Holiday Sales +3.1% | #1 Rent: 5th Ave | Return It: PA


US retail sales grow 3.1% during holiday season – Mastercard report at Reuters. “The increase is lower than the 3.7% growth Mastercard forecast in September, and has slumped from last year’s 7.6% as higher interest rates and inflation pressured consumer spending…Ecommerce sales grew at a slower pace of 6.3% from last year’s 10.6%…apparel and restaurant categories rose 2.4% and 7.8%, respectively…while sales of electronics fell 0.4%.” Read more


Maersk to resume Red Sea voyages with Operation Prosperity Guardian in place at Fox News. “More details were expected to be released in the coming days, according to Maersk, adding it could very well revert to sending ships on other routes if conditions deteriorate.” Read more


…Hapag-Lloyd to decide on Wednesday about Red Sea routes at CNBC


Retailers Are Bracing for Their Postholiday Returns Hangover at WSJ. “Inmar Intelligence and its 300,000-square-foot warehouse is on the front lines of the business known as reverse logistics…Workers at the site, which sits in an Eastern Pennsylvania region filled with distribution centers that serve stores on the Eastern Seaboard, sift through as many as 950,000 goods a week from companies including fashion retailers, home-goods merchants, department-store chains and retail pharmacies.” WSJ subs.


U.S. home prices hit an all-time high in October, Case-Shiller says at MarketWatch. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city house price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in October compared to the previous month. Home prices in the 20 major U.S. metro markets were up 4.9% in the last 12 months ending in October.” Read more


The Title of ‘World’s Priciest Retail Rent’ Resides in America at WSJ. “Rents averaged $2,000 a square foot on upper Fifth Avenue over the past year, according to real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. That was about 13% higher than the world’s next-most-expensive shopping destination, Via Montenapoleone in Milan. New York City displaced Hong Kong last year to top the chart for the first time since 2017. Fifth Avenue’s rent prices are still below prepandemic levels, but store availability has fallen as retailers ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch to Citizen Watch have opened new locations.” WSJ subs.


Zulily transfers assets to professional liquidator as failed retailer unable to issue refunds at GeekWire


Amazon sellers say misleading AI product reviews threaten sales at Bloomberg via Seattle Times. “A summary of Penn tennis balls says some reviewers were disappointed with the product’s smell. The $4 three-ball sleeve has a 4.7-star rating based on more than 4,300 ratings but only seven reviews mention an odor…An eight-pack of Mason jars had 4.5 stars based on more than 3,000 ratings. The AI-generated summary says: “However, some customers have reported issues with rusting lids.” Shoppers must click deeper into the product to see that just 16 customers complained about rust.” Read more


Canadian month-on-month retail sales grew by 0.7% in October but most likely were flat in November at Reuters


How a 40-ounce cup turned Stanley into a $750 million a year business at CNBC. “I felt like I was signing a mortgage,” (Influencer) LeSueur tells CNBC Make It of her purchase order for 5,000 Quenchers…Those Quenchers, however, sold out within days. When (new CEO) Reilly took charge, he embraced The Buy Guide as partners…“My experience at Crocs told me that that kind of influencer opportunity was just the magic that Stanley might need,” he says. “And we were right.” Read more


Amazon’s new Echo Frames can’t touch the Ray-Ban Meta at TechCrunch


Subscription-based care moves beyond peddling birth control and helping with hair loss at AP. “This Netflix-like approach promises help for two common difficulties in the U.S.: access to health care and prescription refills. But it also stirs concern about care quality…Hims has topped 1.4 million subscribers this year. It expects to pull in at least $1.2 billion in annual sales by 2025.” Read more


Newegg Q3 net sales down 16% Press release


Costco rumored to be discontinuing sweet treat from food court at Fox News. “My brother (Costco employee) just told me they were getting rid of the churros at the food court and replacing them with cookies,” a user near the Goleta, Calif. warehouse said…”It is true. They have found a company to make the cookies, agreements are finalized. They will be showing up in early 2024, along with chocolate ice cream which will appear before summer,” (another) user wrote.” Read more


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, hellos…contact Jason Long at

Country Polices ‘Shrinkflation’ | Wgreen IT Shake-Up | Bread Battle


South Korea will Police ‘Shrinkflation’ at the Supermarket at WSJ. “Starting next year, the country will require companies to disclose on their packages and websites when grocery items drop in volume, but not price. To ensure firms comply, South Korea is establishing a dedicated price-investigation team to monitor any fluctuations. Officials are considering levying fines, too.” WSJ subs.


