Tipsheet: Joly Q&A | Holiday +5.1% | India Tightens E-com Rules


India tightens e-commerce rules, likely to hit Amazon and Walmart at Reuters. “India will ban e-commerce companies…from selling products from companies in which they have an equity interest…the government also said that the companies will be prevented from entering into exclusive agreements with sellers.” Read more


U.S. Commerce Department won’t publish economic data during shutdown: WSJ via Reuters. “The Commerce Department releases key figures on gross domestic product, inflation, personal income and spending, trade and new home sales…” Read more


Early holiday shopping numbers are on track to break season records by Rachel Siegel at Washington Post. “On Wednesday, MasterCard SpendingPulse — which tracks retail spending trends — said holiday sales had seen the strongest growth in the past six years, surging 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion.” Tiered subs.


Walmart Santa arrested after bodies of teen children found buried in backyard via San Diego Tribune. Read more


USDA program overwhelms Quad City-area food banks with milk via USA Today. “The spike in donations comes from a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to help dairy farmers caught in the middle of President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with Mexico, China and Canada.” Read more


How contractors with ‘ghost’ workers give big companies a buffer against immigration officials at LA Times. Tiered subs.


**A message from X1 Ebike – Up to 37 miles on a single 4-hour charge. Folds into the size of a golf bag in 1 second. GPS tracking, VIN # & alarm for security. Video | Website | Contact Tries to ‘Change the Narrative’ With Business Restructuring by Shan Li at Wall Street Journal. “The revamp was unveiled within the company on Friday night, shortly before authorities in Minneapolis declined to press charges against Chief Executive Liu Qiangdong, who was arrested in August on suspicion of rape.” WSJ subs.


Gap set to shut its Fifth Avenue store next month at CNBC. “The portion of upper Fifth Avenue between 49th and 59th streets in midtown — where the Gap store sits — saw rents drop 24 percent this fall, REBNY said, putting the average asking rent at $2,973 per square foot.” Read more


Online cosmetics retailer Julep lays off 102 employees by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. Read more


New York set to boost minimum wage to $15 for city workers at Fox Business. “Workers in New York City will earn at least $15 per hour at fast-food chains and businesses with at least 11 employees, up from a previous minimum wage standard of $13. Pay will rise to $12 for workers in New York’s Long Island suburbs, while wages for employees in other state locales will rise 70 cents to $11.10 per hour.” Read more


San Diego sees surge in salmonella cases by Paul Sisson at San Diego Union-Tribune. “Seven of them reported consuming Mexican cheeses purchased in Tijuana,” McDonald said last week…“We’ve seen people bring tens of pounds back, suitcases full,” said Dr. Steve Waterman of the CDC.” Read more


Walmart heirs’ money influences black charter schools debate by Sally Ho at Fox Business. Read more


Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in CNN Q&A “Our assortment is not going to be driven by, ‘We like these people. We don’t like these people.’ I have a bunch of Amazon products in my house. I have a ton of respect for Amazon. They are an amazing company.” Read more


Amazon announces a record-breaking holiday by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “Amazon says it added “tens of millions” of people who signed up for Prime memberships, both paid and on a trial basis.” Read more | Press release


Speedway CEO says more growth expected at Springfield News-Sun. “There are a bunch of chains out there that present good, quality opportunities for us,” Kenney said. “We’re going to be very disciplined in how we look at acquiring stores because they’ve got to be good quality and fit with our strategy.” Read more


Foxconn to begin assembling top-end Apple iPhones in India in 2019 at Reuters. Read more


Store customers surround, pull guns on men trying to steal tools via NY Post. “The men walked out of the store and got into a Honda Civic, only to be surrounded by about six customers with guns raised. Court documents say the driver pulled forward, causing one man confronting him to land on the hood.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Buffalo Wild Wings is getting a major redesign. Here’s a look inside

Dolls Kill is raising up to $15 million for its edgy fashion brand for ‘misfits’

The best and worst branding of 2018

Former Target at mall to transform into middle school

65 of 2019’s Most Anticipated Movies

Lost ring from man’s late wife found in Meijer parking lot

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Tipsheet: Caribou Coffee Breach | Fortnite Beats Hobbies | Amazon Air +10


Last-Minute Shoppers Increasingly Trust Only Amazon to Deliver by Karen Weise at NY Times. “Olivia Zimmermann (bought) a Bluetooth speaker from Best Buy for her sister. It was supposed to arrive by Dec. 10, two weeks before Christmas. The speaker never showed up…“I just want a refund,” she told the retailer, and then added: “At this point, I have already ordered from Amazon because I know for a fact it will be here when they say it will.” Tiered subs.


