Thursday, February 22, 2018

Paying to play, at Costco and Amazon

6: Costco treads carefully in e-commerceAn increasing number of consumers are paying for both Costco memberships and Amazon Prime shipping services, a study has concluded.

MoffettNathanson, a research firm maintaining offices in New York and Los Angeles, conducted a survey of 2,500 consumers and found that 57% of consumers who maintain memberships at Costco also pay for Amazon Prime, up from 13% in 2013.. . . more

Marc Lore: I am 'absolutely not' leaving Walmart

Image result for walmart onlineMarc Lore, the head of Walmart's e-commerce division, said he's "absolutely not" leaving the company.

Lore spoke to CNBC Wednesday after a report surfaced that the founder was considering stepping down from his new post. Lore has spent a little more than a year at Walmart and is spearheading a website redesign.

"I feel like we are just getting started," he said. "I think we are having a ton of fun. ... We are making great progress on the value proposition.". . . more

Don’t Expect the Albertsons-Rite Aid Merger to Produce a Contender

albersons-rite aid
Grocery chain Albertsons Co. and drug store operator Rite Aid announced plans on Tuesday for a merger estimated to be worth $24 billion. The transaction will feature a stock and cash exchange between the companies’ shareholders that would allow the grocery store operator to go public smoothly after 10 years of private ownership.

Industry professionals who have studied the companies’ operations closely, however, are not convinced that the combination will create an entity strong enough to compete as a heavy hitter against sector leaders Walgreens and Amazon.. . . more

Walmart launches a new home shopping site for furniture and home d├ęcor

Following a slowdown in e-commerce sales over the holidays, Walmart today is readying a new strategy to attract online shoppers with an increased focus on home goods. The retailer is now launching a redesigned Home shopping experience on the web which will better highlight home products, like furniture, accessories, and other decorative items.

The new site’s home page will feature curated collections across nine style categories, including modern, mid-century, traditional, glam, industrial, bohemian, farmhouse, transitional and Scandinavian. Unlike Walmart’s typical shopping experience, it will also use editorial-style imagery and will include design tips written by in-house staff.. . . more

Toys are not us, investors to Target

Image result for target toy departmentTarget Corp should hold off on plans to cash in on a perceived advantage in toys after the collapse of Toys “R” Us, several of the company’s investors told Reuters, worried it could eat up capital desperately needed in an Amazon-dominated retail world.

When the biggest toy retailer in the U.S. went bankrupt last September, analysts parsing through the wreckage came to the conclusion that Target would be among the biggest beneficiaries.

Of the 182 Toys “R” Us stores scheduled to close in the first half of 2018, 93 percent are within a 15-minute drive of at least one Target store and analysts say the department-store chain should see more traffic as a result.. . . more

Shoppers want more from supermarkets

GroceryAlthough Americans spend a substantial amount of time shopping in supermarkets, plenty of them say stores could stand to make some improvements, according to a survey from tech solutions company Phononic.

A survey of 1,100 adults across the United States was done in January to better understand what shoppers - who visit a traditional supermarket 3.9 times a month - want from stores, per Phononics.  . . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us reportedly facing loan troubles

A woman shops at a Toys R Us store in Alhambra, California.Toys R Us is at risk of breaching a covenant on one of its loans, intensifying concerns about its ability to emerge from bankruptcy protection, sources familiar with the situation tell CNBC.

The storied toy retailer secured a $3.1 billion loan from a group of lenders led by J.P. Morgan Chase prior to filing for bankruptcy protection. That loan, a so-called debtor-in-possession, or "DIP," loan is given to a company to provide the money it needs to invest in the business while it is in bankruptcy.

But after a dismal holiday season, Toys R Us is now at risk of having too little cash to satisfy the terms of the loan.. . . more

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WeShop? WeWork preps a retail push

Image result for weworkWeWork has built a billion-dollar business by convincing professionals to pay for decked out coworking spaces and a sense of community.

Entrepreneurs Ali Kriegsman and Alana Branston want to do the same for retail.

The pair are cofounders of Bulletin, a young startup that charges female-focused lifestyle brands a monthly membership fee for placement in its retail spaces and on its online marketplace. It raised more than $2 million last year and plans to open a flagship store in New York this spring.. . . more

Amazon has quietly launched an exclusive line of over-the-counter health products

Image result for amazon basic care lineAmazon has quietly launched an exclusive line of over-the-counter health products in a possible challenge to pharmacy retail chains that could spark a price war and put pressure on store-brand profit margins.

Technically, the company doesn't own these products, which are produced by private-label manufacturer Perrigo, but it does put Amazon in a position to squeeze other retailers. The e-commerce giant launched the Basic Care line in August, including 60 products ranging from ibuprofen to hair regrowth treatment.. . . more

Supermarket chain files for bankruptcy protection

A heavy debt loan and increased competition from the likes of Walmart, Amazon and others have taken a toll on Tops Friendly Market.

The regional grocery store operator on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Tops, which operates some 169 supermarkets in Upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and Western Vermont, said all stores remain open.. . . more

Taco Bell Overtakes Burger King as the Fourth-Largest U.S. Chain

Image result for taco bellLovers of chalupas and crunch wraps have spoken: Taco Bell is now bigger than Burger King.

The Mexican-themed chain eclipsed its burger rival in U.S. sales last year, becoming the fourth-largest domestic restaurant brand, according to a preliminary report by research firm Technomic. McDonald’s Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Subway Restaurants held on to the top three spots.. . . more

Costco to shutter all Massachusetts photo departments except one

Image result for costco photo departmentCostco Wholesale will no longer offer on-site photo printing at its West Springfield store and is also shuttering the photo departments at all but one of its other Massachusetts locations.

The move is a snapshot of the times, the club told customers, related to the progression of digital photography and online social media versus the greeting cards and keepsakes many folks used to have printed with photos. Photo departments at some local Costcos will close April 24.

Photo Departments with on-site printing will remain at stores at 75 Freshwater Boulevard in Enfield, Connecticut, and in Dedham, Massachusetts, according to store employees.. . . more