Thursday’s Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet: “Walmart’s Worst Nightmare” | Respect the Pawnshop | Costco Sales Miss


“Meet the Low-Key, Low-Cost Grocery Chain Being Called ‘Walmart’s Worst Nightmare’ “ by Brad Tuttle at Time. ” “WinCo arguably may be the best retailer in the Western U.S.,” Flickinger says while touring a WinCo store. “WinCo is really unstoppable at this point,” he goes on. “They’re Walmart’s worst nightmare.”  Flickinger isn’t the only industry insider discussing WinCo and Walmart in the same breath. “While many supermarkets strive to keep within a few percentage points of Walmart Stores’ prices, WinCo Foods often undersells the massive discount chain,” the industry publication Supermarket News explained last spring.” Read more


“Twin Cities pawnshops give discount retail a run for its money” by John Ewoldt at Star-Tribune.  “David Andrews has added another option to his shopping rotation: pawnshops.  The Osseo resident discovered recently that some of them are supplementing their usual assortment of guitars, TVs and jewelry with new merchandise purchased from liquidators.  Andrews has picked up a river raft, kayak and a Charbroil grill at 70 percent savings at Excel Pawn locations in Maplewood and Champlin.  “I’m a Costco member, too,” he said. “But I’m saving another 30 or 40 percent off the discounters’ clearance prices at pawnshops.”  Read more


“Costco July same-store sales miss estimates” at Reuters.  “Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4 percent in the four-week period ended August 4, including the impact of fuel and foreign exchange.  On that basis, analysts expected same-store sales to rise 5.1 percent for the month of July, according to Thomson Reuters data.”  Read more


“Coupon Use Made Easier at Costco, a Win for Consumers and for Costco” at 24/7 Wall Street.  ““Under the old format, there were three types of coupons provided in the Costco coupon mailer – instant savings, online-only, and manufacturer’s coupon…Here are the changes that have been made in the coupon policies: 1) Customers no longer need to cut out manufacturer’s coupons to take advantage of the cost savings, 2) Customer’s can present a copy of the mailer, which under the new format, has a Master Bar Code on the first page which can be scanned to take advantage of all non instant savings and 3) Customers also have the option of using a barcode on their Costco app on their smartphones.”  Read more


“Meijer ending double coupons” by Alexander Coolidge at Mason Buzz.  “The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer began informing shoppers with posted signs on Sunday and via Facebook. Meijer officials said they would use money saved from ending the program to offer better deals in its mPerks digital coupon program. “We are shifting our resources,” said spokesman Frank Guglielmi. “Less than five percent of Meijer customer used double coupons, but more than 1.5 million have signed up for mPerks.”  Read more


“Then & Now: Target’s Store Design Philosophy” via  “In 1975, Target introduced the “racetrack” store prototype to ensure a consistent experience from store to store, no matter the location. One main aisle circles the store, with additional aisles running through the center and the perimeters, allowing for more space to display product. Target also debuted the first planogram, a “map” that helps store teams present clean, uncluttered merchandise displays.”  Read & see more


“Is Airbnb The Next eBay, Uber The Next Amazon?” by Tomio Geren at Forbes.  “That gives Airbnb a leg up on a whole new market as the biggest company in this sector. While Airbnb currently focuses on sharing homes and other spaces for travelers, Airbnb could partner with service providers such as restaurants, retailers and artisans to help travelers. (Airbnb already has been testing a program called Local Lounges in San Francisco cafes that provides WiFi and other help for travelers.) And Airbnb could also expand into other product verticals such as furniture or clothing.”  Read more


“What Product Categories Generate Most Volume In A Grocery Store?” at Forbes.  “Generally, the average supermarkets “cutout” of total sales breaks down as 50% in grocery (the stuff in the aisles and on displays), 15% in dairy and frozen foods, 10%+ in produce/floral, 10% in meat, 4% in deli and fresh bakery, and the balance in general merchandise/health & beauty care/Rx and wine/liquor and beer.”  Read more


“Facebook Takes on Twitter by Courting Celebrities, Building Twittery Tools” by Peter Kafka at All Things D.  “Facebook has been ramping up its efforts to get more famous people using the site. In recent months it has bulked up a global team tasked with courting and hand-holding stars; in some cases, it offers incentives for those who post…In other words: Facebook is acting more like Twitter.  Read more


“J.D. Power: Lowe’s is No. 1 in Appliance Retailer Customer Satisfaction” at Appliance Magazine.  “It was the fourth year that Lowe’s ranked No. 1.  Sears ranked No. 2 and The Home Depot ranked No. 3.  The study also identified the primary reasons that shoppers were buying a new appliance:  42% were replacing a broken or defective appliance, 32% were upgrading existing appliances or remodeling and 20% were buying a new appliance because they moved to a new home.”  Read more


Follow Eye-on-Retail on Twitter @retaileyeretail