Nike crushes earnings expectations at CNBC. “In North America, Nike’s biggest market, sales rose 9 percent to $3.78 billion. Sales climbed 8 percent in Europe, Middle East & Africa to $2.31 billion. China posted Nike’s most robust growth, with sales climbing 26 percent to $1.54 billion.” Read more


Caribou Coffee, Bruegger’s Bagels say data breach exposed credit card info at Pioneer Press. “The company said the breach has been contained but that customers who visited company-owned locations between Aug. 28 and Dec. 3 may be affected by the breach.” Read more


Adobe: Five days until Christmas, and online sales are already up 18% to a record $110.6 billion at CNBC. Read more


Amazon Air leases another 10 jumbo jets – will now have 50 planes in its network by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. Read more


Canada Post says its operations are back to normal across the country, less than four weeks after its striking employees were forced back to work by federal legislation via Vancouver Sun. Read more


As Walmart takes on China’s booming delivery market, it’s going for a smaller store at CNBC. “Walmart is trying an experiment: A smaller store, focus on Chinese lower-tier cities and a new sales model with Chinese logistics company Dada-JD Daojia.” Read more


Craft retailer JOANN invests in Glowforge, will let customers use 3D laser printer at stores by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. “Instead of making objects out of plastic strands, it uses a laser to quickly cut and engrave products made from raw materials like leather, paper, plastic, fabric, or cardboard, all with the push of a button.” Read more


Zero-based budgeting comes to Walgreens by Tatyana Shumsky at Wall Street Journal. WSJ subs.


Americans are turning to dollar stores for their holiday shopping by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “32 percent of their customers earn more than $100,000 a year, according to a new NPD report. “A lot of consumers discovered these stores in the last recession, and what they found surprised them,” said Anthony Chukumba, a Loop Capital analyst…Put another way, “The stigma of shopping at a dollar store has faded,” Cohen said.” Read more


BJ’s Wholesale Club names Christopher Peterson, CFO Newell Brands, to Board of Directors Press release


FDA warns about teething necklaces, bracelets after death of 18-month-old by Brett Molina at USA Today. “In another report, a 7-month-old was hospitalized after choking on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet.” Read more


Kroger Announces Retirement of Delta Division President Scot Hendricks and Promotes Victor Smith to Role Press release


How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys by Betsty Morris at Wall Street Journal. “Toby Ghassemieh is an inquisitive 12-year-old boy…He built a forge in his backyard with plaster of Paris to melt aluminum into ingots. He wants to be a physicist when he grows up. All that is on hold, though. What he cares about most is the videogame Fortnite. Same for his buddies Matthew Seiden, Max Howe, Jaren Erville and Reed Leidlein…” WSJ subs.


Walmart reveals the most bizarre top-selling items of 2018 in every state at Business Insider. Read more


Walgreens employee fatally shoots man after photos dispute at Fox 5. “…the man pulled a gun, jumped behind the photo counter to take photos from a clerk and then climbed back over the counter. Watkins says that while other employees tried to call police, a 28-year-old Walgreens employee shot and killed the man.” Read more


Eye on Retail Tipsheet will return Dec. 26th – Merry Christmas!


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Could tooth-straightening boom kill braces?

