3 financial results, Limited Stores is looking for a buyer and may lay off up to 248 employees.” Read more


Hannaford testing ways to gain edge in crowded market by J.Craig Anderson at Portland Press Herald. “To get a glimpse into the future of Scarborough-based Hannaford, one need only visit the grocery chain’s recently opened “learning lab” store in Bedford, New Hampshire. The location is Hannaford’s most high-tech store, while also being a throwback to the olden days of high-touch customer service. Aided by computers, tablets and touch screens, the store’s employees will cut your produce any way you like, help you select the best cut of meat or the perfect bottle of wine, and prepare your entire meal to eat in the store’s café or take home and throw directly into a pot. They’ll even do your shopping for you…” Read more


Circle K is doubling its regional corporate office space in Charlotte by Ely Portillo at Charlotte Observer. “The company has leased about 20,000 square feet of space at Three Coliseum Centre, off Billy Graham Parkway near Charlotte Douglas International Airport.” Read more


Tough Mudder to launch a chain of fitness boutiques by Ben Fischer at New York Business Journal. Read more


Study: The majority of the 67M adults who buy luxuries have household incomes of less than $100,000 by Brielle Jaekel at Luxury Daily. Read more


At Home With Mark Zuckerberg And Jarvis, The AI Assistant He Built For His Family by Daniel Terdiman at Fast Company. “Over the last year, though, Zuckerberg has spent between 100 and 150 hours on his home project. Though it’s named for Tony Stark’s futuristic Jarvis AI in the Iron Man movies, it’s more akin to a homemade, highly personal version of something like Amazon’s Alexa service.” Video/Pics/Read more


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Staples promotes Faisal Masud to chief technology officer by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. Read more


TWO THUMBS UP – Doug McMillon a big fan of movie Greater by Robbie Neiswanger at Northwest Ark. Democrat Gazette. “Brian Reindl said Wal-Mart’s interest in the movie Greater — the story of the life and death of former University of Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth — began when he showed the film to Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon last January…”For one reason or another, we have been chosen as kind of a golden child,” said Reindl, the film’s co-writer and producer.” Read more


28-year-old starts crowdfunding campaign for cheery Walmart greeter – raises $1,700 from community at WGRZ 2. “Because Belanger doesn’t have a computer, he’s been concerned about getting the chance to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign. “I didn’t expect it, but I am appreciating every minute of it,” says Belanger, who has four kids and seven grandkids. “I’ve got to thank all these people somehow.” Read more/Pics


General Mills Profit, Sales Miss Expectations at Fox Business. “General Mills expects 2017 sales, excluding acquisitions and divestitures, to decline 3-4 percent from 2016. It had previously anticipated sales would be flat to down 2 percent.” Read more


Nebraska Furniture Mart COO Ron Blumkin’s successor named by Paige Yowell at Omaha World-Herald. “Tony Boldt, director of the Mart’s Kansas City store, will take the role of president and COO. Blumkin will serve as chairman, and Irv Blumkin will remain chief executive.” Read more


Nike’s Mark Parker to be Recognized by NRF as The Visionary 2017 Press release


Lands’ End names ex-Tumi chief Griffith as CEO by David Schuyler at Milwaukee Business Journal. “(Jerome) Griffith who will join Dodgeville-based Lands’ End on March 6.” Read more


…Described by people who know him as an “outdoor lifestyle kind of guy,” Mr. Griffith has traveled across three continents on his Harley motorcycles and practices mixed martial arts. by Suzanne Kapner & Joann S. Lublin at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subscription)


Nike’s $720 Tech Sneakers Are Selling Well by Don Reisinger at Fortune. Read more


Charles Holley, retired CFO of Walmart, shares his views on the value of starting succession planning early in one’s career at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subscription)


Boyfriend fulfills girlfriend’s dream of lighting-aisle proposal at Lowes store at WSBT 22. “Logan had this dream as a child of going to Lowe’s and turn out all the lights, except for the lighting aisle…The couple plans to marry next September. Lowe’s is planning on providing lighting for that day, too.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table

Burger King restaurant invites customers to exchange bad Christmas gifts for Whoppers

