Tipsheet: Cornell/Merlo Q&A | Rona CEO +22M | Costco +4% | Kohl’s Forecast Down | Amazon Exoskeleton Up


Costco January Comp Flat / +4.0% ex-gas & F/X “Costco reported net sales of $8.32 billion for the month of January…an increase of two percent from $8.15 billion during the similar period last year.” Read more


Lowe’s $2.3 Billion Bid For Rona Sets Off Political Firestorm in Canada by Phil Wahba at Fortune. “Pierre-Karl Péladeau, the former media magnate (think Quebec’s Rupert Murdoch) now heading the secessionist Parti Québécois, had denounced the deal on Twitter and is calling on the pro-business governing Liberal Party, headed by Philippe Couillard, to block the deal.” Read more


…A BANNER DAY FOR RONA CEO – Rona CEO’s equity holdings to increase $14-million with Lowe’s deal by Janet McFarland & Jacqueline Nelson at Globe & Mail. “Wednesday was a lucrative day for Rona Inc. chief executive officer Robert Sawyer, who saw the value of his shares and stock options climb by $14-million under Lowe’s Cos. Inc.’s friendly takeover offer for his hardware chain. After fewer than three years in the CEO job, Mr. Sawyer stands to reap more than $22-million from his equity holdings if the takeover bid is concluded at the $24-a-share offering price announced by Lowe’s early Wednesday.” Read more


TARGET’S CORNELL SPEAKS TO BOSTON GROUP – In Boston, Target CEO speaks about adapting to ecommerce by Megan Woolhouse at Boston Globe. “Stores still matter,” he said, but Target “has to do things differently.”…Cyber security also remains a major concern for Target, the victim of one the nation’s biggest data thefts in 2013. “I consider this to be one of the biggest threats to commerce in America,” Cornell said.” Read more


Q&A with Target & CVS CEOs by Nathan Bomey at USA Today. “Q: Walmart recently announced it’s closing some of its smaller stores. Is that an indication of general trouble for that format? Cornell: No, I think we’ve taken a very different approach from Walmart as we’ve moved into these urban settings. They effectively were opening up small grocery stores.” Read the full Q&A


**A message from ASD Market Week – ASD has the widest variety of goods anywhere! On February 28 – March 2, 2016, we open the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Center to 45,000+ attendees looking to shop the world’s widest variety of wholesale lifestyle accessories and general merchandise at the lowest price points available. Discover hot new products and stylish finds from over 2,600 vendors in categories including: fashion & accessories, beauty & fragrance, gift & home, toys & novelties and many more. Learn more about ASD / See category list | See the show floor video | Register now


Kohl’s Q4 sales ‘very volatile’ – cuts 2015 profit forecast at Reuters. “Kohl’s said it expects 2015 earnings to be $3.95-$4.00 per share, excluding losses from debt repayment. Kohl’s had earlier expected earnings to be at the low end of $4.40-$4.60 per share.” Read more | Read the release


Wal-Mart to operate its own gas stations by Sarah Nassauer at MarketWatch via WSJ. “When building new stores, Wal-Mart plans to add its own gas stations to as many as possible, said (Randy) Hargrove.” Read more | Read WSJ article (subscription)


Krebs: Safeway Self-Checkout Skimmer Close Up “…images from a recent skimming attack allegedly launched against self-checkout shoppers at a Safeway in Maryland offers a closer look at once such device…The device is designed to fit directly over top of the Verifone terminals in use at many Safeways and other retailers.” See the pic / Read more


NY Times: Walmart Sues Puerto Rico, Claiming an Unfair and Onerous Tax Burden by Mary Williams Walsh. “The tax “sentences Walmart in Puerto Rico to death, for a crime there is no evidence it committed,” Walmart’s lawyer, Neal S. Manne, told the court. “No business can operate for long in an environment where 91.5 percent of its net income is confiscated through taxes,” the company said in its complaint.” Read more


Meet the Guy Behind Amazon’s Secret Retail Store Plans by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “(Steve) Kessel is widely respected inside Amazon, where he is known as a low-ego leader with greater emotional intelligence than some other senior executives at the company, according to two sources. He joined Amazon in 1999 and left in 2011 or 2012 to take a sabbatical. He started working on this initiative when he came back, these people say.” Read more


…Retail CEO backs down from statement about Amazon’s plan to open 400 bookstores by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. “Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani has indicated that a statement he made concerning Amazon during GGP’s earnings conference call held on February 2, 2016, was not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.” Read more


Fred’s January Comp Sales +0.7% “Fred’s total sales for the month increased 12% to $155.7 million from $139.6 million in January 2015.” Read the release


Amazon’s giant Seattle biodomes start getting huge steel exoskeleton by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “Office workers from nearby office buildings watched from the surrounding sidewalks on Tuesday afternoon, as sparks flew into the sky at the end of a rare sunny day in February in Seattle city. The steel pieces are going up on multiple sides of the three biodome structures, north of Lenora Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.” See the pics / Read more


UPS’s Q4 daily shipments grow 2.4% on strong e-commerce volume by Tracy Maple at Internet Retailer. “About half of UPS’s business is now retail e-commerce, chief commercial officer Alan Gershenhorn said on the call.” Read more


Rite Aid Stockholders Approve Merger Agreement with Walgreens Boots Alliance Read the release


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