Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 12/13/12: Walmart CEO’s biggest regret, Costco comps jump, Dollar General up in smoke


“Walmart CEO Mike Duke Shares His Biggest Regret” by Ashley Lutz at Business Insider.  “When Dan Doctoroff, the president of Bloomberg LP, asked Duke his biggest regret, he said:  “When I look back, I wish we had moved faster. We’ve proven ourselves to be successful in many areas, and I simply wonder why we didn’t move more quickly. This is especially true for e-commerce. Right now we’re making tremendous progress, and the business is moving, but we should have moved faster to expand this area.”  https://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-ceo-shares-his-biggest-regret-2012-12#ixzz2Et0a4mUz


“Costco profit jumps despite light membership fee growth” at Reuters.  “Sales at stores open at least a year rose 7 percent, including the effects of higher fuel prices. Excluding the impact of fuel and foreign currencies, Costco recorded 6 percent same-store sales growth.  Costco said it planned to open a new warehouse store in South Korea before the end of 2012. It operates 621 warehouses, including 448 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, and 23 in Britain. For all of fiscal 2013, it plans to open up to 30 new stores.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/us-costco-results-idUSBRE8BB0MJ20121212


“Amazon to collect sales tax from Mass. residents” at WCVB-Boston (Video).  “Online retailer Amazon.com has reached a deal with Massachusetts to start collecting sales tax from Bay State residents.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RzHMi4lxno


“Following Walmart.com’s Lead, Amazon Adds Facebook-Enabled Gift Suggestions” by Sarah Perez at Tech Crunch.   “However, there’s a bit more to this news beyond just being a better gift list. The new feature, presented in partnership with MasterCard, is a swipe back at Walmart, which has been ramping up its own e-commerce initiatives over the past year in an effort to better compete with Amazon. Although Walmart remains the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, the company understands it must compete in the e-commerce space as well, or risk losing business to e-commerce giant Amazon.  Through Walmart’s e-commerce innovation lab, @WalmartLabs, the company has been able to quickly develop, test and launch a number of new apps, services and features, including Walmart.com’s new search engine, a subscription-based commerce option, and, last year, it added a Facebook-based gift recommendation service known as “Shopycat.” Just ahead of the holidays this year, Walmart integrated those same Facebook-powered gift suggestions directly on Walmart.com.”  https://techcrunch.com/2012/12/12/following-walmarts-lead-amazon-adds-facebook-enabled-gift-suggestions/


“600 customers flood Trader Joe’s within an hour of its opening” by Anthony Clark at the  Gainesville (FL) Sun.  “More than 100 customers who had been waiting in line were greeted with cheers and high-fives from employees in orange T-shirts and Hawaiian shirts while a steel drum player treated them to calypso music.  By 9 a.m., more than 600 people had come through the entrance, based on the number of synthetic flowered leis placed around their necks.”  https://www.gainesville.com/article/20121212/ARTICLES/121219904/1002/news?Title=600-customers-flood-Trader-Joe-s-within-an-hour-of-its-opening


“Winnipeg Staples workers first to be unionized in North America” at CBC News.  “Employees at a Winnipeg Staples Business Depot will be represented by a local union, making it the first store in the North American chain to be unionized, union representatives say.  Nearly 40 employees joined UFCW Local 832, after 65 per cent of staff signed up to join the union in November.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/12/09/mb-union-staples.html


“Supervalu sues executive who defected to rival” by Jim Hammerand at Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.  “In October, (Leon) Bergmann resigned, writing in his resignation letter to Supervalu CEO Wayne Sales that he had lost confidence in the company’s turnaround efforts. Supervalu is seeking to sell itself, or at least some of its many supermarket retail chains. Bergmann resurfaced last week in the new position of senior vice president of sales at Unified Grocers Inc., Supervalu’s largest competitor in the Western United States.”  https://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/blog/law/2012/12/supervalu-sues-exec-who-defected-to.html


“Dollar General Rolling Out Tobacco” by Samantha Oller at CSP Net.  “Dollar General Corp. has announced plans to roll out tobacco at the majority of its 10,000 discount stores by the end of second-quarter 2013.  “As we’ve used our test-and-learn approach to this launch, we have given this initiative time to develop,” said Dreiling. “While the category is in structural decline and is low margin, we know that our core customer over-indexes with tobacco and cigarettes, and we expect the category to drive traffic.”With this move, Dollar General has caught up with its arch-rival, Family Dollar Stores Inc., which had planned to roll out tobacco sets to 6,000 of its more than 7,000 sites by the end of 2012.”  https://www.cspnet.com/news/tobacco/articles/dollar-general-rolling-out-tobacco


“Walmart in talks to buy stake in Turkish retailer: FT” at Reuters via Financial Times.  “Wal-Mart Stores Inc is in talks to buy an 80 percent stake in Turkish retailer Migros Ticaret AS from London-based private equity group BC Partners, the Financial Times reported.”  According to the paper, this deal would value Migros at more than $4 billion including debt.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/13/us-walmart-migros-idUSBRE8BC02K20121213


Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2012 Financial Results.  “Carlos Alberini, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are very pleased with our third quarter financial results, as we delivered a 22% revenue increase on top of the 25% increase a year ago. This performance, which is consistent with the 22% growth achieved for the year-to-date period, marks our 11th consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth…“We are in the very early stages of transforming our legacy mall real estate into our new full line Design Gallery concept. Our Los Angeles and Houston full line Design Galleries continue to perform ahead of our expectations…Mr. Friedman continued, “Our new and developing businesses, RH Baby & Child, and RH Big Style/small spaces are gaining momentum as we refine the assortments and presentation…Mr. Friedman concluded, “We are introducing three new businesses this Spring – RH Tableware, RH Objects of Curiosity, and RH Fine Art. RH Tableware and RH Objects of Curiosity will feature their own catalogs, with planned in-home dates in the first quarter of 2013.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121212006584&div=-1245645151