Amazon Discount Store | Pool Inspiration | Nike Missed It


Amazon plans to launch discount store in bid to fend off Temu and Shein at CNBC. “Amazon’s storefront will feature a range of unbranded items, many priced under $20, according to a presentation to Amazon sellers viewed by CNBC…Amazon will ship the products directly from China to the U.S., with the goal of delivering them to shoppers within nine to 11 days, the presentation shows.” Read more


Walgreens cuts profit view, looks to shut more stores on sluggish spending at Reuters. “The results this morning were just absolutely terrible. I mean, it’s kind of been the theme over the last three to eight earnings reports to be brutally honest,” said David Wagner, portfolio manager and equity analyst at Aptus Capital Advisors.” Read more


…Walgreens to close ‘significant’ number of underperforming stores, cuts profit forecast at Fox News. “While Walgreens didn’t specify how many of its more than 8,700 stores will be affected, CEO Tim Wentworth told The Wall Street Journal that a “meaningful percent” of the underperforming locations would shutter.” Read more


H&M slumps on doubts over margin target and June sale drop at Reuters. “Sales this month are likely to fall 6%…The Swedish group has been squeezed between the rock-bottom prices of Shein and Inditex’s higher-end fashions aimed at more upmarket customers.” Read more


Amazon joins the $2 trillion club at GeekWire. “Amazon’s stock is up nearly 30% this year and more than 50% in the past 12 months…Alphabet also passed the $2 trillion market in April. Nvidia, Microsoft, and Apple are valued at more than $3 trillion.” Read more


Cash-strapped consumers buffet Couche-Tard earnings amid leadership shuffle at Financial Post. “The company said Wednesday that (CEO) Hannasch, who has been with the firm for 10 years, will retire on Sept. 6. When chief operating officer Alex Miller takes over the top job, Hannasch will become a special adviser to his successor and the executive chair of the company’s board, tasked with assisting with mergers and acquisitions.” Read more


Walmart lays off 155 workers in Charlotte at Charlotte Observer. “The layoffs affect workers at Walmart’s southwest Charlotte regional corporate office at 2118 Water Ridge Parkway…The job cuts are due to “recent changes to Walmart’s business strategy,” human resources officer Maren Waggoner said…” Read more


‘This disorder has almost killed me’: His addiction to ultraprocessed food began as a child at CNN


How Sam’s Club is trying to take on Costco’s private label Kirkland at CNBC. “Stuck at home during the Covid pandemic, Megan Crozier needed a way to keep her two young children entertained. She bought an inflatable pool from Sam’s Club. The pool began leaking air after just a few uses. For Crozier, chief merchant of the Walmart-owned membership club, that trashed pool — and the disappointment that came with it — helped kickstart a years-long effort to catch up with chief rival Costco and the popularity of its private brand, Kirkland Signature.” Read more


Amazon hit with fresh class action-style suit in UK — $3.4BN in competition damages sought for 200,000+ sellers at TechCrunch


How Nike Missed the Boom in Running Culture at WSJ. “Brendan Eng’s running group in Portland, Ore., has roughly quadrupled in size since 2021 to about 80 runners…“In the three years I’ve led this group there have been only two Nike road demos. I feel like I’ve seen the Hoka rep four times this year,” Eng said.” WSJ subs.


Target Leadership Changes | BJ’s +Clubs | Open Call Until 7/15


Hidden Markups at Mail-Order Pharmacies Make Drugs More Costly for Employers at WSJ. “Unity Care NW, a nonprofit health clinic in Washington state, forecasts the cost of medical and drug benefits for its 365 employees and their family members will increase this year by 25%…A big reason: Drugs delivered by mail are costing multiples more than those picked up at a store counter. Markups were as much as 35 times higher than what other pharmacies charged, according to a recent analysis of millions of prescriptions in Washington state.” WSJ subs.


