News Briefs

  • Bitten Apple: Apple has lowered its fiscal second-quarter sales estimates due to iPhone supply shortages and stalled demand in China following the coronavirus outbreak. Apple
  • Coal in Their Stocking: Walmart’s holiday season “wasn’t as good as expected,” CFO Brett Biggs conceded in the retailer’s Q4 earnings announcement. Walmart
  • Sue Me, Sue You Blues: Turkish appliance giant Arcelik, maker of the Beko and Blomberg brands, is suing LG for patent infringement over its direct-drive washer technology. Daily Sabah
  • It Was a Very Good Year: Tempur Sealy’s full-year profits rose 89 percent in 2019 on a 15 percent increase in sales. Tempur Sealy
  • Best Practices: Two popular furniture chains share their online marketing strategies. PERQ
  • Things to Come: From product customization and visual search to new social media apps like TikTok, here are the 15 top retail innovations to watch this year. Tinuiti
  • The China Syndrome: Best Buy, Walmart and Target could be facing bare shelves by April if the coronavirus continues to crimp Chinese production. StarTribune
  • Foam Frenzy: Liberal bed-in-a-box return policies are creating a crisis at landfills. The Guardian
  • Valentine’s Day Decorum: Businesses can avoid office romance issues by setting solid policy guidelines. TWICE
  • Gone But Not Forgotten: Demolition work has begun on the former Whirlpool Plant 1 in Cleveland, Tenn., the last remaining segment of a 123-year-old manufacturing complex that once produced Magic Chef and Maytag appliances. Cleveland Daily Banner
  • A Call to Arms: Nebraska Furniture Mart, the appliance, consumer tech and home furnishings leviathan, held a blood drive at its flagship Omaha megastore this week with the American Red Cross in honor of National Heart Month. KMTV/3NewsNow
  • And the Award Goes To… Whirlpool, and it’s actually six awards, all received in Germany’s prestigious iF Design competition. Whirlpool
  • Bye-Bye Barcelona: This month’s annual Mobile World Congress in Spain, the wireless industry’s largest trade show, has been cancelled after major exhibitors including Sony, Amazon, LG, Nokia, Intel and Facebook withdrew over coronavirus concerns. Will other global expos follow? Bloomberg
  • Aim Low: IKEA’s newly appointed CEO Abrahamsson Ring promises a wider assortment of even more affordable furniture. Reuters
  • Cargo Constraints: Container shipments from China are expected to drop sharply at U.S. ports this month, as factories remain closed beyond their regular Lunar New Year shutdowns following the coronavirus outbreak. National Retail Federation
  • 8K Overkill: These are the three biggest TV trends for 2020 and not all of them are good. Tom’s Guide
  • We’re No. 1: Samsung appliances were tops in U.S. market share for the fourth year in a row according to TraQline. The Dong-A Ilbo
  • Labor Pains: U.S. furniture makers can’t find enough skilled workers to keep up with demand. CNBC
  • Apple Cored: Apple lost $27 billion in market value on word its Chinese iPhone factories are crimped by coronavirus precautions. Business Insider
  • Truck Stop: The Home Depot has opened an 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Dallas for its commercial customers, with more to follow. The Dallas Morning News
  • Class is in Session: BrandSource tech affiliate ProSource will introduce an employee education program at next month’s Summit 2020. TWICE
  • Not So Fast: 5G will offer few of its touted “G”-whiz benefits during its early deployment, this Wharton business school professor says. CNN Business
  • Lowered Expectations: Casper has slashed its IPO price, cutting the valuation of the direct-sell mattress business by more than half. CNN
  • Bricks & Clicks: Why shoppers love multichannel retail and you should too. Lightspeed
  • Shallow Shipments: New orders for furniture fell 5 percent in November, representing the third decline in four months. FurnitureToday
  • Greener Pastures: Therapedic has introduced a CBD-infused bedding line called b-Calm. Furniture World
  • Raining on its Parade: Macy’s plans to shutter 125 locations, cut about 2,000 corporate jobs, and shift to small-format strip mall stores to stay competitive. CNBC