20 people evaluated for respiratory issues at Bass Pro Shops store

Strong storms cause tent collapse at Home Depot store

Jay Z trying to talk rapper Travis Scott out of performing in Super Bowl Halftime Show

Whole Foods failed to act on sexual harassment of cashier, lawsuit claims

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Tipsheet: Wgreen US Retail -3.2% | Pier 1 -10.5% | Blue Apron Penny Stock


Walgreens Q1 US comp sales: Pharmacy +2.8% / Retail -3.2% Press release


…Walgreens Boots Alliance’s plans $1 billion in cuts, stock drops at CNBC. “Targets will include global spending, organization and digitalization of the business. The initial focus will be on the U.S. and U.K., the company’s largest markets.” Read more


Pier 1 Imports Q3 comp sales -10.5% Press release


…Pier 1 Imports Appoints Cheryl Bachelder Interim CEO “Ms. Bachelder succeeds Alasdair James, who has stepped down from the Company…Ms. Bachelder most recently served as chief executive officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. from 2007 to 2017.” Press release


Amazon’s Grocery Push Keeps Stumbling After Whole Foods Purchase by Spencer Soper at Bloomberg. “The number of Amazon Prime members who shop for groceries at least once a month declined in 2018 compared with 2017, according to the results of an annual consumer survey released Wednesday by UBS analysts.” Tiered subs.


Rite Aid Q3 comp sales +1.6% / +3.1% pharmacy sales / -1.5% front-end sales Press release


Walgreens to tackle health-care costs with Alphabet’s Verily at CNBC. “…it is the latest signal from Verily’s parent company Alphabet that it intends to ramp up in the health-care space.” Read more


Trump tariff war with China sends U.S. retailers on buying binge at Reuters. “The strategy could mean heavy discounts for shoppers next year if retailers are stuck with an overhang of unsold merchandise. Already, it has driven up transportation and warehousing costs, which is adding pressure to quarterly results for retailers, according to the sources.” Read more


Shoppers Drug Mart will open a pilot store dedicated to cosmetic dermatology services Press release


How to Spot Fake Amazon Reviews by Joanna Stern at Wall Street Journal. “After all my reporting, my conclusion is that the star system itself is the culprit…” WSJ subs.


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Washington Post offering free Amazon Echo Dot to lure new digital subscribers by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. Read more


Best Buy Appoints Eugene Woods, CEO of Atrium Health, to Board of Directors Press release


Blue Apron becomes a penny stock after plunging below $1 by Carleton English at NY Post. “The tumble came after securities filings last week revealed that two company insiders — including co-founder Matt Salzberg and the company’s chief technology officer — had dumped shares earlier this month.” Read more


Analyst estimates that around 50% to 60% of the goods that Home Depot & Lowe’s import from China are on the tariff list at Business Insider. Read more


With Container Ships Getting Bigger, Maersk Focuses on Getting Faster by Costas Paris & Mike Sudal at Wall Street Journal. “It takes 3,000 people working three days in shifts around the clock to load and unload a giant ship that moves 20,000 containers when it stops at one of the world’s biggest ports. Every second counts as thousands of boxes are pulled off or loaded onto the deck.” WSJ subs.


Alexa won’t say what’s in your Amazon packages until 2019, no matter how many times you ask at Business Insider. “Normally, if a certain setting is enabled, Alexa-enabled devices go through a short list of what is in the package when you ask, “Where’s my stuff?”. Read more


FedEx CEO: It’s ‘fantastical’ to think Amazon Air is a threat at MarketWatch. Read more


How Toys for Tots is overcoming Toys R Us closure by Ben Tobin at USA Today. “For the past 14 years, Toys R Us served as Toys for Tots’ top corporate sponsor, raising about $8 million each year in donations and gifts…”Trying to fill that void is a real challenge,” Osman said.” Read more


Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home at Reuters. “The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

CBS Considers Dropping Nielsen Ratings

Amazon Muslim workers in Minneapolis say they don’t have enough time to pray

The 19 Most-Anticipated New Scripted TV Shows of 2019

Millions would be put at risk in a cashless society, research warns

Cost Plus World Market Announces the Winner of Its Star Maker Song Contest

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Tipsheet: Lore @ CNBC | Boxed CMO to Clorox | CVS Merger Spring | Shipt ‘All Categories’


CVS THORN – Judge orders a lengthy review of CVS-Aetna deal that’s likely to keep it bogged down in the judicial process well into the spring by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “Specifically, Judge Leon ordered the Department of Justice to respond to 95 complaints that had been filed against the merger as of Monday. The DOJ, in turn, said it will take until February to respond to the complaints.” Read more


LORE ON MAD MONEY – Food delivered ‘right into your fridge’ is the future, says Walmart’s e-commerce chief at CNBC. “…the delivery person arrives “with a camera on their chest,” he said on “Mad Money.” “You can watch it on your iPhone and see them come in, put it in your fridge and leave…By the end of 2019, same-day delivery will be available to 60 percent of the U.S. population, Lore says.” Video/Read more


