Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 1/8/13: Lowe’s “lacks direction”; Bezos = Sam Walton


“Lowe’s changes lack direction: analyst” by Andria Ching at MarketWatch.  “The series of merchandising, management, store and other changes made by the nation’s second-largest home-improvement retailer appear to “lack direction,” an analyst said on Monday…Her biggest concern: a new management structure announced in May to focus on customer experience and operations has led to both its head merchant and head of supply chain positions still remaining vacant after previous leaders were reassigned to other jobs, she said.  “We are starting to see the impact of having those vacancies,” Champine said in an interview, adding it’s been years since she rated Lowe’s stock a sell. “It’s a warning sign.”  Read more:  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/lowes-changes-lack-direction-analyst-2013-01-07?link=MW_latest_news


“Apple Can’t Afford Buyer’s Remorse With Next Retail Hire” by John Paczkowski at All Things D.  “In the fourth quarter, Apple’s 401 stores worldwide generated an average revenue per store of $11.2 million, and a recent study found that Apple’s retail stores earn $6,050 per square foot, compared to Tiffany & Co., which earned $3,017 a square foot.  So who might Apple look to to fill the shoes of Ron Johnson, the chief architect of its retail strategy, who left the company last year to take the CEO job at retailer J.C. Penney? That’s a conundrum difficult enough to perplex the most skilled of recruiters; recall that it took Apple about seven months to sign Browett, and that was with the help of executive search firm Egon Zehnder International.”  Read more:  https://allthingsd.com/20130107/apple-cant-afford-buyers-remorse-with-next-retail-hire/?mod=ATD_featured_posts_widget


“Sears CEO D’Ambrosio to step down” by Corilyn Shropshire at Chicago Tribune.  “Sears Holdings Corp. said Monday night that Chief Executive Officer Louis D’Ambrosio will step down Feb. 2, due to family health matters, and Chairman Edward Lampert will add the role of CEO.  The surprise move fuels uncertainty at the Hoffman Estates-based company, which has struggled for years to re-establish itself as a department store in an ultracompetitive retailing industry dominated by low-price giant Wal-Mart and big box and specialty stores.”  Read more:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-sears-ceo-dambrosio-to-step-down-20130107,0,5794699.story


“Cramer Quick Take: Amazon’s Bezos Is the Sam Walton of Our Time” by Scott Rutt at The Street (Video and Text).  “Cramer said that what Amazon is doing — becoming the backbone of Internet shopping for not only itself but countless other merchants in the process — is a brilliant move. He said there are so many ways to win with Amazon that it’s no wonder the stock seems to have endless momentum.  Many people are skeptical of Amazon’s sky-high price earnings ratio but Cramer said Amazon is perhaps the only stock where he doesn’t even look at the P/E ratio before making an investment. Amazon, he said, is one company where putting a dollar in yields a lot more than a dollar on the way out. Bezos, he concluded, is the Sam Walton of our time.”  Read more:  https://www.thestreet.com/story/11806010/1/cramer-quick-take-amazons-amazons-bezos-is-the-sam-walton-of-our-time.html?cm_ven=GOOGLEN


“NY Times investigations editor discusses Wal-Mart coverage” by Chris Roush at Talking Biz News.  “Paul Fishleder, the deputy investigations editor at The New York Times, was asked to comment by Talking Biz News about the paper’s recent investigation into Wal-Mart’s bribery tactics in Mexico…He learned that a former Wal-Mart de Mexico lawyer named Sergio Cicero Zapata had contacted company executives in Arkansas and told them how for years he and his bosses had used systematic bribery to obtain zoning rulings and construction permits that allowed Wal-Mart to win market dominance in every corner of Mexico. There were hundreds of suspect payments, totaling more than $24 million.  Wal-Mart began its own investigation. Yet within months, just as the inquiry began to bear fruit, the company’s leaders shut it down. No doubt they believed that the matter would quietly end there. And it would have, but for Barstow.  Read more:  https://www.talkingbiznews.com/2/nytimes-investigations-editor-discusses-wal-mart-coverage/


“Wal-Mart de Mexico December Sales Rise; 2012 Sales Up 10.3%” at 4-Traders.  “Walmex said it opened 76 new outlets last month, 73 of which were in Mexico, for a total addition of 285 outlets last year and a 7.7% increase in consolidated selling space…Walmex plans to open between 325 and 335 new stores and restaurants for 2012 through March 2013, down from 441 openings in 2011.”  Read more:  https://www.4-traders.com/WAL-MART-STORES-INC-4841/news/Wal-Mart-de-Mexico-December-Sales-Rise-2012-Sales-Up-10-3-15759387/


“Ammunition Sales Surge As Gun Control Debate Looms” by Katy Steinmetz at Time.  “With about a week to go before the Obama White House proposes new nationwide gun restrictions, U.S. retailers are noticing a dramatic run on ammunition. At Bass Pro Shops in Independence, Kan., customers would typically find at least 1,000 boxes of handgun ammunition in stock: today, says one sales associate, the sporting goods superstore has about 10. In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, an ammo scramble is taking place across the country: lawmakers in Washington are preparing for an extended debate over new gun-related legislation, and gun owners are stocking up on goods they fear could be banned.”  Read more: https://swampland.time.com/2013/01/08/ammunition-sales-surge-as-gun-control-debate-looms/#ixzz2HO88rIc3


“Whole Foods Market Names Jason J. Buechel as Global Vice President and Chief Information Officer” at MarketWatch.  “Whole Foods Market the world’s largest organic and natural foods supermarket, announces it is hiring Jason J. Buechel as Global Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the company.Starting in January 2013, Buechel will report directly to Co-CEO Walter Robb and Chief Financial Officer Glenda Flanagan. As a member of the company’s global leadership team, Buechel will be responsible for all aspects of information technology at Whole Foods Market. He will oversee the technology team at the global headquarters in Austin, Texas and twelve regional offices around the country and in the United Kingdom.”  Read more:  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/whole-foods-market-names-jason-j-buechel-as-global-vice-president-and-chief-information-officer-2013-01-07


“7-Eleven re-enters Houston market with acquisition” by Emily Wilkinson in Houston Business Journal.  “7-Eleven Inc. is continuing its south Texas expansion efforts with its recent buy of 143 Speedy Stop and Tigermarket stores — including two in Houston.  Dallas-based 7-Eleven purchased the stores from Victoria-based distributor C.L. Thomas Inc. for an undisclosed price. The deal closed on Dec. 31, according to a company statement.”  Read more:  https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2013/01/07/7-eleven-enters-houston-market-with.html


“Rite Aid’s Comps Fall Again” at Zacks.  “Drugstore chain retailer, Rite Aid Corporation’s same-store sales (comps) for the four weeks ended December 29, 2012 slipped 2.2%. The fall was an outcome of a decline in pharmacy and front-end  comps. Despite a 4.4% increase in prescription counts, Pharmacy comps for December declined 2.9% primarily due to a negative impact of around 605 basis points from new generic drug introductions. An increase of 1.7% in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots primarily prompted the growth in prescription counts. Further, the shift in holiday calendar resulted in a dip of 1.0% in front-end comps.”  Read more:  https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/89845/rite-aids-comps-fall-again