Tipsheet: Target -1.5% | Wmart Disappoints HuffPo | Costco Raise Fees Q2? | Wmart Pharma “Fast Lane”


Target shares plunge on earnings shortfall and weak outlook on sales by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “Same-store sales: A decline of 1.5 percent versus the 1.4 percent decline expected by FactSet…The company also plans to lower prices. “We will invest in lower gross margins to ensure we are clearly and competitively priced every day,” Cornell said.” Read more | Press release


Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company at The Washington Post via Denver Post. “Declarations from roughly 250 women and men who worked at Sterling, filed as part of a private class-action arbitration case, allege that female employees at the company throughout the late 1990s and 2000s were routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed. Sterling disputes the allegations.” Read more


UBS: Costco is going to raise membership fees next quarter at Yahoo Finance. “In a research note published on Monday, UBS analyst Michael Lasser said the firm continues to believe a membership fee hike is coming from the wholesale club this year, most likely in the second quarter.” Read more


Walmart’s app will now let Pharmacy and Money Services customers skip the line by Phil Wahba at Fortune. “…rolled out a major upgrade to its mobile shopping app that allows its pharmacy customers to quickly and simply order refills, track those orders and their costs…Walmart will be setting up “express lanes” in the pharmacies to customers who have placed orders via the app…The express lanes will be at almost all of Walmart’s 4,700 stores by the fall.” Read more


U.S. judge dismisses case against Wal-Mart over Mexico bribery at Reuters. “U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan said holders of Wal-Mex’s American depository shares cannot pursue claims that Wal-Mex’s former Chairman Ernesto Vega and Chief Executive Scot Rank knew or were reckless in not knowing about the bribery allegations.” Read more


Starbucks to Make Italian Debut With Upscale Roastery Cafe at Bloomberg. “The 25,500-square-foot retail space will open in a historic post office building in the city’s center in late 2018…The store in Piazza Cordusio will feature premium, small-batch coffees as well as products from Italian artisan baker Rocco Princi, the exclusive food provider for all new Roastery locations globally. It will also serve alcohol.” Read more


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Mysterious object appears at Amazon’s drive-up grocery store in Seattle — but when will it open? by Nat Levy at GeekWire. “Is it a tablet where customers can punch in an order? A camera that lets the store know when customers arrive? A scanner that recognizes your face, figures out what you had for dinner last night and then queues up those same items?” Pics/Read more


Target is installing solar power systems on five stores in the Denver metro area — its first in Colorado by Cathy Proctor at Denver Business Journal. Read more


How The Home Depot Optimizes Omni-Channel by Laurie Petersen at MediaPost. “Erin Everhart, senior manager of media strategy for The Home Depot, gave an animated and revealing window last week into the “organized chaos” of her day-to-day life at the DIY giant to make the best use of every media dollar. Speaking at MediaPost’s OMMA Atlanta, she started with a real-life example of how we shop today…” Read more


J.Jill Launches Initial Public Offering Press release


Walmart Canada’s CMO moves to the fashion world by Jeromy Lloyd at Strategy. “Sandra Sanderson is heading for sunnier climes, leaving her role as chief marketing and quality officer of Walmart Canada to join White House Black Market. She joins the women’s specialty retailer as senior vice president of marketing in its head office in Fort Myers, Fla. The store has more than 400 retail locations and 72 outlets across North America.” Read more


Walmart Disappoints HuffPo: Didn’t Feature Any Women Filmmakers For Oscars Short Films by Marina Fang. “Walmart told Hornaday that the company did ask female directors to participate in the series, but none did, “mainly due to scheduling.” Read more


Revlon teams up with Amazon on heels of ‘Love Project’ by Anthony Noto at New York Business Journal. “Amazon will stamp the Revlon name on 10 million of its shipping boxes as part of a campaign dubbed “the Love Project.” The initiative kicked off last week on Feb. 23.” Read more


Denver: Bill to let Wal-Mart and Target sell more booze survives bloody fight by Ed Sealover at Denver Business Journal. Read more


Food Lion to Remodel 93 Stores in Greater Greensboro, N.C., Market in 2017 Press release


Adidas offers tropical island to 40-yard dash record-breaker by Matthew Kish at Portland Business Journal. Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Former Home Depot District Manager is now a movie stand-in for ‘The Rock’

This teen retailer is thriving while its competitors flounder

Kroger’s longest-serving employee departs after 63 years

Former eBay CEO named chief executive at software company

A cheeky new revelation about one of Prince’s most notorious stage outfits

Tupac Shakur’s BMW in which he was shot dead in being sold for $1.5 million – still has bullet holes in the doors

HHGregg Said to Prepare for Bankruptcy

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Tipsheet: Lowe’s “Blockbuster” Race Lawsuit | Kimmel Gives Bezos Shout-Out | Wmart Test Fights Aldi | Trump Voter’s Message to Retail


