Nathan's Feed
Nov 28, 2014

Black Friday shopping crowds thin after Thanksgiving rush

By Nandita Bose and Nathan Layne

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (Reuters) – Mall crowds were relatively thin early on Black Friday in a sign of what has become the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping: the mad rush is happening the night of Thanksgiving and more consumers are picking up deals online.

Most major retailers now open their doors Thursday evening and offer extended holiday deals rather than limiting them to one day. The result is a quieter experience on what has traditionally been the busiest, and sometimes most chaotic, shopping day of the year.

Nov 14, 2014

Walmart workers plan Black Friday protests over wages

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A group of Walmart employees pushing for higher wages said on Friday they were planning protests at 1,600 Walmart stores nationwide on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States.

The labor group, Our Walmart, said it had protested 1,200 to 1,400 Walmart stores last year on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nov 10, 2014

Food costs eating into consumers’ saving at the pump as holidays near

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Martha Franco says she hadn’t really noticed the sharp drop in gasoline prices, even though the mother of three is always shuttling the kids around in her SUV. She has been paying closer attention to the soaring cost of meat instead.

“Meat and grains. Actually it seems like the price of everything is going up,” Franco, 30, said following a visit to a Kmart discount store on the outskirts of Chicago, with her two youngest children and a bag of groceries in the shopping cart.

Nov 10, 2014

Analysis – Food costs eating into consumers’ saving at the pump as holidays near

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Martha Franco says she hadn’t really noticed the sharp drop in gasoline prices, even though the mother of three is always shuttling the kids around in her SUV. She has been paying closer attention to the soaring cost of meat instead.

“Meat and grains. Actually it seems like the price of everything is going up,” Franco, 30, said following a visit to a Kmart discount store on the outskirts of Chicago, with her two youngest children and a bag of groceries in the shopping cart.

Nov 7, 2014

Sears says may sell stores to REIT in latest move to raise cash

By Nathan Layne and Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said Friday it may sell up to 300 stores to a real estate investment trust in a move that would spin off prized assets to shareholders and could accelerate a breakup of the retailer by billionaire Chief Executive Eddie Lampert.

Shares of the retailer rocketed 34 percent to $43.71 as investors cheered the possible influx of cash at a time when the company, hampered by sluggish sales, is losing about $7 million a day.

Oct 29, 2014

Wal-Mart and allies in face-off with Apple Pay over mobile payments

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Suddenly it’s Apple versus Wal-Mart in the fight for shoppers’ digital wallets.

With the development of a new mobile payment system, a group of retailers led by Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is aiming to upend the $4.5 trillion credit card market and control the precious transaction data generated at the checkout line.

Oct 27, 2014

Some U.S. retailers shun Apple Pay, eye rival payments system

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Some large U.S. retailers are refusing to use Apple Inc’s APPL.O new electronic payments service as they commit to developing a rival payments system that would bolster their profits by eliminating credit card transaction fees.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is among the roughly 50 big retailers that have chosen not to accept Apple Pay, along with Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and CVS HealthCorp (CVS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Oct 20, 2014

Sears turns to CEO again for cash to boost confidence

Oct 20 (Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp said it
would raise as much as $625 million through an unsecured loan
and equity warrants, its third fundraising in a month, as it
seeks to ease suppliers’ concerns about its finances going into
the critical holiday season.

Shares of the retailer jumped 21.4 percent to $34.5 on the
news.

Sears said Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert and his
hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, would purchase roughly half of
the offering, in which the right to buy unsecured senior notes
and warrants will be issued to existing shareholders.

Oct 15, 2014

Wal-Mart cuts sales-growth outlook, slows store openings

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) cut its annual sales forecast on Wednesday, citing a stronger dollar and the impact of food stamp reductions, and it said it would slow store openings in the next financial year as it shifts spending to its online business.

The announcements, made at an annual gathering of analysts and investors, highlight how the financial struggles of its core customer base – low-income consumers – continue to weigh on its earnings and have prompted a more cautious stance on traditional bricks-and-mortar expansion.

Oct 13, 2014

J.C. Penney taps Home Depot executive as CEO, big challenges ahead

By Nathan Layne and Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) named Home Depot Inc (HD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) executive Marvin Ellison as its new chief on Monday, ending an 18-month search but barely allaying investor concerns over problems facing the money-losing department store chain.

Ellison, 49, an industry veteran credited with reviving Home Depot’s U.S. business, will join J.C. Penney as a board member in November, and succeed Myron Ullman, 67, as chief executive in August 2015.