Wmart #1 Drugstore | Return Fraud 16.5% | 5.3% Vacancies @ Lowest


Retail return fraud is rising as consumers send back purchases in droves at CNBC. “Retailers expect 16.5%, or $24.5 billion worth, of holiday returns to be fraudulent this year, according to a survey by Appriss Retail and the National Retail Federation.” Read more


Prisoners in the US are part of a hidden workforce linked to hundreds of popular food brands at AP. “The goods these prisoners produce wind up in the supply chains of a dizzying array of products found in most American kitchens, from Frosted Flakes cereal and Ball Park hot dogs to Gold Medal flour, Coca-Cola and Riceland rice. They are on the shelves of virtually every supermarket in the country, including Kroger, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods.” Read more


UPS announces 12,000 job cuts, says package volume slipped last quarter at CNBC. “The company reported a 7.4% drop in average daily volume domestically and an 8.3% decrease internationally. Tomé said the international softness was “heavily weighted” in Europe, coupled with freight complications in the Red Sea region, as well as the Panama and Suez Canals.” Read more


For Retailers, Business Is Back and Landlords Say No More Rent Discounts at WSJ. “Vacancies at U.S. shopping centers fell to 5.3% in the fourth quarter, the lowest level since real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield began tracking the metric in 2007. Average asking rents rose to $23.70 a square foot and are now nearly 17% above 2019 levels.” WSJ subs.


ACSI Customer Satisfaction: Chewy #1 online…Costco/HEB/Publix #1 Supermarkets…Walmart #1 Drugstore…Macy’s/Costco #1 General Retailer Press release


Democrats’ next crime fight: Retail theft at Politico. “New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is waging her own war on shoplifters through a mix of tougher criminal penalties and funding…She wants to create new police teams to address the matter, while offering a tax credit for businesses to help bolster security measures. Hochul’s move comes as Democrats look to flip five U.S. House seats in New York in the narrowly-divided chamber this year…” Read more


Costco CFO says China has huge potential as he gives us a peek at international expansion plans at CNBC Pro. “The world’s second-largest economy has “very good potential” for Costco expansion, CFO Rich Galanti told CNBC. Perhaps, that’s even an understatement, if the mob scene outside the recent opening of the first Costco in Shenzhen is any indication. Six warehouse stores in all of mainland China do not seem to be anywhere close to being enough.” CNBC Pro subs.


Costco shopper is left stunned after store allowed her to return a two-and-a-half-year-old couch with no receipt at Daily Mail. “[They] just asked me if  there was anything wrong with it or I just didn’t want it or like it anymore,’ she recalled. ‘I said I just didn’t like it anymore, we just don’t like the color anymore,’ she explained. ‘And they gave us our refund.” Read more


Walmart says managers can now earn up to $400,000 a year — no college degree needed at CBS News


REI slashes workforce by more than 350 workers, prepares for ‘challenging’ year ahead at Fox Business. “…it impacts 200 people at headquarters near Seattle, six in sales and customer service, 30 in experiences and 121 in its distribution centers.” Read more


Walmart’s Jane Ewing to take a senior leadership role in Walmart’s International business at Talk Business. “Ewing will oversee operations, real estate, and supply chain initiatives across Walmart’s International markets.” Read more


‘A piece of my son:’ Painting of beloved Winston-Salem resident to be taken down from CVS store when it closes at WXII 12


Jeff Bezos still using homemade door desk from Amazon’s early days at Fox Business. “Bezos’ friend and Amazon’s fifth employee, Nico Lovejoy, explained, “We happened to be across the street from a Home Depot. He looked at desks for sale and looked at doors for sale, and the doors were a lot cheaper, so he decided to buy a door and put some legs on it.” Read more


Morgan Wallen and Eric Church Team to Purchase Field & Stream Brand With Investors at Billboard


Amazon terminates $1.4B iRobot deal, blames ‘disproportionate’ regulatory hurdles at GeekWire


Biden publishes watered-down gas stove efficiency rule at The Hill. “…97 percent of gas stoves and 77 percent of electric stoves on the market already meet the requirements it is proposing. This is down from the 50 percent of gas stoves on the market it estimated would be impacted by the rule last year.” Read more