Wal-Mart launches new front in U.S. price war, targets Aldi in grocery aisle by Nandita Bose at Reuters. “Wal-Mart Stores Inc is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi and other U.S. rivals like Kroger Co , according to four sources familiar with the moves. Wal-Mart launched the price test across 11 Midwest and Southeastern states such as Iowa, Illinois and Florida…” Read more


A Trump voter’s message to retailers: ‘Keep your mouths shut about our president’ by Abha Bhattarai at Washington Post. “A few days later, Carson is back at the mall. It’s Sunday afternoon, just after church, and she sees something that startles her: a ­T-shirt that says “F*** America” prominently displayed in a store entrance. She walks in and asks the manager to remove it. “It’s not appropriate,” she says. When he refuses — it’s his opinion against hers, he tells her — she enlists the mall’s management. The shirt is removed.” Read more


Amazon wins 3 Oscars in a first for streaming studio — and Jeff Bezos gets a fun shout-out by Kurt Schlosser & Taylor Soper at GeekWire. “Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO, and I want to say, congratulations to Jeff,” Kimmel said. “And I also want you to know Jeff, if you win tonight, you can expect your Oscar to arrive in 2 to 5 business days, possibly stolen by a GrubHub delivery man.” Read more


Publicis’ Starcom Wins Lowe’s First Media Agency Review in 10 Years by Patrick Coffee at Adweek. “The Publicis unit beat out Omnicom Media Group’s PHD and WPP’s Mindshare in the review, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Incumbent OMD, which had handled the business since 2005, did not participate. BBDO remains the client’s creative agency of record.” Read more


Groceries will be a topic of interest at Target investors meeting this week by Kavita Kumar at Star Tribune. “Target now seems to be backtracking a bit to rebalance the assortment, she said. “When you take out some core items and insert some more ‘niche-y’ brands, you’re cutting down on the familiarity” for customers, she said.” Read more


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Starbucks to Close Two Remaining Evolution Fresh Juice Stores by Madeline Farber at Fortune. “However, the company is still slated to sell the juices at its coffee storefronts.” Read more


Full List Of Oscar Winners at Forbes. List


Amazon nabs the top spot for online cosmetics sales – One of every five beauty purchases online is made via the Amazon marketplace by April Berthene at Internet Retailer. Read more


JackThreads is trying to find a buyer after its Hail Mary business model failed by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “It did so with a new, risky try-on-at-home model — called TryOuts — that let customers order as many products as they wanted without paying up front. They later paid for the ones they kept and sent back the ones they didn’t. Shipping both ways was free.” Read more


Lawsuit claims Lowe’s discriminated against a top executive because of race by Paul Boyd at WSOC TV. “The lawsuit says former Chief Consumer Officer Michael Jones was targeted by executives after raising “concerns about the firm culture” and the “inclusion” of minorities in 2015. The suit says he spoke out last year “about the treatment of several other African-American” employees and was fired. In fact, the suit claims “Jones is one of a series of African-American employees at the vice president level or higher … terminated disproportionately to their white counterparts in recent years.” Video/Read more


How Nasty Gal Went From an $85 Million Company to Bankruptcy by Sarah Chaney at Wall Street Journal. “As it grew, former employees say, Nasty Gal built out its management team and hired junior talent from retail outlets such as Urban Outfitters Inc. But their traditional retail backgrounds clashed with the startup mentality, these people said.” Read more (subscription)


Sycamore Partners buys The Limited for $26.75 million by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. “Sycamore writes that it “plans to reintroduce the brand to the marketplace at a later date and will communicate with The Limited’s loyal customers about how to obtain the merchandise they know and love.” Read more


Report: Israel’s Holocaust museum asks Amazon to stop selling books that deny it happened by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. Read more


$1 million lottery ticket purchased at BJ’s at Olean Times Herald. Read more


Microsoft Agrees To Pay $1.2M To End Consumer Receipt Suit by Nathan Hale at Law 360. “Microsoft Corp. and a proposed class of consumers who allege the company’s physical store receipts displayed too many digits of their credit card numbers submitted details of a $1.2 million deal to end the suit to a Florida federal court on Friday.” Read more (subs.)


Kroger’s seniors aren’t happy after senior deals, double coupons cut by Mary Hance at The Tennessean. Read more


Seth Rogen goes ‘bananas’ in Walmart ad for Oscars by Charisse Jones at USA Today. “For its Oscars debut, Walmart teamed up with top Hollywood filmmakers Antoine Fuqua, Marc Forster, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to make 60-second “films’’ based on items listed on a Walmart receipt.” Video/Read more


Apple Files for a Patent to protect their Latest Modular Apple Store Display System at Patently Apple. Drawings/Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Oscars In Memoriam Video Mentions Designer, but Uses Photo of Friend Who’s Alive

Sam’s Club believes odd looking meat is safe, blames oven ‘char’

FBI: Man in Wal-Mart vest robbed Albuquerque bank

Ten Truly Remote Places Where Your Boss Can’t Track You Down

Is the Instant Pot the Magic, One-Stop Kitchen Solution Fans Claim It Is?

