Tuesday’s Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet: Wmart’s Cheap Beer | Target Opens in Quebec | REI Ends ‘Happy Returns’


“Walmart’s Cheap Beer Barely Covers Cost” by Minsi Chung and Renee Dudley at Businessweek.  “The markup on a 36-pack of Coors Light cans at a Los-Angeles-area store was 0.6 percent, compared with 16.2 percent for a package of Flaming Hot Cheetos, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Companies typically don’t release information about markups so the March data provide a rare glimpse of Wal-Mart’s alcohol pricing strategy.  Wal-Mart’s push into beer is part of a plan to double alcohol sales by 2016 and seize a larger slice of a U.S. beer market worth about $45 billion.”  Read more


“Kroger execs in Phoenix after Unexpected Death of Fry’s President Jon Flora” by Tim Gallen at Phoenix Business Journal.  “Initially it was reported that Flora, 58, died from a sudden heart attack last Friday, but Lynn said that an autopsy revealed Flora passed away from a pulmonary thromboembolism.”  Read more


“Target embraces its French lessons” by Jeff Heinrich at Montreal Gazette.  “Quebec stores will be first time a ‘foreign’ language is used as the primary tongue in stores…Target is opening 25 stores across Quebec this fall: seven on Tuesday, nine on Oct. 18 and nine in November. Fisher wouldn’t confirm a rumoured 26th, on vacant land in Candiac.”  Read more


“Controversial Walmart Neighborhood Market Opens in LA Chinatown”  by Brigham Yen at DTLA Rising.  “This past Friday, Walmart Neighborbood Market opened its doors for business on the fringe of Chinatown. The dust is far from completely settled, but when all is said and done, Chinatown now has a bona fide grocery store — whether you like Walmart or not.”  Read more/See the in-store pictures


“Retailer REI Ends Era of Many Happy Returns” by Kirsten Grind at WSJ.  “For as long as anybody can remember, REI, which was founded in 1938 and has 130 stores in 32 states, has offered a no-questions-asked return policy, even giving customers cash in exchange for heavily used merchandise. Several years ago, a customer in Washington state successfully returned an REI snow suit he bought to climb Mount Rainier in 1970.  In June, though, the chain announced it would henceforth take back items only within a year of purchase.”  Read more


” ‘Target Ticket’ Targets October 1 Launch” by Jeff Baumgartner at Multichannel News.  “Target Ticket, a broadband-distributed movie and TV sales and rental service that will compete against Walmart’s Vudu, Apple iTunes and pay-TV video-on-demand offerings, will exit the beta phase and launch commercially in two weeks or less, the company confirmed.  “We expect to be ready to offer the service to guests by October 1. However, if we are able to go live a little early we will do so” a Target spokeswoman said via email late last week.”  Read more


“Inside The World Of Walmart Billionaire Alice Walton” by Clare O’Connor at Forbes.  “Sam Walton said it best when he described his youngest child and only daughter as “the most like me–a maverick–but even more volatile.” Of Sam’s three surviving children Alice has been the least involved in Walmart’s affairs and, though she attends the company’s annual meeting, she’s the only one not on the board.  She spends the majority of her time at her Rocking W Ranch an hour west of Fort Worth, Tex., in tiny Millsap (pop. 409).”  Read more


“U.S. holiday sales expected to rise less than last year” by Jessica Wohl at Reuters.  “Sales are forecast to rise only 2.4 percent in November and December compared with increases of 3 percent in 2012, 4 percent in 2011 and 3.8 percent in 2010.  Store visits are expected to fall 1.4 percent during those months, according to ShopperTrak, which provides some of the earliest predictions about the U.S. holiday shopping season. Traffic rose by 2.5 percent in 2012 after falling 3.1 percent in 2011.”  Read more


“Target collaborates with London designer” by Janet Moore at Star Tribune.  “Target said Monday it has a new design partner for a women’s spring fashion line — the hot London duo known as Peter Pilotto.  The news comes just days after a few pieces from the retailer’s 3.1 Phillip Lim fall line were inadvertently displayed in a handful of stores nationwide, causing a furor among fashion frugalistas.”  Read more


“Jimmy Kimmel Bought His Wife’s Wedding Ring At Costco” by Ned Hepburn at Uproxx.  “Jimmy Kimmel let it slip in an interview with Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg that he’d bought his wife’s wedding ring from a surprising source: Costco.com. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… it’s a perfectly practical place to buy all sorts of great deals, we’re told.”  See the Video


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