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News Briefs

  • 1/16/2024

    Costco reportedly testing membership ID card scanners at store entries

    Costco operates 855 warehouses around the world.

    Costco Wholesale Corp. is reportedly testing a new way to keep non-members out its stores. 

    The wholesale retail giant is scanning Costco membership cards at the entrance of several locations, calling it an effort to improve member experience, reported CNN. 

    "This test is to match members to their cards at the door prior to shopping for an improved member experience," Costco said in a statement to USA Today.

    Membership fees are critical to Costco’s earnings. During its first quarter, ended Nov. 26, 2023, Costco’s membership fees totaled $1.08 billion, up from $1 billion in the year-ago quarter. At the end of the quarter, the retailer had 129.5 million cardholders, up 7.1% from last year.

    Costco’s standard membership fee is $60 per year. An executive membership costs $120 annually. The company, which has not hiked its fees since June 2017, is continually questioned about a possible increase. 

    "I'll use my standby answer, my answer, it's a question of when, not if," CFO Richard Galanti said on the chain’s first-quarter earnings call. "But at this juncture, we feel pretty good about what we're doing."

    Last June, Costco started asking for shoppers' membership cards along with a photo ID at the self-checkouts, a policy which is also in effect at the regular checkouts.

    “We don’t feel it’s right that nonmembers receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” Costco said in a statement as reported by CNN.

  • 1/15/2024

    Dollar General exec joins C-suite at Academy Sports and Outdoors

    Academy Sports + Outdoors


    The sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer retailer named Chad Fox to the newly created role of executive VP and chief customer office, overseeing omnichannel, marketing, customer insights and customer care. He joined Academy in January 2024, and reports directly to CEO Steve Lawrence.

    Fox brings nearly 25 years of retail, agency, and consumer packaged goods marketing experience to Academy. Most recently, he spent five years at Dollar General, where he served as senior VP and chief marketing officer and led the brand strategy, marketing, media and digital teams 

    Prior to joining Dollar General in 2019,  Fox spent 13 years in various executive positions at Walmart, including as VP of retail marketing from 2019 – 2019, where he guided marketing and media activities across all merchandising categories, seasonal events, and digital products and services. 

    "Chad brings a wealth of retail brand strategy, marketing, media, data analytics, and digital experience that Academy will leverage to execute our long-term growth initiatives to attract and engage customers through communications, content and experiences and build a more powerful omnichannel business, while continuing to build Academy's brand awareness as we grow in existing and new markets,” Lawrence stated.

    Academy opened 14 new stores in fiscal 2023.  The company, which currently operates 282 stores across 18 states, plans to continue its expansion efforts with a goal of opening a total of 120 to 140 new stores by the end of 2027.

  • 1/16/2024

    Showfields closes remaining stores

    Showfields has stores in Manhattan and Miami (above).

    A lifestyle retailer that billed itself as operating the “most interesting store in the world” has gone dark.

    Showfields has closed its three remaining stores in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in October, with restructuring under the Small Business Reorganization Act’s Subchapter V, which is designed to help small businesses keep operating, reorganize, and maintain control of their finances without creditors taking control.

    The filing came after Showfields closed its original store in downtown Manhattan as well as its Miami outpost. At the time of the filing, the company had about $3,000 in cash on hand and liabilities that could be as high as $10 million. 

    Showfields did not operate on a wholesale model. Instead,  it featured a rotating selection of emerging, mostly digitally native brands fashion, beauty, wellness and home goods that operate as pop-ups in the store. The brands paid a fee to Showfields depending on the amount of space they took and the number of SKUs displayed.

    In its October filing, Showfields cited the COVID-19 pandemic for the beginning of its troubles.

    "As with most commercial enterprises established almost immediately prior to and during the Covid-19 pandemic, the debtor was plagued with lower-than-expected revenue streams from the non-debtor Stores due to low member sales resulting from the national lockdown and gradual reopening of public spaces across the country," the company stated.


