Tipsheet: Ellison on Fortune Cover | McMillon’s Wife Christens Mega Ship | Target in Valley for Baby | Brewer Interview | Target/Lowe’s Call Highlights


Target takes a Silicon Valley approach to finding new products by Thomas Lee at San Francisco Chronicle. “The buyers seemed particularly impressed with Moxxly, a startup that makes a breast pump equipped with a sensor that transmits data about the amount of milk and the flow rate to a mobile app…The group seemed considerably less enthusiastic about a British entrepreneur who made his pitch about a smart pacifier via Skype. Problems with the online connection certainly didn’t help. “That was a disaster,” one person in the room said.” Read more


Wayfair Q4 revenue increased $338.9 million to $685.6 million, up 97.8% year over year Read the release


J.C. Penney to sell items for a penny as part of its new marketing by Maria Halkias at Dallas Morning News. “Penney wants people to try its products, said Mary Beth West, Penney’s chief customer and marketing officer. “We’re going to do it with items we’re proud of.”…“We’re doing the equivalent of an Oreo display,” West said. “We know that clothes that are featured on mannequins sell.” So a rack of dresses will be right behind the mannequins where shoppers can find them.” Read more


CEO MARVIN ELLISON ON COVER OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE – The CEO Who’s Reinventing J.C.Penney by Phil Wahba at Fortune. “Ellison proudly points out similar changes. Fashion jewelry now sits closer to its Liz Claiborne apparel brand, so women can try on accessories to go with a dress they might buy…After Penney failed to cash in on the recent handbag boom, managers did a deep-dive market analysis. Ellison’s conclusion: “Our handbags were ugly. We had to change them.” (It sounds less harsh in Ellison’s gentle Tennessee baritone.)” Read more


Best Buy admits Q4 sales were terrible… just like everyone else by Akin Oyedele at Business Insider. “But Best Buy wants shareholders to know that it’s been ugly across the consumer-electronics industry board…” Read more | Read the press release


ROSALIND BREWER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FORTUNE – Sam’s Club Bets on Fancier Food to Steal Customers from Costco by Phil Wahba. “This is absolutely a reset for our business,” Sam’s Club Chief Executive Officer Rosalind Brewer told Fortune in an exclusive interview. “We realized that we have the ability to take Sam’s to a higher household income.” Read more


**A message from Black Flag® Brand: When the flag flies, pests die. The Black Flag® indoor/outdoor pest arsenal arms homeowners in the battle against invading bugs. Offering quick, decisive formulas that act fast and never back down, Black Flag insect and rodent controls get the job done, and take no prisoners. It’s time to Let It Fly. Check out our videos | Visit us on Facebook


DOUG MCMILLON’S WIFE NAMED “GODMOTHER” OF NEW MEGA CONTAINER SHIP – A Look Inside the Benjamin Franklin, a Record-Breaking Container Ship by Erica E. Phillips at Wall Street Journal. “The largest vessel ever to call at a U.S. port, the Benjamin Franklin is longer than the Empire State Building, wider than a football field and rises 20 stories high…Mrs. Shelley McMillon…smashed a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the hull to inaugurate it officially.” Read more (subscription)


Southwest Airlines adopts ‘Pay with Amazon’ for in-flight entertainment purchases by James Risley at GeekWire. Read more


Walmart opens three new supercentres in British Columbia via Yahoo. “The supercentres are located in Coquitlam , Delta and Surrey and represent an investment of tens of millions of dollars, more than 378,000 square feet of retail space…” Read more


comScore’s Top 50 US Digital Properties for January (Amazon #5, Walmart #21) See the top 50 list


Neighbor baffled by “deafening” sound coming from Costco store by Samantha Baars at cville. “With the leaves off the trees, it’s even louder,” Healy says about the persisting sound. During the quietness of a recent storm that blanketed the area in approximately 20 inches of snow, he called the noise “deafening.”  Read more


Ace Hardware Reports Record 2015 Revenues “Ace reported total fiscal 2015 revenues of $5.0 billion, an increase of $344.5 million or 7.3 percent from fiscal 2014.” Read the release


H-E-B President Craig Boyan to Keynote United Fresh Confab via Progressive Grocer. “Craig Boyan, president and COO for San Antonio-based H-E-B, will deliver the keynote address at the United Fresh 2016 opening breakfast general session on June 21, at McCormick Place in Chicago.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

The bizarre reason millennials are skipping cereal for breakfast

Stephen Curry’s product pitch in Oakland schools criticized

Walmart’s U.K. Grocery Stores Are Selling Ugly Vegetables. It’s Time The U.S. Followed Suit

Here’s How Many Millions Amazon Spent on Woody Allen’s Next Movie

Target Hosts Demo Day To Discover New Innovative Baby Products

Obama bans US imports of slave-produced goods

Why Is It Okay For Amazon To Do Business With Trump, But Not OK For Macy’s?