Seattle bans batteries from the trash at GeekWire


Dollar General Surpasses Milestone of 5,000 Stores Nationwide Offering Fresh Produce Press release


Michelle Gass Assumes Role of Levi Strauss & Co. President & Chief Executive Officer Press release




Stew Leonard’s Tragedy | JIT Back | Costco Daytona Buzz


Retailers Return to Bringing in Inventory ‘Just in Time’ at WSJ. “The ratio of inventories to sales at general-merchandise retailers, which tracks how much companies have in stock compared with what they sell, fell to 1.36 in November from a pandemic-era peak of 1.5 in August 2022, according to the Census Bureau. That compares with 1.33 in November 2019. “We’re basically right back in line with where we were in 2019, which I think is where folks want to be,” said Jason Miller, a logistics professor at Michigan State University.” WSJ subs.


Macy’s could get takeover bid from buyout firm Sycamore Partners during sagging sales, job cuts at NY Post. “Sycamore — a prolific buyout firm whose retail properties include Ann Taylor, Talbots and the regional department-store chain Belk — has been in quiet talks with Macy’s, which also owns Bloomingdale’s, since at least late December, sources told The Post.” Read more


US fourth quarter economic growth +3.3% vs. +2.0% forecast at Reuters


IKEA is busy cutting prices while everything else gets expensive at Yahoo Finance. “The reason IKEA is able to consider what other retailers haven’t been able to is because manufacturing costs have fallen recently. IKEA, in turn, wants to pass that on to the budget-constrained shopper. “It’s interesting right now, because we have inflation in the customer but we have massive deflation upstream. So, right now, we’re lowering prices more than we’ve ever done,” Brodin said.” Read more


Walmart’s Anshu Bhardwaj on AI and the retailer’s role as a global tech leader at NRF. “Bhardwaj says she challenges her teams and colleagues to find new ways to blend their retail acumen with technology to meet customers’ needs. She points to Sam Club’s Scan and Go, which launched chainwide in September 2016. The technology was there…Luckily, a product manager knew exactly what it would be good for…” Read more/Podcast


Professional dancer, 25, dead after eating mislabeled cookies from Stew Leonard’s grocery store at NY Post. “A professional dancer in New York died after she ate an incorrectly labeled holiday cookie containing peanuts sold at popular supermarket Stew Leonard’s, as the store and wholesaler point fingers at who is to blame.” Read more


Target, Walmart, and Albertson’s named top e-commerce grocery performers at Ipsos. “For the delivery category, respondents viewed Whole Foods Market as the grocer with the best communication (with 83% “very satisfied”), while Albertson’s was the brand shoppers said they were most likely to buy from again (61% extremely likely to use again). For curbside pickup, however, Albertson’s ranked highest (with 97% very satisfied), while Amazon Fresh was the brand that shoppers said they were most likely to use again (76% extremely likely to use again).” Read more


Knott’s Berry Farm, 100-year-old jam and cookie brand, is discontinued in stores at Fox Business


Buzz builds for new Costco across the street from Daytona International Speedway at Daytona Beach News-Journal. “With just a month to go before its Feb. 22 opening day, membership sales for Costco at One Daytona are on pace to set a new record for the chain’s Southeast region….Costco gas station opens here on Feb. 1, three weeks ahead of the store.” Read more


Target parts ways with independent agency Mother after 20 years at Ad Age (subs. required)


Walmart leaders exit the retailer ahead of the fiscal year-end at Talk Business. “Kevin Buncum, who led Walmart’s Neighborhood Market business for the past 12 years, is…leaving the company…Judith McKenna is also exiting the company on Feb. 1…She’s been working with Kath McLay who took over the international leadership role in August.” Read more


TikTok is coming for YouTube – the company has been spotted testing the ability for users to upload 30-minute videos at TechCrunch


Why Walmart pays its truck drivers 6 figures at Freight Waves/Finance. “Barring a lottery win or marrying a sugar mama, I don’t see myself going anywhere,” said the Texas-based driver, who asked not to have his name included as he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. Such loyalty to a single company is unusual in trucking, an industry notorious for massive turnover. And the Texas trucker isn’t alone in his dedication to Walmart…” Read more


There are 152,396 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.5% increase from the 2023 store count, reversing a four-year decline at NACS


Nearly 60% of parents provide financial help to their adult kids at WSJ. “About 59% of parents said they helped their young adult children financially in the past year, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center that focused on adults under age 35. (This question hadn’t been asked in prior surveys.) More young adults are also living with their parents. Among adults under age 25, 57% live with their parents, up from 53% in 1993.” WSJ subs.


