January 12, 2021
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Top Story
Staples tries again to acquire Office Depot
(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Staples has proposed a new deal to acquire rival Office Depot for $2.1 billion or $40 per share, with a plan to appease the antitrust regulators that prevented two previous mergers by the two companies. Since the Federal Trade Commission blocked the last merger five years ago, office supply retail has changed as Amazon has increased its market share in the category and work-from-home trends have driven consumer demand.
Full Story: CNN (1/11),  The Wall Street Journal (1/11) 
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Industry Watch
Walmart to grow financial services with new venture
(Andrew Caballero-reynolds/Getty Images)
Walmart has joined with Ribbit Capital to create a fintech venture that will expand the retailer's financial service offerings and be tailored to the needs of Walmart's customers and employees. Ribbit is an investment firm that has financed other fintech efforts including personal finance site Credit Karma and Affirm, which offers buy-now-pay-later loans.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (1/11),  The Wall Street Journal (1/11) 
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Amazon is hiring full- and part-time workers to staff two new brick-and-mortar Fresh stores planned for King County, Wash. The latest locations, one in Seattle's Central District and another in Bellevue's Factoria area, will join five Amazon Go and 11 Whole Foods Market stores already operating in the state.
Full Story: Winsight Grocery Business (1/11),  Progressive Grocer (1/11) 
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Tidying-up guru Marie Kondo has created a collection of home organization products in partnership with the Container Store. "If anything, the pandemic has reinforced the importance of tidying and organizing the home; your home has become your office, your school, your day care, your gym, your sanctuary, your everything!" Kondo said.
Full Story: The New York Times (1/11) 
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NRF 2021
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Retail Trends
Best Buy said Monday it won't make any more contributions to the 147 US lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the November presidential election. The retailer is one of several major companies reviewing or rethinking their political contributions following last week's violence, including Target and CVS Health.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (1/11),  Footwear News (1/11) 
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Retail landlords around the country have granted more concessions to keep from losing tenants during the pandemic, according to commercial property experts. To stave off evictions and rising vacancy rates, property owners are offering to change payment terms and lease lengths, reduce rents and sometimes forgiving past-due payments.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/11) 
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Amazon named top grocer in dunnhumby retail index
(John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images)
Consistent performance that emphasized speed and safety helped propel Amazon to the top of the fourth annual dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index, followed in the top five, respectively, by H.E. Butt Grocery, Trader Joe's, Wegman's and ALDI. This year's index, which measures shopper loyalty and financial performance using gauges that include price and digital capabilities, also featured a new "COVID Momentum Metric" that evaluated how food retailers coped with the pandemic.
Full Story: Winsight Grocery Business (1/11),  Supermarket News (free registration) (1/11) 
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A Path to Profitability: 2021 Manufacturing Trends
This year is shaping up to be a year of advancement for US manufacturing. Our Jan. 27th SmartSummit will explore: how technology will help manufacturers this year, why a localized supply chain is gaining favor and actions manufacturers must take to boost profitability now and in the future. Our panel of experts will offer new-year strategies and real-world examples of how best to succeed. Register today and join us
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NRF News
NRF 2021: Retail's Big Show -- Chapter 1 is now live! Don't miss highly anticipated opening keynotes and the chance to network with more than 300 exhibitors. Plus, games, prizes and a live concert at 3:30 p.m. ET, all from the comfort of your home. It's not too late to register.
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Consumers returned an estimated $428 billion in merchandise to retailers last year. Source: NRF and Appriss Retail.
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The theme of NRF 2021 -- Chapter 1 is "Forward together," and to craft this year's content, NRF looked at leadership, growth, new business models, customer experience, operations, talent and the human element of running a business during an unprecedented year in retail. Hear from NRF's Vice President of Content and Retail Strategy Jill Dvorak on the history of the show and can't-miss sessions kicking off today and next week. Read more.
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Chain Restaurant News
Starbucks will create a $100 million fund to back small businesses and community development efforts in 12 US cities with large populations of Black people, Indigenous people and other people of color, the company announced today. The Community Resilience Fund is the latest move in the company's ongoing efforts to promote racial and social equity.
Full Story: CNBC (1/12) 
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Will Rogers,
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