How Starbucks is using artificial intelligence to connect with customers

Salvation Army bell-ringers return to local Wal-Mart after bureaucratic snafu

Ontario business owners say high electricity rates are a threat to their survival

T.J. Maxx likely expanding to Waikiki

Another McDonald’s Is Offering All-You-Can-Eat Fries

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Tipsheet: B.Buy’s 5 Outlets | Lowe’s No to Merger | Wmart Readies Blockchain | Velvet Hot


Angry Amazon pilots say short-staffing may cause last-minute holiday deliveries to be late by Nat Levy at GeekWire. “The pilots say they are paid less, work longer hours and have less rest between flights than pilots who fly for other carriers like UPS or FedEx. That is driving down morale and causing many pilots from Prime Air-contracted airlines to look for other jobs.” Read more


Four Home Depot employees in shock after their attempt to stop shoplifter gets them fired by Jessa Schroeder at New York Daily News. “Ippolito, who had only been working at Home Depot for about a year, said there was more to the incident than just stealing. “To me, it wasn’t about pursuing a shoplifter. I saw a guy crashing a cart into one of the cashiers and I was responding to her aid. Then he looked like he was going to attack Joe … He started dropping all the merchandise, and then he ran away,” he said.” Read more


Cabela’s acquisition leaves Sidney ‘on edge,’ but some hold on to hope that town can survive by Paige Yowell at Omaha World-Herald. “It’s already, as far as downsizing, affected the town, clear down to our kids. Their friends have had to move,” she said. “We have a lot of houses for sale, and no one is buying.” Read more


A $260 billion ‘ticking time bomb’: The costly business of retail returns by Courtney Reagan at CNBC. “Americans returned $260 billion in merchandise to retailers last year, or 8 percent of all purchases, according to the National Retail Federation. That swells to 10 percent around the holiday season. Because less than half of returned goods are re-sold at full price, retailers may end up forfeiting 10 percent of their sales at the busiest time of year, according to Gartner Research.” Read more


Wal-Mart Readies Blockchain Pilot for Tracking U.S Produce, China Pork by Kim S. Nash at Wall Street Journal. “Wal-Mart has also expanded the scope of the test beyond its Chinese pork business to a segment of the produce business in the U.S. The project, announced in October, is viewed as a major test of blockchain distributed ledgers outside the financial services industry, where the technology has received the most attention.” Read more (subscription)


Velvet is flying off the shelves at Neiman Marcus by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “This fall we had amazing success with velvet,” said Chief Executive Karen Katz on an investor call. “It was all over the shoe, bag department. We didn’t have enough velvet shoes and bags.” Read more


Best Buy bought into the outlet concept and has opened five stores by Maria Halkias at Dallas Morning News. “Best Buy is focusing on these five stores for now, said Shane Kitzman, spokesman for the Minnesota-based retailer, and not planning more locations…Some were returned for scratch and dents and all still have the manufacturer’s warranty, he said. Prices will be up to 50 percent off.” Read more


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Home Depot is Matt Ferguson’s opera house by C.J. at Star Tribune. “Q: Do you see any impact on refrigerator sales as a result of your singing? A: I kind of do. When I am not working with a customer I’m just standing around or tasking, cleaning the appliances, I’m singing. What that will do a lot of times is bring someone over to me. They ask me questions. They give requests; I usually don’t know the songs. It starts the conversation, so it does help.” Read the Q&A


Wegmans ‘unlikely’ to have urban store in Boston’s Fenway anytime soon by Catherine Carlock at Boston Business Journal. “The Business Journal reported last year that (Wegmans) was committed to a 75,000-square-foot location in the “food hall” of the historic Landmark Center.” Read more


UPS Is Delivering Packages by Tricycle and of Course It’s in Portland by Mahita Gajanan at Fortune. “UPS launched a similar electronic tricycle delivery program in Hamburg, Germany in 2012, and tested the same system in Switzerland in 2015. Portland is the first city in the U.S. to test the program.” Pics/Read more


