Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/11/12: Walmart in China, Lowe’s resets, Amazon’s “Yasiv”


“Sea Bass With Barbie Dolls Challenge Wal-Mart in China” at Bloomberg News (Video and Text).  “Shelves stacked to the ceiling with low-price hot sauce, Barbie dolls, and noodles stand near tanks where shoppers can fish out live sea bass for dinner. Welcome to RT-Mart, China’s version of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.   From Shanghai to Chengdu, the outlets run by China’s largest big-box retailer, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. are recreating American-style Wal-Marts, with one big difference: They’re giving them the feel of local street markets with hairy crabs laid on table tops and discounted hot-pot ingredients. That formula has helped it crack the country’s 507 billion yuan ($81 billion) hypermarket industry overseas rivals Tesco Plc., Wal-Mart and Carrefour SA have struggled to get a handle on.”  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-09/sea-bass-with-barbie-dolls-challenge-wal-mart-in-china.html


“Lowe’s Creates C-Level Customer Exec, Earmarks $550M for Annual IT Spend” by Adam Blair in RIS.  “As the SKU rationalization process proceeds, “the teams are reinvesting inventory dollars into greater depth of high-volume SKUs,” notes Bridgeford. “The result is a plan that includes more facings for SKUs, localized assortment and price point progressions.”  For product lines that have gone through the reset process, Lowe’s has seen comp sales lifts in the “mid single digits,” and “nearly a full percentage point improvement in gross margin rate,” he said. The retailer expects to complete reviews of products representing approximately 90% of its business by next month, the end of fiscal 2012, and expects to reset “40% to 50% of our business by the end of the fiscal year and substantially all by mid-2013,” he added.”  https://risnews.edgl.com/retail-news/Lowe-s-Creates-C-Level-Customer-Exec,-Earmarks-$550M-for-Annual-IT-Spend83629?googleid=83629


“Browse Amazon’s wares in an entirely new way with Yasiv” by Matt Elliot at CNET.  “Yasiv calls itself a “visual recommendation service.” What it does is show you a web of related products in response to a search query. At the top of the page is a pull-down menu where you can select an Amazon product category (including All Departments) and a search box. Type a product name, hit Enter, and Yasiv springs to life, forming a web of related products around your search term.”  https://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57558312-285/browse-amazons-wares-in-an-entirely-new-way-with-yasiv/


Walgreen’s fake Facebook “Like” thumbs up in stores (Picture)…

“Walgreen’s using “Most Liked” as a buying signal” by Rishi Shah at Getting More Awesome.  “It only makes sense for Walgreens to start using “Most Liked” as a buying lubricant. It is easier to build trust in a product if it is “Most Liked”.  What is weird though is that there is actually no real mention of Facebook anywhere. So, this makes me think they sort of just made it up.”  https://www.gettingmoreawesome.com/2012/12/10/walgreens-using-most-liked-as-a-buying-signal/


“CleanFUEL USA and Menards Announce Opening of 37 Propane Autogas Fueling Stations” at The Auto Channel.  “CleanFUEL USA, a leading supplier of propane autogas infrastructure and engine systems, today announced the installation of 37 propane autogas fueling stations at Menards home improvement stores. Thirty-six Menards locations throughout Illinois, as well as its Eau Claire West store in Wisconsin, will now offer publicly accessible propane refueling.“Menards is clearly at the forefront in the home improvement retail world in providing environmentally friendly fuels to the public. Their plans to continue expanding the availability of autogas, which provides the same or better performance as gasoline, will benefit their customers, giving them a wider choice of fueling options.”  https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/12/10/059784-cleanfuel-usa-and-menards-announce-opening-37-propane-autogas-fueling.html


Menards puts new store #2 on hold blaming President Obama; stunts growth into Kansas City and St. Louis markets…

“Menards expansion to Independence (Missouri; Suburb of Kansas City) on hold for now” by Adrianne DeWeese in The Examiner.  “Plans for a well-known home improvement store to locate in Independence appear to be on hold for now, and company officials are blaming President Barack Obama.  Less than two months after the official announcement took place, Menards released a statement last week saying it would hold off on a site in Independence, despite having cleared the rezoning process through the Planning Commission.”  https://www.examiner.net/news/x719504099/Menards-expansion-to-Independence-on-hold-for-now


“Hannaford makes management changes, names new president” by Whit Richardson in The Bangor Daily News.  “The Scarborough-based grocery chain, which has 181 stores throughout the northeastern United States, today announced Brad Wise will take over as president.  Wise will replace Beth Newlands Campbell, who is taking a new position as president of Food Lion, Hannaford’s sister company based in Salisbury, N.C… In addition, Wise will also become president of Sweetbay Supermarkets, another Delhaize chain based in Tampa, Fla.”  https://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/10/business/hannaford-makes-management-changes-new-president-named/


“Apple’s Massive New Hong Kong Store with 30-Foot Tall Glass Windows Leads Next Weekend’s Grand Openings” by Eric Slivka at Mac Rumors (Picture and Text).  “The new store is a massive flagship location, as evidenced by the company’s use of “curtain” graphics on the facade as is typically reserved for Apple’s most significant openings…The new store will cover three levels and has been reported to encompass approximately 20,000 square feet of space, with the facade including 30-foot tall glass windows currently covered by the curtain graphics. Playing upon the large facade, Apple’s tagline for the premiere is “An opening you simply can’t miss.”  https://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/10/apples-massive-new-hong-kong-store-with-30-foot-tall-glass-windows-leads-next-weekends-grand-openings/


It has come to this…

Final Twinkies Shipment Headed to JEWEL-OSCO.   “JEWEL-OSCO, a leading Midwest food and pharmacy retailer, is giving Twinkie lovers a chance to get one final taste of the iconic Hostess Brands treat.  This week, the retailer will receive what is believed to be the final shipment of Twinkies in the country. More than 20,000 boxes of Twinkies will be available starting Tuesday morning, Dec. 11, at select Chicago-area JEWEL-OSCO stores. Customers looking for Ding Dongs, Zingers and Orange Cupcakes will also be in luck.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121210006436&div=-1245645151


“Upset neighbors seek answers as supermarket chain (Kroger) announces closings” by Derick Waller at NBC 17 Raleigh, NC News (Video and Text).  “Upwards of 150 people packed the Martin Street Baptist Church in Southeast Raleigh to vent their frustrations after Kroger announced it’s closing two nearby stores. Kroger says their stores on New Bern Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard are not turning a profit. “If they’re losing money, they’re losing money because of the way they are operating their business,” Edita Horton Duncombe said. “It is not because of lack of support from this community.”  https://www2.nbc17.com/news/2012/dec/10/upset-neighbors-seek-answers-supermarket-chain-ann-ar-2847810/