American guitar brand Gibson is opening its first-ever flagship store outside of U.S. in London at Chain Store Age


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, etc…contact Jason Long at jlong@eyeonretail.net

Amazon Union Broke | Target Stanley Firings | WM Greeter “On the Door”


The Labor Union That Defeated Amazon Is Fighting for Survival at WSJ. “The union’s financial position is one of its most pressing obstacles. The organization is “pretty much broke,” said Michelle Nieves, its vice president…The Amazon Labor Union’s momentum from its victory quickly faded. The group lost two subsequent votes at other Amazon warehouses and has failed to unionize another Amazon facility.” WSJ subs.


Gucci owner pays nearly $1B to scoop up tower on red-haute Fifth Avenue at NY Post. “… it could mean the boot for rival fashion house Armani from its flagship location. Gucci’s parent Kering scooped up the 115,000 square-foot, three-level retail space at 715-717 Fifth Ave., at East 56th Street, which sits at the base of a 28-story office tower known as the Corning Glass Building.” Read more


Target Workers Are Being Fired For Buying Limited-Edition Stanley Cups at Delish. “A number of stories have surfaced on a Target subreddit from people who have been fired or have witnessed others being terminated for buying the limited-edition cups. One Reddit user recalled having a conversation with a coworker about shifts not being picked up, only to find out that several people had been fired.” Read more


…Parents reportedly spent $3,000 to get their 16-year-old every variety of Stanley Cup – she now has 67 in various styles and colors acquired over the past year at Yahoo


Macy’s rejects $5.8B takeover bid from Arkhouse Management, Brigade Capital Management at AP. “Arkhouse and Brigade offered $21 for each of the remaining shares in Macy’s they don’t already own. Shares of New York-based Macy’s rose 3.6% Monday to close at $18.26.” Read more


Alibaba co-founders buy more than $200 million worth of shares, sending stock up at CNBC


French regulator fines Amazon $35 million over its surveillance system of warehouse workers at TechCrunch. “Indicators tracking the inactivity time of employees’ scanners were put in place. The CNIL ruled that it was illegal to set up a system measuring work interruptions with such accuracy, potentially requiring employees to justify every break or interruption,” the French regulator wrote.” Read more


Driver used fake Amazon van to move black-market marijuana at The Oklahoman


TikTok usage is starting to slow — is TikTok Shop to blame? at TechCrunch. “Personally, I’m starting to get really annoyed by how almost every other video on my [For You Page] is someone overhyping a product from the Shop feature to try to get it to go viral and make a lot of commissions,” wrote Redditor u/megg-salad-sammich…A search across Reddit finds many more threads complaining of the same thing throughout last year…” Read more


Chicago migrants wait outside of Home Depot store for $5/hour jobs at WBEZ Chicago. “They don’t know that is not a living wage,” said Mauricio Huertas, of the Latino Union, which advocates for immigrant workers. “And part of the conversation around that is telling them like, ‘OK, sure, right now you have these transitional benefits to get you set up. But how do you expect to pay for housing … when you’re earning $5 an hour?’” Read more


Loblaw backs away from plan to end 50% discount on food nearing best-before date at CBC News


Amazon Hopes to Dominate the World of Streaming Ads. It Faces Some Challenges Along the Way. at WSJ. “Much of Amazon Prime’s success will rely on buy-in from so-called nonendemic brands, meaning those that don’t already sell products on Amazon. “What is yet to be seen is how they win over brands not selling in the marketplace. Will brands like Mercedes, Chipotle and Allstate be as excited?” said Jared Belsky, chief executive of marketing firm Acadia.” WSJ subs.