J.C. Penney bucks a retailer advertising trend this holiday season by Zak Stambor at Internet Retailer. “J.C. Penney spent 5% more on TV, radio, newspaper and digital display ads from Nov. 21-Dec. 11 than it did a year earlier, making it the only large retailer that increased its ad spending. Even Amazon decreased its spending 1%.” Read more


P&G broadens lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club to add other companies by Barrett J. Brunsman at Cincinnati Business Courier. “The amended complaint states that Dorco has distributed shaving products that P&G claims infringe on its patents through Pace Shave Inc. and Dollar Shave Club as well as Costco, Sam’s Club, K-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dorco USA Inc.” Read more


LOWE’S SAYS NO – Sherwin-Williams chief holding out for Trump in Valspar deal by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “The FTC, under current Chair Edith Ramirez, who is expected to be replaced on Jan. 20, has in the past two weeks taken the unusual step of asking Lowe’s, Valspar’s biggest customer, to offer its view on the deal, sources said. In fact, the FTC said it would issue a subpoena to get a response if Lowe’s didn’t comply, sources said. Lowe’s, which represents about 20 percent of Valspar’s sales — and promotes only Sherwin and Valspar — responded and told the FTC it does not want to see the merger, sources said.” Read more


Hundreds arrested in Venezuela cash chaos, vigilantes protect shops via CNBC. “The worst looting was on Friday and Saturday, especially in El Callao and Ciudad Bolivar in the southern state of Bolivar, and police have used teargas to control crowds in some places. Chinese-run shops have been particularly targeted, witnesses say, and a 14-year-old boy was shot dead in El Callao on Friday.” Read more


Moment a delivery driver is caught on camera abandoning an Amazon package at Daily Mail. Read more


Canadian Tire to receive tens of thousands in tax refunds by Jeff Walters at CBC News. “Canadian Tire reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), meaning the values of the stores will be reduced.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

USC is building a dining hall that makes you think you’re at Hogwarts (and includes a Trader Joe’s)

Manager shot with BB gun at Sacramento Walgreens

Benjamin Moore tried to ‘quash’ probe into water near its plant: suit

At least 33 die in Russian city from alcohol poisoning

60% of consumers want Amazon to open stores

‘I have a gun come find me,’ Target employee allegedly threatens in note

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Tipsheet: CVS Hit in Pharma Study | Kroger HQ Buyouts | Green Wmart Saved $1B | Bezos ‘Voluble’ @ Trump Mtg


Who said what inside the Trump tech meeting by Kara Swisher at Recode. “Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was apparently very voluble, and aimed many of his points at how U.S. companies had a hard time succeeding in China, and what the government could do about it…Overall, one source said, the meeting was “weird, but not as awkward as it could have been.” Another said Trump was “reasonable and fair the whole time.” Read more


PLEASE LEAVE – Kroger offers early retirement to 2,000 workers by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. “…the move is targeting mostly office personnel and middle management.  The early retirement offer does not include store and district associates, senior officers and supermarket division presidents. Eligible employees have until March to decide whether to participate in the program and receive a severance package. About 650 workers in Downtown Cincinnati and Blue Ash are eligible for the program.” Read more


52% of pharmacies miss dangerous drug combinations by Sam Roe, Ray Long & Karisa King at Chicago Tribune. “In the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, the Tribune tested 255 pharmacies to see how often stores would dispense dangerous drug pairs without warning patients. Fifty-two percent of the pharmacies sold the medications without mentioning the potential interaction, striking evidence of an industrywide failure that places millions of consumers at risk. CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy retailer by store count, had the highest failure rate of any chain in the Tribune tests, dispensing the medications with no warning 63 percent of the time. Walgreens, one of CVS’ main competitors, had the lowest failure rate at 30 percent.” Read more


Amazon reportedly building app to connect truckers with shippers by John Cook at GeekWire. “…possibly removing inefficiencies in how goods get moved from point A to point B and perhaps eliminating the need for brokers who typically serve in this matchmaking role.” Read more