JCPenney’s store closures could push hundreds of dying shopping malls over the edge

Wendy’s Is Going to Install Self-Ordering Machines in 1,000 Stores

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Tipsheet: Tesco Tests “Slow” Line | Wmart New Shipping Guidelines | JCP to Shutter 130ish | Sears Cuts 130 @ HQ


JCPenney shuttering up to 140 stores as sales weaken by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “Along with the stores Penney’s plans to close, it will shutter two distribution centers. The combined closures will help the retailer invest in its better stores, and “raise the overall brand standard of the company,” CEO Marvin Ellison said.” Read more


…JCPenney Q4 comp sales -0.7% Press release


Supervalu shakeup: Cub Foods president leaving by Dan DeBaun at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “Eric Hymas has served as president of Cub since January 2016…Supervalu Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Insights, Chad Ferguson, will take over as president of Cub Foods on an interim basis.” Read more


Walmart U.S. gives suppliers new order fulfillment guidelines by Kim Souza at Talk Business. “Suppliers were given a grace period until August to work with their assigned replenishment teams to meet the new OTIF objectives. For suppliers who ship in full-truckload the retailer set a 75% OTIF threshold. The previous requirements were 90% with a one-day window for perishables and a four-day window for food, consumables and general merchandise. Walmart U.S. had previously told suppliers it would require a 95% OTIF with 1 day window for perishable and foods/consumables with 95% OTIF and two-day window for general merchandise.” Read more


How Costco Canada breaks retail rules to win by Hollie Shaw at Financial Post. “It will open its first business centre in Canada next month to target owners of corner convenience stores, restaurants and small businesses. “At one time, we served them better than we serve them now” said Brien.” Read more


Former J.C. Penney CEO: The only one taking Amazon seriously is Walmart by Rachel Cao at CNBC. “They’re making a lot of moves and it’s starting to pay off, but even Walmart will have trouble because if Walmart doubles its $10 billion in sales, it will add $10 billion while Amazon adds $80 billion. People have to take Amazon much more seriously,” Johnson said.” Read more


Sears cuts 130 corporate jobs, mostly at Hoffman Estates HQ by Lauren Zumbach at Chicago Tribune. “Sears declined to say how many employees currently work at its headquarters, but Brathwaite said it remains above the 4,250 employees required by a package of tax breaks Sears received after threatening to leave the state in 2011.” Read more


WHAT’S THE RUSH? A grocery chain starts a check-out line for people who want to take it slow by Gene Marks at Washington Post. “Surprisingly, this is the only store in the giant UK Tesco chain that’s testing out the idea. More surprisingly, it’s not being tried anywhere here, according to the National Grocers Association in the U.S. Yet.” Read more


Gap Q4 Comp Sales +2.0% “Old Navy Global: positive 1 percent…Gap Global: negative 3 percent versus negative 6 percent last year. Banana Republic Global: negative 7 percent.” Press release


**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


Nordstrom Q4 Comp Sales -0.9% Press release


Hudson’s Bay posts lower quarterly sales via Financial Post. “Comparable sales fell 1.2 per cent on a constant currency basis during the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28…Sales fell 5.9 per cent at Saks OFF 5th…Sales rose 0.6 per cent at its department store banners, which include Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, and 0.1 per cent at Saks Fifth Avenue.” Read more


Under Armour products will be available at all Kohl’s stores in early March by Holden Wilen at Baltimore Business Journal. Read more


Food Lion Names 2016 Store Manager of the Year Press release


The Hunt for the Perfect Sugar by Beth Kowitt at Fortune. “The winter weather does not agree with stevia, which thrives in warm climates. “You’ll have to forgive our plants,” Faith Son, head of global marketing and innovation, says apologetically as she eyes a struggling seedling on a conference room table. “It’s January in Chicago.” Her company has built its entire business on the small green leaves that Son has placed in front of us.” Read more


Walmart Canada Expands Grocery Pickup to Edmonton Press release


Macy’s, Target and Wayfair are some of the first marketers to jump aboard Pinterest’s Shop The Look feature by Brielle Jaekel at Mobile Commerce Daily. Read more


CPG Now Spends More on Digital Than Traditional Ads, but Shoppers Doubt They Work by Jack Neff at Ad Age. “Only 60% of the roughly 200 retailers in Cadent’s survey said they thought digital advertising works for brands.” Read more


Bionic Leaf project that can ‘make food out of thin air’ receives $100,000 Amazon Catalyst grant by Clare McGrane at GeekWire. Read more


Sears licensing deal will put Kenmore brand grills in more stores by Will Racke at Chicago Business Journal. “Permasteel’s grills, ice chests and patio heaters are sold at Sears and True Value stores and at Home Depot locations in Canada, as well as stores in Brazil and Mexico, among others.” Read more


