Today’s Tipsheet: Amazon a Bubble? | Costco’s Hearing Aids | Britain #1 in Online


“Why Costco Rules in Hearing Aids … and Gummy Bears” by Kyle Stock at Businessweek.  “We followed up with Richard Chavez, Costco’s senior vice president in charge of ancillary businesses, to see just how much hearing-aid revenue the wholesaler was talking about. “A lot,” he says with a laugh. “We’re now one of the largest—if not the largest—hearing-aid distributors in the market, but I really don’t want anyone to know that.”  Turns out, in the past four years, Costco’s hearing-aid sales have grown 26 percent a year on average, according to Chavez, who expects another 19 percent gain this year.”  Read more: popular


“Is The New Wal-Mart?” by Paulo Santos at Seeking Alpha.  “Looking at Wal-Mart’s size, growth, dividends, profitability and investments when it was the same size as today completely debunks the notion that is somehow behaving like the next Wal-Mart. is less profitable, has much higher earnings volatility, does not pay dividends, is not growing faster at this point and did not invest more than Wal-Mart at the same point in history…There is little else to conclude but the obvious. That is a bubble.”  Read more:


“Online Sales Most Developed in Britain, U.S. Second” at The Economist.  ” Bricks-and-mortar retail may be losing ground to online shopping, but it remains more profitable. The physical world is also increasingly capable of taking the fight to its online competitors. Last year online sales of shop-based American retailers grew by 29%; those of online-only merchants grew by just 21%. Apart from Amazon—which has long spurned profits in favour of growth—most pure-play online retailers are losing market share, says Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research.”  Read more:


“To Sell Consumer Goods in China, You’ll Need to Go Digital, but Chinese-Style” by Winter Wright at Ad Age.  “In just three years, China is expected to become the world’s largest e-commerce market. McKinsey estimates that the number of online consumers will rise from 190 million today to 351 million in 2016, while Forrester is forecasting combined business-to-business and business-to-consumer online sales of $315 billion just two years from now.”  Read more:


“Woolworth and Lowe’s Still in the Australian Hardware Game” by Tim McArthur at The Motley Fool.  “The new kid on the home improvement block, Masters opened its first store in September 2011 and has since rolled out 29 stores.  The market is watching anxiously to see how the decision to go head-to-head with industry giant Bunnings, owned by Wesfarmers will turn out. Last year Bunnings had revenues of over $7 billion and earnings before interest and tax of $841 million. In comparison, Masters is forecast to have revenue approaching $900 million in financial year 2014 but to lose close to $100 million. Profits are not forecast by most analysts until at least 2017, highlighting the inherent risks in building the retail chain from scratch.”  Read more:


“Restoration Hardware’s Renovation Is Private-Equity Boon” at WSJ.  “‪Restoration Hardware is expanding its assortment at a pace unlike anything we have ever seen in retail,” Wells Fargo Securities LLC analysts wrote recently. They cited the retailer’s spring catalogs, artsy tomes that can be mistaken for coffee-table books and that have about 1,600 pages of items, including $249 sconces and $995 zebra-hide rugs. A year earlier, the catalogs had about 1,200 pages.”  Read more:


“Former Walmart Executive Says Sharing is the New Shopping” by Jason Mark at Earth Island Journal.  “Ruben realized that their best efforts would be insufficient. As he told the audience, “We’re not going to reinvent the industrial model from inside the industrial model.”  Ruben has since left Walmart and embarked on a new endeavor with former Walmart consultant and one time Sierra Club president Adam Werbach. It’s called Yerdle, and it’s a crowd sourcing online community dedicated to getting people to share the things they already own but aren’t using.”  Read more:


“Michael Kors sues Costco for false advertising” at Reuters.  “According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Costco has never been an authorized retailer of Michael Kors handbags, yet it has recently run advertisements nationwide falsely suggesting that the handbags are available “starting at $99.”  In one example cited, Costco in April sent an email ad touting a selection of handbags for Mother’s Day “starting at $99.99,” several of which were Michael Kors handbags featuring the company’s trademarks.”  Read more:


“Analysis: Retailers keep inventories low for back-to-school sales” at Reuters.  “Stung by leftover inventory because of a wet, cold spring and unsure about consumer spending, many retailers are ordering conservatively for the second busiest selling season of the year behind the end of the year holiday period, according to executives in shipping, banking and manufacturing.”  Read more:


“Will Kroger’s deal for Harris Teeter put to rest Raley’s rumors?” by Kelly Johnson at Sacramento Bus. Journal.  “Brown said, if he were a Raley’s executive, he wouldn’t want to see Kroger’s purchase of Harris Teeter, a company with 2012 sales of $4.54 billion. It is the nation’s 23rd-largest supermarket chain and the 81st-largest retailer in the country. After spending this much to acquire Harris Teeter, Kroger might not be willing to pay top dollar for a future purchase.”  Read more:


“MillerCoors kick-starts entrepreneur’s cold invention” by  Tom Rotunno at CNBC.  “I was at an outdoor barbecue and saw people dumping out the last few sips of beer and I thought to myself, how do I change this?” said Curt Peters, the creator of the Chill Puck.Billed as “the next generation ice pack,” the Chill Puck is a hockey-puck-like disc that is molded to fit the bottom of standard-sized beer cans. Consumers keep it the in the freezer and attach it when they are ready to use. The Chill Puck is designed to stay cold for more than an hour at room temperature.”  Read more:


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