Ikea says products will be delayed due to Red Sea diversions at CNBC


Walgreens’s Ambitions Lean on Its Technology. First, It Has to Build Up Its IT Department. at WSJ. “Walgreens Boots Alliance is on its third chief information officer in a little over a year…an internal shake-up within the IT department, including contractor cuts, disruption in work processes, low morale among employees and the exit of key managers over the past year, poses a challenge to the department seen as central to the company’s strategy, according to interviews with current and former staff.” WSJ subs. 


Walgreens CMO Departs at Ad Age. “Walgreens has parted ways with its chief marketing officer just a year and a half after her high-profile hire in 2022. Linh Peters, who started as senior VP and CMO…in May of last year, is no longer with Walgreens, a spokesperson confirmed to Ad Age today. The role “was impacted as part of recent layoffs,” the spokesperson said.” Ad Age subs.


CANADA BREAD BATTLE: Metro accuses Loblaw of falsely implicating it in bread price-fixing scheme at Financial Post. “Metro has suffered, and continues to suffer, significant and unjustifiable damage to its reputation, having been falsely painted as involved in a criminal price-fixing conspiracy when it was not,” the retailer said…Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said in an email that the allegations by Metro are “simply ridiculous and utterly untrue…” Read more


DALLAS: Joe V’s Smart Shop by H-E-B holds groundbreaking for first store outside of Houston area “…an innovative price format that offers the highest quality, freshest products at the lowest prices in the marketplace.” Press release


AI is giving Santa a boost this holiday season at CNBC. “We are still in early days,” (Garf) said. “Retailers are testing and learning, and it’s only a leading indicator of what to come.” Even as companies hype AI’s potential and investors bet heavily on its future, its limits and risks have come to the forefront as more businesses adopt it.” Read more


Only 22% of Gen Z respondents find Jeff Bezos trustworthy at Business Insider/Yahoo


Is that Justin Trudeau buying batteries in Canadian Tire? at Toronto Star. “I love to go to Canadian Tire,” Trudeau told DiMonte. “I don’t go every Saturday morning, but I will go there, ball cap on, and I’ll just wander around.” In one of his recent trips, he said, he bought new winter sleds for his children and some double-A batteries.” Read more


Bezos taps Amazon vet to speed up space company Blue Origin at Reuters. “Top priorities for Dave Limp, who led Amazon’s lucrative devices unit, include accelerating development of Blue Origin’s long-delayed New Glenn rocket and production of its powerful BE-4 engine, according to two employees who attended the new CEO’s company-wide meeting this month.” Read more


Wendy Arlin (Ex-CFO Bath & Body Works) Appointed to Kohl’s Board of Directors Press release


The Lobbyists Scouring Small Towns to Help You Find the Perfect ‘Made in America’ Gift at WSJ. “The digital catalog now goes to 300,000 people, and the alliance staff hunts year-round for gifts from companies in all 50 U.S. states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. A challenge is avoiding repeats from states with small populations or limited manufacturing. Brotherton-Bunch says Wyoming and the Dakotas are among the toughest.” WSJ subs.


KC: 20 USPS employees under investigation after Amazon packages missing at Fox 4 KC. “The source provided FOX4 with photos and video of dozen of empty Amazon boxes stashed in postal bins and garbage containers at the post office. According to our source, the empty boxes all contained items that were being returned to Amazon. Instead of returning them, our source said, postal employees are being investigated for taking the items and dumping the boxes.” Video/Read more


Local Home Depot employee spreads “good vibes” to customers at KOLO 8 ABC. “I have little kids that call me Uncle Jerry, and it’s just good man,” added Trotter. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just a good vibe all around and I’m so proud to be here and I’m happy.” Video/Read more


Advertising inquiries, product searches, comments, questions, hellos…contact Jason Long at

