Tipsheet: Today Hacks Nordstrom | Costco’s “White Gold” | Sam’s G.Card Headache


TODAY SHOW: Cybersecurity expert hacks Nordstrom gift cards by Jeff Rossen & Conor Ferguson. “Stickley says that Nordstrom gift cards have shorter PIN numbers than most retailers’ cards, and initially had no protection from bots. He demonstrated the vulnerability by hacking a newly purchased Nordstrom gift card and draining all $50 from it.” Video/Read more


KREBS: Man finds that a bunch of Sam’s Club gift cards he pulled off the display rack at Wal-Mart showed signs of compromise Pics/Read more


…Man Caught up in Gift Card Scam at Fox 31 Denver. “Layton contacted Walmart but never got his money back. “I spent exactly 77 minutes on the phone, between 11 different phone calls to three different Walmarts,” Layton said. He now plans to dispute the charge with his credit card company.” Video/Read more


More than 75 percent of US online consumers shop on Amazon most of the time at CNBC. “Walmart comes in second, but far behind, with only 8 percent of Americans who shop online searching or checking prices there, with other retailers clumped close behind the discounter.” Charts/Read more


…Google Narrows Search Gap With Amazon, Retailers Left in Dust by Spencer Soper at Bloomberg. “About 49 percent of online shoppers visit Amazon first when searching for products…Google and other search engines followed at 36 percent, up from 28 percent. Consumers visited individual retailers’ websites first only 15 percent of the time.” Read more


COSTCO’S “WHITE GOLD” at Daily Mail. “Chinese professional shoppers have found a loophole enabling them to send large amounts of baby formula overseas (from Australia)…Woolworths and Coles were forced to limit their customers to a maximum of just two tins at a time…a photo provided to Daily Mail Australia by a shocked Costco shopper shows it is still possible to buy in bulk, with one woman checking out a large pallet of more than 100 tins.” Pics/Read more


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Lowe’s hires former Amazon exec as chief digital officer by Katherine Peralta at Charlotte Observer. “Vikram Singh starts his new position Jan. 4, Lowe’s said in a statement Tuesday. He will report to Michael McDermott, the company’s chief customer officer.” Read more | Press release


Loblaw gets immunity after alerting watchdog to decade-long bread price-fixing scheme by Aleksandra Sagan at Canadian Press via Toronto Star. “Loblaw is also offering eligible customers who register online at before May a $25 gift card…Loblaw expects three million to six million Canadians will receive the goodwill gesture and that it will book a $75 million to $150 million quarterly charge in relation to the program.” Read more


Amazon Puzzles Over the Perfect Fit—in Boxes by Laura Stevens & Erica E. Phillips at Wall Street Journal. “This year, Amazon added machines in its warehouses that create padded mailers on demand to fit smaller items, all of which used to go into the company’s smallest-sized box. Almost half of all of Amazon’s products fit into the new mailers and poly bags, says Kim Houchens, director of customer packaging experience.” Read more (subs.)


Canadian grocers are making millions of dollars thanks to price rounding on cash transactions by Randy Shore at Vancouver Sun. “Previous research and Cheung’s own observations of 18,000 grocery items show that grocers use prices ending in nine 60% of the time and convenience stores 82.5% of the time…her conservative estimate is that Canadian grocers are raking in about $3.27 million a year in penny-rounding revenue, what she calls a “rounding tax.”. Read more


Doug McMillon, Helena Foulkes & Tommy Hilfiger to Speak at Retail’s Big Show Press release


Bon-Ton Stores is doling out $1 million in gift cards today by Melanie Lawder at Milwaukee Business Journal. Read more


Stitch Fix shares plunge on first earnings report as public company at CNBC. “The company said its number of active clients in the first quarter mushroomed to 2.4 million users, up nearly 30 percent from a year ago…Total sales climbed 25 percent, to $296 million.” Read more


Amazon registers lobbyist in Georgia, sparking rumors about Atlanta’s HQ2 chances – Amazon says nothing to see here by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. Read more


Target could be the biggest winner if Toys R Us closes more stores at CNBC. “We believe [Target] should be well positioned to pick up some lost sales, especially when considering that 93% of TRU stores are within a 15 min. drive of a TGT,” Lasser wrote in a note to clients. Also, “TRU and Target are exposed to [a] similar consumer demographic.” Read more


Fortune’s Blue Ribbon Companies 2017 (Amazon, Walmart, Publix) List


Northern Tool, with $1 billion in sales, opens 100th store by Neal St. Anthony at Star Tribune. “That makes 19 states for the retailer-manufacturer rooted in selling log splitters out of a garage in 1981. The Kotula-family owned company has sales of more than $1 billion and employs about 2,500.” Read more (tiered subs.)


Target’s biggest hurdle to Blaine liquor license was the store across the street — so Target bought it by Dan DeBaun at Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. Read more (subs.)


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