Tipsheet: Ex-Target Exec Pandora Prez | Toy Sales Surge | Trump Biz Dinner Tonight


Walmart, Nordstrom and others look to YouTube stars to woo millennials and Gen Z by Charisse Jones at USA Today. “(Walmart) will debut Ryan’s World, a toy and T-shirt line created by the first-grader whose YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview, gets roughly 950 million views a month. Among kids, “clearly what’s emerged in the last few years is they’re watching an influencer like Ryan on YouTube, and he’s their authority,” says Anne Marie Kehoe, Walmart’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of toys.” Read more


…Meet the 6-year-old launching his own toy line with Walmart at NBC Today Video


Mattress Firm explores U.S. bankruptcy to close stores at Reuters. “Mattress Firm Inc, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, is considering a potential bankruptcy filing as it seeks ways to get out of costly store leases and shut some of its 3,000 locations that are losing money, people familiar with the matter said.” Read more


Trump is having dinner tonight with prominent business leaders…Here’s the guest list:

Michael Manley — Fiat Chrysler

Harold Hamm — Continental Resources

Alex Gorsky — Johnson & Johnson

Indra Nooyi — PepsiCo

John Catsimatidis — Red Apple Group

Frederick Smith — FedEx

Mark Sutton — International Paper

Ajaypal Banga — Mastercard

Dennis Muilenburg — Boeing

Mark Weinberger — EY

Darius Adamczyk — Honeywell

Jim Koch — Boston Beer

Richard LeFrak — LeFrak

CNBC article


Sad over losing Toys R Us, parents drive a surge in toy sales in the first half of the year at CNBC. “The toy industry’s sales grew 7 percent to $7.9 billion through June, according to market research company NPD Group. “It is likely that the Toys R Us news has kept toys top-of-mind…benefiting both consumers and the industry,” Juli Lennett, senior vice president and industry advisor, said in a statement Monday.” Read more


NBC gets a rare look into Amazon’s Seattle headquarters to hear about what the tech company has planned for Alexa by Jo Ling Kent at NBC Today. “Amazon executive Toni Reid said Alexa will be able to recognize different voices in the same home or office, with a goal of becoming more “humanlike.” Reid also addressed consumer privacy concerns.” Video


Pandora Americas hires former Target executive as new president at The Baltimore Sun. “Sid Keswani, who has been CEO of Fiesta Mart, a Texas-based grocery store chain, takes over as Pandora Americas president on Aug. 13. Before Fiesta Mart, Keswani spent 19 years at Target and also worked for Susser Holdings, a Texas-based convenience store chain.” Read more


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Office Depot Q2 Comp Sales -2.0% Press release


New hires line up as Wayfair booms by Janelle Nanos at Boston Globe. “Every Monday, new employees stream up the escalators of Wayfair’s Copley Place headquarters for orientation. On a mid-July Monday, the class of hires had hit 205, a record for the online seller of home goods. Row after row of mostly bright-faced twentysomethings, fresh with degrees in computer science or marketing, seemed to stretch on endlessly, as if they were caught between mirrored walls…” Read more


Nordstrom taps Edmond Mesrobian as new CTO by John Cook at GeekWire. “A veteran of grocery retailer Tesco and online travel giant Expedia, Mesrobian is charged with helping Nordstrom bolster its digital strategy and customer engagement efforts.” Read more


Recent test found asbestos in crayons sold at Dollar Tree at CBS News. Read more


Aardvark, only U.S. producer of paper straws, acquired to meet skyrocketing demand by Sarah Bowman at Indy Star via USA Today. “Aardvark’s paper straws debuted in 2007…In the 10 years since reintroduction, the company has seen year-over-year growth… This last year’s growth, however, is beyond anything the company could have expected: 5,000 percent.” Read more


Gas stations and travel are the two trillion dollar industries Amazon could disrupt next at CNBC. ““Based on our estimates, Amazon is currently pursuing 8 of 10 market opportunities that exceed $1T, globally. We see an opportunity for it to exploit the remaining two – gas (stations) and travel,” analyst Tom Forte writes.” Read more


15 Minutes With JCPenney’s General Counsel by Michele Gorman at Law 360. Law 360 subscription


Walmart to hire 1,000 more people for its technology operations in India at Economic Times. “Walmart has technology operations in Bengaluru and Gurgaon and currently has about 1,800 employees. The company is looking at expanding this headcount and driving more product ownership out of India.” Read more


Alibaba merging China food delivery units to counter Tencent-backed Meituan at Reuters. Read more


Rite Aid Forecast Cut a `Tough Blow’ Before Albertsons Vote at Bloomberg. “Rite Aid’s “lowered guidance” three days before vote is a very “unusual” move to get more votes, though the “aggressiveness” of the move suggests that Albertsons needs “considerably” more votes to get the deal completed, he added.” Read more


Sports stadiums introduce new biometric security for payments and alcohol ID verification by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. “Washington state has approved Clear’s platform as replacement for a traditional ID check with its “biometric powered age validation,” allowing Clear members at CenturyLink and Safeco to buy food and drinks — and prove that they are of legal age for alcohol purchases — with just a fingerprint.” Read more


Discovery Names Amazon Executive to Oversee Direct-to-Consumer Media at Variety. Read more


A Museum Show Where the Exhibits Are for Sale by Jacob Gallagher at Wall Street Journal. ““It’s less of a critique of either retail or museums and more a cross-analysis: How the two are the same or how do they differ. What is the difference between you coming to the Whitney and trying on clothes and buying them, or seeing a Warhol exhibition?” WSJ Subscription


Amazon cloud executive Tim Wagner joins crypto platform Coinbase at CNBC. Read more


Teacher helps shopper short on cash at Wawa by handing him $5 then realizes he’s Keith Urban at Daily Mail. “When she remarked that he looked like Keith Urban, he said he was. She asked where his wife Nicole Kidman was and he introduced the woman he was with as his sister. Not believing him, Reed asked his body guard to confirm she was talking to the musician.” Read more


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