  • 1/11/2024

    Survey: 'Wardrobing' contributing to retailers' returns

    shipping returns

    Fraudulent returns had a significant impact on returns this holiday season, with a quarter of U.S. consumers engaging in a practice called "wardrobing."

    One-in-four U.S. consumers bought an an item with the intent to return it ("wardrobing") after use during the 2023 holiday season, according to a Harris Poll survey in partnership with Forter of more than 2,000 U.S. and more than 1,000 U.K. consumers.  

    The practice is most common with millennials and Gen Z. Nearly half (47%) of these return abusers in the U.S. this holiday season are between the ages of 18 and 34. 

    In other findings, 56% of U.S. consumers admit to wardrobing in the past. Consumers admit to wardrobing apparel (36%), footwear (25%) and personal electronics (19%). The vast majority of return abusers are between the ages of 18 and 34. 

    Simple, consumer-friendly return policies are becoming more important for online retailers and merchants to have, according to the poll data. An overwhelming 70% of U.S.consumers said they will stop shopping with a brand if their return policy becomes too complicated. More than half (57%) of U.S. consumers will stop purchasing from a brand that charges for returns.

    A similar survey from SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement showed that nearly nine-in-10 (88%) of U.S. consumers have stopped shopping with a retailer because of a paid returns policy being introduced. Over half (54%) said they actively avoid retailers that charge to return items.

  • 1/11/2024

    CVS Health reportedly to close ‘dozens’ of pharmacies in Target stores

    cvs health sign

    CVS Health is trimming its footprint inside Target.

    The pharmacy retailer and health care company plans to close “dozens” of its pharmacies inside Target stores between February and April, reported The Wall Street Journal. Employees affected by the shutterings will be offered comparable roles within CVS, and prescriptions will be transferred to a nearby CVS pharmacy.

    The closures comes as CVS  has been working to reduce costs as it continues to transform itself into a major health care company. In November 2021, the company said it planned to close approximately 300 stores annually during the next three years “to reduce store density in certain locations.”

    CVS, which operates approximately 9,000 stores nationwide, operates a pharmacy in about 1,800 of Target’s 1,956 stores in the U.S., reported CNBC. (In December 2015, CVS Health completed a deal to acquire all Target pharmacies and retail clinics across 47 states.)

    In March 2023, CVS completed its approximate $8 billion acquisition of Signify Health. And in February, it entered into a deal to Oak Street Health in a deal valued at approximately $10.6 billion. Oak Street operates primary care centers that service people with Medicare Advantage plans.

  • 1/11/2024

    7-Eleven to acquire 204 Stripes stores in $1 billion deal

    7-Eleven logo

    7-Eleven, Inc. is expanding its footprint. 

    The convenience store giant has entered into an agreement to acquire 204 stores from Sunoco LP, which includes Stripes convenience stores and Laredo Taco Company restaurants. The deal is valued at approximately $1 billion. 

    The stores being acquired are located across West Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The locations will join the more than 13,000 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes locations that 7-Eleven currently operates, franchises and/or licenses across the U.S. and Canada. With the addition of the stores, 7-Eleven will own and operate all Stripes and Laredo Taco Company locations across the United States.

    "Stripes and Laredo Taco Company have been a great addition to our family of brands since they initially joined us back in 2018," said Joe DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. "We're excited to welcome the remaining Stripes stores and Laredo Taco Company Restaurants to the family, and we look forward to serving even more customers across West Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma."

    The transaction will close after satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including necessary regulatory clearance.  

    "Stripes and Laredo Taco Company have been a great addition to our family of brands since they initially joined us back in 2018," said Joe DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. "We're excited to welcome the remaining Stripes stores and Laredo Taco Company Restaurants to the family, and we look forward to serving even more customers across West Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma."

    Sunoco said it will use proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and "execute on future growth opportunities."

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