Jan. 3, 2014, 7:37 AM
- Wa-Mart (WMT) recalls 734K folding table and chair sets it sold in the U.S. last year due to a risk they can collapse unexpectedly.
- A company in China is the manufacturer of the chairs.
- Earlier this week, Wal-Mart caught a few headlines after it was forced to recall donkey meat it sold in China after testing showed contamination.
Jan. 2, 2014, 7:12 AM
- Wal-Mart (WMT) recalls donkey meat sold in China after testing from regulators showed it contained fox meat.
- The development could impact sales in the region with the retailer's brand reputation already tainted by other food scandals.
- The company has plans to open 110 new stores in China over the next few years.
Dec. 29, 2013, 4:28 AM
- The FT profiles Walmart's (WMT) expansion of its Sam's Club chain in China as the retailer "resets" its business in the country after missteps led to poor returns.
- "We were focusing more on growth than we were on quality in some cases," says Wal-Mart's Ray Bracy. "We're not going to do that again.
- Wal-Mart has been targeting more affluent customers for Sam's Club and has been opening warehouses on the outskirts of "tier 1" and "tier 2" cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Salaries are higher in these locales, as is car ownership, which is vital for reaching these outlets.
Dec. 27, 2013, 9:09 AM
- The word "guarantee" was thrown around too loosely this holiday season by retailers, writes The Dallas Mornings News' Maria Halkias.
- While UPS (UPS) blames bad weather for falling short with some deliveries this year, the company only hired the same number of temporary workers as last year despite forecasts for booming online sales. FedEx (FDX) and the USPS also had their own glitches. The spottier-than-normal delivery record this year falls on the shoulders of the retail sector not shippers.
- What to watch: Online retail tracking firm StellaService reports that sellers such as Zappos, Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY), and Victoria's Secret (LB) scored well in meeting aggressive deadlines, although the cost may be high. Many of the firms upgraded late-ordering customers to express shipping to avoid a customer service backlash. Next year, deadlines may be earlier and holiday margins higher.
Dec. 26, 2013, 12:12 PM
- Gift card sales were an out-performer in the retail sector this holiday season.
- Open network branded card sales rose 7.3% this year while retailers saw gift card sales shoot up 10, according to Corporate Executive Board.
- The consumer trend toward more gift card usage should provide a lift to MasterCard (MA +0.8%) and Visa (V +0.3%) as well as adding at least some support to retail sales in Q1 of 2014 as sales are booked.
- Related stocks: SBUX, BBY, HAWK, WMT, TGT, DNKN, MCD.
Dec. 26, 2013, 3:35 AM
- A last-minute surge in online shopping and bad weather left major retailers such as Amazon (AMZN), Kohl's (KSS) and Wal-Mart (WMT) unable to fulfill guarantees to deliver packages in time for Christmas. IBM estimates that Internet sales jumped 37% on year over the pre-Christmas weekend.
- UPS (UPS) was particularly caught out. "The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast," a UPS spokeswoman said. FedEx (FDX) was also affected, although the company said that it wasn't suffering significant delays.
- Amazon is refunding shipping charges to affected customers and providing a $20 gift card, while Kohl's will pay the full cost of all goods that arrive late.
Dec. 23, 2013, 3:36 PM
- Wells Fargo bangs the same drum as other firms on the promotional fervor being seen in retail with its warning today that Q4 margins may disappoint.
- Analysts with the investment firm cite data showing mall traffic was off 9% for the first two weeks of December and think that even a late-month pickup in sales won't be enough to rescue the quarter.
- The consistent read on the sector has been that discounters (DG, FIVE, DLTR, FDO), e-commerce retailers (AMZN, OSTK, EBAY, NILE, BIDZ, SFLY), and membership warehouses (COST, PSMT, WMT) may have held up the best as consumers either traded down or shopped via devices.
Dec. 17, 2013, 10:07 AM
- Toys R Us will stay open from 6:00 a.m. this Saturday until 9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve as it vies for late holiday season sales.
- Though falling short of Kohl's 100 straight hour blitz, the toy seller will be on the high end in the sector.