  • Ducks in a Row: Tempur Sealy is positioned to deliver its best year ever according to analyst Wedbush Securities. FurnitureToday
  • OLED Olé!: LG is looking to double its sales of 60-inch and larger OLED TVs this year. BusinessKorea
  • Higher Aspirations: Authenticity, sustainability and retail as theater are essential for capturing the luxury millennial market. The Wharton School
  • It’s a Wrap: Liquidation sales are expected to conclude at 96 Sears and Kmart stores within the next two weeks, leaving the once mighty chains with 182 locations in total. USA Today
  • Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL: Samsung unveiled a new laundry pair in Korea that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to suggest optimal settings and laundry cycles. Gizmochina
  • Start Your Engines: The forthcoming 5G networks will shape consumer behavior in ways businesses should start thinking about today. Forbes
  • Safety First: GE Appliances parent Hair Group has cancelled all employee travel to and from China amid the coronavirus outbreak. 14News
  • Brass Tacks: Furniture designers are reaching back to the 1970s for their latest inspirations. [Video] CBS 6 TV
  • Sleep Divorce: In a boon to bedding sales and sounder slumber, 12 percent of U.S. couples regularly sleep apart and 30 percent have discussed it. Good Housekeeping
  • IoT Troubles: Why connected kitchens need to smarten up. CNET
  • On the Move: Furniture rentals are a popular alternative for mobile millennials. Chicago Tribune
  • Phoning it In: Seven hot trends that will fuel mobile shopping this year. Retail Dive
  • Home Grown: Existing home sales in December climbed to their best pace in two years. Markets Insider
  • Digital Updraft: More than half of retail marketers plan to spend more on paid social media this year. Retail Dive
  • Creature Comforts: Wisconsin’s Three Lakes Jr/Sr High School created a laundry room for disadvantaged students that’s stocked with a Whirlpool laundry pair and personal care items. WJFW-TV
  • Going to the Mattresses: Tempur Sealy is entering the private-label business with an 80-percent stake in Sherwood Bedding. Tempur Sealy
  • Gametime: LG has cut the retail price of its OLED B9 TV series by up to $700 in advance of Super Bowl LIV. Slanted
  • Soap Opera: A Maytag washer forms the basis of a budding romance in “Maytag Virgin,” a new two-act play in Lowell, Mass. The Sun
  • Back to the Future: Sealy is bringing back its iconic Posturepedic brand as a standalone bedding line. FurnitureToday
  • Touch of Glass: David Glass, who transformed Walmart into a global retail powerhouse and swelled its sales tenfold, died earlier this month at the age of 84. Fox Business
  • Kiss and Tell: For the second time in eight years a Best Buy CEO is being investigated for an interoffice romance. Business Insider
  • Bedding Bounce: Mattress retailers ended 2019 on a strong note, with December and Q4 sales up nearly 9 percent. FurnitureToday
  • Shakeup in Aisle 3: Walmart’s executive shuffle continues, with chief merchant Steve Bratspies set to depart Feb. 1. CNBC
  • Trade Travails: China’s economic growth last year was the weakest since 1990 as the trade war took its toll. Reuters
  • Spit Take: The country is being flooded with counterfeit water filters, many containing carcinogens. InDepthNH
  • Big Apple Bedding: Tempur Sealy will open its first retail store in Manhattan this June. FurnitureToday
  • Clicks and Bricks: Why direct-to-consumer companies like Casper need a roof over their heads. Retail Dive
  • If You Build They Will Come: U.S. housing starts soared nearly 17 percent in December to a 13-year high. Business Insider
  • Feelin’ Groovy: U.S. consumer confidence has hit its highest level since October 2000. Bloomberg
  • Dishing Dishwashers: A spouse share’s President Trump’s disappointment with dishwashers. Forbes
  • Closing Shop: Bose is shuttering all its company-owned stores throughout the U.S. and beyond. The Verge
  • Shape of Things to Come: Six hot trends from the halls of retail’s biggest trade show. Forbes
