Tipsheet: Kroger Pay Expands | Amazon Ships 26% | Alibaba Eyes Metro


US retail sales suffer steepest drop in nine years by Sylvan Lane at The Hill. “Advance estimates of December 2018 retail and food services sales…fell 1.2 percent from the previous month, to $505.8 billion, according to the Census Bureau.” Read more


Alibaba in talks on stake in China operations of Germany’s Metro at Reuters. “The talks are at an early stage and could still fall apart, the sources said. Alibaba’s interest comes after rival Tencent last year signed a partnership deal with France’s Carrefour.” Read more


Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Wegmans #3, Publix #12, REI #46, Sheetz #85 List


Walmart will be bringing 50-foot tractor-trailers to the parking lots of some of its stores to let customers experience DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” using virtual reality technology. at CNBC. Read more


…Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases. at TechCrunch. Read more


New York will lose the bulk of the 25,000 jobs that were promised by Amazon HQ2 at CNBC. “Instead, most of those jobs will be spread across 17 of Amazon’s corporate offices and tech hubs in North America, including Boston, Vancouver and Denver.” Read more


…The man who delivered the death blow to Amazon deal at NY Post. “Amazon tried to reach out to Michael Gianaris — but he rejected three invitations to meet, according to a source…A “toxic relationship” between (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and Gianaris contributed to Amazon’s woes, said the source.” Read more


…Amazon reportedly held last-minute negotiations with union and local officials before canceling New York HQ2 plans at CNBC. Read more


Why Target sat out the Grammys by Adrienne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “Music has always been and continues to be an important part of Target’s brand,” says Target spokesman Joshua Thomas, noting that the company is proud of its Grammys work. “An activation during the Grammys did not align with our plans this year,” he adds.” Tiered subs.


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Amazon is now handling its own shipping for 26 percent of online orders: Wolfe Research at CNBC. “We estimate that Amazon will pay about $6 a box to move this themselves on their own air network,” said Morgan Stanley’s Shanker. “Versus what we estimate Amazon paying UPS and FedEx: about $8 or $9 per box today.” Read more


Kroger will soon let grocery shoppers pay with their phone nationwide by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer via USA Today. “…has launched Kroger Pay, a mobile phone option that bundles payment and loyalty card information to speed customers’ checkout…also introduced a new rewards debit card. Both products have been launched in the grocer’s Columbus, Ohio-area markets and will be expanded to 10 more metro areas this spring, before going nationwide later this year.” Read more


Shop ‘n Save owner accused of stealing $307K in coupon scam at AP. “Police say he directed staff at his Shop ’n Save supermarkets to cut out the coupons, which were then submitted for credit…A former employee told investigators the practice began under Mihelic’s late father and continued after Mihelic took over.” Read more


Ace Hardware Q4 US comp sales +1.3% “2.3 percent increase in average ticket, partially offset by a 1.0 percent decrease in same-store transactions.” Press release


Suspected Bezos leaker supplies his own theories by Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair. “I’m not saying I didn’t do something,” Michael Sanchez told me. “Until I go under oath, what I can tell you now is that ever since April 20, when I met Jeff, my only goal has been to protect Jeff and Lauren.” Read more


Former Best Buy CFO joins Advance Auto Parts Board Press release


Purchases With Plastic Get Costlier for Merchants—and Consumers by AnnaMaria Andriotis at Wall Street Journal. “Visa and Mastercard…are preparing increases to certain existing fees that will kick in this April, according to people familiar with the matter.” WSJ subs.


Walmart’s New Digital Shelf-Labels – Shopper Feedback at Field Agent.  
I’d prefer the e-Ink labels over LED labels: 4 (of 9) participants
I’d prefer the LED labels over e-Ink labels: 3 participants  
I’d prefer traditional, non-digital labels: 2 participants Video/Read more


Canadian Tire Q4 comp sales +0.2% Press release


Why Walmart Won’t Stop Selling the National Enquirer by Matthew Boyle & Gerry Smith at Bloomberg. “A decade ago, the company that distributed magazines to Walmart and other big retailers tried to impose a surcharge of 7 cents a copy. Publishers…fought back by halting shipments, resulting in a short period where checkout-counter racks were devoid of (the) National Enquirer. Walmart received more customer complaints about the missing tabloid than just about any other out-of-stock item in its history. Tiered subs.


Electric truck start-up Rivian announces $700 million investment round led by Amazon at CNBC. Read more


Rapping fentanyl spray mascot star of drug company trial at NY Post. “You think you’re bad well I’m the baddest / I was created in a lab with the land of the cactus,” Burlakoff, the vice president of marketing, raps over the beat for A$AP Rocky’s “Fu–in’ Problems” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

A rare copy of Super Mario for NES just sold for over $100,000

‘Frozen 2’ Is Most Watched Animated Trailer of All Time in First 24 Hours

With smart sneakers, privacy risks take a great leap

Walmart Q4 U.S. sales are expected to be up 3.7% from a year ago

Could vacant dept. stores be converted into open office space? It’s working for Danone

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories



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