Stores can’t seem to keep Elmer’s glue on shelves. Here’s why by Sarah Whitten at CNBC. “An old craze has returned among tweens across the country: Slime…Given the trend’s momentum, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the company developed its own slime kits or branded content in the future. Demand for glue has risen so much that many stores are sold out of the product altogether.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Man arrested after swinging swords towards customers at Walmart store

Butter crackdown: Fans forced to leave this state to get their hands on banned dairy product

Man shooting people with BB gun at Walmart shot by officer

Costco files complaint about Wegmans price comparison ads

Inside BET CEO Debra Lee’s home, was $13.5M, now listed for $11.5M (25 pics)

An eBay partnership in China focuses on cross-border e-commerce

New Corryville store isn’t your mother’s Kroger

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Tipsheet: Sneak Peek: Yeti Store #1 & Wmart C-Store | Sam’s = Dale Jr. Rehab | Kohl’s -2.2%


Yeti Unveils Store #1 in Austin by Will Anderson at Austin Business Journal. “The 8,000-square-foot space is packed with scenes from the outdoors, such as a fishing skiff and taxidermied bear, plus plenty of Austin mementos that pay homage to the hometown of founders Roy Seiders and Ryan Seiders.” 11 pics/Read more


How pickled eggs and a trip to Sam’s Club helped Dale Earnhardt Jr. return to racing by Dan Wetzel at Yahoo. “When six weeks after a wreck you can’t manage to buy brisket and pickled bar props, when you can’t deal with Sam’s Club, how could you ever deal with pack racing and young guns who aren’t afraid to rub you up against the wall?” Read more


Kohl’s Comp Sales -2.2% / Profit Beats at Fox Business. Read more


TJX is planning a new chain that could deliver another blow to department stores by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “The concept will be complementary to its existing chain of HomeGoods shops that sells pillows, lamps and accents…Though Herrman was mum on additional details — including the name of the forthcoming chain — he said the strategy is to encourage customers to shop at both these new stores and its existing HomeGoods locations.” Read more


Walmart Exec Highlights from Supplier Meeting by Kim Souza at Talk Business. “Greg Foran also hinted that Walmart plans to roll out new ways to pass savings on to customers this year. He did not say if Savings Catcher was again being tweaked or if there is another plan in place…he did say “basket economics is where we live.”…Judith McKenna told suppliers the company continues to empower its workforce and adopt technologies into store operations. For instance a new store located in the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, Texas, has more than 100 touch screens located throughout the store to deliver endless aisle experience for shoppers in that store.” Read more


Wayfair Q4: Net Revenue Growth of 40% / 8.3 million Active Customers – up 54% Year over Year Press release


**A message from Hot Shot – There’s no place like home. And when you rule the roost, you do it all… keep the peace, dry the tears, mop up the messes – even squash the spiders. When bugs cross your threshold, count on Hot Shot® brand for practical, easy-to-use, effective home insect solutions that take care of the creepy-crawlies for you – without breaking the bank. Save the Day. Facebook page


CVS says it has removed artificial trans fat contributor from all exclusive store brands at MarketWatch. Read more


Kroger CIO Chris Hjelm offers a glimpse at interactive grocery-store shelves by Kim S. Nash at Wall Street Journal. “We’re testing digital shelf edges in 14 stores. Sensors can detect when someone is walking down the aisle [with Kroger’s mobile app open]. I can highlight products for you on a high-definition display on the shelf edge. Let’s say you’re gluten-free. In the nutrition-bar section, I can highlight for you the gluten-free products. Or I could show you on the shelf your personal price for a product. Or highlight that bottle of wine on your shopping list…We’re working on it; it isn’t deployed yet.” Read more (subs.)


Under Armour CEO chooses five finalists for Cupid’s Cup competition by Morgan Eichensehr at Baltimore Business Journal. See the list


Loblaw Q4 Comp Sales +1.1% / Shoppers Drug Mart +3.4% Press release


Inside Walmart’s New C-Store by Chris Medenwald at Field Agent. “Field Agent’s QuickShoppers were particularly high on the next generation Walmart c-store, which they rated, overall, a 4.7 on a 5-point scale (i.e., 5 being very good). Moreover, 83% of participants said they’re completely or very likely to purchase food, snacks, and/or beverages from the convenience store in the future.” In-store video/Read more


Report: Only 10% of the 350 global retailers surveyed make money fulfilling digital orders by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “As retailers work to tilt the profitability scale back in their favor, 62 percent told JDA they plan to raise the minimum spending requirement for free standard home delivery over the next year. Separately, 55 percent said they will raise the minimum order value required for in-store pickup.” Read more


Victoria’s Secret Comp Sales Are Down 20% and L Brands’ Stock Is Plummeting by Phil Wahba at Fortune. Read more


A small group of investors is buying struggling shopping centers on the cheap and trying to turn them around by Patrick Clark at Bloomberg. “If the grim reaper hasn’t come yet, then he’s circling pretty good,” said Hull, describing the properties he targets.” Read more


The 13 hottest toys from the New York Toy Fair by Sarah Whitten at CNBC. See list