Amish horse and buggy stolen from Walmart parking lot at Fox 17


Amazon’s birthplace is back on the market: Visitors flock to the house ‘where it all started’ at GeekWire. “I just wanted to see where it all started,” said Manan Patel, an Amazon employee who was one of numerous people with connections to the company who were among the steady stream of visitors at the open house. The listing team made sure that the home’s history was clear to anyone who visited.” Read more | Daily Mail pics


Jeff Bezos 60th birthday bash featured replica of his first Amazon office with his original chair at The Sun


Applebee’s date night passes sell out in 1 minute at NY Post


“Rain or sleet or snow, I’m on the door” at KNOE 8. “John Terry, a 76-year-old Walmart greeter in Monroe has captured the hearts of over two million TikTok viewers after a post of him expressing his dedication to his job went viral. They call him “Mr. John.” Video/Read more


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, etc…contact Jason Long at jlong@eyeonretail.net

Target Mgmt Changes | “Egg King” Survives Hit | Costco Bday Party


Target Announces Michael Fiddelke as Chief Operating Officer “Additionally, Target announced the upcoming retirement of chief legal and compliance officer Don Liu…Rick Gomez, currently Target’s chief food & beverage officer, will oversee the retailer’s frequency categories as chief food, essentials & beauty officer…Jill Sando, currently the retailer’s chief merchandising officer, will oversee Target’s discretionary categories as chief merchandising officer of apparel & accessories, home and hardlines.” Press release


…Five Questions with Michael Fiddelke “From a young age, my parents inspired both a strong work ethic and a taste for business. I grew up on a farm in Iowa. It was a small farm, but my dad made sure I had chores to do every morning before I headed to school. That’s where the work ethic set in.” Press release


China launches a security review of Shein at CNBC. “The review squarely positions Shein as a Chinese company despite its many efforts to distance itself from the country where it was founded. To move forward with its IPO, Shein will need the blessing of both Washington, D.C., and Beijing.” Read more


CANADA SUSPICIOUS – Loblaw discount reduction not evidence of grocery collusion: competition expert at Toronto Star. “In a letter to the competition commissioner Tuesday, MacGregor called for an investigation into potential anti-competitive practices in the grocery industry. MacGregor said that comments by Loblaw indicated they changed their discount to align with their competitors, and that this was cause for suspicion.” Read more


Americans Are Ditching Weeknight Fun. Can They Be Tempted Back? at WSJ. “The midweek slowdown could be an early crack forming in consumers’ willingness to spend on experiences—a key corner of the economy that has helped offset slowing spending on goods.” WSJ subs.


J.Crew Group CEO Libby Wadle On What 2024 Has In Store at Forbes


Eggs in short supply in Russia – “The Egg King” survives assassination attempt at WSJ. “Authorities also launched antitrust investigations into egg and chicken producers, including the Tretyakovskaya poultry farm in the Voronezh region, owned by Gennady Shiryaev, the Egg King. On Dec. 27, after news of the probe became public, a shooter fired at least twice on Shiryaev’s Volkswagen  SUV, though Shiryaev escaped unscathed.” WSJ subs.


Amazon Business leader taking leave of absence; Devices exec will step in to fill role at GeekWire


Target store in Denver has raised eyebrows for charging a 1 percent ‘public improvement fee’ at Daily Mail. “It is not the first Target to be found to apply the surcharge. Last March, flight attendant Holly Teska went viral on TikTok after claiming she was slapped with a extra 2.5 percent charge on every item she bought from a Target.” Read more


Thief steals more than $39K worth of merchandise from Target stores across Southern California at NY Post


Alphabet’s Wing supersizes delivery drones to tow big orders at TechCrunch. “Walmart said last week that a quarter of the items in its larger Supercenter stores don’t meet the current size and weight requirements for delivery by drone…Wing’s current drones can only handle packages weighing up to a modest 2.5 pounds. Wing’s larger drones, however, will handle “up to 5 pounds in a standard cardboard box,” the company told TechCrunch.” Read more


Uniqlo sues Shein over alleged copy of its popular ‘Mary Poppins bag’ at AP News


Woman throws epic Costco-themed birthday party with food samples, employee badges and photo booth at Fox News. “Tony Huynh also said his wife replicated the Costco supervisor vest, put price tags around items on their home…Guests at the party played Costco trivia and “guess the price” games…A recap video of the party made by a friend has over 373,000 Instagram likes.” Pics/Read more