Williams-Sonoma Sues Amazon – Claims Amazon Copied Its West Elm Furniture Designs at Bloomberg via Fortune. “Amazon’s “Rivet” line includes products that are “strikingly similar” to Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm brand, including a $300 orb chair the household goods maker introduced two years ago, according to William-Sonoma’s complaint.” Read more


Target’s same-day delivery service Shipt will include ‘all major product categories’ in 2019 by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “…one of the challenges Target still faces is that it can be difficult to figure out which merchandise is available via which delivery or pickup method…the move could be a potential game-changer for Target.” Read more


Retail workers tested positive for drugs at the highest rate last year by Paul Davidson at USA Today. “In retail, 5.3 percent of tests were positive, up from 4.7 percent in 2015, and the highest among the 16 industries studied. Since 2015, positive tests in retail have risen from 2.7 to 3.2 percent for marijuana and from 0.14 to 0.2 percent for cocaine.” Read more


Longtime Amazon leader Diego Piacentini reportedly departs by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. “Piacentini spent 16 years at Amazon, most recently running the company’s international consumer business arm…CNBC reported that Piacentini is one of at least 15 Amazon executives to depart this year.” Read more


TJX keeps customers coming back for the thrill of the hunt by James F. Peltz at LA Times. “This is one of the best management teams that I’ve come across,” said John D. Morris, senior brand apparel analyst at the investment firm D.A. Davidson & Co. “They really know what they’re doing.” Tiered subs.


European officials agree on ban of some single-use plastics at AP News. Read more


Inmar acquires digital coupon and rebate technology from Kroger by Richard Craver at Winston-Salem Journal. “YouTech was founded in 2007 and was acquired by Kroger in 2014. Its cloud-based digital offer platform enables digital offers for redemption at Kroger and other U.S. retailers.” Read more


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With a Pinch of Innovation, Food Makers Raise Prices by Heather Haddon & Annie Gasparro at Wall Street Journal. “Food makers are devising more-expensive sizes and flavors of their treats and breakfast foods, a subtle strategy to cover rising costs as tough competition holds down prices elsewhere in the supermarket.” WSJ subs.


United Natural Foods Announces Intent to Transfer to NYSE at MarketWatch Read more


Walmart is testing its own, in-house virtual search technology on Hayneedle by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “The relationship proved to be mutually beneficial, explains Hayneedle’s head of Engineering, Benjamin Dekarske. “We don’t have the dedicated core technologists that Walmart has with Labs, and Walmart gains from Hayneedle a platform [for visual search] that they don’t have to scale to Walmart’s scale.” Read more


For the first time ever, UPS has forecast the busiest day for returns will be today. Typically, the busiest day for returns falls on Jan. 3 at CNBC. Read more


Boxed CMO Makes the Leap to a General Manager Post at Clorox by Nat Ives at Wall Street Journal. “I definitely have a learning curve,” Mr. Jeyanayagam said about aspects of the job ahead, adding that a recruiter pitched it to him as a “mini CEO role.” WSJ subs.


Former Pentagon employee’s business ties to Amazon draws scrutiny by Aaron Gregg at Washington Post via Seattle Times. “The possibility that Ubhi was biased toward Amazon as he helped plan high-stakes military procurements has put him at the center of a protracted legal battle involving the Defense Department, Amazon and Oracle.” Tiered subs.


Amazon expands Toronto Tech Hub and announces plans to create 600 new tech jobs Press release


The World’s Most Successful Caviar Entrepreneur Is A Scrapyard Operator In Wisconsin by Chloe Sorvino at Forbes. “Holst had never tasted caviar and had rarely been outside the United States. But he flew to Budapest, holding a briefcase filled with $10,000 in cash to convince officials to meet about buying the company. The Hungarian government agreed to $200,000. Holst paid it all in cash.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Forever 21 apologizes for using white model to sell ‘Black Panther’ sweater

TripAdvisor Reveals the Top Restaurant Chains in America for 2019

Costco ex-employee embezzled $290,000 in ‘outrageous’ fraud, court says

These 30 vehicles are the safest 2019 models

Notre Dame football hosts “Shop with a Player” event at Meijer

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Tipsheet: Amazon Go #9 | Ex-Target Campus Sold | Kroger Unmanned a Go