  • Paranoid Android: Walmart is rolling out a fresh legion of shelf-scanning robots nationwide. Fox Business
  • Sears Saga Continues: Sears owner Eddie Lampert will pay bankrupt entity Sears Holdings $18.3 million to settle a suit over last year’s $5.2 billion sale. Chicago Tribune
  • The Future is Now: How AI and IoT devices are revolutionizing supply chain logistics. Business Insider
  • I, Robot: LG Electronics will open a robotics lab in Boston this month in collaboration with MIT. Yonhap News Agency
  • Standing Down: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a future “phase two” trade deal would ease tariffs on Chinese imports. CNBC
  • Know Thy Customer: Massive investments in enhancing and personalizing the shopping experience have revitalized the retail industry. Supermarket News
  • Shop ’til They Drop: How retailers can acquire more millennials – and their $1.4 trillion in spending power. TotalRetail
  • Tossing and Turning: Mattress upstart Casper has disclosed hundreds of millions in losses as it prepares to go public. Vice
  • Sky’s the Limit: Lowe’s is giving Google Cloud more than a billion dollars to overhaul its digital capabilities. PRNewswire
  • Duty Free: Two lone furniture categories are now exempt from China tariffs. FurnitureToday
  • Duty Calls: Americans have paid an extra $46 billion in tariffs despite trade conciliations with China. Business Insider
  • Spudnik: A CES exhibitor showcased a potato with a router antenna stuck in it to make a point about useless connected gadgets. Forbes
  • Old Habits Die Hard: Three retail trends that should stay in the last decade. Forbes
  • Holiday Blahs: JCPenney’s same-store sales fell 7.5 percent during the holiday selling season. CNBC
  • Outsmarted: The latest crop of home appliances boast smart features galore, but consumers still aren’t sold. StarTribune
  • Greener Pastures: A shortage of workers in Vietnam is forcing furniture makers to look elsewhere. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Strike Up the Brand: Acclaimed Taco Bell branding chief Marisa Thalberg is assuming a similar role at Lowe’s. Forbes
  • Down With the Ship: Pier 1 Imports will close nearly half its stores and may soon file for bankruptcy protection. CNN
  • Twelve-Step Program: Here are 12 “sure-fire” steps to improve your retail sales, simplify your efforts and multiply profits. Business Know-How
  • Check it Out: The end of the retail checkout line is fast approaching. Forbes
  • No Limits: This week’s CES tech extravaganza is no longer just a gadget and gizmo show. MarketWatch
  • Holiday Cheer: Retail sales rose 3.4 percent this past holiday season while online revenue rocketed 19 percent. Mastercard
  • I Write the Songs: Nebraska Furniture Mart is offering $25,000 for a new corporate jingle. Des Moines Register
  • Let’s Get Physical: A direct-to-consumer CEO acknowledges the importance of brick-and-mortar stores. Yahoo! Finance
  • Factory Fatigue: A key gauge of U.S. manufacturing activity dropped to its weakest level since 2009. Business Insider
  • What’s in Store: Seven key predictions that could reshape retail this year. Forbes
  • Death Watch: Will 2020 be the year that Sears finally closes shop?Forbes
  • The Final Mile: National furniture and appliance carrier J.B. Hunt has acquired the RDI Last Mile delivery service. Talk Business & Politics
  • 8K KO: Samsung has created a new certification program with the 8K Association to outmaneuver its TV competitors. Forbes
  • Future Shock: Ten trends that will redefine retail in 2020. STORES Magazine
  • Gone But Not Forgotten: Six retailers that collapsed in the last decade. The Motley Fool
  • Stuck in the Mud: Department stores had better get with the times. Yahoo! Finance
  • Maker Movement: GE Appliances’ FirstBuild operation may be the company’s secret weapon. AD PRO
  • A Brand New Me: Nebraska Furniture Mart, the 83-year-old mega retailer, is changing its name. Business of Home
  • Battle of the Titans: How Lowe’s is closing in on The Home Depot. Seeking Alpha
  • What’s in Store for 2020: Ten top retail predictions for the New Year.Stores/NRF
  • The Taxman Cometh: Three tax strategies that can save small businesses money. Inc.