Lobbying World: Schumer, Amazon alum Lucy Panza to join Crossroads Strategies at The Hill


China widens South America trade highway with Silk Road mega port at Reuters. “The $3.5 billion deep water port, set to start operations late this year, will provide China with a direct gateway to the resource-rich region. Over the last ten years, Beijing has unseated the United States as the largest trade partner for South America, devouring its soy, corn and copper.” Read more


Shoppers sue Target, saying they were rammed by kids on electric scooters at Philly Inquirer


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, etc…contact Jason Long at jlong@eyeonretail.net

Kroger Delays | Diamond Prices Slashed | BJ’s Likes M&Ms


Washington state sues to block proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons grocery chains at AP. “In a statement Monday, Kroger said it was pushing back its timeline for closing the deal due to ongoing dialogue with regulators, including state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission. It now anticipates the closure may occur in the first half of its fiscal year, which ends in mid-August.” Read more


Canada’s December inflation rose 3.4% – dashes hopes of early rate cut at Reuters


De Beers’ slashes diamond prices by as much as 25% at NY Post. “The hefty price reductions come as natural diamonds lose market share to their lab-grown counterparts…Lab diamonds are typically 60% to 85% cheaper than mined diamonds…” Read more


Hasbro’s shift from China is no child’s play at Reuters. “India accounted for only 1% of U.S. and EU toy imports over the past five years, according to Panjiva’s data. “The issue in India is really the gridlock of moving even from one state to another. There are so many crazy regulations,” MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian told Reuters.” Read more


BJ’s Wholesale Club aligns with Mars at NRF. “I challenge you to find better product than peanut M&M’s, by the way,” said Bob Eddy, BJ’s chairman and CEO. The 62-ounce jar of the candy is not just a Halloween bonanza; it was the club’s second-best selling SKU last year, with strong sales all year long. It’s also Eddy’s favorite, as well as his family’s.” Read more


Shoppers Prefer Staying Outdoors. That’s More Trouble for Malls. at WSJ. “You know where your customer is buying and where they live,” said Scott Lipesky, chief financial and operating officer for Abercrombie & Fitch. “We’re looking at this digital shipping data, and we just plop a store down in the middle of it.” WSJ subs.


Another ship comes under fire in Red Sea, disruption seen pushing up prices at Reuters. “The U.S.-led coalition meant to safeguard commercial traffic in the Red Sea is weak because regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have not taken part, Yemen’s vice president said on Tuesday.” Read more


How Walmart is fighting back against gift card scams at Fox Business. “…with Redemption, Walmart can spot red flags for gift card fraud and effectively stop the crime during the transaction. “Where we really invested was creating a technology to try to spot gift card risk at the time of the transaction so that we could freeze the funds in the gift card process so the bad actors wouldn’t get their money,” Lundeen said.” Read more


Loblaw ends 50% discounts on food nearing expiration date – will now offer 30% off at Financial Post


Former Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO defends stance on gun restrictions at Fox Business. “Stack spoke candidly at NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show in New York City on Monday, saying he firmly believed it is important for the sporting goods retailer, in certain issues, “to really step up and make a statement.” Read more


Costco stores in Las Vegas add new item to food court menu – A double chocolate chunk cookie at Las Vegas Review-Journal


Tencent sees a future where everyone gets by with just a swipe of the hand at CNN. “In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, more than 1,500 7-Eleven stores have rolled it out. At Supermonkey, a trendy Chinese gym chain, about 2,000 users have signed up to use palm scanning to check in and out of facilities for workouts…” Read more


FedEx announces its own commerce platform for merchants at TechCrunch. “The company said that FDX is currently in private preview with plans for a wider launch in fall 2024. Businesses can register their interest in trying it out through a form. The company didn’t mention any brands that are part of the pilot program.” Read more


Underwear and socks are the latest items to be locked up in shoplifting crackdown at Daily Mail


Crop-killing weeds advance across US farmland as chemicals lose effectiveness at Reuters. “We’re in for big problems over the next 10 years for sure,” said Ian Heap, director of the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, a group of scientists in over 80 countries that maintains a global database. “We are in for a real shake-up.” Read more

Top 10 Grocers | Target Office Auction | WM Health Center Pics


Inflation rose 0.3% in December from the previous month, more than expected at Fox Business


