Wednesday’s Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet: Retail ‘Bloodbath’ in Canada | Target likes PR | Walgreen Kicks Employees to Obamacare


“Rona CEO Warns of Retail “Bloodbath” in Canada” by Marina Strauss at Globe & Mail.  ““In Ontario, it’s a bloodbath for every retailer,” Robert Sawyer, chief executive officer of home-improvement retailer Rona Inc., said at a conference Tuesday in Toronto, organized by Bank of Nova Scotia. “It’s difficult, not only for the hardware business.”  The added stress is felt acutely in Canada’s grocery industry, which is the victim of an essentially “zero-sum game,” Perry Caicco, retail analyst at CIBC World Markets, said in a recent report.” Read more


“Target’s CMO Places His Bet on Earned Media” by Lindsay Stein at PR Week.  “The notion that the value of an earned media impression will exceed that of a paid impression is transforming marketing at Target, said Jeff Jones, its EVP and CMO…“We have been a brand defined by advertising, but the days of curating and telling a consumer what we think is best are declining,” said Jones.”  Read more


“Walgreen shifting 120,000 employees into Obamacare” at Reuters.  “Walgreen is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Friday.  The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees cash to purchase their own plans on such exchanges.”  Read more


“Interest remains strong in Canadian shoppers and retail space” by Tara Perkins at Globe & Mail.  ““Target’s arrival in Canada was not the bookend to a dynamic period for the Canadian retail market,” states Tom Balkos, a Canadian director of CBRE’s retailer services group. “In fact, quite the opposite is true. The number of mergers and acquisitions that have been done in recent months combined with the inflow of major brands underscores Canada’s position as an active and highly sought after market.”  Read more


“Safeway Puts Up Defense After Hedge Fund Amasses Stake” by Alexander Stevenson at NY Times.  “The $6 billion hedge fund Jana Partners is known for taking a behind-the-scenes approach to its campaigns, amassing large stakes in companies and agitating for change through talks with management.  The fund has turned its focus to Safeway, where it recently encouraged the board to conduct a strategic review and consider selling some of its assets.”  Read more


“Why Amazon Hides Its Cheapest Price (and Where)” at Bloomberg.  See the video


“IRI Research Examines How Americans Eat”  “While 79 percent of Americans are planners and eat three “square meals” or several “mini meals” throughout the day, a new segment is also emerging, for those who eat on the run. Dubbed “opportunists” by IRI, these eaters represent a whopping 21 percent of Americans, and they tend to grab food and drink throughout the day as the opportunity arises, with little consideration as to whether they are eating a meal or a snack.”  Read more


“Dollar Tree Adopts $2 Billion Share Repurchase Program” at WSJ.  “Last month, Dollar Tree reported that its fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 4.6%, with higher customer traffic and average ticket prices pushing up sales.  The company has also increased its private-label and branded offerings, added frozen and refrigerated foods and started accepting food stamps at most locations in an effort to combat the rapid expansion of some rivals like Family Dollar Stores Inc.”  Read more


“Shopping Addiction: Survey Finds a Significant Number of Americans Who Show Signs of a Problem”  “Among the survey’s other findings:

31.7 percent of respondents said they “almost always” or “frequently” purchase things just because they’re on sale.

18.1 percent said they frequently or always purchase items that they don’t need or didn’t plan to buy when they set out to shop.

Nearly 11 percent of those polled said they frequently shop to improve their mood.

47.4 percent said they experience a rush of excitement when they go shopping.

Read more


“Google may ditch ‘cookies’ as online ad tracker” by Alistair Barr at USA Today.  “Google is considering a major change in how online browsing activity is tracked, a move that could shake up the $120 billion digital advertising industry.  Google, which accounts for about a third of worldwide online ad revenue, is developing an anonymous identifier for advertising, or AdID, that would replace third-party cookies as the way advertisers track people’s Internet browsing activity for marketing purposes, according to a person familiar with the plan.”  Read more


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