Nathan's Feed
Nov 1, 2015

Struggling retailer Kmart turns the blue light back on

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Attention Kmart shoppers: the struggling discount chain is bringing back the “Bluelight Special” in the hopes the iconic marketing approach it pioneered decades ago will breathe life into its stores and online sales.

The retailer started sounding the blue sirens used to flag the surprise, 15-minute long deals to shoppers at its 942 stores on Friday, and will kick-off a marketing campaign to highlight the move with a TV ad on “Sunday Night Football” on NBC.

Oct 29, 2015

Wal-Mart tweaks discount strategy for holiday season

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would offer fewer “this weekend only” short-term deals during the holiday shopping season while discounting thousands of items for 90 days as it seeks to entice customers by being more consistent on pricing.

The retailer also said it was launching a new mobile application to reduce waiting times for in-store pickup of online orders as part of an effort to expand a service in which it believes it has an advantage over rivals, like Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which lack a bricks-and-mortar presence.

Oct 27, 2015

Wal-Mart seeks to test drones for home delivery, pickup

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) applied Monday to U.S. regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories, a sign it plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in using drones to fill and deliver online orders.

The world’s largest retailer by revenue has for several months been conducting indoor tests of small unmanned aircraft systems – the term regulators use for drones – and is now seeking for the first time to test the machines outdoors. It plans to use drones manufactured by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.

Oct 26, 2015

Exclusive: Wal-Mart seeks to test drones for home delivery, pickup

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc applied Monday to U.S. regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories, a sign it plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in using drones to fill and deliver online orders.

The world’s largest retailer by revenue has for several months been conducting indoor tests of small unmanned aircraft systems – the term regulators use for drones – and is now seeking for the first time to test the machines outdoors. It plans to use drones manufactured by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.

Oct 19, 2015

Insight – Wal-Mart puts the squeeze on suppliers to share its pain as earnings sag

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Suppliers of everything from groceries to sports equipment are already being squeezed for price cuts and cost sharing by Wal-Mart Stores. Now they are bracing for the pressure to ratchet up even more after a shock earnings warning from the retailer last week.

The discount store behemoth has always had a reputation for demanding lower prices from vendors but Reuters has learned from interviews with suppliers and consultants, as well as reviewing some contracts, that even by its standards Wal-Mart has been turning up the heat on them this year.

Oct 19, 2015

Wal-Mart puts the squeeze on suppliers to share its pain as earnings sag

Oct 19 (Reuters) – Suppliers of everything from groceries to
sports equipment are already being squeezed for price cuts and
cost sharing by Wal-Mart Stores. Now they are bracing
for the pressure to ratchet up even more after a shock earnings
warning from the retailer last week.

The discount store behemoth has always had a reputation for
demanding lower prices from vendors but Reuters has learned from
interviews with suppliers and consultants, as well as reviewing
some contracts, that even by its standards Wal-Mart has been
turning up the heat on them this year.

Oct 14, 2015

Wal-Mart shares slide on forecast of earnings drop next year

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc said earnings per share would decline as much as 12 percent next fiscal year due to investment in technology, higher wages and lower prices, sending its shares down more than 8 percent.

Wal-Mart also announced a $20 billion share buyback but the drop in its share price wiped out close to the same amount in market value, and the intra-day low of $60.18 put the stock on track for its worst one-day performance in more than 17 years.

Oct 9, 2015

Wal-Mart changes CFO, gets new chief merchant in latest shuffle

By Nathan Layne and Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday named a new chief financial officer and installed a chief merchant, marking the latest shuffling of its management ranks as the retailer grapples with sluggish earnings.

The world’s largest retailer by revenue said 47-year-old Brett Biggs, who runs the finances of company’s international division, would take over the CFO role from Charles Holley, 59, who will retire from the job at the end of the year.

Oct 8, 2015

U.S. retail group sees holiday sales growth slowing this year

Oct 8 (Reuters) – U.S. holiday sales will increase by 3.7
percent in 2015, marking slightly slower growth than last year
as stagnant wages and sluggish job creation weigh on consumer
sentiment, according to an outlook from the leading retail
industry group.

The National Retail Federation forecast sales for the last
two months of the year at $630.5 billion, excluding for autos,
gasoline and dining out. The growth rate would be significantly
higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent but below the 4.1
percent increase in 2014, the NRF said.

Oct 7, 2015

In abrupt shift, online retailer Jet.com drops membership fee

Oct 7 (Reuters) – Online retailer Jet.com said on Wednesday
that it has dropped its $50 annual membership fee due to
stronger-than-expected customer orders, marking an abrupt shift
in strategy less than three months after the upstart’s public
launch.

Founded by Marc Lore, who in 2010 sold his diapers-to-soap
e-commerce firm Quidsi to Amazon.com for $540 million, Jet.com
had launched in July promising big discounts in exchange for
members placing large orders and paying the annual fee.