Shipment rates soar 4x after Red Sea attacks: CEO at Yahoo Finance


Neiman Marcus CEO says there’s ‘no need’ to sell the business as Saks takeover rumors swirl at CNBC. “Some people close to the companies have told CNBC a merger between the two is inevitable, and is a matter of when, not if. But Neiman’s CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said there is currently “no process to sell the company.” Read more


H-E-B Holds Top Spot in dunnhumby’s Annual Grocery Rankings “Amazon (2) and Costco (3) round out the top three grocers in the U.S. for a second year in a row. The seven other retailers in the top 10 are: 4) Market Basket, 5) Sam’s Club, 6) Wegman’s, 7) Aldi, 8) Shoprite, 9) Walmart Neighborhood Market, 10) Walmart.” Press release


Target is trying to offload furnishings as it exits City Center offices at Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The auction this week includes hundreds of items from four of the upper floors that Target once used in City Center. Target occupied 37 of the 50-plus floors of City Center, according to Target spokesman Brian Harper-Tibaldo. It vacated the building in May 2021.” Read more


Amazon Is About to Eat the TV Universe at Hollywood Reporter. “On Jan. 29, Prime Video will make its ad tier the default for its tens of millions of subscribers…The move will instantly turn Amazon into a streaming-ad juggernaut, and the largest ad-supported subscription streaming platform in the marketplace with tens of millions of users, leapfrogging the likes of Netflix in the process.” Read more


Walmart ready to open new Whole Health fitness center on corporate campus at Talk Business. “Walmart is set to open on Friday (Jan. 12) its new 360,000-square-foot Walton Family Whole Health & Fitness center on its new home office campus – which is still under construction – in the heart of Bentonville.” Read more


…Walmart hopes associates get fit at new whole health center at NWA Online. “Walmart and Sam’s Club associates are able to access the Rest and Restore area regardless of membership. This area has cryotherapy chairs, a massage therapist and a registered dietitian.” Read more/Pics/Video


Lowe’s launches DIY rewards loyalty program Press release


Walmart Expands Drone Delivery in Dallas as It Races Amazon at WSJ. “In Dallas, Walmart will partner with Wing, a unit of Alphabet, and Zipline, a global drone delivery company that works with healthcare providers and others. Walmart is currently offering drone delivery in a limited way in Dallas. After the expansion, drone delivery from Walmart will be available to about 75% of the Dallas-Fort Worth population…” WSJ subs.


Wolverine World Wide sells Sperry to Authentic Brands Group in shoe retail deal at CNBC


As Retailers Cite Rising Theft and Shrinkage, Analysts Want More Details at WSJ. “We want them to talk about what the heck is going on, what are you doing about it, and how should we bake this into their models?” Rosenblum said. Retailers calculate shrink differently, and often don’t disclose exact figures to show the impact to their financials.” WSJ subs.


Amazon’s Twitch, Prime Video, MGM Studios units lay off hundreds at GeekWire


Walmart experiments with AI to enhance customers’ shopping experiences via San Antonio Express News. “…provided a glimpse into “InHome Replenishment,” which aims to use AI to learn consumers’ shopping habits and keep them stocked on their favorite groceries, as well as a beta platform that allows customers to create outfits virtually and get feedback from their friends…(At) Sam’s Club…Instead of stopping at a cashier to show the receipt, cameras at the stores’ exits take a picture of what’s in shoppers’ carts to confirm purchases. This camera technology is available in 10 clubs so far.” Read more | WM press release


Amazon is deploying its Just Walk Out cashierless technology in hospitals and other healthcare facilities at CNBC


Big Y Appoints New President/CEO and COO at Progressive Grocer. “…the roles of president and CEO will transition to Michael P. D’Amour, and those of EVP and COO will move to Richard D. Bossie.” Read more


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, etc…contact Jason Long at jlong@eyeonretail.net



Crozier Close-Up | Pepsi Hits Carrefour | Shein Taps Lobbyist


CES 2024: Everything revealed so far, from Nvidia and AI to Samsung’s Ballie robot at TechCrunch. “French startup Neoplants is showing off its progress with its houseplants that work as air purifiers designed for the home. The bio-engineered plants can, according to the company, replace 20 “regular” houseplants, as measured by how many pollutants the plants can remove from the air.” Read more