Ace Hardware Q4 Revenue +5.8% Press release


Walgreens Designates more than 50 Specialty Pharmacies as Cancer-Specialized Locations Press release


Hy-Vee is adding bar-and-restaurant combos to five stores in Omaha area by Barbara Soderlin at Omaha World-Herald. “Unlike Hy-Vee’s initial venture into restaurants, called Market Grille, the Market Grille Express spots don’t have full-service dining. Customers will order and pay at a station, and a server will bring the food to the table. Customers can also eat — and drink and watch TV — at a full-service bar.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

3M and designer debut Post-It partnership for London Fashion Week (pics)

CVS thinks customers quit using tobacco instead of buying elsewhere

St.Paul man sentenced for crawling into Kmart dressing room of 8-year-old

Doctors are refusing to operate on smokers

H-E-B snags 24-acre lot near planned retail development in San Antonio

Retail’s Creditors Left Grasping as Brands Are Put Out of Reach

Target gives 6-year-old an unforgettable birthday

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Tipsheet: Wmart Likes Samples | Lowe’s Cuts 525 | TJX Beats | Amazon’s C-Store Liquor


TJX’s Same-Store Sales Beat Estimates at Fox Business. “Comparable store sales rose 3 percent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28. Analysts on average had expected comparable store sales to rise 2.6 percent.” Read more


Wal-Mart’s McMillon asks more of suppliers amid retail evolution by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “…there has been a 250% increase in grocery pickup and the retailer will continue to grow that service to 500 additional stores this year. The retail execs also talked about investing in the shopper experience. They also want to work with suppliers to maximize the number of in-store events with more product sampling, character visits in stores and product demos in general merchandise.” Read more


Lowe’s to cut another 525 employees by Ken Elkins at Charlotte Business Journal. “Lowe’s Cos. Inc. will cut another 430 corporate office employees in Mooresville and 70 support personnel in Wilkesboro…total number cut in the latest layoffs is 525, which includes 25 employees spread around corporate offices but not in Mooresville or Wilkesboro.” Read more


Amazon plans to sell beer and wine at its new high-tech convenience store by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “The e-commerce giant confirmed to Recode that it plans to sell beer and wine from the Seattle store. The confirmation came after I inquired about a flyer I spotted on the store’s window that mentioned its application for a liquor license. “When we start offering beer and wine, there will be an associate checking identification,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in an email.” Read more


Etsy CEO on why N.Y.C. is the best place to grow a company by Anthony Noto at New York Business Journal. Read Q&A


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Lumber Liquidators Q4 Comp Sales +2.8% Press release


Do you want to join Aldi’s taste test club in Australia? at Daily Mail. Read more


Lowe’s Moves Closer To Home Depot in Radio Spots at Radio Ink. “With 25,279 commercials aired on radio stations all across the country last week, Lowe’s was the fourth-largest radio advertiser, according to Media Monitors…The Home Depot was second with 29,830 followed by McDonald’s in third with 26,835, and Walgreen’s rounds out the top five with 23,444.” Article


Macy’s sets CEO departure date by Andy Brownfield at Cincinnati Business Courier. “…president Jeff Gennette will take over for CEO Terry Lundgren on March 23.” Read more


Retailers Ask Supreme Court Not to Revive Disputed Credit Card Swipe Fee Settlement Press release


Nascar, Once a Cultural Icon, Hits the Skids by Tripp Mickle & Valerie Bauerlein at Wall Street Journal. “Despite knowing for two years that Sprint was leaving, Nascar didn’t announce a replacement until December, when it said energy-drink maker Monster Beverage Corp. had won naming rights to the top-tier racing circuit. Monster paid about $20 million, below Nascar’s asking price of $35 million and nowhere close to the original goal of $100 million, according to television and racing-industry executives familiar with the new contract.” Read more (subs.)


UPS testing drones to shave delivery times in rural areas by Jillian Stampher at GeekWire. Read more/Video


Tiffany gets help in search for new chief executive by Carleton English at NY Post. “The jewelry retailer on Tuesday said it reached a deal with Jana Partners and former Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani to add three new members to its board — expanding the group to 13.” Read more


Walmart’s Marc Lore is coming to Code Commerce on March 20th by Jason Del Rey at Recode. Read more


McDonald’s to Cut Prices on Drinks as Fast-Food Industry Slumps by Leslie Patton at Bloomberg. “The McDonald’s promotion, which starts in April, will include soft drinks of any size for $1. For a limited time, customers can also buy McCafe beverages such as smoothies, frappes and espresso drinks for $2. At stores in Chicago on Tuesday, small McCafe frappes sold for between $2.69 and $3.09.” Read more


Tweetable: @charliebilello – Home Depot: $10,000 invested at its IPO in 1981 is worth over $68 million today. New all-time high.