Target Announces Return of Target Circle Week July 7-13 with Savings Up to 50% Off Thousands of Items Press release


Amazon to hold Prime Day sales on July 16 and 17 at TechCrunch


Target Announces Updates to Leadership Team “…has named Christina Hennington, currently chief growth officer, as chief strategy and growth officer, and Rick Gomez, currently chief food, essentials and beauty officer, as chief commercial officer, overseeing Target’s merchandising business, both effective July 7. Lisa Roath, Target’s chief marketing officer, will take on the role of chief merchandising officer of food, essentials and beauty in early 2025. The company is initiating an external search for its next chief marketing officer…” Press release


Millennials’ fast-fashion favorite Forever 21 can’t keep up with Shein’s meteoric rise at Fortune/Yahoo. “The value of that business to Shein, as an owner of a third of the parent company, might not be so compelling as it was a few years ago,” he told Fortune…He could see Shein letting the option to continue its in-store partnerships with Forever 21 essentially fizzle out and expire…” Read more


Walmart Expands Free HIV Screenings to 18 Pharmacies in Colorado and Virginia Press release


Why Walmart broke up with Capital One—and the dark horse bank set to benefit at Fortune/Yahoo. “According to Cristopher Kennedy of William Blair, a fourth, dark horse candidate already among Walmart’s existing stable of banks is Austin-based Green Dot Corp., a holding company that owns Green Dot Bank, which has a network of thousands of retailers, including Walmart, Apple, and Uber. Subprime account holders and others can buy pre-paid cards purchased at Walmart and other network locations, and similar to when visiting a bank branch, top them up and make withdrawals directly with the Walmart cashier.” Read more


BJ’s Wholesale Club Announces Newest Locations in Hanover Township, New Jersey, and Southern Pines, North Carolina Press release


Walmart Launches Application Period for Open Call 2024 “Applications are open until July 15, 2024. Open Call is central to Walmart’s $350 billion commitment to bolster U.S. manufacturing by sourcing shelf-ready products that are made, grown or assembled in the U.S. Open Call 2024 will be held on September 24 and 25.” Press release


Finland to start bird flu vaccinations for humans, in world first at Reuters


Target taps Shopify to add sellers to its third-party marketplace at CNBC. “In an interview with CNBC, Target Chief Guest Experience Officer Cara Sylvester said Shopify will help the retailer discover hot items and quickly make them available for Target’s online shoppers. She said Target plans to put some popular items discovered through the Shopify deal on store shelves.” Read more


Report: Amazon developing AI chatbot that would compete with ChatGPT and others at GeekWire

CMO Top 10 | Starlink @ WM | WSJ/CVS Q&A


Inside CVS’s Strategy to Improve the Pharmacy Experience at WSJ. “Mandadi says he views technology—including a new CVS app slated to launch this year—as key to enabling a better customer experience and transforming the business. He spoke with The Wall Street Journal about planned customer-experience improvements, the role that artificial intelligence should and shouldn’t play in healthcare and why he’s still bullish on the metaverse.” WSJ subs.


Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America at KIRO 7. “Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it’s more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better. The company said Thursday that it’s already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal by year’s end.” Read more


Elon Musk’s Starlink Hardware Hits The Shelves At Walmart, Target, Home Depot & More at Benzinga. Read more/List of 10 retailers


Food companies wade carefully into weight-loss waters at Reuters. “Retailers like supplement-seller GNC are also looking to capitalize on the trend by introducing a section in stores dedicated to GLP-1 users, selling protein powder and fiber.” Read more


Target to Roll Out Transformative GenAI Technology to its Store Team Members Chainwide “The tool, called Store Companion, is a GenAI-powered chatbot designed by Target that can answer on-the-job process questions, coach new team members, support store operations management and more.” Press release


The 2024 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs List


Reversing a Credit-Card Charge Has Never Been Easier—or More Abused at WSJ. “Disputes over credit-card charges, once a measure of last resort, have surged as shoppers learn how easy it is to deploy them. Last year, consumers disputed about 105 million charges with credit-card issuers in the U.S., worth an estimated $11 billion. That is up from $7.2 billion in 2019, according to Datos Insights, a finance-industry research firm. The company predicts that figure will rise nearly 40% by 2026.” WSJ subs.