…CES 2024: all the TVs, laptops, smart home gear, and more from the show floor at The Verge


PepsiCo, Carrefour Bicker Over Who Dumped Whom at WSJ. “Regrettably, Carrefour has mischaracterized the chain of events,” a PepsiCo spokesman said Monday. “Given the lack of agreement on a new contract, we stopped supplying to Carrefour at the end of the year, something they were aware could happen. We hope we can agree on terms soon so our products can be back on their shelves for consumers to enjoy.” In response, Carrefour said Monday: “We, at the Carrefour Group, have taken this decision.” WSJ subs.


Albertsons Companies Q3 identical sales +2.9% Press release


Shein’s revenue is ‘a lot more’ than $30 billion annually, key retail partner says at CNBC. “…do they do 40 billion? Do they do 35 billion? I’m not going to tell you exactly what they do, but I can tell you they do a lot more than $30 billion,” Salter continued in an apparent reference to Shein’s annual sales.” Read more.” Read more


Schnucks installs anti-theft liquor cabinets in at least 40 stores. They open by cellphone. at St. Louis Post Dispatch. “We would put this in the innovative category,” Hayes, of the Loss Prevention Research Council, said of the cabinets. “How can we leverage technology to maintain security and in-stock (merchandise) and good customer experience?” In addition to the Freedom Cases, Schnucks has expanded its shopping cart technology, Rocateq, to 76 stores. This technology enables grocery carts to leave the store only once they have passed through the checkout.” Read more


Shein hires Ex-Tractor Supply & Home Depot lobbyist at Politico. “Kent Knutson, the former longtime head of Home Depot’s D.C. office, is joining the retailer, which is now headquartered in Singapore, as its chief U.S. government affairs officer. Knutson was most recently vice president of government relations at Tractor Supply Co. Before that, he led Home Depot’s public policy team for more than 16 years…” Read more


The Home Depot is trying to make its own smart home ecosystem happen at The Verge. “An old-school hardware store has been quietly building out one of the most complete lines of smart home products on the market. At CES this week, it’s adding a smart thermostat, smart hose timer, smart bathroom fan, smart freezer, and smart security system to its more than 150 connected products. You probably know the brand (and maybe even shopped there before): The Home Depot.” Read more


Indigo workers at unionized stores facing increased battles with retailer, union says at Financial Post


Engineering internship led to retail career for Sam’s Club chief merchant Megan Crozier at Talk Business. “Crozier did not foresee her path to merchandising until she encountered a buyer who was making multimillion-dollar back-to-school decisions. “I walked up to ask him a question about something else, but then asked, ‘What are you doing?’ He was planning for back-to-school and which laptop he was going to buy,” she said. “He was looking at all the competitors from the previous year trying to pick which item he wanted to put in print in the circular for the back-to-school ad. And I was like, ‘They let you do that?’ He just laughed at me and said, ‘Of course they let me do that. That’s what my job is.’ “I remember going back to my desk and thinking, ‘Wow, they let people make really big decisions in this company, and I think I want to be a merchant one day.” Read more


German retail giant Galeria insolvent in wake of Signa collapse at Reuters


Sweethearts limited-edition ‘situationship’ candy boxes full of ‘blurry’ messages fly off shelves at Fox News. “The newly designed release showcases blurry and misprinted heartshaped candies that are intentionally difficult to read — just like some Gen-Z relationships.” Read more


Dollar General gets new executive vice president, store operations at Supermarket News


Millennials are moving to ‘the most boring places in the world’ at Business Insider/MSN. “John Natale, a real-estate agent based in Wall Township, New Jersey, calls this phenomenon “drive till you qualify.” He says it used to be that he could find his clients a home in their price range in whichever county they wanted to be in…Rafay Qamar, a real-estate agent in Chicago, says many of his millennial clients who left the city to buy homes in the suburbs in recent years are trying to come back.” Read more


Tropicana is one company that’s ditching AI at CNN. “Tropicana, the top-selling orange juice maker, is releasing limited-edition bottles that removes the letters “A” and “I” from its name (“Tropcn”) to bring attention to its natural ingredients.” Read more