- What to watch: The expected rush in retail due to stormy weather and the late Thanksgiving will test the back-end of major retailers more than in past years. Companies with the most efficient 'buy online and pick up in stores' programs could see an edge. Gap (GPS), Macy's (M +0.3%), GameStop (GME +0.3%), and Wal-Mart (WMT -0.4%) have had some success in this area.
Dec. 13, 2013, 2:37 PM
- Visa (V +1.6%) and MasterCard (MA +1%) tick higher after a U.S. federal judge approves the $5.7B class-action settlement that ended years of litigation over allegations that credit card swipe fees are improperly fixed.
- The settlement has been opposed by merchant trade groups and big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart (WMT -0.7%) and Target (TGT -0.9%), which say it won't prevent the fees from rising in the future and gives too much leeway to the card companies.
Dec. 13, 2013, 10:19 AM
- Nobody knows toys like Lego which means anxiety emanating from the Denmark-based company might be cause for concern amongst retailers.
- Though consumers have stepped up spending on automobiles, housing, and electronics - the early reads on holiday spending have been poor.
- Lego CFO John Goodwin says this year is the "greatest stress test" the company has seen as it banks on the theory that consumers will shop late and shop often this holiday season.
- He adds it's difficult to ascertain why consumers are holding off so much this year.
- Retailers carving out a decent amount of space for Lego include Kmart (SHLD), Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT), and Barnes & Noble (BKS).
Dec. 12, 2013, 5:00 PM
- USA Today reports Amazon (AMZN) is prepping a service that will allow Prime subscribers to place as many consumer goods items as they wish into a set-sized box, provided a weight limit isn't exceeded.
- Sources state the service, called Pantry, will launch next year, feature a small shipping fee, and initially support ~2K items "typically found in the center of grocery stores." It would act as new competition for bulk consumer goods sellers such as Costco (COST) and Sam's Club (WMT).
- Amazon appears intent on grabbing a larger share of grocery and consumer packaged goods spending. The company is in the midst of rolling out its AmazonFresh same-day/grocery delivery service in major U.S. metro areas, and its Quidsi unit has rapidly expanded into many consumer/household goods markets.
Dec. 11, 2013, 9:49 AM
- A niche industry of Amazon (AMZN -0.4%) deal-watching sites has popped up to give consumers yet another crack at squeezing the e-commerce giant for deals.
- Sites such as Camelcamelcamel.com, Keepa.com, and Thetracktor.com will alert users via e-mail when items hit a certain price and have more detailed data than larger well-known coupon sites like DealNews and Slickdeals.
- How does Amazon react to the margins-squeezers? The company provides sales data directly to the sites and pays a referral fee for purchases made from them.
- Execs with the retail upstarts realize the uneasy relationship with Amazon might not go on forever, but they have a neat back-up plan: Track Wal-Mart's (WMT +0.2%) deals and prices.
Dec. 10, 2013, 8:31 AM
- Wal-Mart (WMT) taps David Cheesewright to be the company's president and CEO of Walmart International.
- The exec has been currently running the Europe, Middle East, and Africa part of the international business. He will assume his duties on February 1, 2014 which is the same day Doug McMillon officially takes over as Wal-Mart CEO.
Dec. 9, 2013, 7:54 AM
Dec. 4, 2013, 8:00 AM
- Wal-Mart (WMT) got the most marketing bang for its buck of major retailers during the Black Friday shopping period, according to data culled from Placed.
- The Bentonville concern spent $1.7M on TV advertising for every percentage point of market share it earned during the Black Friday period to easily best Target ($2.4M), Kmart ($4.6M), Kohl's ($5.4M), and Macy's ($8.1M).
Dec. 3, 2013, 3:34 PM
- Wal-Mart (WMT +0.1%) says it had its best five-day stretch ever for online sales as its website processed over a billion page views during the period.
- The retailing giant will keep up an aggressive promotional stance this week following Cyber Monday with over 200 online specials every day for consumers.
- It's a move that bites into the margins for pressured retailers such as Barnes & Noble (BKS -0.2%), Sears Holdings (SHLD -6.7%), and hhGregg (HGG +1.1%) which depend on key categories that Wal-Mart is increasingly disrupting.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc operates retail stores in various formats under various banners. Its operations comprise of three reportable business segments, Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club in three categories retail, wholesale and others.
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