Tipsheet: Today Hits Amazon Key | Toys R Us -200?


Flaw in Amazon Key delivery tech could leave your home vulnerable to thieves by Jeff Rossen & Lindsey Bomnin at NBC Today. “…hackers have figured out a loophole in the system that could allow the delivery person full access to your home without you knowing. Amazon knows about the flaw and says they’ve issued a software update. But cybersecurity experts says the vulnerability is still there.” Video/Read more


…TOMORROW: NBC Today reveals the major retailer with a gift card flaw that allows thieves to “drain the money on your card down to zero before you even use it.” 


Holiday spending on track to be highest in at least 12 years: CNBC survey “The CNBC All-America Survey found that average holiday spending intentions will top $900 for the first time in the 12-year history of the poll, eclipsing last year’s estimate of $702 by a wide margin.” Read more


Bankrupt Toys ‘R’ Us Weighs Closing up to 200 Stores by Lauren Coleman-Lochner & Matthew Townsend at Bloomberg. “U.S. sales have declined about 15 percent this Christmas-shopping season from a year earlier, according to people recently briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.” Read more


Wal-Mart’s global governance director to retire Jan. 31 at Talk Business. “(Jeff) Gearhart has logged 14 years with Wal-Mart capping off a 29-year legal career, McMillon noted in the email. He said the decision to retire was Gearhart’s, noting his intent to “spend more time cheering on the Razorbacks, giving to important causes and enjoying a few hobbies.” Read more


Apple Sells Out Of AirPods Before Christmas by Jonathan Vanian at Fortune. “Shoppers who order the popular wireless earbuds from Apple’s online store today will get them on Jan. 5, at the earliest, and only if they pay extra for express shipping.” Read more


Santa protesters say Walmart is a Grinch by Ron Maxey at USA Today. “Monday’s coordinated event outside the Cordova Walmart Super Center was part of 13-city, 11-state effort to highlight the retail giant’s policy regarding holiday compensation.” Read more


CVS CIO Stephen Gold Exits Ahead of Planned Aetna Acquisition by Steven Norton at Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Gold “resigned on Tuesday to ‘pursue professional opportunities outside CVS Health,’” the spokesman said in an email.” Read more (subs.)


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Bon-Ton Stores unit delays payment on loan by Paul Gores at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Bon-Ton, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., announced in November it plans to close at least 40 storesby the end of 2018.” Read more


This Huge, Prosperous Mall Has a Hole to Fill—and Not With More Stores by Sarah Mulholland at Bloomberg. “It’s a sign of the times that even King of Prussia — which ranks in the top 3 percent of malls in the country, according to Green Street Advisors — is turning what was once retail space into other uses.” Read more


Ikea Is Stepping Into Virtual Reality by Creating a Game for New Store Openings by Marty Swant at Adweek.”…immersing visitors in an Ikea world where they could play a “pillow toss” game with a coffee table or hang out with a panda inside a bamboo lamp. Nearly 300 people tried out the popular Swedish brand’s VR for the first time.” Video/Read more


Too Much Caffeine? Coffee Shops Face a Shakeout by Julie Jargon at Wall Street Journal. “There are now nearly 33,000 coffee shops in the U.S., including those run by big chains such as Starbucks, up 16% from five years ago, according to market research firm Mintel.” Read more (subs.)


Citi: We messed up on Walmart, buy it because it can compete with Amazon at CNBC. “We sat on the sideline with this name in ’17, which proved to be a big mistake. Despite the stock’s run-up, we think there is even more to come, particularly considering HD and COST are trading at a premium to WMT,” analyst Kate McShane wrote in a note to clients Monday.” Read more


Amazon Prime Video Announces Rose Parade Float Featuring The Grand Tour Press release


Team USA is opening a pop-up store in Rockefeller Center by Lisa Fickenscher at NY Post. “The store, which will sell gear from Olympic sponsors including Nike, Swatch and Oakley, is the first Team USA retail outlet outside of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, according to Fanatics.” Read more


Hasbro & Brown University want to enhance robo-cat so it can help seniors by Michelle R. Smith at AP via Boston Globe. “‘It’s not going to iron and wash dishes,’’ said Bertram Malle, a professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown. ‘‘Nobody expects them to have a conversation. Nobody expects them to move around and fetch a newspaper. They’re really good at providing comfort.’’ Pic/Read more


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