Amazon Labor Union partners with Teamsters to boost warehouse worker representation at GeekWire


Shopify’s gains with big retailers are setting up a nearly $1 trillion opportunity at Yahoo/Fortune. “…Shopify has slowly but surely built an $83 billion software business by “arming the rebels” – the mom and mom shops and upstart digital-native consumer brands hawking everything from floral arrangements to workout clothes online. But its next big opportunity may be arming some of retail’s larger incumbents, from global toy brand Mattel to shoe retailer Steve Madden…” Read more


Amazon extends generative AI-powered product listings to Europe at TechCrunch


Walmart fined $1.64 million for unlawful pricing practices in New Jersey at Talk Business. “The consent order said during the first three months of 2023, inspections of Walmart stores found more than 2,000 instances where the incorrect unit of measurement was used. In addition to using incorrect units of measurement, various units of measurement were often used within the same category of merchandise…” Read more


The 2024 Top Women in Grocery: Rising to the Top at Progressive Grocer


Woman awarded $1.2M verdict after Walmart employee hit her with shopping cart at WSB-TV Atlanta


Is UNFI looking to sell? at Supermarket News. “…sources close to the matter have told Supermarket News that there has been trouble brewing ever since UNFI bought SuperValu, and that the distributor is now considering a sale…Sources also say there have been optimization issues around inventory, delivery, and expenses. SuperValu stores that should have been shuttered instead stayed open after the deal.” Read more


Man Sets Record Straight After Appearing in Video Not Scanning Items at Walmart Checkout: I Am Not a Thief at Inside Edition


Kroger ’embarrassed’ to learn it advertised peach truck with doctored images at ABC 10 News San Diego. “In a video post, Rose showed images Cincinnati-based Kroger used to promote their own peach truck initiative, which Rose said included an edited image of one of The Peach Truck’s former employees — but instead of holding their products and wearing their uniform, he was clad in Kroger’s blue and holding a Kroger-branded box of peaches.” Read more


Walmart’s open call goes on the road to KC at KCTV 5 2:13 Video


Police looking for several suspects accused of opening fire at several Walmart employees in Mesa at Fox 10

Shein Hikes Prices | Zyn Shortage | Casey’s Pops


Wholesale prices unexpectedly fell 0.2% in May at CNBC


Fast fashion retailer Shein hikes prices ahead of IPO at Reuters. “…has hiked prices by over a third on some core products, in a move likely to boost revenues ahead of its planned IPO, according to an analysis of its pricing strategy. Shein’s average price hikes exceeded those of its rivals H&M, and Zara, according to data from London-based research firm EDITED…”  Read more


Casey’s General Store Q4 net income +55% / inside comp sales +5.6% / stock up about 16% Press release


‘We’re not backing down’: US grocery workers take on Kroger with strike vote at The Guardian. “About 6,000 grocery store workers are set to vote on strike action after the expiration of their union contract with the Kroger-owned Food 4 Less chain…Food 4 Less is already advertising for strike replacement workers in anticipation of a work stoppage.” Read more


Dollarama plans Mexico expansion as it ups stake in Latin American business Dollarcity at Financial Post. “Across these foreign markets along with El Salvador and Guatemala, Dollarcity has 547 stores and a plan to reach 1,050 locations in these markets by 2031…” Read more


Grieving Families Blame Panera’s Charged Lemonade for Leaving a Deadly Legacy at Bloomberg. “Highly caffeinated, neon-colored drinks had been proliferating at chain restaurants for years…Unlike the competition, though, Panera was offering its veritable mini-trough in bottomless quantities as part of an Unlimited Sip Club that cost $10.99 a month when it started. As a result, says Philadelphia attorney Elizabeth Crawford, customers gulped them down without fear of consequence.” Read more


TikTok comes for Google as it quietly rolls out image search capabilities in TikTok Shop at TechCrunch


Why America Is Running Low on Zyn Nicotine Pouches at WSJ. “Zyn has been available in the U.S. since 2014 but its sales have skyrocketed over the past year and a half, propelled by a wave of unofficial “Zynfluencers” promoting the brand on social media…They tuck discreetly into the cheek and don’t require users to spit…working to add production capacity at the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Owensboro, Ky., but the problem won’t be fully resolved until the end of the year…” WSJ subs.


