Monday’s Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet: Walmart’s SPARC 2.0 | H.Depot’s China Graveyard | Whole Foods Sells LPs


“Wal-Mart suppliers get tutorial on SPARC 2.0” by Kim Souza at The City Wire.  “SPARC – the Supplier Portal Allowing Retail Coverage initiative – is being broadly rolled out by Wal-Mart during the next six weeks at roughly 150 stores a day in an effort to raise on-the-shelf availability of products sold by the retailer. Mike Graen, director of strategy and innovation for Wal-Mart, spoke candidly to a room full of suppliers who agreed that one of the most frustrating issues they face is products out-of-stock.”  Read more


“Touring the Home Depot Graveyard in China” by Trevor Williams at Global Atlanta.  “Although one store has been demolished to make way for a mall, most of the shuttered stores still sit empty, eerily frozen in a time when one was the scene of a “hostage situation.” Confirmed by Home Depot CFO Carol Tome, Chinese media have reported that a few of Home Depot’s 850 employees used cars to block doors, locking company leaders in for 80 hours after being abruptly informed of the store closings.”  Read more


“Walmart Campus Store #3:  Report from Georgia Tech” by Lindsay Purcell at Technique.  “Tech was chosen, in part, because of Walmart’s connection with Tech, as the CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke, is a Tech alumni.  “In this case, the city of Atlanta and Georgia Tech have close ties to executive leadership at Walmart which may have generated interest in making our store one of the first to open,” Steele said…“The performance of the Tech store will be watched closely by Walmart Executives to determine if the format has legs… I expect to see Walmart expand this concept further onto college campuses, in urban areas, etc. Walmart Campus stores seem to make a lot of sense on the surface,” Long said.”  Read more


“Lowe’s Discovers Vine ‘Celebrity’ “ by Shareen Pathak at ad Ad Age.  “Twitter’s Vine platform is birthing a new generation of celebrities that brands are latching on to, paying out anywhere between four-figure and five-figure sums for a six-second piece of content.  One of those “celebrities” is photographer and director Meagan Cignoli, who was “discovered” by home improvement retailer Lowe’s when the company was hunting for someone to direct videos for a Spring campaign called #FixinSix, which showed home improvement tips via Vine.”  Read more


“Whole Foods Is Selling LPs Now” by Lily Hay Newman at Gizmodo.  “Whole Foods has begun selling vinyl at five locations in and around LA, including West Hollywood, Santa Barbara and Venice…Whole Foods says that they will stock a “wide selection” of LPs from Frank Sinatra to Daft Punk and Bob Marley. The records are being marketed alongside LSTN headphones, the purchase of which helps hearing impaired people through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.”  Read more


“The end of the dollar store recovery” by Nin-Hai Sing at Fortune.  “Dollar stores were one of the few bright spots in U.S. retail during the Great Recession as cash-strapped consumers looked to do more with less. And while many are still going to these discounters for bargains, they’re also buying less.”  Read more


“Marketers drool over Pinterest ad potential” at News-Press.  “Lowe’s has 3.6 million followers on Pinterest and has been watching Pinterest’s Rich Pins feature, which allows pinners to post more specifics on products, such as dimensions and prices.  Pinterest is being “really smart about how they’re evolving the product,” says Brad Walters, Lowe’s director of social media. “We would consider” an advertising platform from Pinterest if it were an option.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart Opening 90 Stores In Africa” at Value Walk.  “Wal-Mart is looking to enter hot growth markets, such as Nigeria and Angola. Both countries have been enjoying an oil boom, which has supported strong economic growth over the last few years. The aggressive expansion plan follows Walmart’s 2.4 billion dollar acquisition of MassMart, a major big box retailer in South Africa. Given Walmart’s track record in other emerging nations, such as Mexico and China, investors have good reason to feel optimistic.”  Read more


“Accenture study reveals disconnect between CIOs and CMOs” by Marianne Wilson at Chain Store Age.  “Despite CIOs appearing more open to engaging with CMOs, only 45% of CIOs say that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities…while CMOs claim that gaining customer insight is their number one motivator for collaborating with IT, CIOs rank this tenth on their list of reasons to work together. CIOs’ top motivation for collaborating is to improve the customer experience, which CMOs rank as their third most important motivator.”  Read more


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