Tipsheet: Kohl’s CEO @ CNBC | Amazon Go Trouble? | Payless Bankruptcy | Bebe Shuts Stores


Payless Is Said to Be Filing for Bankruptcy as Soon as Next Week by Lauren Coleman-Lochner & Jodi Xu Klein at Bloomberg. “The company is initially planning to close 400 to 500 stores as it reorganizes operations, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. Payless had originally looked to shutter as many as 1,000 locations, and the number may still be in flux, according to one of the people.” Read more


Costco expands test of home grocery delivery through new third-party service by Jeff Daniels at CNBC. “Shipt said Tuesday that it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area…Costco already has home grocery deliver service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart.” Read more


Duluth Trading Co. 4Q sales jump 24%; retail expansion to accelerate by David Schuyler at Milwaukee Business Journal. “Retail sales grew 76 percent year-over-year, and they now account for 18 percent of total net sales.” Read more | Press release


CRASH – Reports point to caution signals for Amazon Go checkout-free store by Alan Boyle at GeekWire. “Amazon has issued no updates since December, and this week, Bloomberg News reported that Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” just isn’t ready for prime time yet: “The technology has been crashing in tests when the store gets too crowded and requires human quality control, people watching video images to make sure customers are charged for the right things, according to a person familiar with the plan.” Read more


…Inside Amazon’s Battle to Break Into the $800 Billion Grocery Market by Spencer Soper & Olivia Zaleski at Bloomberg. “The various initiatives have been a source of increasing internal tension as employees on different projects compete to sell the same things, according to a person familiar with the matter. One problem saddling Amazon Fresh is the high cost of losses caused by food going bad, an issue it’s never faced with books and toys.” Read more


TOO SMALL – Meijer to close two Chicago-area stores because of lagging sales by Greg Trotter at Chicago Tribune. “The Berwyn and Melrose Park stores, both about 90,000 square feet, are considered smaller-format stores for Meijer, which has been more successful in the Chicago suburbs with its “supercenters” that are typically closer to 200,000 square feet, Guglielmi said.” Read more


Bebe Plans to Shut Its Stores and Focus on Web Sales by Lauren Coleman-Lochner at Bloomberg. “The company is trying to close the locations without filing for bankruptcy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the efforts aren’t public. However, Chapter 11 may be required if enough landlords aren’t willing to negotiate, they said. The company…has been operating about 170 boutique and outlet stores.” Read more


“STILL OPEN” – Dick’s Pushes Digital This Spring But Expect to see More Private Label Marketing by Adrianne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “The new campaign is meant to highlight Dick’s digital prowess and ecommerce capabilities…Yet the marketing tagline could also be “Still Open,” as Dick’s, unlike the majority of its competitors who have shuttered, declared bankruptcy and disappeared, remains one of the last men standing in the sporting goods retail arena.” Read more


**A message from PaintPincher – Never Waste Paint Again! The PaintPincher is an ingenious 8-in-1 paint can spatula that recovers paint, stain, adhesives and more from gallon and quart cans, leaving them 99.9% clean. The PaintPincher is great for Pro and DIY painters and can save up to a cup of paint per gallon! Video | Website | Request sample:


J.Crew’s sales continue to slide into 2017 by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “Same-store sales — including those at its Madewell and factory store operations — were down 11 percent in the first seven weeks of its fiscal year. At just the J.Crew nameplate, they dropped 14 percent in the period.” Read more


Sears Warns of ‘Substantial Doubt’ About Company’s Future at Bloomberg. Read more


Amazon to expand counterfeit removal program in overture to sellers at Reuters. “As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the e-commerce company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged, Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said in an interview on Monday.” Read more


FedEx Braced for a Holiday Crush That Didn’t Come by Paul Ziobro at Wall Street Journal. “FedEx Corp. said some of its largest retail customers shipped fewer packages during the holiday season than forecast…“We provided capacity that went unused,” FedEx Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf said on a conference call Tuesday.” Read more (subscription)


REI Taps AWS, Azure for Cloud Services by Steven Norton at Wall Street Journal. “For us going into the cloud is a speed play,” said CIO Julie Averill, who oversees a team of about 400. “It helps us build new capabilities faster.” Read more (subscription)


Kohl’s takes a different approach to whittling down its square footage by Krystina Gustafson at CNBC. “Instead of turning to closures as a means to boost sales productivity, CEO Kevin Mansell is looking for opportunities to trade in Kohl’s big-box locations for smaller shops….consumers still crave a physical place where they can interact with the brand…Kohl’s got a taste of that phenomenon after closing 19 stores last year. Not only did those closures eat into the company’s physical revenues, they also weighed on its digital results.” Read more/CEO video


All 51 startups that debuted at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 2 at TechCrunch. See the list


Instagram launches Instagram Shopping by Zak Stambor at Internet Retailer. “The feature enables a select group of retailers to share more detailed posts that make it easier for Instagram users to review, learn about and consider items that interest them. In the coming weeks the feature, which Instagram calls Instagram Shopping, will be available to “thousands of businesses” that sell apparel, jewelry or beauty products.” Read more


Philly: Coke, Pepsi fight soda tax with smaller bottles at The Inquirer. Read more


Hy-Vee is adding clothing boutiques to select stores in Omaha and Lincoln by Barbara Soderlin at Omaha World-Herald. “F&F stores are already open in several Hy-Vee stores in Iowa and Minnesota. The low-priced fast-fashion label includes looks for women, men and children similar to what you’d see at retailers Forever 21 or H&M, Deering-Hansen said.” Read more


Nearly half of online purchases in Canada made at foreign retail sites by Hollie Shaw at Financial Post. Read more


More retail to join Target’s new prototype store in Houston by Olivia Pulsinelli at Houston Business Journal. “A new retail center is planned next to the Grand Parkway in Aliana, a master-planned community about 30 miles southwest of Houston. Market Center at Aliana will be anchored by the 102,000-square-foot H-E-B that opened in November and a 124,000-square-foot Target that will open in October.” Read more


Avon Freshens Up in a Bid to Win Back Middle America by Sharon Terlep at Wall Street Journal. Read more (subscription)


Google, at Shoptalk, says it’s leveraging artificial intelligence to make it easier for Google Home users to find and buy what they want—online or offline by Zak Stambor at Internet Retailer. Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Walmart Is Still Banned From One of the World’s Biggest Cities, But Oddly Target Isn’t

Take a peek inside Under Armour CEO’s new luxury hotel

This Ex-P&G exec was just named president of KFC

Former Dean Foods chairman dropped $150,000 in single game of blackjack

Nike CEO Says U.S. Retail Is ‘Not in a Steady State’

Walgreens’ ‘Disney’ animal crackers contain cancerous chemical, group says

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories



Eye on Retail Tipsheet is must-read material for 20,000+ retail execs every weekday morning. Tipsheet stories are carefully curated bright and early every morning to ensure fresh and unique content.


Subscribe to Eye on Retail Tipsheet here


Contact us: Send story tips, press releases and advertising inquiries to