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories


Target Q4 2015 Earnings Call Highlights

Brian Cornell – Chairman & CEO

  • Comp sales grew 1.9% in the fourth quarter, building on a 3.8% increase in last year’s fourth quarter.
  • Transactions, our measure of traffic, increased for the fifth quarter in a row, up 1.3% in the fourth quarter.
  • Digital sales increased an industry-leading 34% in the fourth quarter, on top of 36% growth in the fourth quarter of last year.
  • We shattered all previous records on Cyber Monday. Our offer was broad and simple, 15% off everything on our site.
  • …comp sales in our signature categories: style, baby, kids and wellness, which grew nearly 7% over that two-month period (Nov/Dec).
  • In style, we saw the fastest growth in women’s apparel, led by double-digit increases in ready-to-wear.
  • And in wellness, wearable electronics and food led the way.
  • Apparel grew in the low-single digit range.
  • In hardlines, toys grew comp sales more than 10% in the quarter, marking the third quarter of double-digit comp growth in toys.
  • Fourth quarter comp sales in food grew faster than our overall sales.
  • Home grew about 4% in the fourth quarter.
  • Comp sales in Bullseye’s Playground grew more than 25%, compared to See Spot Save in the fourth quarter of last year.
  • Over the next six months, we’ll complete the rebranding of all of our pharmacies and clinics in stores across the country.
  • In New York next Wednesday, I’ll open the meeting with an update on our strategic priorities and the initiatives for 2016…
  • At last year’s meeting, I outlined our enterprise priorities and told you that I hoped it would remain consistent for years. So here’s the spoiler alert. Our priorities today remain consistent with a year ago.
  • And for those of you who will be with us in New York, you’ll see vignettes showcasing newly-developed products across multiple categories, including our incredible new Kids brand, Pillowfort.

John Mulligan – COO

  • For the fourth quarter in total, out-of-stock metrics were 20% better than last year.
  • This holiday season, our stores fulfilled 30% of our digital orders through the combination of order pickup and direct-to-guest shipments.
  • During the holiday season, about 40% of our order pickup and store shipped volume consisted of items that were out of stock in our web fulfillment centers.
  • Last fall, we announced we were filling more than 1,400 new visual merchant positions in our store organization…The majority of these positions have been filled by external candidates with experience at other retailers…
  • If a new mom takes her baby out in 10-degree weather for diapers and formula, you better have diapers and formula in your store.

Catherine Smith, CFO

  • REDcard penetration was 23% in the fourth quarter, up about 190 basis points from 21.1% last year.
  • …this year’s results showed us that clear, compelling, broad based offers are appealing to our guests.
  • We are planning for comp growth in the 1.5% to 2.5% range in 2016 consistent with our performance throughout last year.
  • As we plan our first quarter comp in light of competitor inventory positions, we’re anticipating growth in the lower end of the 1.5% to 2.5% range.
  • We haven’t specified a goal for digital sales growth. I’ll discuss our reasoning for this change in more detail next week, but for now I’ll simply stress that our commitment to digital is as strong as ever.

Read Earnings Transcript via Seeking Alpha


Lowe’s Q4 2015 Earnings Call Highlights

Robert Niblock – Chairman, President & CEO

  • Q4: 3.6% increase in comp transactions, along with 1.6% comp increase in average ticket.
  • Our U.S. home improvement business achieved 5.5% comps for the quarter, with all 14 regions generating positive comps.
  • Our strong performance in Canada continues with double-digit comps in local currency for the third year in a row.
  • We think that as we look at the market share data that you can get out there that our performance in 2015 exceeded the growth in the market.

Michael Jones – Chief Customer Officer

  • Positive comps across all regions and product categories.
  • We drove traffic through our Black Friday event, which drove sales increases of 8% overall and 26% online.
  • Recorded above-average comps in lumber and building materials, appliances, lawn and garden, and paint.
  • In outdoor power equipment, we drove double-digit comps in off-season products such as pressure washers, walk-behind and riding mowers.
  • And in lawn and garden, we saw double-digit comps in soil, mulch and lawn care.
  • …announce the expansion of HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams with the introduction of Infinity, our premium one-coat paint and primer…in our stores in March.
  • We currently have over 160 Pro outside sales representatives in the field and are very pleased with the program’s results.
  • Look at some of the brands that we brought back in fashion lighting, with Kichler, Progress Lighting, and Quoizel…You won’t find these brands at any other home channel.
  • Paint: Again, another three-brand approach. You won’t find this particular approach at any other home channel. And with the addition of Cabot to couple with Olympic as the knockout punch…

Bob Hull – CFO

  • Comps were 2.8% in November, 7.3% in December, and 5.3% in January.
  • For the year, total sales were $59.1 billion, an increase of 5.1% driven by comp sales of 4.8% and new stores.
  • For 2016, we expect total sales increase of approximately 6%, driven by a comp sales increase of 4%.

Rick Damron, COO

  • (Online was) 3% of total sales.
  • The outside sales organization that Mike highlighted earlier of 160 people, adding another 35 into that organization.

Read Earnings Transcript via Seeking Alpha