***Advertising inquiries, new product searches, comments, questions, etc…contact Jason Long at jlong@eyeonretail.net

Pepsi Pulled @ Retailer | Target Cup Camping | Online +4.9%


Target Shoppers Are ‘Getting Trampled’ for a Limited Edition Valentine’s Day Stanley Cup at People. “…released two Target-exclusive Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumblers. The tumblers come in Cosmo Pink and Target Red and are a part of the brand’s “Galentine’s Collection.”…Another video on TikTok filmed at a Target in Goodyear, Arizona explained that tumblers sold out in less than four minutes. The video showed people of all ages rushing to grab one from the store’s display stand.” Read more


Carrefour pulls PepsiCo products over price hikes at Reuters. “From Thursday, shelves for PepsiCo products at Carrefour stores in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium will carry signs saying the store will no longer be stocking the brands “due to unacceptable price increases”, a spokesperson for the French supermarket giant said.” Read more


Online holiday spending reaches record $222B, driven by BNPL at Fox. “The figure, up 4.9% year over year, marks a new record for online shopping throughout the holiday season…according to Adobe’s holiday spending report…(BNPL) accounted for $16.6 billion in online spending, up 14% on an annual basis, during the season.” Read more


Weekly US jobless claims at two-month low; labor market gradually easing at Reuters


Consumer Reports finds ‘widespread’ presence of plastics in food at Reuters. “Among tested supermarket foods, Annie’s Organic Cheesy Ravioli contained the most phthalates in nanograms per serving, 53,579, followed by Del Monte sliced peaches and Chicken of the Sea pink salmon.” Read more


Behind Cheap Stuff From Shein and Temu: A Hard Bargain With Suppliers at WSJ. “Some suppliers that spoke with The Wall Street Journal said they were grappling with razor-thin profit margins and intense pressure to cut prices. Others said they were drowning in unsold inventory and were questioning whether dealing with Shein and Temu would be sustainable in the long run.” WSJ subs.


Walgreens Q1 profits up on an adjusted basis, but slashes dividend at Yahoo. “…is cutting its dividend by 48% to $0.25 a share from $0.48 a share for the fiscal first quarter of 2024…first quarter sales for the period ending Nov. 30, 2023, rose 10% year over year totaling $36.7 billion, beating Wall Street expectations.” Read more | Press release


Jeff Bezos Bets on a Google Challenger Using AI to Try to Upend Internet Search at WSJ. “Started less than two years ago, Perplexity has fewer than 40 employees and is based out of a San Francisco co-working space. The company’s product, which it calls an answer engine, is used by about 10 million people monthly. Those ingredients were enough to persuade Institutional Venture Partners, Bezos and other tech executives to invest $74 million in the company, the largest sum raised by an internet search startup in recent years.” WSJ subs.


Why Costco’s response to the surprising Virginia union victory stands out at Fast Company. “Costco CEO Craig Jelinek and president Ron Vachris (emailed) employees a letter…“Last week, in a close vote, Costco employees in Norfolk voted in favor of representation by the Teamsters union,” it began. “To be honest, we’re disappointed by the result in Norfolk. We’re not disappointed in our employees; we’re disappointed in ourselves as managers and leaders. The fact that a majority of Norfolk employees felt that they wanted or needed a union constitutes a failure on our part.” Read more


The Buckle, Inc. December net sales decreased 5.8% Press release


TikTok Eyes $17.5 Billion Shopping Business on Amazon’s Turf at Bloomberg. “TikTok aims to grow the size of its US e-commerce business tenfold to as much as $17.5 billion this year, according to people familiar with the matter…The 2024 merchandise volume goal for the US version of TikTok Shop — which melds online entertainment with impulse buying — was discussed in internal meetings in recent weeks and may still change depending on how the business goes…” Bloomberg subs. required


Alimentation Couche-Tard completes acquisition of European assets from TotalEnergies at Financial Post


Ex-Home Depot CEO reveals why more retail stores will be locking up their items at Fox. “I was blessed at Home Depot, we got shrink under control, we installed cameras in every store. We had a dark room where our security team was monitoring high-shrink stores. But back then, it was not legal to steal $1,000 to get a paint sprayer or a nail gun or something and just walk out with it,” (Nardelli) said.” Read more


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