Kroger launches Nuro unmanned vehicles to delivery groceries to customers in Arizona by Ben Tobin at USA Today. “Kroger announced its partnership with Nuro in June. The companies started a pilot program in August to test the unmanned delivery service. Customers can pay a $5.95 flat rate for same-day or next-day delivery. There is no minimum order requirement.” Read more


Forget Drones. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Needs Lots of Delivery Guys by Spencer Soper & Thomas Black at Bloomberg. “The Dragos now have 42 vans and 70 employees who each deliver about 250 packages in a typical day. Their profit is about $40,000 each month, about $1,000 per van, Drago says. The biggest challenge is hiring and retaining drivers, who earn about $150 for each eight-hour shift.” Tiered subs.


U.S. sportswear traced to factory in China’s internment camps at AP News. “This is one of a growing number of internment camps in the Xinjiang region, where by some estimates 1 million Muslims are detained…The Associated Press has tracked recent, ongoing shipments from one such factory inside an internment camp to Badger Sportswear, a leading supplier in Statesville, North Carolina.” Read more


Amazon opens its ninth Amazon Go store today, and second in San Francisco by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. Read more


Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman to retire April 3 at CNBC. “…he will be succeeded by Gary Millerchip, chief executive of Kroger Personal Finance.” Read more


Saks Fifth Avenue closing women’s store in downtown Manhattan by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “This Saks branch location was a test concept,” Saks said in a statement, adding that customers’ “preferred format is a combination of our digital channels and our iconic Fifth Avenue flagship.” Read more


…but will keep its men’s shop at Brookfield Place in New York at CNBC. Read more


Opus closes on purchase of former Target campus by Nicole Norfleet at Star Tribune. “The campus has been empty since 2016 when Target moved 1,300 employees from the site to the company’s expanded Brooklyn Park campus.” Tiered subs.


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Meet the Best Buy employee who inspired the company’s new child care benefit at Washington Post via Pioneer Press. “Family members who had been helping Lanette couldn’t watch Logan that day, either. And so, Lanette brought Logan to work, delivering her presentation while her baby slept in his stroller a few feet away…A human resources manager was in the Arlington store the day Johnson brought Logan to work, and advocated for the benefit…” Read more


Rent-A-Center terminates deal to be bought by Vintage Capital affiliates at MarketWatch. Read more


Amazon’s vision for the future of health care is becoming clear at CNBC. “So imagine you have a sore throat. You let Alexa know…the doctor through Alexa asks you about your symptoms. It decides to send a courier to your home with a tiny portable device to do some basic tests for things like strep throat. The strep test is positive, so the virtual doc sends over a prescription for an antibiotic.” Read more


Couche-Tard signs asset swap deal in U.S. with Cross America Partners via Montreal Gazette. “Couche-Tard has agreed to sell 192 U.S convenience and fuel retail stores to CrossAmerica…CrossAmerica has agreed to sell…real estate property for 56 U.S. company-operated convenience and fuel retail stores.” Read more


Amazon’s Top-Selling Television Comes Via Its Frenemy Best Buy by Matthew Boyle at Bloomberg News. “TVs sold by Best Buy have grown to dominate the television category on Amazon,” said Joe Kaziukenas, founder of researcher Marketplace Pulse.” Tiered subs.


Institute Says Dollar Stores May Do Low-Income Areas More Harm Than Good by Claire Kelloway at Eater. Read more


Woman has massive heart attack – three Home Depot employees save her life by Rachel Lloyd at Fox 47. “Doug Kelly said he has a simple thank you for the employees who saved his wife. “You’ve given me a second chance with this gal,” he said as his wife wiped a tear away.” Read more


UPS Store deletes Christmas ‘shredding’ tweet after massive backlash at Fox News. “The UPS Store is being criticized online after posting a cheeky Christmas tweet telling parents they can shred letters to Santa.” Read more


