Resend: Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 11/21/12

Worker Organization Files Federal Charge against Walmart.  “The planned strikes, which OUR Walmart members announced would be part of 1,000 store protests on and leading up to Black Friday, are in protest of Walmart’s ongoing attempts to silence workers for speaking out for better jobs. Because the planned strikes are in protest to unfair labor practices like silencing workers through scheduling changes, reductions in hours, and even firings, workers are legally protected under federal labor law.” 

“Why The Wal-Mart Black Friday Protests Won’t Work” by Rick Newman in US News.  “One question for the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Wal-Mart workers who are planning to disrupt the retailers’ stores over the Thanksgiving weekend: Have you noticed what just happened to Hostess?”

World’s Largest Shoe Floor Sets Foot On Broadway at Macy’s Herald Square.  “On a street renowned for awe-inspiring productions, the fall 2012 opening of the World’s Largest Shoe Floor at Macy’s Herald Square is one of the most exciting and epic events of the season, with the debut of more than 250,000 pair of women’s shoes in a posh, new, 63,000 square-foot space on the second floor of the iconic flagship.”

“Walgreen unveils Bucktown (Chicago) flagship, plans more upscale stores nationwide” by Brigid Sweeney in Crain’s-Chicago Business (includes pictures).  “Walgreen Co. is unveiling a new flagship location in Bucktown, and store executives say about 10 other upscale stores — in locations ranging from Hawaii to inside New York’s Empire State Building — will be complete by early 2014…The space, a historic bank building that dates to 1919, was vacant before Walgreen purchased it in 2010 and began renovations, executives of the drug chain said.”

“Apple Posts Black Friday Sale Teaser Online, Don’t Expect Retail Stores To Open Very Early” by Alex Heath in Cult of Mac.  “If you’re a longtime Apple customer, you know that the company’s Black Friday deals are infamously weak. The biggest kind of discount you’ll typically see is $40-$60 off an iPad or $100 off a Mac.  Still, it’s the only time of the year that Apple discounts anything, so the deals are worth noting. Nothing specific has leaked out yet about the deals that will be happening this Friday, but expect some modest price cuts on all of the new products Apple introduced over the past few months.” 

“New body scanner offers virtual tape measure for online shopping” by Chris Wickham from Reuters.  “Shoppers are still nervous about ordering clothes online because they often do not fit and, some say, there will never be a substitute for trying something on – one reason why the boom in online retail has not had the same impact on clothing as on music, books and electronics retailing.  In the United States, for instance, the consultancy ComScore estimated that only 14 percent of online spending went on clothes and accessories in the year to June.” 

“Best Buy reports loss” by Spencer Platt at CBS News.  “Best Buy’s third-quarter financial performance was clearly unsatisfactory,” said CEO Hubert Joly, the turnaround expert tapped to lead Best Buy in August.  The electronics chain is trying to reverse a year long decline in its business as competition from online stores and discounters increases, and consumers’ tastes shift from more profitable items like TVs and desktop computers toward less profitable smartphones and tablets.”

“Target Turkey Dinner Costs Less Than Wal-Mart” by Leslie Patton in Bloomberg.  “Target has been pretty clear, through their actions, that they want to have a very competitive holiday season so it’s not surprising that it translated over to food,” Bartashus said in an interview. While Target is “clearly trying to bolster sales with promotions,” Wal-Mart promotes everyday low prices and doesn’t do much discounting, she said.” Asks The Made In America Store to Join Their E-Commerce Site.  “The Made In America Store was recently asked to join’s online web-store. The internet store giant,, has been looking for a brick & mortar store that sells US manufactured goods to keep up with the growing demand of American made products. The Made In America Store was the perfect candidate, bringing over 2,000 different US manufactured goods.” 

“Heinz aims for new growth in dollar, drug stores as profits surge” by Kim Leonard in Trib Live Business.  “Heinz’s management team has “begun to make progress on alternate channels like drug and dollar stores” through improved distribution and products aimed at price-conscious shoppers….  That’s not having much impact yet. “We’re just now getting into dollar stores, and we’ve cracked Dollar General on Ore-Ida,”…adding Heinz is “grossly underdeveloped” in terms of getting products on shelves at the stores that have fared well through tough economic times…. Dollar stores have been growing faster than any other retail format, and they sell many of the products that Heinz would produce,” said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “My only question is, why haven’t they done this already?