Best Buy tops St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital holiday donor list with $18.2M by Shannon Prather at Star Tribune. “Best Buy has raised nearly $40 million since it began participating in St. Jude’s holiday campaign in 2013.” Read more


Apple’s new campus ‘Apple Park’ will open in April by Romaine Dillet at TechCrunch. Read more/Video


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Drugs, booze and BBQ ribs smuggled into Atlanta federal prison camp

2 Chainz’s non-chain tapas restaurant fails inspection

New exit sign confuses Canadian shoppers

Studio-by-Studio Profitability Ranking: Disney Surges, Sony Sputters

Fortune: Unilever CEO Paul Polman’s Plan to Save the World

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Tipsheet: Loblaw Breach | Toys R Us Cuts 250 @ HQ | Wmart $ Rollback | Costco CFO Invests


Wal-Mart’s Comparable Sales Top Estimates at Fox Business. “Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 1.8 percent, excluding fuel. Analysts polled by research firm Consesus Metrix had forecast a rise of 1.3 percent.” Read more


…Walmart Hurt By Dreaded Tax Refund Delays for More Than 40 Million Lower Income People at The Street. “Starting this year, the Internal Revenue Service is required to hold off issuing tax refunds until Feb. 15 for those tax filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Read more


Home Depot blows past Wall Street expectations, buoyed up by healthy housing market by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “Comparable sales: 5.8 percent increase vs. the 3.7 percent increase expected by FactSet.” Read more


Macy’s Profit Beats Estimates on Store Closures, Lower Costs at Fox Business. “Sales in Macy’s stores open at least a year, including sales in departments licensed to third parties, fell 2.1 percent, compared with the 2.2 percent drop expected by analysts.” Read more


Loblaw resets all PC Plus passwords after breach steals member points via Toronto Star. “Loblaw has reset passwords for all its PC Plus rewards collectors’ online accounts after points were stolen from some members’ accounts.” Read more


Instacart is playing games with its workers’ pay — and will eventually suffer for it by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “Whatever the truth, Instacart is fast developing a reputation for messing with its own workforce. You know, the humans that the “software company” relies on to pick, pack and deliver to its customers.That should be a red flag, not only to management and employees, but to its investors.” Read more


Amazon Quietly Lowered Its Free Shipping Minimum to $35 by Rachel King at Fortune. Read more


Toys “R” Us has laid off up to 15% of HQ employees – approximately 250 jobs eliminated by Tom Popomaronis at Forbes. Read more


Rollback: Wal-Mart Canada to focus more on everyday low pricing initiative by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail. “We’re taking prices down on a more permanent basis for a minimum of at least six months, which is as permanent as you’re going to get in an a price environment with inflation and deflation,” chief executive officer Lee Tappenden said in an interview.” Read more


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Zappos CEO didn’t just want a company — he wanted a cult by Mackenzie Dawson at NY Post. “Partying hard was the norm when people entered Tony’s world …,” writes Groth. “Zappos is different from most companies in that employees are rewarded for partying with their CEO. I never heard of anyone in his sphere suffering repercussions from doing something outrageous or unsavory. Those sorts of events only seem to bond the tribe.” Read more


Saks Fifth Avenue in talks with Aditya Birla Fashion to set up India stores by Sapna Agarwal at Hindustan Times. “The first store is likely to open in Aerocity, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, followed by a second in an upcoming retail project in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex business district, said one of the two people, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.” Read more


Costco CFO Richard Galanti invests in artificial-intelligence travel planning platform by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. Read more


T.J. Maxx arrives in Australia by Simon Johanson at The Sydney Morning Herald. “The group is believed to be currently fitting out a 2000 square metre retail space in Kingston Central Plaza at Moorabbin Airport in the city’s southern suburbs.” Read more


U.S. Appetite for Organic Food Prompts Jump in Grain Imports; Farmers Cry Foul by Jacob Bunge at Wall Street Journal. “U.S. organic-farming groups say that influx of foreign grain has been a chief factor in slashing prices for organic corn by about 30% in 2016, along with a 20% decline for organic soybeans. Those declines came despite robust growth in U.S. sales of organic foods.” Read more (subs.)


Nordstrom’s big, beautiful stores are losing ground by Janet I. Tu at Seattle Times. Read more


Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal to give keynote speech 3/1/17 at San Diego State University Read more


The top e-retailers for customer service by Allison Enright at Internet Retailer. “B&H Photo-Video, Gap, L.L. Bean, Lancome, Moosejaw, The Home Depot, Zappos. Read more


Walgreens integrates rewards program into Android Pay by Brielle Jaekel at Mobile Commerce Daily. Read more


Ex-HD Supply Managers Sue In Chancery Over Stock Awards by Matt Chiappardi at Law 360. Read more (subs.)


Nordstrom spotlights up-and-coming talent in incubator program at Luxury Daily. “Kicking off Feb. 21, The Lab is housed within the retailer’s Space concept in-store boutiques at five Nordstrom locations, with a corresponding ecommerce presence.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Arby’s Acknowledges Breach

UPS Launching Saturday Ground Operations in U.S.