This fake package covers porch thieves in glitter and fart spray by Greg Kumparak at TechCrunch. “Oh, and the whole thing is being filmed (and uploaded online!) from basically every angle, thanks to a very carefully aligned rig of four hidden cameras. And there’s more! I don’t want to spoil it, but everything down to the tiny details of the box itself were planned out to make thieves feel a little bit more silly after the glitter settles.” Video/Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

This 25-year-old got the eBay CEO as her Reddit Secret Santa—here’s what she received

Whole Foods won’t have to reopen Bellevue store, court says

Target plans mini store for old Kmart in Spring Valley – San Diego

Charter/Spectrum Cable agrees to record $174M settlement for misleading customers on internet speed

A holy mess: Churches, other nonprofits confront parking tax

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Tipsheet: Amazon Targets CRaP Items | Delivery Robot Funeral | WM Chief Ethics Officer to Exit


Jay Jorgensen, Walmart’s global chief ethics and compliance officer, to exit the company in January by Kim Souza at Talk Business. “Daniel Trujillo, who has served as senior vice president and international chief compliance officer, will replace Jorgensen, according to an internal company memo sent Friday (Dec. 14) by Rachel Brand, Walmart’s chief legal officer.” Read more


Delivery robot bursts into flames at UC Berkeley by Sophia Brown-Heidenreich at The Daily Californian. “Garnering more than 300 reactions and more than 90 comments within an hour of uploading, the video of the robot in flames made waves on the page. Students have called for a moment of silence, suggesting finals week may have finally gotten to the robot as well.” Pic/Read more


Amazon Targets Unprofitable Items, With a Sharper Focus on the Bottom Line at Wall Street Journal. “Inside Amazon, the items are known as CRaP, short for “Can’t Realize a Profit.”…One example: bottled water from Coca-Cola Co. Amazon used to have a $6.99 six-pack of Smartwater…Amazon notified Dash customers it was changing that default item to a 24-pack for $37.20.” WSJ subs.


CVS defends settlement that allowed Aetna merger as judge assesses at Reuters. Read more


Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of Walgreens to a rare “sell” rating Friday, doubting that the pharmacy chain’s plans to transform its drugstore business will work. at CNBC. Read more


Europe’s Online Retailers Suffer Nightmare Before Christmas at Bloomberg via Fortune. “This goes against the script,” said Stephen Lienert, a credit analyst at Jefferies. “It was supposed to be bricks and mortar that’s dying and online is the future, but that headline gets ripped up today.” Read more


German union calls strike at Amazon warehouses at Reuters. “Amazon has repeatedly rejected Verdi’s demands, saying it believes warehouse staff should be paid in line with competitors in the logistics sector, not as retail staff.” Read more


Neiman Marcus bites back at Marble Ridge Capital over claims that the retailer defaulted on debt agreements at Bloomberg. “To be clear, Neiman Marcus is not in default under any of its debt documents,” the company said in its filings. “Neiman Marcus likewise is not insolvent.” Tiered subs.


Best Buy shares dropped Monday after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to underperform at CNBC. Read more


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Minnesota Amazon workers & Somali community leaders rally in suburban Minneapolis to demand better working conditions at Pioneer Press. “Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee employs more than 1,500 workers. The online retail giant estimates about 30 percent of the workers there are East African.” Read more


Canada Goose is delaying the opening of its flagship store in Beijing as Huawei protest mounts at Bloomberg via Vancouver Sun. Read more


Chicago lifts the veil on its Amazon HQ2 bid by Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business. Tiered subs.


Small assault-style rifle firms thriving under activists’ radar by Ross Kerber & Tim McLaughlin at Reuters. “America’s leading gun makers have struggled over the past two years, with the three biggest seeing their rifle market share slip to 44 percent in 2016 from 57 percent in 2011, according to ATF data. Over the same period, a cluster of about 30 small companies combined for 51 percent of overall rifle production, up from 37 percent.” Read more


Target says orders placed by Thursday are ‘guaranteed’ to be delivered by Christmas Eve at MarketWatch. Read more


…The last day to send gifts with FedEx, UPS and USPS at USA Today. Read more


Prada will stop selling monkey key chains decried as racist by Erin Jensen at USA Today. “I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger,” Ezie wrote. “Today after returning to NYC…I walked past Prada’s Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery.” Pics/Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Hollywood Reporter Film Critics Pick the 30 Best Performances of the Year