CNBC Doubts Target | 85% ‘Thrifting’ | Woody The Talking Christmas Tree


Target blamed theft and violence for 9 store closures. Crime is higher at locations it kept open nearby at CNBC. “I don’t want to use the word ‘stunt,’ because I don’t know exactly what went on in Minneapolis [where Target is based], but to me, it read like a stunt, looking to divert attention from the company’s lack of performance overall,” said Mark Cohen, a professor and director of retail studies at Columbia Business School…”They implied that the only reason they were closing the stores was because of theft. That may or may not be true. My guess is: Not true.” Read more


Holiday spending to be up big even as approval of Biden hits new low at CNBC. “Intended holiday spending per person jumped 31% to $1,300 this year, according to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey…Yet, 66% percent of Americans are negative about the current state of the economy and the outlook, a record for the 17 years of the survey.” Read more


Affirm to offer BNPL services at Walmart’s self-checkout kiosks at Reuters


Shippers mask positions, weigh options amid Red Sea attacks at Reuters. “A number of container ships are anchored in the Red Sea and others have turned off tracking systems as traders adjust routes…Major shippers including Hapag Lloyd, MSC and Maersk…have said they will be avoiding the Red Sea route and re-routing via southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.” Read more


…About 15% of world shipping traffic transits via the Suez Canal at Reuters. Read more


VF Corp says order fulfillment impacted by cybersecurity incident at Fox News. “The parent company behind popular brands like The North Face, Supreme and Vans said it experienced a cybersecurity incident that affected its online order fulfillment capabilities…Data was also taken, the clothing company said.” Read more


‘Thrifting’ Extends to Holiday Shopping Too at WSJ. “Roughly 17% of gifts this holiday season will be a resold item, according to software firm Salesforce…About 85% of American shoppers have bought or sold preowned items over the past year, nearly a third for the first time, according to online marketplace OfferUp’s Recommerce report. In apparel alone, some 10% of the global market will be secondhand by next year.” WSJ subs.


US single-family housing starts jump to more than 1-1/2-year high at Reuters. “Single-family housing starts…jumped 18.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.143 million units last month, the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau said. That was the highest level since April 2022.” Read more


Retailers are improving their delivery speeds at AP. “Jason Goldberg, the chief commerce strategy officer at the advertising giant Publicis, noted that Amazon has far more warehouse space and trucks than Walmart and Target. He said even if both Target and Walmart were to dramatically add more delivery hubs, they still wouldn’t be able to catch up with Amazon.” Read more


First building on Walmart’s new Bentonville campus opens Jan. 12 at Talk Business. “The fitness center will be the first amenity building to open on Walmart’s new home office campus since the project’s initial announcement in September 2017. A layout center was the first building Walmart opened on campus in February 2022. The construction project is a massive campus build that encompasses roughly 9 city blocks, 12 office buildings and 10 community buildings with outdoor and indoor areas of recreation.” Read more


Target is requiring hybrid employees to come back to the office in 2024, but only for four weeks a year at Fox 9. Read more


Amazon in talks to invest in Diamond Sports at Reuters via WSJ. “If an agreement is reached, Amazon’s Prime Video platform would eventually become the streaming home for Diamond’s games…Diamond, which has the local rights to about half the teams in Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association and about a third of the National Hockey League teams, would continue operating its cable networks through its existing partnerships, according to the report.” 


The CEO of Ahold Delhaize thinks self-checkout is worth it despite theft: ‘Savings on labor costs are higher than the potential downsides’ at Fortune (subs. required) 


Richfield school board grants Best Buy’s request to lower property taxes at Star Tribune. “The city, schools and county have all approved ending a minimum-valuation agreement one year early as Best Buy says the Richfield headquarters has plummeted in value…The school district negotiated with Best Buy to get a one-time payment of $150,000 to the district.” Read more


Walmart CEO talks company values on Simon Sinek podcast at Arkansas Money & Politics. Read more


Walgreens names Weber Shandwick US PR AOR at MM+M. “WPP formerly served as WBA’s global marketing and communications AOR, but PRWeek understands the business has been split up among WBA’s brands. Walgreens confirmed it has hired Weber but declined additional comment.” Read more


Albertsons Companies Appoints Sarah Mensah and Lisa Gray to Board of Directors Press release


Feeling Festive? Your Instacart Shopper Is Probably More ‘Bah Humbug.’ at WSJ. “She’s learned that holiday orders with hefty cases of water or soda are a hard no because maneuvering them on a flatbed in a crowded store is nearly impossible. Some shoppers reject all orders from Walmart during the holidays. “It’s like bumper cars for carriages in there,” says a New Jersey-based shopper who runs Kim’s Side Money Plans, a YouTube channel dedicated to gig work.” WSJ subs.