Rite Aid Expands Partnership with Instacart to Offer EBT SNAP Online Payment Option from more than 1,400 Locations Press release


The year’s biggest stock market rebound is a legendarily obnoxious clothing brand at Business Insider. “Morning Consult found that Abercrombie’s favorability among millennials reached a record high in the first quarter of 2024, and it’s making gains with Gen Zers, too…”They reinvented themselves, and it worked,” said Janet Joseph Kloppenburg, the president of JJK Research Associates. “Can you and I think of another apparel retailer who literally reinvented themselves and then went to the moon with sales and earnings? It’s crazy.” Read more


America’s Best Employers for New Grads (HEB #23, Trader Joe’s #57, Costco #64) at Forbes List


China’s discount wars risk cementing frugal consumer mindset at Reuters. “If this situation continues, China may end up with what we call a vicious cycle: lower value added consumption, deflation, low profit rates leading to low wages, which further pushes consumers to downgrade their consumption,” said He-Ling Shi, an economics professor at Monash University in Melbourne.” Read more

WM No Panic | Buc-ee’s Biggest | Meijer Money


Baltimore key shipping channel fully reopens after Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse at CNBC. “The Port of Baltimore processed a record 1.1 million containers and $80.8 billion in foreign cargo value last year, according to state data. Six highway construction crew members who were carrying out overnight road work plunged to their deaths during the incident.” Read more


Buc-ee’s opens doors to largest store in country at USA Today. “…scheduled to open at 6 a.m. local time Monday…Spread over 75,000 square feet, the new Buc-ee’s in Luling (TX) is “the largest Buc-ee’s location in the country.” Read more


Miami Faces Flood Threat With Heavy Rain Poised to Lash Florida at Bloomberg/Yahoo. “Through just Wednesday, 6 to 9 inches of rain is forecast for the region, where flood watches have been posted, according to the National Weather Service. The pattern will continue at least through Friday…” Read more


GM has a secret to help sell its new EVs. It’s Costco at CNBC. “Costco Auto has facilitated more than 500,000 vehicle sales annually over the past five years on average, according to Jay Maxwell, Costco Auto Program general manager responsible for strategic partnerships.” Read more


$800,000 wire transfer from Hank Meijer to US Chamber raises curtain on dark money at The Hill. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce received a $800,000 wire transfer from billionaire donor Hank Meijer days after it endorsed his son, then-Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), in a contentious 2022 primary, according to previously unreported internal emails reviewed by The Hill.” Read more


Bentonville Film Festival, chaired by Geena Davis, is underway at Hollywood Reporter


Walmart opposes New York plan to add panic buttons to stores at Reuters. “Walmart’s top corporate affairs officer told Reuters that the company opposes the panic button idea because it believes there are likely to be many false alarms. “Eight out of 10 times somebody thinks something’s going on, there’s actually not,” Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs, told Reuters…” Read more


BJ’s Wholesale Club Expands Same-Day Delivery to Include Outdoor Furniture, Grills, Televisions and More Press release


Walmart boss says company ‘can’t get comfortable’ with recent success at Talk Business. “(McMillon) asked (Peyton) Manning, the host of the event, the secret to his success…“Well, Doug, for me it all goes back to preparation because that’s where I thought I could get an edge on the competition. … When I was in high school I was influenced by a quote my dad gave me from Pittsburg Steelers head coach Chuck Noll who said, ‘You only feel pressure when don’t know what you are doing.’ That drove me to always know what I was doing,” Manning answered.” Read more


