Tipsheet: Amazon Shipping Losses $7B+ | B.Buy Pulls Oculus @ 200 | Harris Poll Costco #14 | Kohl’s CTO Q&A


Target will spend $10M to remodel flagship store near Minneapolis headquarters by Nick Halter at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. “CEO Brian Cornell announced the plans Thursday at the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s annual meeting. He said the remodel would add more fresh and prepared foods. It will also include wood plank walls, LED lighting, and an expanded Starbucks location.” Read more


Best Buy Pulling Oculus Rift Demo Stations From 200 Stores by Janko Roettgers at Variety. “Business Insider, which was first to report the news Wednesday, cited sources at Best Buy attributing the closures to a lack of interest. However, Oculus denied those charges, claiming the changes were “seasonal.” Read more | Business Insider article Takes Aim at Victoria’s Secret With Its Own $10 Bras by Khadeeja Safdar & Laura Stevens at Wall Street Journal. “The online retailer plans to start selling its own line of competitively priced women’s intimate apparel on its U.S. website, according to people familiar with the matter, something that could begin in the next several weeks. It recently started selling bras for under $10 in Europe, where it uses the label Iris & Lilly.” Read more (subscription)


Harris Poll: 2017 Reputation Quotient Ratings (Amazon #1, Wegmans #2, Costco #14, Lowe’s #19…) Top 100 list


L.L. Bean generous return policy & free shipping may get the boot by Brian Dowling at Boston Herald. “The company wants to see 500 people take the early retirement deal, which would cut its workforce by 10 percent. The retailer is looking at adding more flexible time off, paid parental leave and paid elder-care support, according to CEO Steve Smith.” Read more


Kohl’s CTO: E-commerce may have hurt department stores, but tech also can help “Lavu sat down with the Tribune to talk about how online shopping is changing customers’ expectations, why you’ll probably see Kohl’s get into chatbots but not virtual reality (at least not yet), and how technology that’s caused problems for retailers can also help solve them.” Q&A/Video


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Neiman Marcus bonds head deeper into junk territory by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “The luxury retailer on Thursday got downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to CCC+ from a B-. The ratings agency also has Sears in the C category — a “junk” rating that signals risk the company is in danger of falling into bankruptcy.” Read more


Target in serious talks to open store on Denver’s 16th Street Mall by Emilie Rusch at Denver Post. Read more


Amazon’s shipping losses top $7B for first time by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “Amazon showed a net shipping loss of $5 billion last year, by comparison. So what’s driving the increase? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted in the company’s year-end earnings release that more than 50 million items are now eligible for free two-day shipping, an increase of 73 percent from the previous year.” Read more


Tower view showcases progress on Amazon’s unique biospheres by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. Pic/Read more


Alexa’s impact on music lands Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Steve Boom on Billboard’s Power 100 list by Jillian Stampher at GeekWire. “Billboard has ranked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Steve Boom, president of Amazon Music, 12th on its 2017 Power 100 list.” Read more


…Jeff Bezos admits he has installed smart AI speakers in every room in his house (including the bathrooms) by Stacy Liberatore at Daily Mail. “I have slowly but relentlessly added an Echo or an Echo Dot into every room of my house, including the bathrooms,’ Bezos told Stephen Witt with Billboard.‘I started in my kitchen, and I just kept adding to another room, and was frustrated when I happened to be in the bathroom and couldn’t ask Alexa what the weather is or something.” Read more


US lottery operators worry as fewer millennials line up to play via CNBC. “Only a third of Americans aged 18 to 29 said they played the lottery in the past year, compared with 61 percent for those aged 50 to 64, according to a 2016 Gallup survey. The rate for millennials fell from 39 percent in surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007.” Read more


Nordstrom unloads office space occupied by its IT department by Marc Stiles at Puget Sound Business Journal. Read more (subscription)


Aldi still thriving in UK, despite rivals’ claims, says CEO by James Davey at Reuters via Fox Business. “Matthew Barnes, Aldi’s chief executive for the UK and Ireland: “When you look at any price comparisons or our own internal data it shows us that if anything the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment…It hasn’t dropped below 20 percent on your average basket of groceries; it’s as high as 35 percent against some of the more expensive of the big four. That will continue” he pledged.” Read more


Sears to Cut Costs, Pension Obligations at Fox Business. “Struggling retailer Sears Holdings Corp reported a 10.3 percent drop in comparable store sales for the holiday quarter, and said it would cut debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year.” Read more


…Sears stock soars as ailing retailer maps out survival strategy by Nathan Bomey at USA Today. Read more


Big 5 Manager Had To Quit After Gun Sale, Suit Says by Fola Akinnibi at Law 360. “Big 5 Corp. violated California labor laws by admonishing a store manager for refusing to sell a shotgun to an erratic, aggressive customer, then giving her no choice but to quit after upper management let the sale go through, according to a recent state court suit.” Read more (subscription)


What Advertisers Need to Know About Values in Rural America Today by Katie Richards at Adweek. “Saatchi & Saatchi New York spent last summer conducting a survey in 13 states and 30 small towns across the country…People might assume government and other big institutions can and should provide people with the things they need to progress,” Eve Pollet, trends and innovation strategist, said. “The truth is rural America is more independent.” Read more/Infographic


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At Duke, the Best Seats Go to the Smartest Fans (WSJ Subs.)

Arby’s probes possible data breach of 355,000 credit cards

Publix not offering free deli samples? That’s baloney

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