Woody the talking Christmas tree delights and terrifies visitors at a Nova Scotia mall at Globe & Mail. Read more/Pics

Shein #4 Brand Growth | Circuit City ‘Comeback’ | Dollarama +11.1%


Retail sales rose 0.3% in November vs. expectations for a decline at CNBC. “Excluding autos, sales rose 0.2%, also better than the forecast for no change. Stripping out autos and gas, sales rose 0.6%.” Read more


Temu files fresh lawsuit against Shein, accusing its rival of ‘mafia-style intimidation’ at CNBC. “They began to illegally detain merchants, forcibly asking for their phones, stealing our merchant accounts and passwords, stealing our business secrets, and simultaneously forcing merchants to leave our platform. Their actions are too exaggerated; we had no choice but to sue them.” Read more


Circuit City, angling for a comeback of sorts, hopes to raise $25M at TechCrunch. “So what does Circuit City plan to do with the cash if it’s successful in securing it? Not open brick-and-mortar stores, unfortunately. Instead, Shmoel plans to form “strategic alliances” with unnamed national companies (including possibly JCPenny) to launch a “Powered by Circuit City” co-branding program…” Read more


Costco’s new shopping carts have left customers deeply divided at Delish. “My store just got them. BJs has had them for a while. I find them a little harder to steer as they’re a bit blocky. Why don’t carts come with built in cupholders? We have the technology!” said one user.” Read more


Kroger: Over 5,800 regional office employees will be required to return to work in person at the grocer’s Cincinnati locations starting Feb. 5, 2024 at Cincinnati Enquirer


Costco’s $499 Kirkland Signature irons sold out in just hours at Golf. “With some rough math — calculated thanks in part to a leaked internal slide which showed that Costco had an initial buy of $2 million worth of iron sets, with the sets selling for $500 ($499 to be exact) — that means Costco likely sold around 4,000 sets in five hours. Not too shabby for clubs with no paid advertising or player endorsements.” Read more


Dollarama Q3 comp sales +11.1% Press release


New Walmart campus spurs plan to widen part of Highway 102 in Bentonville at Talk Business. “The new Walmart Home Office is being built south of Central Avenue, north of Highway 102 and east of J Street. It’s expected to open in 2025.” Read more


Amazon wins $270 million tax fight with EU at CNN


‘Just infuriating’: Online retailer Zulily flip-flops, now plans to lay off employees amid holidays at GeekWire. “Zulily employees received notice last week that they’d lose their jobs in February. But many of them were surprised Wednesday to get an email notifying them that today would be their last at the company. “Last week’s [decision] was already shocking. Today’s is just infuriating,” at GeekWire


Dollar General Withdraws Commitment to Cage-Free Eggs at Progressive Grocer


Amazon brings back ability to use Alexa to thank and tip delivery drivers during holiday rush at GeekWire. “The first two million thank yous will also send $5 to the driver, at no cost to the customer. Last year, Amazon said that the feature exceeded company expectations. Since then, customers have thanked their delivery drivers over 22 million times.” Read more


RaceTrac Completes Acquisition of Gulf Oil Press release


To Get Your Positive Review, Businesses Bully, Badger and Guilt-Trip at WSJ. “McKinsey & Co. found that products with three- or four-star ratings on a major online platform had sales that were three times higher than those with one-star ratings. An increase of a single star in an overall rating on review site Yelp .com boosts a restaurant’s revenue by 5% to 9%, according to research by Michael Luca, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.” WSJ subs.


