Tipsheet: Kroger/Microsoft Test | Lowe’s Restructures | Starboard Pushes D.Tree


Starboard buys stake in Dollar Tree, seeks sale of Family Dollar at CNBC. “Starboard, which has taken a 1.7 percent stake worth about $370 million in the retailer, is seeking majority control of the board and is also pushing for Dollar Tree to tweak its pricing model, the paper reported, citing sources.” Read more | WSJ subs.


Kroger, Microsoft Create Futuristic Grocery Store by Matthew Boyle & Dina Bass at Bloomberg. “At the two test stores, located near Kroger and Microsoft’s respective headquarters in Cincinnati and Redmond, Washington, customers using Kroger’s self-checkout app will be guided through the store to items on their shopping list. When they enter an aisle, the digital shelf will display a personalized icon chosen by the shopper—a  banana, say, or a pumpkin—below the relevant product.” Tiered subs.


Walmart ad enlists classic movie cars to tout online grocery pickup by Jack Neff at Ad Age. “…(launched)…during the Golden Globe Awards on NBC Sunday night…feature drive-ups to Walmart grocery pickup spots by classic movie cars, including the Batmobile, the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine, and a more current entry — the yellow VW Beetle from “Bumblebee.” Read more/See spot


Lowe’s announces a major restructuring by Katherine Peralta at Charlotte Observer. “Lowe’s said it is discontinuing its project specialist interiors program, which employs workers responsible for overseeing every phase of complex home projects such as kitchen remodels…Lowe’s said it will be hiring 10,000 permanent, full-time workers as part of a merchandising service team focused on inventory management.” Tiered subs.


Amazon’s cashierless Go stores could be a $4 billion business by 2021, new research suggests by Rani Molla at Recode. Read more


Apple doesn’t usually have a presence at CES but this year it has an ad plastered to the side of a hotel at CNBC. “The message, which takes up about 13 floors of building, says : “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”…Apple’s message is clear: we’re not trying to sell your data, while Amazon and Google use your data — if sometimes anonymously — to try to sell you stuff.” Read more/Pic


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Amazon removes ‘offensive’ products containing Islamic text by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. Read more


The $9 Billion Upcharge: How Insurers Kept Extra Cash From Medicare by Joseph Walker & Christopher Weaver at Wall Street Journal. “CVS, UnitedHealth, Humana and other health insurers’ bids to manage Part D prescription-drug plans for seniors have been consistently off in ways that benefit the companies at the expense of taxpayers.” WSJ subs.


Sears picks liquidator should rescue talks fall through at Reuters. “Sears has lined up Closter, New Jersey-based Abacus Advisory Group LLC to sell the chain’s vast inventories of tools, appliances and store fixtures should negotiations with Chairman Edward Lampert over his $4.4 billion takeover bid end unsuccessfully, the sources said.” Read more


GameStop shares climb on report it could be announcing a buyer next month at CNBC. “Private equity firms interested in buying GameStop include Sycamore Partners and Apollo Global Management, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.” Read more


Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon: Best of Frenemies by Emily Glazer, Laura Stevens & AnnaMaria Andriotis at Wall Street Journal. “As the relationship between the men and their companies deepened, the balance of power shifted in Amazon’s favor. The retailer’s market value—at $770 billion—now dwarfs JPMorgan’s $335 billion. The bank, used to being the heavyweight in the room, is trying to figure out how Amazon fits into its world and how to avoid becoming its latest casualty.” WSJ subs.


Amazon invests further in furniture with new ‘Showroom’ visual shopping app by Taylor Soper at GeekWire. Read more


Why Your Ice Cream Will Ride in a Self-Driving Car Before You Do by Christopher Mims at Wall Street Journal. “Robomart, which makes a “mobile store” and has partnered with a yet-to-be- announced top-five grocery chain in the U.S., has designed low-speed vehicles made from foam and fiberglass that are designed to crumple in a crash, says founder and chief executive Ali Ahmed.” WSJ subs.


‘Bird Box’ brings Northern California’s Smith River to the masses, money to local merchants by Dan Squier at The Mercury News. Read more


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