Teen vape use doubled in the last year

How Cisco’s Ex-CEO Turned A Secret ‘Disability’ Into His Greatest Strength

Chiefs QB Mahomes prepares to launch “Patty Flakes” cereal

Prosecco’s bubble shows no sign of bursting

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Tipsheet: Costco US +11% | ‘Sail-Thru’ Supermarket Dubai | Amazon Toy PL


Costco Q1 comp sales +8.8% (US +11% / Canada +2.4% / Other Int’l +4%) Press release


…Reuters: Costco margin dip overshadows sales beat “We’ve seen a little bit more margin pressure as there’s been a little bit more retail competitive pressure out there, not only from supermarkets but Sam’s as well,” Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said, referring to its grocery business.” Read more | Transcript via Seeking Alpha


U.S. core retail sales accelerate in November at Reuters. “Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services surged 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.7 percent increase in October.” Read more


Amazon has officially killed the Whole Foods-Instacart partnership by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “Instacart will begin pulling the first group of 1,415 workers out of its 76 Whole Foods locations in February…The end of the relationship is expected to reduce Instacart’s revenue by less than five percent.” Read more


Shoppers return to liquidating Sears stores, boosting Q3 comp sales +3.2% Read more


New York AG sues Target, Walmart and LaRose Industries for selling lead-contaminated children’s toys  at CNBC. “Underwood said her office had conducted tests which found that “Cra-Z-Jewelz” jewelry-making kits had lead levels up to 10 times higher than the federal limit.” Read more


Starbucks to roll out delivery at nearly one quarter of US stores in early 2019 at Yahoo Finance. Read more


REDCard Holders Rate Remodeled Target Stores at Field Agent. “Sixty-eight percent of mystery shoppers said they’re more likely to shop at their local Target following the makeover. In the broader survey (N = 461), 52% reported being more likely to shop at their area Target thanks to said upgrades, compared to only 7% who are less likely.” Video/Read more


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Amazon adds toys to its growing list of private labels by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. “The listings were first spotted by TJI Research this week, but the items themselves are not available for sale. (The listings have also been pulled down, following our inquiry to Amazon.)…the products will be added to the AmazonBasics line in the future and they’re aimed at daycares more so than consumers.” Read more


Carrefour Launches First Ever “Sail-Thru” Supermarket in Dubai at Hollywood Reporter. “More than 300 products will be offered, ranging from food items such as hot and cold snacks to non-food items such as sunscreen and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Customers on jet skis or smaller boats can sail up to the Pod and purchase items at the window, while customers onshore and on larger vessels can order by phone or the Aqua Pod app.” Pic/Read more


At Home Depot and Walmart, Brick-and-Mortar Retail Is About to Get Way More Personal by Jaclyn Gallucci at Food & Wine. “For Krystal Zell, customer vice president of Home Depot, the future of big retail all comes down to creating personalized experiences through data. “It’s amazing how you can have these treasure troves of data and you really don’t connect the dots,” Zell said.” Read more


Risk of heart attack is greatest on Christmas Eve at Miami Herald. Read more


How holiday shoppers can avoid falling for fake online reviews at CNBC. “FakeSpot gives Amazon products a grade based on how trustworthy its reviews appear to an algorithm. The website also grades reviews from TripAdvisor, Yelp and Walmart. ReviewMeta takes a different approach. Running an Amazon URL through the website generates a report with an overall grade, as well as an adjusted rating that removes reviews it deems “unnatural.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Did a slave make your sneakers? The answer is: probably

NYSE execs used fake traders on market floor to impress Snap CEO

Walmart shoplifter says customer, a former high school football lineman, ‘should be punished’ for tackling him

CNBC’s “Closing Bell” team talks with Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer

Postmates has created a robot to speed up and automate its deliveries

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Eye on Retail Tipsheet is must-read material for 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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Tipsheet: Lowe’s New Slogan/Shoddy Tech | Costco Beer Out | CVS Merger Block


Judge seems likely to block CVS-Aetna merger by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “I expect Leon to issue some kind of an injunctive order to keep them from integrating,” a source close to the case told The Post. Such a ruling, in turn, could kick-start a procedural saga that might delay the $69 billion merger for months, rather than the weeks that most investors anticipate, insiders said.” Read more


Nielsen: 45% often or always use devices while watching TV by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch. Read more


Lowe’s to hire 2,000 software engineers amid company overhaul by Katherine Peralta at Charlotte Observer. “Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison went so far as to call the website crash on Black Friday “embarrassing.” But, Ellison said, it demonstrated the kind of shoddy technology that store workers deal with constantly.” Tiered subs.


