Friday Tipsheet: Feds Probe Costco | Kmart Layaway ‘Debacle’ | Amazon 1 Hr Ship


Costco reports federal probe about prescriptions for controlled substances by Angel Gonzalez at Seattle Times. “Costco said Thursday it has been informed by federal attorneys that they believe the company has violated civil regulations about the handling of prescriptions for controlled substances.” Read more


Amazon offers one-hour shipping in Manhattan at AP via SF Gate. “The service is available to customers enrolled in Amazon Prime, which costs $99 a year. One-hour delivery costs $7.99 but the company also offers two-hour delivery for free. Prime Now is available from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.” Read more


Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club implement stricter poultry safety protocol at The City Wire. “All poultry suppliers must be in compliance with the new requirements by June 2016.” Read more


Consumables tilt the pricing see-saw to Walmart: What does this mean for Amazon? by Nicole Santosusso at Internet Retailer. “ took the lead with the least expensive overall basket across the three venues. Amazon’s overall basket was more expensive than both Walmart channels; it registered 12% more expensive than the Supercenter and 17% more expensive than Amazon’s biggest disadvantage was in edible grocery, where it was 37% more expensive than and 38% more expensive than the Supercenter.” Read more


Rite-Aid Q3 Front-End Comp +1.6%Same store sales for the quarter increased 5.4 percent over the prior year, consisting of a 1.6 percent increase in front-end sales and a 7.2 percent increase in pharmacy sales.” Read the release


NY AG: Walmart Must End Online Toy Gun Sales by Awr Hawkins at Breitbart. “Schneiderman’s office said the toy guns were illegal because they were “virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.” NY law “prohibits retailers from selling guns in realistic colors unless it has a one-inch-wide orange stripe running down both sides of the barrel and the front end of the barrel that cannot be removed.” Read more


Psst! It’s Me, the Mannequin. This Would Look Great on You. by Rachel Abrams at NY Times. “But these can beckon you from outside the store, sending messages to your cellphones and beaming pictures of their outfits onto them. They are one of the latest efforts by the struggling retail industry to lure customers away from the Internet and back into brick-and-mortar stores. “We decided we had to work out a way to bring the good old-fashioned mannequin into the 21st century.” Read more


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P&G fined $189 million for fixing prices by Barrett J. Brunsman at Cincinnati Bus. Courier. “Sales managers and others “met regularly and secretly (in restaurants and private homes) to coordinate their commercial policies and discuss their pricing policies,” the Autorité de la Concurrence said in announcing the fines. “These practices are serious and harmed the economy.” Read more


Wal-Mart de Mexico Sells Bank Business to Inbursa at Nasdaq. “Inbursa said it would pay 3.6 billion pesos, or nearly $247 million, for the business.” Read more


39 percent of customers continue to avoid vendors more than two years after a bad experience by Susan LaMotte at Forbes. “There is a lot of research around helping others — humans have a predisposition to want to help. Research from the University of Wisconsin shows that employees who help others at work are happier. Stanford researchers found that creating goals around helping others directly correlates with happiness.” Read more


Can Wal-Mart Clerks Ship as Fast as Amazon Robots? by Shelly Banjo, Suzanne Kapner & Paul Ziobro at WSJ. “Ms. Merritt and her team handle about 1,000 items a day from the one store. At some robot-equipped Amazon warehouses, workers handle as many as 300 items an hour. Wal-Mart says the ship-from-store operations are only one piece of a larger network serving its online customers. “We have fulfillment centers that deliver the vast majority of online orders,” said spokesman Dan Toporek.” Read more (Subscription)


Kmart Apologizes For Layaway Debacle, Says Some Cancellations Were ‘Inadvertent’ by Mary Beth Quirk at The Consumerist via HuffPo. “Kmart contacted Consumerist to issue an apology for what is still a very confusing situation. When we started combing through our readers’ tales of woe over the Kmart situation, many said they’d later received yet another notice about their layaway items, saying that their entire layaway contract had been canceled.” Read more


How the Deepest, Darkest Secrets of Moms Shape the Products in Aisle 6 by Rebecca Greenfield at Fast Company. “When I sit in meetings, the way people talk about mothers, it’s like it’s the 1950s,” said the founder of The Mom Complex, which works with the likes of Walmart and Johnson & Johnson on product development and marketing research specifically geared toward America’s 80 million moms. “They think we’re all June Cleaver, and happy all the time, and baking all the time.” Read more


Minecraft’s Creator Buys The Most Expensive House In Beverly Hills by Luke Plunkett at Kotaku. “In case you needed a material transaction to illustrate just how much money Markus Persson, aka Notch, has having sold Mojang (and Minecraft) to Microsoft, take a look at this: the dude just paid $70 million (and maybe beat out Beyonce & Jay-Z) to buy the most expensive house in Beverly Hills.” See the video walkthrough



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