Thursday Tipsheet: Obama’s Costco List: Shovel, Dog Food, Chips | Canada: Lowe’s Tweaks, Target Adds 9


“Obama’s Wish List at Costco:  Snow Shovel,  Dog Food, Tortilla Chips” by David Jackson at USA Today.  “The president went on — and on — about the store’s variety.  “You know, you can buy a sofa, chocolate chip cookies and a snorkel set, all in the same (place),” he said.  “Now that was impressive,” Obama said, adding on this very chilly day: “Although, I do want to ask who’s snorkeling right now?”  Read more


“Target Hackers Used Stolen Vendor Credentials” at WSJ.  “We can confirm that the ongoing forensic investigation has indicated that the intruder stole a vendor’s credentials which were used to access our system,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said.  Target didn’t say how the credentials were stolen or which specific portal the hackers logged into.”  Read more


“Opportunities and Threats for new Walmart CEO” by Kim Souza at The City Wire.  “While comparable store sales have been challenged, there are a lot of close-in opportunities that can move the needle,” said Jason Long, CEO of Shift Marketing Group.  He said as Wal-Mart finally seems to be making a serious commitment to their small store format, he wonders if Walmart stores may be as common as Starbucks in the not too distant future. Long said as other big-box retailers are shuttering stores, there is an opportunity for Wal-Mart to benefit.”  Read more


“Lowe’s Canada Tweaks Store Formula in Attempt to Narrow Gap with Competitors” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  “Mr. Prud’homme…often dons a baseball cap as a disguise and wanders through Lowe’s stores…His research uncovered several findings: Contractors complained it took too long to find the products they needed, while many female customers found the displays of certain items such as kitchen cabinets and faucets too high to touch or examine closely.  Armed with those results, Mr. Prud’homme made changes that will show up in the two prototype stores that will open next week.”  Read more


“Home Depot Opens 26 Stores to Shelter Ice Storm Victims; Watching Movies in the Break Room” by Reagan Ray at KETK.  “The company opened 26 stores in Alabama and Georgia overnight.  A Home Depot spokesman says he’s heard stories of customers watching movies in break room and at one store, an indoor garden serves as a reading area.”  Read more


“Target Doubles-Down:  Will Add 9 Stores in Canada” by Steve Alexander at Star-Tribune.  “It said that five of the new stores will be in Ontario, and single stores will be added in Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.”  Read more


“Tractor Supply ’13 Comps:  Up 3.5% in Q4 and 4.8% for Full Year; Opened net 100 Stores During Year” at MarketWatch.  “Fiscal 2014 Outlook:  …Comparable store sales expected to increase 2.5% to 4.0%. For the full year, the Company expects capital expenditures to range between $240 million and $250 million, including spending to support 102 to 106 new store openings and construction of the new Store Support Center to open in 2014.” Read more


“Amazon Sr. VP Int’l Interview: Amazon Wants to Invest a Lot in India and very Fast” by Sunny Sen at Business Today.  “What is your key learning from Amazon’s business in China?  A. The difference between China and India is that China was an acquisition. In India, it was an operation started from scratch with thousands of employees…One of the main things we learnt from China is that the amount of investment needed is huge. That is the reason we started in India in a much more aggressive way…Amazon in China is pronounced and spelt differently. It is pronounced in China as “YAMASHI”. It is an added complication.” Read the Full Interview


“Kroger seals deal for Harris Teeter; Ready to Learns Secrets” by Alexander Coolidge at Cincy Enquirer.  “Now that the $2.5 billion Harris Teeter deal is done, Kroger execs are anxious to learn more about the secrets to the North Carolina grocer’s success…Kroger wants to learn more about Harris Teeter’s Express Lane service, where customers order groceries online and pick them up curbside.  “We’ve been studying the concept, but we’ll have actual results to look at,” McMullen told The Enquirer in October. “I’d be shocked if we couldn’t do that at a significant number of stores.”  Read more


“The Smartest Supermarket You Never Heard Of” by Roger Dooley at Forbes.  “If you don’t live in Texas (or some parts of Mexico), you may have never heard of H-E-B, a supermarket chain that hasn’t expanded to the other 49 states. Despite H-E-B’s regional, or sub-regional, status, they have adopted an impressive number of brain-friendly strategies.”  Read more


“Struggling Sears cuts another 624 jobs” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  “Sears Canada Inc. is cutting another 624 jobs after having shaved 1,628 earlier this month and almost the same number last year as the retailer struggles to turn around its flagging operations.  It said in a release after the markets closed that it will let go an average of five staff in each store, as well as revamp its regional and head office structures.” Read more


“Amazon to Offer Kindle Checkout System to Physical Retailers” by Greg Bensinger at WSJ.  “ Inc. plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets as soon as this summer, people briefed on the company’s plans said.  In one scenario, the Seattle company would give merchants Kindle tablets and credit-card readers, the people said. Amazon also might offer retailers other services, such as website development and data analysis, the people said.”  Read more


“A Guerrilla Stock Analyst Plays Mystery Shopper at Retailers” by Robin Farzad at Businessweek.  “Sozzi, 30, says he’s redefining what an analyst can and should be in the crowdsourced age of social media, where everyone with a smartphone can be a valuable, motivated contributor to real-time company analysis. “Clients,” he says, “have coined me the ‘activist analyst’ in the business of providing guerrilla investment research. The way I like to look at it, I’m doing investment research and guidance differently given the quickly evolving world.”  Read more


Follow @retaileyeretail