HEB releases latest commercials featuring San Antonio Spurs at KTSA


Man who joked about throwing a Walmart self-checkout party turns event into toy drive at NY Post. “He never thought he’d see 21,000 people mark that they were interested in the event, prompting him to turn it into something bigger — and more realistic: a toy drive. Since the change of plans, 37,000 Facebook users are now interested, with 6,500 saying they plan to attend the drive, according to the event page.” Read more


Fastest Growing Brands 2023 (Shein #4, Amazon Pharmacy #12) at Morning Consult. Top 20 list



Bernie Hits Kroger | McMillon @ UArk | W.Foods CEO Iview


Lawmakers call on U.S. regulator to thwart Kroger-Albertsons deal at Reuters. “Senators Elizabeth Warren, Mazie Hirono, Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker and representatives Summer Lee and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in the letter that Kroger’s proposal to divest 413 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers would not address harms to consumers, workers, and the grocery industry if the merger is allowed.” Read more


Inflation slowed to a 3.1% annual rate in November at CNBC. “Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI increased 0.3% on the month and 4% from a year ago. Both numbers were in line with estimates and little changed from October.” Read more


Pharmacies share medical data with police without a warrant, inquiry finds at Washington Post. “…CVS Health, Kroger and Rite Aid, with a combined 60,000 locations nationwide — said they allow pharmacy staff members to hand over customers’ medical records in the store…Pharmacies’ records hold some of the most intimate details of their customers’ personal lives, including years-old medical conditions and the prescriptions they take for mental health and birth control.” Read more


CANADA – All grocers need to sign code of conduct if it is to succeed, Metro CEO tells MPs at Financial Post. “(Metro CEO) La Flèche told MPs at a House of Commons agriculture committee meeting on stabilizing food prices that Metro is willing to sign the code of conduct as it’s currently drafted. Last week, executives from Walmart Canada and Loblaw Cos. Ltd. told the committee that they can’t sign the code in its current form because they’re concerned the code will raise prices for consumers.” Read more


Dollar stores are killing some supermarkets. Could co-ops help cities fight back? at Fast Company. “The new store, called Goodness Gracious Grocery…is still in the early stages of launching: signing up members, fundraising, and creating a board…“It takes an average co-op about 6 to 10 years to come online,” Loftlin says. “When I found that out, I was crestfallen because we can’t wait. We cannot wait.” Read more


Casey’s Q2 inside same-store sales increased 2.9% Press release


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon speaks to University of Arkansas students at Talk Business. “There were 16 teams this semester in the McMillon Innovation Studio, which is outside of their classes…student teams worked on two projects for Sam’s Club and one for Walmart that focused on sustainability utilizing surplus cowhides…One of the Sam’s Club teams worked on an app to help the retailer reap the financial benefits from local events that bring outsiders to town.” Read more


‘I lost my money’ Scammers cashing in Meijer mPerks points at ABC 13 


Whole Foods CEO Interview at Progressive Grocer. “He just came right in, from the airport, I think, so casual,” the (Whole Foods) employee replied. “Just a down-to-earth, really good guy…Buechel’s leadership style — humble, open, leaning in — is part of what makes him the ideal person to take Whole Foods into its next evolution. He showcases the other facets of his authentic style…in an exclusive interview with PG…” Read more


Zulily holds ‘going-out-of-business sale’ at KIRO 7


…Zulily sues Amazon at GeekWire. “The suit…says Amazon’s specific campaign against Zulily began around 2019, when Zulily started displaying Amazon’s prices next to its own to show shoppers than its prices were lower. “But rather than compete on the merits, Amazon set out to ‘destroy’ Zulily instead, by coercing third-party retailers and wholesale suppliers to agree to ‘price parity,’ i.e., to artificially raise Zulily prices at or above Amazon’s, and to punish any sellers who cheated,” the Zulily suit says.” Read more


Hasbro laying off 1,100 employees at CNN


Macy’s Billion-Dollar Question: What’s More Valuable, Real Estate or the Business? at WSJ. “Neil Saunders, a managing director with research firm GlobalData, estimates that the real estate that Macy’s owns is worth about $6 billion, more than its market capitalization as of Friday of about $4.8 billion.” WSJ subs. 


