Friday Tipsheet: Target: Hack Timing ‘No Coincidence’ | Breaking: Walgreen Q1 Comps +2.4%


“Breaking:  Walgreens Q1 Front-End Comp Sales Up 2.4%”  Q1 sales increased 5.9 percent from the prior-year quarter to a record $18.3 billion. Front-end comparable store sales increased 2.4 percent in the first quarter, customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.2 percent and basket size increased 2.2 percent, while total sales in comparable stores increased 5.4 percent.  Prescription sales, which accounted for 64.7 percent of sales in the quarter, increased 7.3 percent, while prescription sales in comparable stores increased 7.2 percent.”  Read the Full Q1 Release


“Walgreens Q1 Conference Call Today at 8:30 AM ET”  Listen to the Webcast


“Shop at Target? Maybe in a Few Weeks” by Kelli Grant at CNBC.  “The breach of data for 40 million shoppers at Target over the heart of the holiday shopping season could cast a pall over the few days left before Christmas…”I probably won’t go there for a few weeks until they figure this out,” Lane said. Instead, she’ll head to the nearby Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart…Other Target customers concerned about their accounts were unable to get answers Thursday. Target’s credit card web site has been down, and its toll-free hotline for questions about the breach was jammed.”  Read more


“Expert:  Timing of Hack Planned; Target Won’t Cancel Cards This Close to Christmas” by Jennifer Bjorhus & Steve Alexander.  “Marcus Rogers, a professor of cyberforensics at Purdue University, said one option to prevent the risk of compromised card numbers being used by thieves is to immediately cancel the cards and issue new ones.  But Rogers said canceling huge numbers of credit and debit cards in the late days of the holiday season would cause “chaos” that retailers want to avoid so close to Christmas.  For the thieves, the timing is no coincidence,” Rogers said. “They are betting that Target and the credit card companies don’t want to hurt the economy by canceling the stolen cards.”  Read more


“Walmart:  Most Prolific Holiday Advertiser with 40+ Unique Pieces of Creative” by Karl Greenberg at MediaPost.  “Its top ad, “Christmas Magic,” bested the average score by 26%. The ad is also the highest-scoring Walmart ad since July 2010. Consumers found the ad’s message to be a good example of the spirit of the season.”  Read more


“See Walmart’s #1 Rated “Christmas Magic” Ad”  See the Video


“Optimism:  Target’s Data Breach Won’t Hurt the Retailer” by Paula Rosenblum at Forbes.  “When TJX suffered its massive data breach in 2007, sales continued to rise, as did the company’s stock. Retailers are not held responsible beyond any fines they have to pay if they did something to contribute to the theft… I don’t expect to see Target suffer any loss of business as part of this breach, nor do I expect to see shoppers’ credit card accounts suffering huge, non-reimbursable losses. Stolen card numbers will be passed around to various credit card processors quickly and losses will be stopped.”  Read more


“Newcomers turn up the heat in Houston’s grocery wars” by Olivia Pulsinelli at Houston Business Journal.  “Some are speculating that the war is about to see its first casualty. Randalls is shuttering one of its top Houston stores, a 74,000-square-foot location in the Westchase Shopping Center, and parent company California-based Safeway Inc. has shown signs of struggling in other areas of the country, as well.”  Read more


“Rite Aid cuts full-year profit forecast; shares off 10%” at CNBC.  “This outlook contrasts that of CVS Caremark Corp, which said on Wednesday that it expected sales and earnings to rise in 2014 and forecast good growth in its pharmacy benefits management business.”  Read more


“Report:  People Are More Freaked Out by Hacking Than Tracking” by Liz Gannes at All Things D.  “Some 75 percent of those surveyed said they are worried about hackers stealing their personal information, while 54 percent are worried about their browsing history being tracked by advertisers.”  Read more


“Study:  Serial Returners Cut Online Retailer’s Profits by 50%” at The Economist.  “Mr Schulze studied 5.9m transactions in Germany, involving 166,000 customers, for a large European online retailer. He looked only at those who had bought at least five items over a five-year period, and found that 5% of them sent back more than 80% of the things they had bought; and that 1% of customers sent back at least 90% of their purchases. Without the cost of returns, the retailer’s profits would be almost 50% higher, the study found.”  Read more


“ to Become First Major US Retailer to Accept Bitcoin” by John Southurst at Coin Desk.  “’s CEO, Patrick Byrne. The company had hinted at accepting bitcoin in a New York Times interview in October, but Byrne said he was waiting for more legal clarification before going ahead. It now seems to be moving towards a more definite schedule.”  Read more


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