Wednesday Tipsheet: CVS Kills Cigs | Home Depot Shakedown | Mike Duke Reflects


New Details Emerge in “Shakedown” of Home Depot by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin” by Juliet Linderman at Times-Picayune.  “Knutson, who took the stand after Price, responded to Blake that “most likely, it’s about Nagin’s son’s desire to be a vendor to Home Depot to install kitchens/countertops for us using a company that he and his dad own together. Knowing how New Orleans operates, the mayor will be certain to plug his family business.”  But in a separate email to his associates, Knutson was more frank about Nagin’s tactics.  “There is NO REASON for our CEO to be involved with this,” Knutson wrote, referring to Home Depot dealings in New Orleans both with Nagin and groups promoting the community benefits agreement, who each were asking for more from the company. “These people are shake-down artists.”  Read more


“Senate lets Target and Neiman Marcus Off Easy” by Kent Hoover at Atlanta Bus. Chronicle.  “Senators seemed to sympathize more with Target and Neiman Marcus than to demonize them.  Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., did gently spank the retail executives, saying it’s “not easy to be the face of an industry” that bears responsibility “for a record of failure.”…Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noted that she was a Neiman Marcus shopper, but she doesn’t recall being notified by the retailer about the data breach.” Read more


“CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco, Sacrificing $2 Billion In Sales” by Matthew Herper at Forbes.  “CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in all of its 7,600 stores by October 1.  It is the first time any retailer has ever dropped this deadly cash cow, and it is part of a major shift in direction for the drugstore giant.”  Read more


Obama Hails CVS Decision “I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo” via CNBC / @EamonJavers


“New Sports Authority CEO on the company’s future” by Dennis Huspeni at Denver Bus. Journal.  “Q: Will SA move away from the big-box format?  A: If you think about it, we’ve had many different box sizes and formats. So if you look candidly back to where we were the last couple of years, and you looked at a Sports Authority box versus a Dick’s or versus some other retailers, our experience in the store wasn’t as good. … So we had a disadvantaged format.” Read more


“Mike Duke reflects on his tenure as Wal-Mart CEO” at The City Wire.  “He was asked about any advice he might give Doug McMillon. Duke answered, “You may not have enough ink for my answer. But if I could boil it down to one thing, and this is the best advice I got when I became CEO, it is to be yourself. A different role doesn’t mean you should be a different person. You got the job because of who you are, and you will succeed because of who you are.”  Read more


“NRF Goes On Offensive Against Data Breaches; Runs Ads in DC Pubs Politico, The Hill and Roll Call” by Meredith Derby Berg at Ad Age.  “The National Retail Federation wants the U.S. government to see that data breaches aren’t a problem that only affects the retail industry.  In an ad called “Hackers Don’t Discriminate” running in Washington, D.C.-based political publications Politico, The Hill and Roll Call Feb. 3 through Feb. 6 in print, the NRF lays out that the most security breaches, at 37%, take place at financial institutions, citing statistics from a recent Verizon survey. Just 24% of breaches happen at retail and restaurant companies.”  Read more / See the ad


“Wal-Mart’s Canadian expansion adds fuel to grocery wars” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  “Shelley Broader, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Canada Corp., has a rallying cry for the discount giant: Fresh food in every store…“I’m not stopping until I get food in every box in Canada,” Ms. Broader said, sitting at a patio set in a mock Wal-Mart store at the retailer’s annual store managers’ meeting.”  Read more


“RadioShack to close about 500 stores” at Reuters/WSJ via Chicago Tribune.  “U.S. electronics chain RadioShack Corp. is planning to close about 500 stores within months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.  The struggling retailer, which is due to report results for the fourth quarter later this month, said it could not comment on rumor or speculation.”  Read more


“54% of Americans Plan to Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Year (The Rest May be Sleeping on the Couch)” at NRF.  “54 percent of Americans will celebrate with their loved ones this year, compared to 60 percent in 2013. The average person plans to spend $133.91 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, up slightly from $130.97 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion.”  Read the release


“Target Accelerates Implementation of Chip-Enabled Smart Card”  “During his testimony, Mulligan said Target will equip its proprietary REDcards and all of its store card readers in the U.S. with chip-enabled smart-card technology by the first quarter of 2015, more than six months ahead of previous plans. The accelerated timing is part of a $100 million effort to put in place chip-enabled technology in all of Target’s nearly 1,800 U.S. stores.”  Read the release


“JCP’s Same-Store Sales Up 2% in Q4, Stock Gets Hammered” by Maria Halkias at Dallas News.  “Penney’s sales increase in the key November-December period was 3.1 percent. Online sales at were up 26.3 percent from last year. The chain pre-released sales numbers and will announce full fourth-quarter results later this month.  But investors wanted more.”  Read more


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