Best Buy asks to lower HQ tax assessment by millions at KARE 11. “School District Superintendent Steven Unowski said…he would only sign off if he believed taxpayers were protected…He wants Best Buy to commit to a $150,000 payment to Richfield Schools to cover the burden.” Read more


A deadly delivery highlights ‘falsified’ heat records at USPS at Politico


The American Store Is Shrinking at WSJ. “Retailers signed leases averaging 3,200 square feet during the first three quarters of 2023, the smallest size since data firm CoStar Group began tracking this metric in 2006.” WSJ subs.


Fraudsters Bribed Amazon Employees in Refund Abuse Scheme at EcommerceBytes. “According to the complaint: “REKK uses sophisticated methods to obtain the refund, including socially engineering Amazon customer service, phishing Amazon employees, manipulating Amazon’s systems through unauthorized access, and bribing Amazon insiders to grant refunds.” Read more

McMillon @ CNBC | Amazon 60% Same/1-Day | Canada Holiday -11%


Dollar General Q3 comp sales decreased 1.3% Press release


Chinese e-commerce platform Temu drawing shoppers from US dollar stores at Reuters. “As of last month, Temu accounted for nearly 17% of market share in the United States within the discount stores categories, according to data analytics firm Earnest Analytics. That compares to 8% for Five Below, 43% for Dollar General and 28% for Dollar Tree.” Read more


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon @ CNBC “Doug McMillon said it’s gotten easier to hire people and get them to stick around. “It’s more normalized,” McMillon said in an interview with CNBC’s Sara Eisen that aired Wednesday on “Squawk on the Street.” “The unusual employment market that we saw the last few years has changed. We are able to staff around the country. Our turnover’s down. We’ve got more continuity, which is helping a lot.” Read more


Chewy Q3: net sales up 8.2% / net loss of $35.8 million Press release


Amazon’s internal plans to advance its interests in California are laid bare in leaked memo at AP. “The eight-page document — titled “community engagement plan” for 2024 — provides a rare glimpse into how one of American’s biggest companies executes on its public relations objectives and attempts to curtail reputational harm stemming from criticisms of its business.” Read more


America’s Most Responsible Companies 2024 (Gap #118, Lowe’s #149, Home Depot #166) at Newsweek


Targeting costly meds, Biden admin asserts authority to seize certain drug patents at Politico. “The determination, which was described by three people familiar with the matter, represents the culmination of a nearly nine-month review of the government’s so-called march-in rights. Progressives have long insisted that those rights empower the administration to break the patents of pricey drugs that were developed with public funds…” Read more


Canada: Holiday shoppers forecast to spend 11% less than last year at Financial Post


Christmas supplies threatened as Panama Canal shipping route suffers its worst drought ever at Daily Mail. “Instead of the eight to ten hours it typically takes to transit through, ships are now waiting one to two weeks in line. Some companies have paid as much as $4million to move to the front of the queue and bypass wait times, Fox News reported.” Read more


China’s exports grow for first time in 6 months in relief for factories at Reuters


Amazon CEO explains how company carries out same-day delivery at CNBC. “Jassy said 60% of shipments in Amazon’s top 60 metropolitan areas have been same-day or one-day deliveries in the first half of the year.” Read more


…Amazon, fighting consumer lawsuit, says ‘guaranteed’ delivery has limits at Reuters


Jeff Bezos should pay royalties for using Amazon’s name, says this Brazilian governor at Business Insider/Yahoo News


Costco to buy Dallas office tower adjacent to Costco store for $14M at WFAA 8 ABC. “They will likely tear it down,” Mike Geisler, managing partner of Dallas retail brokerage Venture Commercial, speculated to CoStar News. He was not involved in the deal. “Everyone is doing different things with fulfillment centers today with a lot of experimentation underway…” Read more


Jeff Bezos’ $190M real estate empire in Seattle includes five previously unreported homes at NY Post


Amazon cuts clothing merchant fees to compete with Shein at Yahoo Finance


Sacramento sheriff’s office issues warning after uncovering gift card scam involving 50+ California Target stores at CBS 13. “[Retailers] need to put these behind the shelves, they need to control access to them, or they need to completely take them off the shelf,” Detective Andy Cater said. The scam works by taking the gift card’s barcode, replacing it with another and sealing it back up and waiting until a customer purchases it.” Read more


