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Report: Walmart preps for next competitive threat

BY CSA STAFF

Executives at Walmart are planning their next move in anticipation of its newest rival — and asking suppliers to support their cause.

The European grocer Lidl, which has a track record for disruption, is preparing to open its first 20 United States-based stores this summer. The first locations are set to open their doors in the next few weeks. As a result, Walmart is asking suppliers to keep their prices low, according to the Consumerist.

According to the report, vendors have been told that Walmart should be paying 15% less than competitors at least 80% of the time. Additionally, the retail giant is asking suppliers to ship Walmart’s orders complete and on time, which would help keep items in stock, avoid unneeded re-orders, and take in an additional $1 billion in sales — a move that would benefit suppliers, as well.

Lidl is not a new competitor for Walmart. The retail giant’s Asda stores compete directly against Lidl and Aldi in Europe. As Lidl prepares its U.S. debut, however, Walmart is eager stay one step ahead — especially since its European Asda brand has failed to grow sales for 13 consecutive quarters, while Lidl, along with Aldi, have captured 12% of the market, the report said.

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News

Starbucks’ payment system shut down takes a toll

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Free coffee was on the menu at some Starbucks locations on Tuesday, due to a point-of-sale software glitch.

What the coffee giant described as a typical software update ended up putting POS systems out of commission — and for longer than expected, in some locations. The outage began in the evening on Monday, May 16, and continued into Tuesday, May 17, according to CNBC.

In the report, Starbucks said in a statement, “As part of our normal course of business, overnight we worked to install a technology update to our store registers in the U.S. and Canada. A limited number of locations remain offline, and we are working swiftly to resume full operations in each of these stores.”

Starbucks regulars turned to Twitter to share the news. These posts ranged from pictures of hand-made store closure notices to tweets of disappointment, including “My Starbucks is closed this morning. What kinda sick joke…”

Despite the disruption, some Starbucks locations did try to function with a “business as usual” mindset. This included switching to cash-only payments, as well as offering customers free tall beverages, according to CNBC.

Starbucks also reported that the glitch was not related to the recent "WannaCry" ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, according to Reuters.

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FINANCE

FTC not ready to move on Walgreens-Rite Aid deal

BY CSA STAFF

According to reports, regulators are still seeking information on the proposed merger between Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid, and the subsequent divestiture of as many as 1,200 stores to Fred's.

Analysts are suggesting the implication does not bode well for the merger, as the continued Civil Information Demands from the Federal Trade Commission may be indicative that the agency is still not appeased over the merger's potential effect on the retail pharmacy market.

In fact, it could be a sign the FTC is collecting data toward a possible lawsuit aimed at blocking the deal, sources told The New York Post. The filing of CIDs “is all consistent with bringing a case,” one person close to the matter told The Post. “It tells you the FTC is still very concerned about this deal.”

Both Rite Aid and Fred's stocks were trading lower on the day amid the latest merger twist, with Rite Aid trading at $3.83, down 6.8%, at midday and Fred's trading down 1.6% to $14.41. Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance were also down slightly by 0.4% to $84.60.

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