…Walmart to use more digital shelf labels, expand inHome delivery service “Walmart, which has been testing digital shelf labels (DSL) since early 2019, announced…that a partnership with VusionGroup will add DSLs to 2,300 U.S. stores by 2026.” Read more


The New Voice of Costco on What Is Changing, What Will Stay the Same at WSJ. “We believe there’s a lot more opportunity to grow digital,” (CFO) Millerchip said of Costco. “I have experience in those areas and would hope that I can bring some of that to help us continue to evolve, but very much in the Costco way.” Read more


Inside the reawakening of NYC’s Fifth Avenue with swanky housing, shopping and offices at NY Post. “…just one store single-handedly sealed Fifth’s status as the world’s top luxury shopping street: Tiffany & Co., which reopened with a star-studded party in the spring of 2023 after extensive interior redesign courtesy of the New York architect and designer, Peter Marino. “The name is synonymous with this block,” said Shvo. When Tiffany went from a tired old store to a trend setter it brought back an energy to Fifth that had faded.” Read more

Costco Book Change | WM #6 Patriotic | TJX Body Cams


No-tariff shipments popular with Shein, Temu hit US customs speedbump at Reuters. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced late last week it suspended “multiple” brokers from an expedited clearance program for those duty-free, direct-to-consumer imports partly over concerns that contraband was being brought into the country this way. While the agency did not specify a number, customs experts they were aware of up to six suspended companies.” Read more


Costco May comp sales +6.4% Press release


Costco plans to stop selling books year-round at NY Times/Seattle Times. “Beginning in January, the company will stop stocking books regularly, and will instead sell them only during the holiday shopping period, from September through December. During the rest of the year, some books may be sold at Costco stores from time to time, but not in a consistent manner, according to the executives, who spoke anonymously in order to discuss a confidential business matter that has not yet been publicly announced.” Read more


Bentonville is booming, and getting more expensive at CNBC. “The population of Bentonville shot up from 36,000 in 2010 to 58,000 in 2022, and it’s on track to grow to 200,000 people by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The town has more cranes per capita than any other U.S. city, according to Cushman & Wakefield/Sage Partners.” Read more


Dollar Tree, Inc. Q1 comp sales: Dollar Tree +1.7%; Family Dollar +0.1%; Enterprise +1.0% Press release


…may sell off struggling Family Dollar Press release


Costco’s Japan wages provide pathway to firing up nation’s low pay, economy at Reuters. “When Costco Wholesale opened its warehouse in a rural Japanese town not far from Tokyo last year offering hundreds of jobs at eye-popping pay, a nearby noodle shop chain took a drastic step: it hiked hourly wages by a third…it has Costco to thank for the influx of shoppers into town, contributing to a 40-50% jump in its revenues.” Read more


Walmart offers bonus program to about 700,000 hourly US store workers at Reuters. “Both part-time and full-time associates will be eligible for a financial bonus of up to $1,000 a year…” Read more


Influencers Are Driving a New Category of Unionizing: Pharmacists at WSJ. “With social-media handles like “The Accidental Pharmacist,” “RxComedy” and the hashtag #PizzaIsNotWorking, a small group of social-media influencers late last year co-founded the Pharmacy Guild, a union affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers…To date, four CVS Health-owned pharmacies have filed to unionize. Last month, workers at two Rhode Island CVS stores voted overwhelmingly to join the Guild.” WSJ subs.