Biden administration delays ban on menthol cigarettes until 2024 at CNBC


Amazon planned to take away RTO’d employees’ free coffee. Then 10,000 spoke up at Seattle Times. “Ending the perk was yet another hit to weary employees who had already faced unexpected layoffs and new work requirements, said two current employees who spoke with The Seattle Times and asked to remain anonymous.” Read more


Woman celebrates 30th birthday at Costco: ‘Cheapest and best birthday dinner yet’ at Fox. “Stimmel and her family ordered five hot dogs, one chicken bake, one rotisserie chicken Caesar salad, a whole cheese pizza and several soda cups — for a grand total of $30.88.” Read more



Amazon Took My Pet | CVS Cost + | AutoZone +1.2%


CVS Plans to Overhaul How Much Drugs Cost at WSJ. “CVS’s roughly 9,500 retail pharmacies will get reimbursed by pharmacy-benefit managers and other payers based on the amount that CVS paid for the drugs, in addition to a limited markup and a flat fee to cover the services involved in handling and dispensing the prescriptions. Today, pharmacies are generally paid using complex measures that aren’t directly based on what they spent to purchase specific drugs.” WSJ subs.


…CVS aims to make pharmacy reimbursement process more transparent at Yahoo Finance. “CVS’ new drug reimbursement model looks similar to that of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, an online pharmacy launched by the billionaire which aims to drive down the cost of drugs broadly by selling them at a 15% markup over its cost, plus pharmacy fees.” Read more


AutoZone 1st Quarter Domestic Same Store Sales Increase 1.2% Press release


Care Bears And Other Classic Toys Are Back In Vogue, Sparking ‘Fist Fights’ Over Licensing Rights at Forbes. “While a major licensing agreement might have cost $100,000 a few years ago, that same deal might now cost $500,000 to $1 million, said Jonathan Cathey, CEO of Loyal Subjects…He said he’s seen royalty rates rise from 6% or 8% to 12% or higher in some cases.” Read more


J.Jill, Inc. Q3 total net sales down 0.1% Press release


Amazon offers students $25 flights home for the holidays at NY Post. “The first-of-its-kind promotion kicks off at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday and continues at 3 a.m. EST on Wednesday and Thursday for travel between mid-December and early January. Over three days, 3,000 $25 tickets will be available — with 1,000 tickets dropping each day.” Read more


Walmart tech vet, AI2 research scientists are behind new Seattle startup Spiffy at GeekWire


Macy’s security guard stabbed to death by man who returned 15 minutes after trying to steal hats at NY Post. “Macy’s has faced one of the highest rates of retail theft in City Center (Philly), police said. It’s located right across the street from City Hall. Year-to-date the store has reported more than 250 thefts, Stanford said.” Read more


Eli Lilly’s obesity drug now available in U.S. pharmacies at Reuters


Mastercard launches Shopping Muse, an AI-powered shopping assistant at TechCrunch. “Although fashion is the first use case for Mastercard’s new tool, the company says this technology could extend into other categories, like furniture and grocery.” Read more


Howard University renovates affordable-housing ‘jewel’ with Amazon money at Washington Post. “Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund underwrote the renovation with a $31.3 million low-interest loan, officials said…invests in such housing to counter fears that the megacorporation’s presence in the D.C. area will drive up home prices and displace lower-income families.” Tiered subs. 


FTC Chair Lina Khan defends her track record when it comes to blocking mergers and doesn’t subscribe to Amazon Prime at CNBC


Uber launches ‘Store Pickup’ feature for those last-minute holiday shoppers at The Verge. “The item has to be less than $200 and weigh less than 30 lbs — so there are some limitations to what Uber will allow… And customers can track the item live in the Uber app.” Read more


23andMe confirms hackers stole ancestry data on 6.9 million users at TechCrunch


Family calls for Amazon to make changes after delivery driver picks up dog at Fox 5 Atlanta. “Ferranti searched the internet and discovered others claimed their pets were taken by Amazon drivers. So she started a Facebook group called Amazon Took My Pet.  It’s a collection of newspaper and television stories from across the country…” Read more