Friday’s Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet: Walmart Loves Beer | “Frugality Fatigue” | Best Buy’s Bad Website


“Wal-Mart versus Amazon: Price isn’t everything” by Kim Souza at The City Wire.  “Wal-Mart, and Amazon were recently part of an annual pricing study that looked a full basket of goods – Wal-Mart’s supercenter offered the greatest value with a total price of $853.08. The identical products cost $924.74 at, some 8% more expensive than at the supercenter. Shoppers who purchased the same basket at Amazon would have paid $985.49, which was 7% more expensive than and 16% more costly than at the supercenter.”  Read more


“Retailers appeal to back-to-school shoppers online” by Tiffany Hsu at LA Times via Seattle Times  “Although shoppers are still price-conscious, some have what NPD analyst Marshal Cohen calls “frugality fatigue.”  “Instead of living on a tight budget every day, consumers are feeling a little more comfortable and confident,” Cohen said. “In a big change since the recession, parents are letting their kids have a say” in what they buy.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart’s New Goal: Sell All the Beer” by Susan Berfield at Businessweek.  “When Wal-Mart began buying a greater number of locally grown fruits and vegetables in 2010, it made sure its efforts got plenty of publicity. But when Walmart decided it wanted to double its alcohol sales by 2016, it didn’t exactly issue a press release.  Customers noticed, and those in the alcohol industry—or, as Walmart prefers, the adult beverage business—certainly took note of the change. “They’ve said they want to be the No. 1 beer seller in the world” Read more


“Best Buy Works to Get Its Website Up to Snuff” by Ann Zimmerman.  “The struggling e-commerce site is a particular problem given that online sales in general have been growing at three times the rate of bricks-and-mortar sales for years. Twenty-one percent of all electronic gadgets sales now occur online, a number expected to increase to 23% in 2013, according to Forrester Research.”  Read more


‘What Target’s Recent Acquisitions Are Really About” by Tamara Rutter at Motley Fool.  “Target’s not even one of the top 10 largest online retailers in the United States today, despite generating annual retail sales of $72 billion last year. Moreover, Target is currently the 18th largest online retailer in the U.S., according to However, integrating e-commerce sites such as,, and DermStore’s and should help Target grab a larger chunk of online retail sales down the road.”  Read more


“Target downgraded, Canada cited as key to earnings” by Jonathan Ratner at Financial Post.  “Wal-Mart invested another $450-million into 37 new supercentres, Sobey’s acquired Safeway’s Canadian assets (213 supermarkets) in June, Loblaw bought Shoppers Drug Mart (1,200 locations) in July, and Costco stepped up its pricing efforts.”  Read more


“Less Than A Third Of Top CEOs Are On Social Media” by Susan Adams at Forbes.  “According to the study, only 32% of top CEOs have at least one account on a social network. Some 68% have no social presence at all.  Not surprisingly, CEOs are most active on LinkedIn. Some 27.9%, or 140 CEOs, have LinkedIn accounts. That’s up from 25.9%, or 130, a year ago. In fact LinkedIn is more popular with CEOs than with the general public.”  Read more


“Earnings preview: What to look for from Wal-Mart” by Courtney Reagan at CNBC.  “The world’s largest retailer reports earnings Thursday morning before the opening bell. Beyond the total profit and revenue results, the number to watch for in Wal-Mart’s earnings release is U.S. same-store sales. Analysts are looking for uninspiring growth of 0.7 percent in the U.S. and 1.1 percent overall, according to Thomson Reuters. The discount chain’s U.S. same-store sales in the first quarter dropped for the first time since summer 2011.”  Read more


“Canadian Tire Q2 profit rises to $155 million” at Montreal Gazette.  “Retail sales from both corporate and franchised stores totalled $3.56 billion, up 2.1 per cent from $3.48 billion.  The company’s retail segment accounted for most of Canadian Tire’s revenue but its financial services business accounted for $254.2 million of revenue, up 4.8 per cent from $242.5 million in the second quarter of 2012.”  Read more


“Ackman pushes J.C. Penney to speed up CEO search” at Reuters.  “Ackman, frustrated by the slow pace of the CEO search, also told fellow Penney board members that Allen Questrom, a former Penney CEO, would return as chairman if the department store operator chose a new CEO he liked.  “The CEO search process, which began in earnest three weeks ago, will be careful and deliberate to ensure we find the right long-term leader for J.C. Penney,” Thomas Engibous, Penney’s current chairman, said on Thursday evening.”  Read more


“Tesco pulls back in China with Vanguard deal” at Reuters.  “”Tesco has been struggling in China and has been losing money. Similar to Carrefour, they had issues in their home market which they had to resolve,” said one Hong Kong-based M&A banker.  “This may look win-win, but in reality, Tesco is saying ‘I can’t figure out China’,” he said.”  Read more