Chairman and CEO of Chipotle elected as Director of Walmart Board Press release


…Walmart shareholders elect new board, bid Rob Walton farewell at Talk Business. “Rob is the last Walton to have inside experience as an employee early on and then board chairman for more than two decades,” said Alan Ellstrand, associate dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. “He is also likely the only director to have longtime meaningful interactions with Sam.” Read more


Amazon’s Project PI AI looks for product defects before they ship at The Verge


lululemon Q1 comp sales +6.0% Press release


Workers at TJ Maxx and Marshalls are wearing police-like body cameras at CNN. “TJX is one of the only retailers speaking publicly about body cameras and posting job openings with specific details of the cameras in the job description. The primary responsibilities of one job at a Marshalls in Miami Beach, Florida, are to maintain a “proper and professional stance” at the front of the store, act as a “visual deterrent to prevent potential loss/dishonesty” and wear a company-issued body camera.” Read more


The most patriotic brands in America (Walmart #6, Amazon #10, Target #34) at Brand Keys. Top 100 list


REVERSE ATM – Want to Pay Cash? That’ll Cost You Extra at WSJ. “It has been a pretty wild shift,” said Will Pymm, senior vice president at RedyRef, a New Jersey-based company that supplies reverse ATMs to carnivals, restaurants and stadiums. “Probably one of the biggest we’ve seen for a specific product, in such a short amount of time.” RedyRef said it more than doubled its shipments of reverse ATMs in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2023.” WSJ subs.


Lego thefts across Southern California leave police trying to piece together clues at LA Times. “…two suspects have allegedly stolen more than $100,000 in Lego merchandise from six Bricks & Minifigs stores…” Read more


Work on Walmart Inc.’s new Bentonville HQ nearing the finish line at Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “Walmart Inc.’s new headquarters will be ready for workers to start moving in around the first of the year…” NWA Online subs.

Fortune WM Close-Up | FTC Eyes Alcohol | Lowe’s/Apple Team


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon keeps fending off Amazon for the top spot on the Fortune 500. Can he and the mega-retailer continue their streak? at Fortune/Yahoo. “On an April morning at Walmart’s headquarters, Doug McMillon was getting the Ryan Gosling treatment. The occasion was a meeting to celebrate about 150 of Walmart’s long-tenured employees; the giant retailer holds a few such gatherings every year at its campus in Bentonville, Ark…But McMillon was the one being mobbed like a movie star, as coworkers rushed up to ask for autographs or get a selfie with their photogenic CEO.” Read more


Sam’s Club Top Marketer Resigns at Ad Age. “Ciara Anfield has resigned as chief membership and marketing officer of Sam’s Club, a spokesman for the retailer confirmed.” Ad Age subs.


FTC preparing lawsuit over alcohol pricing at Politico. “In recent weeks, FTC staff investigating Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits have recommended a lawsuit under the Robinson-Patman Act, some of the people said. The 1936 law is meant to prevent suppliers from offering favorable pricing to certain retail customers over others — typically meaning large chain stores over mom and pop outlets. The FTC has not brought a case under the law in well over 20 years.” Read more


Lowe’s is in the kitchen with Apple at HBS Dealer. “Lowe’s is offering an in-store, Apple Vision Pro-powered experience, with a pilot set to launch in three test markets this month. Customers can try Lowe’s Style Studio for Apple Vision Pro firsthand, allowing them to visualize and design their dream kitchens using spatial computing and the help of a Lowe’s associate.” Read more


Top ten companies on the 2024 Fortune 500 list (Walmart #1, Amazon #2, CVS Health #6) Press release


…2024 Fortune 500 Fortune subs.


Retailers Hate That You Buy Big Things on Your Laptop at WSJ. “…this past holiday season was the first time mobile-revenue share surpassed desktop, reaching 61% on Christmas Day, according to data from Adobe. But that increase masks what shoppers say they want, particularly when it comes to large purchases. They often call these “big-screen purchases”—shopping done on computers.” WSJ subs.


The 2024 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings (Costco #11, Amazon #16, Kroger #29, Home Depot #39…) Top 100 list


Minneapolis is the Most Laid-Back City In America at Study Finds. Top 5 list


Dollar General’s self-checkout exit is bigger than expected at Supermarket News. “The retailer had already converted 9,000 stores away from self-checkout with the intention of  preventing theft, and in May an additional 3,000 locations were stripped of their self-checkout lanes.” Read more


Vallarta Supermarkets Introduces Buy Now, Pay Later Option at Progressive Grocer