China turns to internet for food supplies amid virus fears at AP. “(Delivery drivers) work really hard, and it’s dangerous,” said Wang. “Without their services, we would not be able to survive at all.” JD.com Inc. and rivals including Pinduoduo, Missfresh Inc. and Alibaba Group’s Hema are scrambling to fill a boom in orders while trying to protect their employees.” Read more
U.S. homebuilding fell less than expected in January while permits surged to a near 13-year high at Reuters. Read more
Bed Bath & Beyond Boss Tries to Declutter Stores by Suzanne Kapner at Wall Street Journal. “And while (Mark Tritton) has no plans to eliminate the coupons the retailer is known for, he does want to simplify pricing by doing away with overlapping promotions and use more signs to better explain deals. “Customers don’t want to do the math,” Mr. Tritton said, adding that a lack of price clarity was a big reason shoppers left Bed Bath & Beyond stores empty-handed. Mr. Tritton plans to take the new look to 25 stores this year.” WSJ subs.
Macy’s cut to junk by S&P over doubts turnaround plan will work at Crain’s Chicago Business. Tiered subs.
Grocers Wrest Control of Shelf Space From Struggling Food Giants by Annie Gasparro & Jaewon Kang at Wall Street Journal. “Our retailers have better information now,” General Mills Chief Executive Jeff Harmening said. “So more of our conversation is about ‘How do we drive growth together?’” Retailers such as Kroger Co. and Walmart Inc. are using increasingly sophisticated software to decide where to place items and which products to shelve next to one another…” WSJ subs.
RETREAT – Groupon Says It Will No Longer Sell Stuff, Shift Focus To Experiences by Lauren Debter at Forbes. “Groupon’s decision to get out of the retail business came on the heels of another awful quarter. Revenue fell 23% to $612 million, which was short of the $709 million that Wall Street analysts were looking for. That was driven by a steep 32% decline in its goods business.” Read more
Krebs: Encoding Stolen Credit Card Data on Barcodes “The instructions on the phony rewards card are designed to make the cashier think it’s a payment alternative designed for use exclusively at Sam’s Club and Walmart stores. When the transaction goes through, it’s recorded as card-not-present purchase.” Read more
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wants to crack the code on apparel and home goods at CNBC. “McMillon said stores didn’t have the right mix of apparel over the Christmas season. He said its clothing “looked like red and green” and had too much at the low end of price points.” Read more
…CNBC’s full interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on fourth-quarter earnings 9:35 video
Walmart employees say they’re preparing for job cuts as retailer rolls out its ‘Great Workplace’ program by Abha Bhattarai at Washington Post. “Everyone’s on pins and needles right now,” said a customer service manager…The store where she works, she said, is replacing six customer service managers with four newly created positions. Employees who don’t make the cut will either be terminated or asked to apply for lower-paying positions, according to two store employees briefed on the transition.” Tiered subs.
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Issa Rae of HBO’s ‘Insecure’ at Target HQ for standing-room-only event by Kavita Kumar at Star Tribune. “Rae spoke on a range of topics in a conversation with Caroline Wanga, Target’s chief culture, diversity and inclusion officer. And, yes, Rae told Wanga, she likes to shop at Target: “It’s always my goal to spend less than $50, but … you guys set a lot of traps!” she joked.” Tiered subs.
Belk eliminates 80 positions at corporate office by Catherine Muccigrosso at Charlotte Observer. “The company had about 1,200 employees in 2018 at its Tyvola Road headquarters in Charlotte, down 200 people from two years prior, the Observer previously reported.” Tiered subs.
Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For (Wegmans #3, Publix #39, REI #60, Sheetz #80) Ranked list
Bed Bath & Beyond agreed to sell online retailer PersonalizationMall.com to 1-800-Flowers.com for $252 million at Fox Business. Read more
Amazon Changes the Way It Recruits M.B.A.s by Patrick Thomas at Wall Street Journal. “In the recent past, (Amazon) has hired as many as 1,000 full-time and intern M.B.A.s each year, concentrating on a couple dozen elite programs…Now, in its quest for recruits with a combination of technical skills and business acumen, Amazon says it has broadened its scope and has extended offers to students from 80 M.B.A. programs, curtailing some campus visits and putting a heavy emphasis on virtual meetings.” WSJ subs.
Warren Buffett buys $500M / 2.3% stake in Kroger by Alexander Coolidge at Cincinnati Enquirer. Tiered subs.
FOR SALE – Blue Apron is considering selling itself by Megan Rose Dickey at TechCrunch. “In Q4 2019, Blue Apron reported a net revenue decrease of 33% year-over-year, to $94.3 million. For the full fiscal year of 2019, revenues decreased 32%, to $454.9 million from $667.6 million the year prior.” Read more
Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen Appointed to American Heart Association CEO Roundtable Press release
Nike’s new CEO shuffles execs with new CFO, COO at Fox Business. “Mr. Donahoe, who took over last month as CEO, said the changes demonstrate the depth of the company’s management bench. The former eBay Inc. chief executive and technology veteran succeeded longtime Nike chief Mark Parker, who stayed on as executive chairman.” Read more
How H-E-B helped reduce utility company’s request for electricity price hike by L.M. Sixel at Houston Chronicle. “H-E-B was experiencing so many power outages at its Houston-area stores that three years ago it began installing its own backup generators to keep food at the right temperature. So when CenterPoint Energy, the regulated utility that distributes electricity to the Houston area, asked Texas regulators to raise rates this spring by $161 million and to boost its profit to 10.4 percent, H-E-B stepped up and said the utility didn’t deserve either.” Tiered subs.
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