Thursday Tipsheet: Wmart: US Comps -.4%, More Express Stores | Family Dollar/Wmart Merger?


“Breaking:  Walmart Q4 US Comp Sales Down .4%;  Accelerating Express Store Rollout”  “We’re also pleased with how well the 20 Express stores are doing, and we’re expanding our pilot beyond the initial three markets….We will now open between 270 and 300 small format units this year, which will nearly double our fleet and fuel growth as we enter the next generation of retail (Bill Simon).”  Read more


“Walmart Mexico Cracks Code for Speedy, Same-Day Grocery Delivery” by Amy Guthrie and Shelly Banjo at WSJ.  “Mexico, one of Wal-Mart’s largest foreign markets, provides $27 billion in annual sales and contributes 6% of the company’s global sales. Superama helped Wal-Mart achieve a 92% market share in the home delivery of groceries in Mexico, company officials say.  The Mexican e-commerce team is advising Wal-Mart China on grocery delivery, figuring that practices in Mexico should work well there as both countries have a low wage base, very dense urban areas and low banking-service penetration.”  Read more


“Lowe’s Hiring Fewer Seasonal Employees This Year (25K vs. 45K LY)” by Ely Portillo at Charlotte Observer.  “Lowe’s Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to hire 25,000 temporary seasonal employees to help with the spring rush, fewer than the number of seasonal workers Lowe’s hired last spring…Lowe’s hired 45,000 temporary employees last spring, as well as 9,000 permanent part-time workers…Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb said the company hired more workers overall in 2013, and needed fewer seasonal workers this year as a consequence.”  Read more


“Report: Stolen Target data losing value on black market” by Nick Woltman at Twin Cities.  “The price for payment card information stolen from Target shoppers has fallen off more than 70 percent since news of the breach first broke on Krebs’ website on Dec. 18.”  Read more


“ACSI Customer Satisfaction Study:  Costco Up, Target Tumbles, Lowe’s Beats Home Depot, Amazon Beats Everybody”  “Among specialty retailers, including wholesale warehouse clubs, office supply chains or clothing stores, Costco regains the lead with a 1% uptick to 84, and Lowe’s (+4%) at 82. Home Depot improves 3% to 79, but doesn’t catch Lowe’s, which has held the customer satisfaction advantage in home improvement for over a decade.”  Read the release


“Walmart to acquire Family Dollar?  Don’t bet on it” by Jon Ogg at 24/7 Wall Street via Yahoo Finance.  “As this is a proxy for market share, we think the WalMart-Family Dollar combination could have the least risk of opposition from the FTC. We think WalMart could pay a 20% to 30% premium for Family Dollar in an immediately accretive deal…Our bet is that Walmart may have a hard time with regulators in acquiring a single company in the United States in any sector.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart denies mulling support for wage hike” by Erik Wasson at The Hill.  “Wal-Mart on Wednesday shot down a report that it is considering whether to support an increase in the minimum wage.  Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Wal-Mart was looking at supporting an increase…But Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told The Hill that the company is simply evaluating the financial impact on its bottom line of various proposals.”   Read more


“Kroger’s ‘Simple Truth’ Chicken Claims Alleged to be Simply False” by Lauren Zanolli at Triple Pundit.  “The suit alleges that Kroger deliberately misled consumers with labeling on its Simple Truth chicken products that claimed the animals were raised in a “cage-free” and “humane environment” when in fact, the case claims, the chickens were raised under standard commercial farming practices.”  Read more


“Minnesotans Sticking with Target, 82% Visiting Store as Often as Before Hack” by Jennifer Bjorhus at Star Tribune.  “Brian Yarbrough, a consumer analyst at Edward Jones & Co, said the loss of some shoppers shouldn’t be that surprising for Target. But the fact that a large majority of those polled said they won’t change their shopping habits is a “pretty good” number for the retailer, he said.  “I have always said 5 to 10 percent will never shop there again,” Yarbrough said.”  Read more


“$2.89 wine is worth a trip to Aldi” by Robert Scheer at Indy Star.  “The shiraz tastes like it should, with good fruit flavors that remind me of blackberry, and some smokiness that’s reminiscent of South African pinotage. I’d buy it again. You can do a lot worse for $10, more than triple the cost of this.”  Read more


Mark your Calendar:

2/24/14:  Walmart Int’l Meeting in Mexico.  Read more

2/26/14:  Lowe’s Q4 Earnings Call.  Read more

3/3/14:  Home Depot Presents at Raymond James Investor Conf.  Read more


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