You can now buy Snap’s video-recording sunglasses online

Walmart cashier helps struggling family pay for groceries

Pop-Tarts made into pizza, tacos, and even ‘fries’

Target Clarifies Apple Pay Situation After Misleading Tweet

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Tipsheet: Target Bomb Plot Foiled | Kroger Sued by Armless Man | Inside Wmart’s Test C-Store


Man Charged With Trying to Blow Up Target Stores to Tank Company’s Stock by Safia Samee Ali at CNBC. “Mark Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala, was charged with “possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon” after he offered an unidentified person $10,000 to put at least 10 explosives — disguised as food items — on the shelves of Target stores in New York, Florida and Virginia, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Ocala.” Read more


Walmart tests C-store in small Texas town by Maria Halkias at Dallas News. “In a parking lot on Main Street in this nondescript town of 14,000, Wal-Mart is testing out what it hopes could be its next small thing — a genuine convenience store…Wal-Mart’s strategy seems to be not to reinvent the convenience store concept but rather to tweak it.” Read more


Canadian Tire Retail Q4 Comp Sales +8.1% “For the full year, Canadian Tire Retail sales were up 5.6% over 2015 results and same store sales increased 4.2%.” Press release


‘Footwear Is a Gateway Drug’: How Saks Lures Mens to Its New Store by Steven Kurutz at New York Times. Read more


KROGER HEADACHE – An armless man couldn’t carry his bike up the stairs. He says it cost him his job. by Cleve R. Watson Jr. at Washington Post. “How can I push my bike?” he responded. “I don’t have any arms.”…Trimble’s disability is severe and clearly noticeable — he’s missing both arms — and the accommodations he asked of his employer were minor, his attorney told The Washington Post.” Read more/Pic


Now you can buy things from Costco, Whole Foods and other stores via Google Home by Tess Townsend at Recode. “This is the first Home capability allowing users to buy things using the piece of hardware that runs Google Assistant.” Read more


Kroger named one of nation’s top 10 companies for inclusion by Steve Watkins at Cincinnati Business Courier. Read more


Lowe’s Canada integrates Ace dealer network “The integration of operations will result in the closing of the Winnipeg, Manitoba distribution centre and head office and the Kitchener, Ontario distribution centre, which will be completed in the company’s fourth quarter this year. Moving forward, Ace head office functions in Winnipeg will relocate to the Lowe’s Canada regional office in Mississauga, Ontario.” Press release


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S.Korea court declares Hanjin Shipping bankrupt via CNBC. “The Seoul Central District Court said in a statement it has chosen a bankruptcy administrator, and claims by creditors are due by May 1, 2017.” Read more


Kraft Heinz CFO Calls Bottom on Commodities, Sees Inflation Ahead by Tatyana Shumsky at Wall Street Journal. “The futures and immediate-delivery market for certain commodities has already ticked higher, showing year-over-year inflation, Mr. Basilio said. “We’re already seeing that in cheese, coffee, bacon,” he said.” Read more (subs.)


…Kraft Heinz increasing marketing for key brands by Patty Tascarella at Pittsburgh Business Times. “The company’s focus for 2017 is its three key brands of Kraft, Heinz and Planters…Kraft Heinz is also prioritizing five categories Hees believes have “global potential.” They are condiments and sauces, cheese, meals, nuts and baby foods.” Read more


Ex-Vice Media Exec Named Ralph Lauren CMO Press release


Big Food Looks to Startups for Ideas, Innovation by Annie Gasparro at Wall Street Journal. “In total, venture capital funds made 66 food-and-beverage-related deals last year, up 20% from 2015…“If I tell you all our trade secrets, what’s going to stop Kellogg from making their own moringa bar?” Kuli Kuli founder Lisa Curtis recalls asking Simon Burton, the head of Kellogg’s venture capital fund.” Read more (subs.)


Visa Settles With 13 Retailers In £500M UK Swipe Fees Trial by Alex Davis at Law 360. Read more (subs.)


H-E-B Leaders Visit Univ. of Houston Feb. 23rd to Offer Guidance On Submitting Unique Products in Competition at Houston Style Magazine. “To learn more about the competition or for a complete listing of cities and dates H-E-B leaders will visit throughout February and March, visit” Read more


Sears Opens First DieHard Auto Center in San Antonio Press release


Kate Spade confirms takeover talk, shares jump by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. Read more


Kraft Heinz to Pursue Merger Despite Unilever Rejection at Fox Business. Read more


Man stands under dangling Walmart sign for 2 days hoping to get hit, sue them by Alley Wilson at Global News. “On Feb. 14, Manuel Garcia posted to Facebook a photo of him standing under a dangling “p” at a local Texas Walmart. Garcia wrote he was “waiting for the P to fall and knock [him] out to be able to sue Walmart.” Pic/Video/Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

CVS Workers Accidentally Lock Woman Inside Store

Mom campaigns to get Aldi to fit seatbelts in all of the supermarket’s carts – and wins

Amazon on the brink of launching own UK fashion label

Former Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma exec Named to Hallmark Board of Directors

Apple discussed buying Ron Howard’s production company, but talks ‘fizzled out’

Walgreens Boots Alliance chief merchandising officer to depart

Missing Home Depot worker not the type to ‘take off’

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Tipsheet: Trump Name-Checks “Tar-Zhay” | Wmart Cold Called Moosejaw | T.Morgan Talks Wmart $ @ Kimmel | B.Pro/Cabela’s Trouble?


