Friday Tipsheet: Costco’s Prime Minister Iview | Amazon’s Obama Spokesman | Sears CEO Seahawks Analogy


What Amazon’s Hire of Former Obama Spokesman Says About Its PR Machine by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “The move signals Bezos’s desire to have a stronger presence inside Washington as Amazon becomes more powerful across industries as varied as warehousing, retailing, cloud computing and publishing. New initiatives such as its delivery drones have also seen it pushing the boundaries of regulation. Amazon lobbying chief Paul Misener is staying with the company, but now reporting to Carney.” Read more


Wal-Mart gives up on Twin Cities-area project by Nick Halter at Minn./St.Paul Business Journal. “While Wal-Mart has built a presence in the Twin Cities in recent years — it has 69 stores in Minnesota — it’s largely missing from the west metro. There’s not a Wal-Mart store between Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Center locations.” Read more


After $160M loss, Sears CEO compares criticism to fateful Super Bowl play by James Covert at NY Post. “In drawing the lengthy analogy, Lampert — who has been roundly criticized for failing to invest ain and update Sears and Kmart stores — neglected to mention a crucial detail: the Seahawks lost.” Read more / Read the blog post


Canada’s Prime Minister Gave An ‘Exclusive’ Interview To Costco Magazine by Jennifer MacMillan at Huff Po Canada. “The interview raised some eyebrows on Twitter — along with the fact it was designer guru Sarah Richardson who made the cover, not the Prime Minister of Canada.” Read more


…Read the full interview at Costco Connection.  Read more


Inside Cabela’s first Charlotte-area store by Jennifer Thomas at Charlotte Business Journal.  See the 53 pics


Court rules J.C. Penney won’t have to pay punitive damages to Macy’s for selling Martha Stewart’s products by Barbara Ross at NY Daily News. “The judges said then-Penney CEO Ron Johnson was not entirely wrong to think that he had found a loophole in Stewart’s contract because it allowed her to sell her houseware items in her own store.” Read more


J.C. Penney makes progress but posts a loss by Maria Halkias at Dallas News. “Comparable store sales increased 4.4 percent as customers responded to the private brand merchandise that Penney brought back to its stores. But the chain is still trying to improve sales in the home department, children’s and footwear. Those categories continue to be hurt by “self-inflicted wounds,” CEO Mike Ullman said.” Read more


Canadian Tire shares hit record high after banner 2014 by Lisa Wright at The Toronto Star. “Same-store sales at Canadian Tire stores grew 2.8 per cent helped by its winter tire business. Same-store sales at the company’s FGL Sports banners were up 4.9 per cent which was driven by an increase of 9.4 per cent at Sport Chek. Its Mark’s clothing chain reported same-store sales rose 1.2 per cent.” Read more


Loblaw eyes some Target locations as profit more than doubles by Linda Nguyen at The Globe and Mail. “… Their network is not particularly complementary to the Loblaw network, (but) we have a team looking at the assets. We have identified the number of stores that could be complementary.” Read more


Guest Author: Rebuilding Empires by Thomas Lee (Excerpt 4 of 4). Published by St. Martin’s Press.

In some ways, Target, a company that prides itself on detailed long term planning, seems ill suited for such rapid rate of change.

For example, when Target first established its website a decade prior, the move prompted much division among its management ranks. At the time, Target stores were thriving, which made it hard for executives steeped in the Dayton department store culture to understand why the company would spend millions of dollars on a project that lost millions of dollars for the first few years of its existence.  

“I had a lot of arrows in my back,” said one former executive involved with the website.

For to survive, the Target executive said the company needed to remove the e-commerce team from the rest of the company so it could operate within its own culture. So Target established a separate headquarters for the website at the City Center complex, located just a few blocks north of main corporate building on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The move would only breed even more resentment among brick and mortar managers, the former executive said.

At the time, had the support of CEO Bob Ulrich. But even Ulrich grew uneasy with the project. During one meeting to review the website’s numbers, Ulrich dismissed the nascent e-commerce business as “middling.” To boost morale, the team later wore t-shirts around its office that read “NOT a middling business.”



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