Wal-Mart's (WMT) plan to open up to 300 Neighborhood Markets and Walmart Express stores this year will have an impact on the dollar store group (DLTR, DG, FDO) as its scale makes it a factor.
What to watch: The emergence of Wal-Mart will also tee up the question of consolidation in the dollar store sector. Don't look for an acquisition from Wal-Mart (CC wrap), but a thinned-out playing field might become necessary as Wal-Mart pressures retailers on pricing.
Three Senate Democrats have broken away from Majority Leader Harry Reid's $10.10/hour line in the sand on minimum wage legislation.
Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mark Warner of Virginia have all tipped off that they think there could be some room to negotiate over the amount of an increase over the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. The GOP likes the status quo, but is viewed as likely to give some ground in an election year.
Federal minimum wage legislation could create higher costs in the retail and restaurants sectors as companies adjust to the new higher floor.
Last week, Gap made a preemptive move to raise its own hourly wage in a development that stirred the pot a little bit.
Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT -0.1%) have recovered nicely from an early dip and are now outpacing the S&P 500 despite a cut in Q4 guidance.
Though the same what-me-worry attitude is being seen with Target (TGT -0.7%) and the dollar store group (FDO, DG, DLTR, FIVE), some retail analysts think the company's shortfall points to a larger issue than just winter storms.
Public policy changes regarding food stamps and unemployment benefits won't go away when the sun melts the snow, they note.
A study by location analytics firm Placed gives some insight into the grocery store shopping behavior and spending decisions of a key customer segment - the army of mothers that can make-or-break consumer brands.
Mothers were found to be 41% less likely to visit specialty grocery store Whole Foods Market (WFM) as the group opted for chains such as Kroger (KR), Aldi, Food Lion (DEG), and Hy-Vee. The implication could be strong for brands looking to sell directly to moms.
The data also revealed that mothers shopping at Kroger and Safeway (SWY) preferred the websites of the grocers, while moms pushing carts down the aisle at Publix (PUSH) were more likely to scan barcodes and QR codes.
The dollar store group (DG, FDO, DLTR) was also a much larger focus by moms than the national average for consumers.