Tipsheet: WM Leadership Changes | Target’s New College Plan | Amazon’s Iran-Linked Sales | H.Depot’s Decorator


Amazon under federal investigation over Iran-linked sales, including to person on terrorism list by Ethan Baron at The Mercury News. “The firm’s July 28 disclosure said that between January 2012 and June 2017, Amazon sold “consumer products” valued at about $24,700 to an Iranian embassy in an undisclosed country, along with about $8,100 in goods to people who may have bought them on behalf of five Iranian embassies.” Read more


FRIDAY MEMO – Walmart Food Changes by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “In three separate internal memos sent Friday (July 28) more than two dozen promotions and reassignments were announced, according to the documents obtained by Talk Business & Politics. Several positions at the director level were tagged “to be determined later” as a number of directors were laid off over the past two days in the company’s replenishment division.” See the changes


A merger between Staples and Office Depot may finally be in the cards — but it won’t be the kind that company brass had longed for by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “Sources say Sycamore has signaled a willingness to offload the stores which, like much of the retail sector, are struggling as shoppers increasingly shift their buying to online rivals led by Amazon. It’s not clear whether Office Depot and Staples have rekindled talks, but with Sycamore a willing seller, Office Depot is the most logical buyer, insiders said.” Read more


PARK THE BUS – Target steps up its game to court the college crowd by Kavita Kumar at Star Tribune. “In the college-focused pilot program, students at six universities including Arizona State University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas can pre-order online from a curated list of about 300 items such as sheets, lounge chairs and mini-fridges and then pick them up weeks later around move-in time at a designated spot near campus. “No need to haul it all from home,” Target says on its website in promoting the program.” Read more


Best Buy will restructure Geek Squad, affecting 400 employees by Nick Halter at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “The company notified the state of Minnesota that it’s eliminating 400 positions from Geek Squad’s “Covert Team” across the country. Covert agents are employees who work from home and provide remote tech support to customers.” Read more


Amazon Launches a Review of Its $1 Billion Global Media Buying Business by Patrick Coffee at Adweek. “According to several parties with knowledge of the business, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon recently issued an RFP seeking a media agency to handle promotional campaigns in North America and other markets around the world.” Read more


COMPLAINT – Google’s new program to track shoppers sparks a federal privacy complaint by Elizabeth Dwoskin & Craig Timberg at Washington Post. “The group claims that the search giant is relying on a secretive technical method to protect the data — a method that should be audited by outsiders and is likely vulnerable to hacks or other data breaches. “Google is seeking to extend its dominance from the online world to the real, offline world, and the FTC really needs to look at that,” said Marc Rotenberg, the organization’s executive director.” Read more


**A message from the Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show – get ready for the nation’s largest souvenir show! Browse 1,300+ booths filled with the latest introductions from every major souvenir and resort supplier. New for 2017, the show welcomes even more made in America products, a new Boardwalk section and a special spotlight on Gourmet gifts. Look for new events and educational offerings, too. September 13-16, 2017. Register Now | Exhibitor List


Home Depot partners with digital decorator for its referral service by Eric Mandel at Atlanta Business Chronicle. “Home Depot has joined with Laurel & Wolf, which describes itself as a “digital decorating platform” to provide customers with a professional designer. Through the Home Depot Pro Referral Service, Laurel & Wolf connects customers with “top designers to transform your space” online through a flat fee — from $59 to $259 — using Home Depot supplies.” Read more/Video


Walmart Chile workers vote to go on strike at Reuters. “Either the union or the company may request government-mediated talks that would last five days to try to reach an agreement on a collective contract and avert the strike.” Read more


Panera CEO Ron Shaich thinks customers are saying, “I want to feel special in a world in which I’m not.” by Alexandra Wolfe at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subs.)


Amazon and Wal-Mart Finally Give Hydrogen Power a Reason to Be by Joe Ryan & Chris Martin at Bloomberg. “People have talked for years about hydrogen fuel cells being the next disruptive technology,” says Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at investment bank Cowen & Co. “Forklifts are finally validating them.” Read more


The Amazon Treasure Truck is now hitting the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. “Amazon timed its Treasure Truck expansion by selling a one-of-a-kind product: the elusive Nintendo NES Classic Edition. The console sold for $60; it’s selling for $200 or more online.” Read more


Target pulls out of NASCAR circuit, steers spending to soccer by Mark Reilly at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. Read more


Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs on Amazon Sold More than 2 Billion Items Worldwide in first half of 2017 Press release


Private Equity Takes Fire as Some Retailers Struggle by Lillian Rizzo at Wall Street Journal. “A wave of retail bankruptcies washing through court has revived an old debate about the role of private-equity firms in accelerating the problems of companies in distress…” Read more (subs.)


Stitch Fix has filed confidentially for an IPO by Jason Del Rey at Recode. Read more


Babies R Us: Enjoy the Poopy Diapers And Smashed Peas by Adrianne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “There’s nobody in the parenting category who is celebrating those realities of parenting—the messy moments,” said Carla Zakhem-Hassan, who joined Toys R Us as chief marketing officer of both brands last February after 13 years with PepsiCo. “It’s a real opportunity to take a pain point and shed light on it to say the messy moments are the beautiful moments of parenting.” Read more


Chieh Huang, CEO and co-founder of Boxed, Live Interview at Inc. Video


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