  • Alms from Almo: BrandSource distributor Almo Corp. had a busy year helping others. Dealerscope
  • Retail, Round 2: Opinion: Retail isn’t dead, it’s changing. CNN
  • Comeback Kid: How Best Buy beat the odds and became better than ever. Wired
  • Best Day Ever: The Saturday before Christmas (Dec. 21, a.k.a. Super Saturday) was U.S. retail’s biggest single day ever, with some $34 billion in sales. CNN
  • It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over: More than two-thirds of holiday shoppers plan to hit the stores again after Christmas to redeem gift cards and shop post-holiday sales. WYDaily
  • Season of Giving: A Serta factory owner and his employees donated $3,000 to Toys for Tots. FurnitureToday
  • Whole Lotta Ottomans: U.S. retail sales of furniture and bedding will top $114 billion in 2019. FurnitureToday
  • Gone Fishing: 2019 was a record year for store closures; here’s the list. CNBC
  • First Daughter: Presidential daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump will headline a CES keynote on reskilling workers on Jan. 7. BusinessWire
  • Great Expectations: Furniture retailers and at least one farsighted analyst are fairly bullish on 2020. Furniture Today
  • Jump Start: Sears has sold its DieHard battery brand to Advance Auto Parts for a much needed $200 million in cash. CNBC
  • Factory Fatigue: Orders for durable goods ranging from transportation equipment to major appliances fell 2 percent last month, the biggest decline since May, the Commerce Department said. Fox Business
  • Last Licks: An estimated 148 million last-minute shoppers are expected to hit the stores tomorrow – known as “Super Saturday” or “Panic Saturday” because it falls on the last weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah. USA Today
  • Really Big Show: CES will draw some 170,000 attendees and 4,500 exhibitors to the annual tech show in Las Vegas, slated for Jan. 7-10.  VentureBeat
  • A Decade of Decline: The last ten years were particularly tough for big-box retail, when tens of thousands of stores closed and 1.3 million employees lost their jobs. Business Insider
  • Sleep Easy: Retail mattress sales rose 4.8 percent in November according to a Piper Jaffray dealer poll. FurnitureToday
  • Bring it on Home: Savvy retailers are driving traffic and sales by accepting competitors’ returns. Bloomberg News
  • Glad Tidings: BrandSource distributor Almo Corp. has donated nearly two dozen major appliances to its local Ronald McDonald House. Dealerscope
  • Hail, Hail Indy Retail: Moody’s says specialty stores will outperform the retail sector in 2020 with operating income growth in excess of 4 percent. Retail Dive
  • Resolution Revolution: LG Electronics’ new “Real 8K” TVs are the first in the world to exceed the Consumer Technology Association’s 8K Ultra HD spec. Dealerscope
  • No Woman No Cry: The biggest victims of this year’s 9,200 store closings? Women, who outnumber men 2-to-1 in brick-and-mortar retail jobs. USA Today
  • At Your Service: This holiday season, independent dealers are offering additional amenities like help with parking to compete with their big-box rivals. The Dallas Morning News
  • Moving Day: Electrolux will incur $70 million in fourth-quarter move-in costs as it switches over to its revamped refrigeration plant in Anderson, S.C. Reuters
  • New Perch for Pidgeon: Dan Pidgeon, former CFO of ProSource member Starpower, was named President of Home Services at Goodman Networks. TWICE
  • Fresh Start for Furniture: Six new design trends you’re sure to see in 2020. House Beautiful
  • Both Sides of the Fence: Samsung has opened its fourth retail store, this time in Silicon Valley. Business Insider
  • Bosom Buddies: Presidential wannabe Pete Buttigieg assisted Best Buy during his McKinsey days. NBC News
  • Girl Power: Women in Consumer Technology will honor six female innovators at CES 2020. TWICE
  • The Taxman Cometh: Smart year-end tax moves for small business owners. Forbes
  • Retail Rout: October sales at tech and appliance stores fell 3.4 percent year over year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. By comparison, furniture and home furnishing stores were up nearly 1 percent; e-tailers and other direct sellers were ahead 14.3 percent; and total retail sales excluding restaurants, gas stations, and car dealers and auto parts stores rose nearly 4 percent for the month. U.S. Census Bureau