“TAR-ZHAY RIGHT?” – Retail CEOs make case to Trump against border adjustment tax by Jim Spencer & Kavita Kumar at Star Tribune. “As they came and went, Target’s Brian Cornell and Best Buy’s Hubert Joly were both tight-lipped about their visits to the White House and Capitol Hill…In a lighthearted aside, a video taken as the CEOs introduced themselves showed Trump pausing after Cornell introduced himself from Target. “Tar-zhay, right?” the president said with a smile.” Read more


…Bill Rhodes, CEO of AutoZone Inc., spoke briefly after the meeting with Mr. Trump but didn’t take questions by Khadeeja Safdar & Louise Radnofsky at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subs.)


…Target CEO: Had a positive discussion with Trump by Courtney Reagan at CNBC.  Video


…Trump snubs Nordstrom at retailer event…JCP CEO sits to right of Trump at Daily Mail. Pics/Read more


…Border tax is ‘biggest threat’ to retailers in years, former Saks CEO says at CNBC. Video/Read more


WALMART BASICALLY COLD CALLED ME – Moosejaw CEO wasn’t looking to sell, but Wal-Mart made an offer too good to refuse by Matt Linder at Internet Retailer. “Several months ago, out of the blue, a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. representative called Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford to inquire whether the retailer would be interested in talking about a sale. “He said they are very interested in the outdoor vertical and loved what we were doing with our brand voice and the relationships we bring to the table,” (CEO) Comerford says.” Read more


Bass Pro-Cabela’s deal could be hindered by Capital One dropping bid for credit card business by Paige Yowell at Omaha World-Herald. “The way things stand right now, Bass Pro can’t close on its purchase of Cabela’s retail business before the company’s bank is sold…Capital One withdrew its application to acquire the card business late last month.” Read more


NY Times: Grocery industry moves to simplify labels by Stephanie Strom. Read more


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Walmart cuts contracts with Korean shippers after Hanjin fiasco by Jhoo Dong-chan at The Korea Times. “The Seoul-based company had reportedly handled about 10 percent of Walmart’s total freight volume every year, which means that Hanjin’s amount was up to 30,000 containers. As Hanjin Shipping could not deal with the transportation properly, Walmart has shipped its products with shipping companies with its headquarters in other countries such as China.” Read more


Gander Mountain addresses bankruptcy rumors by Dan DeBaun at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “Gander Mountain said it had undertaken a “best-practices approach to review our strategic options specific to positioning the company for long-term success.” Read more


84 Lumber agency “flattered” after Saturday Night Live riff on commercial spot by Patty Tascarella at Pittsburgh Business Times. “The first reaction was, oh, my God,” Brunner said. “It was flattering, I can only put it that way, that they’d take the spot we did and parody it. We all got a good laugh. I’m a ‘Saturday Night Live’ fan. Absolutely, it’s a first for us.” Read more


Build-A-Bear Q4 Comp Sales -8.3% Press release


Jeff Bezos emails ‘kudos and congrats’ for #1 spot in Harris Poll by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. Top 100 list/Read more


Lowe’s Hiring More Than 1,700 U.S. Employees To Provide Personalized Customer Support Press release


Walgreens-Rite Aid deal may finally be a go by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “FTC brass in the next two to four weeks will likely approve the deal that would create America’s biggest drug store chain, two other sources said.” Read more


hhgregg to explore strategic alternatives to improve liquidity and return to profitability Press release


Jeff Bezos makes Fortune’s list of most underrated AND overrated list  See the rankings


Apple Vowed To Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. Read more


Facebook is out-LinkedIning LinkedIn by Kurt Wagner at Recode. Read more


“AFTER MY SETTLEMENT EVERYTHING WENT UP A PENNY” – Tracy Morgan jokes about buying the Knicks with Walmart settlement money at Comedy Hype. “You act like I got hit by Bob’s Discount Furniture Truck” 2:49 video at Jimmy Kimmel Live


Tipsheet Extra Stories

WWE wrestler adds 1-800-Flowers to his “list” after customer service fail

Kmart paying $4.5M in rent for shuttered Hawaii store

Selling ads as Super Bowl overtime approached was ‘pandemonium’ for Fox execs

Wayfair VP says you should read this book

How Apple Stores Were Almost Apple Cyber Cafes

Amazon hires former Sony online chief to lead ‘ambitious new project’

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Eye on Retail Tipsheet is must-read material for 20,000+ retail execs every weekday morning. Tipsheet stories are carefully curated bright and early every morning to ensure fresh and unique content.

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