…Lowe’s Unveils a New Slogan That Sounds a Lot Like Home Depot’s by Matthew Townsend at Bloomberg. “This spring, Lowe’s will start using the phrase “Do It Right For Less.”  Tiered subs.


…Lowe’s Investor Presentation – Slideshow at Seeking Alpha. PowerPoint


Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas at AP News. “…(will also) break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years will expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado.” Read more


Amazon Warehouse Workers in New York Announce Plan to Unionize at Bloomberg via Fortune. “…riding a wave of anti-Amazon sentiment since it was announced that New York City would give the billion-dollar company a $3 billion tax break to set up its new headquarters in Long Island City. A group of Staten Island warehouse workers claim the company treats them like “robots”…” Read more


Sam’s Club finding success with private brand push by Kim Souza at Talk Business. “Pamela Gaik, vice president of private brands at Sam’s Club was the speaker at the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WalStreet Speaker Series held Wednesday morning…When asked what categories Sam’s Club is looking to expand the Member’s Mark brand in the future, Gaik said women’s apparel and home goods.” Read more


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Walmart and Express Scripts Sign Three-Year Agreement Press release


Circle K gas prices drop to pennies per gallon during computer glitch at AJC. “…two of the stations, located in West Columbia, South Carolina, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, temporarily sold regular unleaded gas for 1.9 cents per gallon Tuesday night, allowing some customers to fill up their tanks for less than 30 cents.” Read more


Tailored Brands Q3 comp sales +2.3% (Men’s Warehouse +1.7% / Jos. A. Bank +3.8%) Press release


…Tailored Brands Unravels After Reducing Full-Year Guidance at The Street. Read more


‘Nobody should work here — ever’: Teen uses intercom to quit Walmart by Michael Brice-Saddler at Washington Post. “I’ve been a loyal employee here for over a year and a half, and I’m sick of all the bulls—, bogus write-ups, and my job,” he said. He ended his rant using expletives to curse management, his job and Walmart as a whole.” Tiered subs.


Hallmark Names Former Kroger Chairman and CEO David B. Dillon to Board Press release


Arkansas Parks and Tourism Director Kane Webb has resigned to take a job with Walmart by R0by Brock at Talk Business. “At the end of the year, Webb will leave the ADPT post to take the position of Director of Executive Communications at Walmart in Bentonville.” Read more


COPPER – A look inside Starbucks’ newest Reserve Roastery in New York City at CNBC. Pics/Read more


Why the Amazon Invasion in New York and Virginia Will Be Slow by Laura Stevens & Shayndi Raice at Wall Street Journal. “It will likely take many years, if not a decade, before residents see a massive army of Amazon employees invading their cities. That is because Amazon plans to slowly hire workers rather than overwhelm its new hosts all at once. Amazon has told employees at its Seattle headquarters it won’t require them to relocate, said people familiar with the matter…” WSJ subs.


Kohl’s says it surpassed its holiday hiring targets, even in a tight labor market at CNBC. Read more


Top Lobbyists 2018 at The Hill. “Lobbyists that represent: Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Walgreens, Amazon…” List


Costco has stopped selling its Kirkland Signature Light Beer by Mary Hanbury at Business Insider. “Earlier this year, a video of a California man making a commercial for the beer in his backyard went viral. Carpenter Randy Colpek was filmed breaking through a wall of Costco’s Kirkland Signature Light Beer, while shouting out a series of slogans such as: “Kirkland Light: It’s got 30% less calories, so you can drink double the amount.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Man erects giant middle-finger sculpture, flipping off local government

KFC is now selling a firelog that smells like its fried chicken

Quebec maple syrup production plummeted by 22.4% in 2018

Taylor Swift tracked stalkers with facial recognition tech at her concert

Walgreens Sued For $525 Million Over Shooting Death

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


Subscribe to Eye on Retail Tipsheet here


Contact us: Send story tips, press releases and advertising inquiries to