Today’s Tipsheet: “Vendorville is Shrinking” | Ex-Costco Exec = Organic Fast-Food | Toys R Us = “Full & Chunky”


Retailers Lost $185 Million in Sales Due to Warm Weather by Adrianne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “Of course, consumers should have more disposable income from the lower heating bills that come with warm weather. But they’re not spending that extra cash at retail stores, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation.” Read more


Former Costco exec launches certified-organic concept by Lisa Jennings at Restaurant News. “Erica Welton, a former food buyer for Costco Wholesale Corp., has opened what she says is the nation’s first ‘certified organic fast-food’ concept.” Read more


JC Penney Shoppers Visit Santa’s Workshop in New Virtual Reality Initiative by Adrianne Pasquarelli at Ad Age. “Dubbed “Twas the Flight Before Christmas,” the initiative sends participants — outfitted with an Oculus headset — to the North Pole where they can interact with reindeer, elves and snowmen.” Read more


Walmart Says Labor Group Gave Bloomberg Info They Weren’t Allowed To by Josh Eidelson at Bloomberg. “In a motion filed on Dec. 9, Walmart alleges the labor group OUR Walmart “intentionally disclosed documents marked and designated confidential” to Businessweek reporter Susan Berfield, despite a judge’s protective order.” Read more


65% Enjoy Christmas Music “Some” or  “Not at All” by Robert Klara at Ad Week. “As a general rule of thumb, Turner tells his retail clients to think of holiday music like holiday decorating. “Less is more,” he says.” Read more


Amazon Prime Now: Getting Over the 40,000 Item Hump by Jason Del Rey at Recode. “(Amazon’s Stephenie) Landry said the company’s Prime Now warehouses make it difficult to carry much more inventory than that, but hinted the company is thinking about other options. “There is some functional limit if we continue to do things the way we do them right now,” she said. “But the company is really inventive.” Read more


Neiman Marcus same-store sales fall for first time in six years by Subrat Patnaik at Reuters. “Total revenue fell 1.8 percent to $1.16 billion. Same-store sales declined 5.6 percent, the first fall after 23 quarters of rising sales.” Read more


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Workers move into the first of Amazon’s downtown towers by Jay Greene at Seattle Times. “The company ultimately plans to occupy 10 million square feet downtown, enough room for roughly 50,000 employees.” Read more


Groups concerned about Walgreens’ ties to Catholic hospital by Donna Gordon Blankinship at AP. “Nineteen groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter Monday to drugstore chain Walgreens expressing concerns about the company’s plans for a Catholic hospital to run its in-store health clinics in Washington state and Oregon.” Read more


Struggling Toys ‘R’ Us Tries “Full & Chunky” Stores by Suzanne Kapner at WSJ. “If a customer can’t find what they’re looking for at your store 60% of the time, they will shop somewhere else and never come back,” the 63-year-old Mr. Brandon said in a recent interview. “We want our stores to be bulkier,” he said of the effort to stuff shelves with more goods. “We call it full and chunky.” Read more (subscription)


AP: Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves “U.S. customs records show the shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Dollar General and Petco…AP reporters went to supermarkets in all 50 states and found shrimp products from supply chains tainted with forced labor.” Read more


Northwest Arkansas: Retail consolidation continues to reduce ‘Vendorville’ jobs by Kim Souza at The City Wire. “Vendorville is shrinking. Whales swallow guppies and always will, but this past year it’s at an all time high. We have certainly felt the impact as well,” (Cameron) Smith said in an email. “Some suppliers are keeping their powder dry with regards to adding headcount.” Read more


Best Buy sends Geek Squad to help travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International by Kavita Kumar at Star-Tribune. “One of the biggest draws on Monday, though, was the handful of top holiday tech toys on display at the booth. The BB-8 robot from the upcoming Star Wars film turned many heads…Read more


Tipsheet Extra Stories

Former landlords push Target Canada on details of RioCan settlement

‘It destroyed my life’: Hundreds of women sue hair care label over claims the product made their hair fall out

Tina Fey Relives the Awkward Moment She Went Shopping at JCPenney with Her Mom at 10

Apple Opens Secret Laboratory in Taiwan to Develop New Screens

Boston Globe not a fan of ‘gun-toting Frosty’ inflatable from Bass Pro

Starbucks: Customers call out terrible polar bear cookie design – looks like the animal’s throat has been cut

Designer behind Target’s localization strategy launches his ideas for Minnesota

Read Tipsheet Extra Stories