Today’s Tipsheet: Retail Sales +7.9% | KY Mall Mayhem | Bezos Wants Oscar | Italy Targets Pizza Ovens


U.S. holiday retail sales grow a ‘solid’ 7.9 percent: MasterCard at Reuters. “Online sales grew 20 percent in the holiday season this year, MasterCard Advisors, which tracks customer spending, said in a report on Monday.” Read more


How an emerging labor movement in China’s Wal-Mart stores threatens expansion ambitions of all Western retailers by Linda Van Der Horst at Financial Post. “Their dispute is part of an emerging labour rights movement, and the consequences are far reaching. “In five to 10 years, (Chinese) workers will be able to reclaim the union through collective bargaining, and that [would be] the biggest national union on earth with bargaining power,” says Han Dongfang, founder and director at China Labour Bulletin.” Read more


AMAZON ISSUES ‘EPIC POST-HOLIDAY NEWS RELEASE’: Amazon Prime adds more than 3M new members in 1 week at peak of holiday shopping season by Todd Bishop at GeekWire. “In keeping with its annual tradition, Amazon issued an epic post-holiday news release, featuring cherry-picked growth stats and whimsically imprecise factoids…” Read more / read the release


Mall Mayhem: Over 1,000 Teens Shut Down Kentucky Mall by Molly Shapiro at ABC News. “As they responded, those calls continued to mount up and they could not handle the volume of calls that they were receiving,” he said. The incidents involved between 1,000 and 2,000 teens, McDonald said. Calls continued to pour in, so police requested assistance from neighboring agencies.” Read more


…”SHOTS FIRED”, POLICE SAY A PARENTAL ESCORT POLICY COULD HAVE PREVENTED at USA Today “You have to give our officers some credit,” McDonald said. “They were being cussed at, stuff was thrown at them. … It could have been much, much worse.” Read more / See the video


Why Carol Meyrowitz, CEO Of TJX, Is Retailer Of The Year by Walter Loeb at Forbes. “With the exception of Ms. Meyrowitz, the retail industry is largely void of dynamic leadership. In the many times I asked a retail CEO “what is your vision for your company;” I have received few good answers…” Read more


Don’t like the gift card you got for Christmas? Target, other retailers will offer you a trade by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “Teri Llach, Blackhawk’s chief marketing officer, noted that a company survey found that only 38 percent of consumers were aware of gift card exchanges, so there’s still a lot of room for growth.” Read more


…Get a Crappy Present? Zappos Will Trade You a $100 Gift Card and Give the Gift to Charity by David Griner at Adweek. “For the first 500 callers to (800) 927-7671 between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Dec. 26, the online retailer will offer a $100 Zappos gift card in exchange for any unwanted present you might have received, regardless of where it was purchased.” Read more


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Wal-Mart considers closing 5 percent of Brazil stores at Reuters. “Wal Mart is also considering leasing part of some stores to home furnishings retailers in several regions across Brazil to generate additional revenue, Valor said.” Read more


Eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon currently are coloring books designed for adults (!) by James R. Hagerty & Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at WSJ. Read more (subscription)


NY Times: Mattel Takes a Risk, With Barbie and Bugs by Rachel Abrams. “Even though crickets have a life span of only a few weeks and are often sold as iguana food, they had to be able to survive inside the Bug Racer. “We’ve done a ton of bug, insect research,” Mr. Cody said, pointing out the separate chamber for food. “We haven’t lost a cricket behind the wheel yet.” Read more


WALL STREET JOURNAL WON’T LET UP ON THERANOS: At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags by John Carreyrou. “The night before a big meeting with a Swiss drug company in 2008, Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and a colleague sat in a Zurich hotel, sticking their fingers with a lancet. They drew drops of their own blood to try the company’s testing machine, but the devices wouldn’t work…After two hours, the colleague called it quits, leaving Ms. Holmes still squeezing blood from her fingers to test it again.” Read more (subscription)


JEFF BEZOS TELLS GERMAN NEWSPAPER HE REALLY WANTS TO WIN AN OSCAR: Amazon boss reveals plans to make 16 feature films a year and says ‘Now I want an Oscar’ by Daniel Bates at Daily Mail. “He said that the movies will be shown in cinemas but they will be available on Amazon’s online streaming service, Amazon Prime, much more quickly, instead of a months-long wait for a DVD or online release.” Read more


If you loved watermelon Oreos, you may be a ‘harbinger of failure’ at Bloomberg via Chicago Crain’s. “Did you love McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, Frito-Lay Lemonade, Colgate Kitchen Entrees, and Watermelon Oreos? If so, you’re probably a “Harbinger of Failure”—a consumer whose taste is so unusual that companies can use your preferences to figure out what not to sell. “Some customers can actually be a strong signal of future failure,” says a paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing Research.” Read more


Why Myanmar’s massive jade industry is so deadly by Parick Winn at GlobalPost via USA Today. “On Dec. 26, another large landslide was feared to have killed dozens…Myanmar’s jade mines are among the bleakest places in all of Asia. In these zones, death is so common and lawlessness so obscene that the government forbids almost all outsiders from coming to take a look.” Read more


SHIPPING PALLETS ARE A THING?! A Design Trend No One Could Have Predicted by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin at Inc. “The DIY aesthetic and the trend of raw, unfinished materials are colliding. As a result, an odd thing is popping up in cool offices: shipping pallets.” See the pics


Pizza Ovens Targeted as Italy Combats Air Pollution by John Follain at Bloomberg. “In Lucca in Tuscany, as in Terni in central Italy and in Rovigo in the north, authorities won’t allow traditional New Year and Epiphany bonfires made of wood and shrubs.” Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

CNBC: This could be the next blow to department stores

Florida woman turns Walmart into personal buffet while riding drunk on motorized shopping cart

Harvard Business Review: Up to a third of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees

Hershey dumps sugar beets because of GM concerns

And the brands played on: how EDM can sell almost anything

Peyton Manning hires Ari Fleischer amid HGH allegations

How an online shoe retailer ‘neutralized’ the U.S. border and cracked e-commerce in Canada

The man who saved Jack in the Box’s brand after its E. coli crisis has advice for Chipotle

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories


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