TOP DESTINATION – 26.2% of holiday shoppers say they’ve purchased most of their gifts from Amazon this year, increasing 10% from last year by Pam Goodfellow at Forbes. “Walmart ranks second place with holiday shoppers this year at 14.5%…Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, JC Penney, Toys R Us,, and Costco follow, respectively, with single digit percentage shares.” Read more


How Walmart saved $1 billion by going green: ex-chairman Rob Walton at CNBC. “Walmart is now one of America’s leading commercial solar and on-site renewable energy users, and gets about 25 percent of its global energy from renewable sources.” Read more


Golden tickets in Amazon Prime Now bags reward hundreds of customers with free stuff by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. “Actress Lea Michele, famous for her role on the Fox television series “Glee,” even got in on the act and did a surprise delivery. The moment was captured on Michele’s Instagram account, as she said she surprised some guy named Mitch with his golden ticket.” Read more


Why Build-A-Bear Is Now Selling Teddy Bears at Sea by Robert Klara at Adweek. “As part of a new partnership with Carnival, Build-A-Bear has eight locations plying the seas and expects to have its bears aboard 25 vessels by the summer of 2017.” Read more


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GNC Goes Big With First Super Bowl Buy by Adrianne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “We talked internally about how we wanted every man, woman and child to know immediately that GNC was new and different and this is the way to do it,” said Jeff Hennion, exec VP-chief marketing and ecommerce officer.” Read more


…GNC unveils new pricing, marketing effort to boost sales by Paul J. Gough at Pittsburgh Business Times. “GNC announced it would provide what it called a “dramatically improved experience” and single pricing online and in its more than 4,400 brick-and-mortar stores.” Read more


20 States Accuse Generic Drug Companies of Drug Fixing by Katie Thomas at NY Times. Read more


UGLY MONEY – Inside The Multimillion-Dollar Ugly Christmas Sweater Industry by Jared Lindzon at Fast Company. “In 2014 Hajjar told Fast Company that had raked in $3.5 million that year. He now adds that the site’s earnings grew to $4.8 million in 2015. “This year we’re projecting five to five and a half [million dollars in sales],” he says.” Read more


USDA says use-by labels aren’t really needed on foods by Kristen Leigh Painter at Star Tribune. “The department’s food safety division released new industry guidance that recommends that manufacturers use the phrase “best if used by” rather than “sell by” or “use by” when putting dates on food.” Read more


Will Macy’s trim its Cincinnati HQ? by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. Read more


P&G’s Gillette Swipes at Harry’s in New Ad Campaign by Sharon Terlep at Wall Street Journal. “Most guys leave Harry’s after trying it,” reads the main page of the site for Gillette’s “Welcome Back” campaign. The page features a cheery song (“Welcome back, we always could spot a friend”) and paid testimonials from men who tried Harry’s and other razors and found them lacking so switched back to Gillette.” Read more (subscription)


Wal-Mart and Green Dot announce consumer savings incentive program by Kim Souza at The City Wire. Read more


Ingles Markets Q4 Comp Sales (Ex-Gas) +1.6% Press release


Colorado’s new tax law raises questions for online retailers by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. “Online-only retailers that sell in Colorado have a new law to follow, one that requires them to turn over the names and online purchase information of state residents, but retailers don’t know how the law will be executed or enforced, and Colorado officials aren’t yet saying.” Read more


Famous Footwear’s new ads seek to attract younger shoppers by Lisa Brown at St.Louis Post Dispatch. Read more


DELAYED AGAIN – Within an hour of becoming available, AirPods stock started to run low and shipping times slipped into 2017 by Chance Miller at 9 to 5 Mac. Read more


Sure, monthly razor deliveries sound great. But not all subscription retailers are going to last by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Jimmie Johnson’s 2017 Lowe’s ride revealed

Canadian Tire Chair: Today’s Feminists Are Obstacles (Video)

Police investigating possible credit card skimmers at Walmart store

Americans who always say that they’re “busy” are actually seen as more important

How a Philly guy, fed up with crashes, built his own bike lane

‘The Honeymooners’ Reboot in the Works at CBS

‘Bold crooks’ storm Walmart Store shooting & leaving questions

Pitbull was paid $1 million to promote Florida, “sexy beaches”

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