Thursday’s Tipsheet: DEA Probe at Costco | Target Mimics Apple | Buffett: No Paint for H.Depot or Lowe’s


“Target tests new Apple-like format in its electronics department” by John Ewoldt at Star-Tribune.  “The discount retailer recently remodeled the departments in several of its stores with waist-height, bright white tables and displays. The move fits a design trend seen in recent years at stores run by Apple Inc. and Best Buy Co. that gives shoppers more hands-on experience with the goods.”  Read more


“Warren Buffett pulled plug on paint line going into Home Depot/Lowe’s” at CNBC.  Buffet quotes:

“I made a promise to our Dealers that we would stick with them.”

“One and a half or two years ago I found we were about to sign something with one of the very big boxes and I had to make a change.”

See the video


“Is Kroger planning to buy Chicago supermarkets next?” by Steve Watkins at Cincy Bus. Courier.  “Kroger Co. might be targeting Chicago for its next expansion before it’s even completed its most recent deal.  Kroger is the leading candidate to buy most or all of the 68 Dominick’s stores that are now up for sale there, according to two analysts based in Chicagoland.”  Read more


“Wal-Mart downplays SNAP cuts” by Kim Souza at City Wire.  “Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and Dollar General are some of the biggest benefactors from the $78 billion funneled through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program each year.  SNAP is roughly 10% of the total U.S. grocery business, but benefits go to one in seven Americans, or some 48 million consumers. All of them will see their monthly benefits reduced on Nov. 1. For example, a family of four has been getting $588 per month in SNAP benefits since 2009, but that will be reduced by $36, or 5% after Oct. 31.”  Read more


“EBay holiday quarter outlook disappoints on U.S. weakness” at Reuters.  “Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan told investors on a conference call that industry growth rates for e-commerce had shrunk to about 13 percent in the third quarter, from about 16 percent in the previous quarter.  “We really haven’t seen any more positive signs in October,” he added.”  Read more


“Sears Canada’s head office braces for more layoffs under new CEO” by Hollie Shaw at Financial Post.  “The company held a series of head office meetings last week with employees at multiple levels and departments to outline its strategies, according to sources, which include a goal of streamlining head office and decreasing its salary costs.  The scope of the pending cuts was not revealed, and no store-level employees will be affected, sources said.”  Read more


“Costco says cooperating with DEA probe on controlled substances” at Fox Business.  “Costco Wholesale Corp said on Wednesday that it will cooperate with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in its ongoing investigation of prescriptions for controlled substances, after receiving subpoenas and warrants from the DEA.”  Read more


“Etsy’s New Rules Open Doors to Bigger Sellers” by John Tozzi at Businessweek.  “The change follows years of growing pains and awkward moments for the site. Etsy is now home to more than 1 million storefronts and this month will surpass $1 billion in annual transactions for the first time. Last year sellers protested after a featured shop turned out to have help from a staff making handmade furniture in apparent violation of the website’s rules.”  Read more


“Home Depot and J.C. Penney Defeat $250 Million Case Over Gift Cards” by Susan Decker at Bloomberg.  “In the trial that was to begin Oct. 22, Alexsam was seeking a combined $250 million in patent royalties from the three companies, said lawyer Bill Sigler of Fisch Hoffman Sigler in Washington, who represented the retailers in all three trials.”  Read more


“Never Shop in October and Other Secrets From a Retail Guru” by Kyle Stock at Businessweek.  “The middle option is usually quite a bit cheaper than the product on the right and only slightly less good, while the product on the left is only slightly cheaper than the one in the middle. Ellwood calls it “Goldilocks” pricing because the choice in the middle feels “just right.” His advice: Always buy the one on the left.”  Read more


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