Eddie Lampert proposes to buy further stake in Sears Hometown

Sears Holdings Corp’s (SHLD.O) Chief Executive Eddie Lampert proposed to buy a bigger stake in Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc (SHOS.O), if Sears Hometown entered into a partnership related to certain brands and its home services unit, ESL Investments Inc said.

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Hauling for the Holidays

Santa’s on his way! Retail companies are putting the pedal to the metal to keep pace with record-high online shopping for the holidays.

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Why retailers are embracing rooftop gardens

The food industry as a whole is in the midst of a shift from unhealthy processed foods to organic, local and all natural foods. Buying local is one of the biggest trends, as more consumers want to ensure that the produce they  are purchasing and feeding to their families is grown nearby.

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Google Says Faster Mobile Ads Are Boosting Clickthrough Rates Up to 200 Percent

As tech giants continue their push to speed up load times for advertising and publishers across the mobile web, early numbers from one of them seem to show that faster ads really do work better.

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Apple confirms work on autonomous systems to transform ‘the future of transportation’

Apple’s car plans have long been kept under wrap by the company itself, but a new regulatory filing shows it publicly address the industry for the time. In a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uncovered by VentureBeat, Apple urges the government not to restrict testing of self-driving vehicles.

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$14 Million Federal Grant for Sustainable Transportation Research

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced its selection of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, led by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, to receive a five-year grant totaling approximately $14 million ($2.8 million in the initial year) to advance a more sustainable transportation system.

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BMW to Push Electric, Autonomous Vehicles

BMW will roll out a string of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles equipped with increasingly self-driving capacity during the next decade, a top executive said.

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Could digital advertising be replaced by a subscription model?

With the popularity of ad blockers just one of the newer hurdles facing digital advertising, internet publishers may have to band together to offer bundles that can justify subscriptions, argue two Wharton professors.

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Trends emerge from DuPont packaging awards

The 2016 Awards for Packaging Innovation — the 28th occasion that materials group DuPont Co. has issued the awards – revealed how manufacturers and brands are responding to pressures and trends currently bearing down on packaging.

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How are leading global distributors looking to differentiate?

One of the most pronounced trends of recent years has been the acceleration in the number and scale of mergers and acquisitions in the electronics industry among manufacturers.

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Coca-Cola Bottling United adds facilities in Montgomery, Atlanta

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc. has finalized two transactions that will continue the company’s recent growth.

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Hormel joins cancer specialists to develop line of ready-made foods for chemo patients

Shortly after his mother died of cancer two years ago, Jeff Ettinger, then-chief executive of Hormel Foods, asked the company’s specialty division to explore how to help people undergoing treatment or recovering from it.

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TJX to maintain FLSA overtime rule standards, despite injunction

The NRF hailed the court block last week, but TJX says it’s sticking with the original plan, which was to go into effect Dec. 1.

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Four Major Automakers Join Together to Bring Fast Charging to Europe

In an effort to reduce range anxiety and to bolster the use of electric vehicles as regular transportation, a new joint venture between four major automotive manufacturers will develop a wide network of exceptionally powerful charging stations.

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Postal Service Predicts Busy Holiday Shipping Season

The U.S. Postal Service is projecting about 750 million packages will be delivered this holiday season, a 12% increase in volume compared with last year.

 

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Brand

When a product loses consumer appeal, it’s usually because the company’s support system has broken down.

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Amazon Is Out to Conquer the Brick-and-Mortar Grocery Business

Having found a small patch of retail turf that it doesn’t dominate, e-commerce giant Amazon reportedly is getting ready to enter the world of brick-and-mortar grocery stores.

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Durable Goods Orders Increase in October for Fourth Straight Month

New orders for manufactured durable goods in October increased $11.0 billion or 4.8% to $239.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. New orders have been up for four consecutive months, with the most recent reading following a 0.4% September increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.0%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 5.2%.

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Trucks Most Heavily Used Mode for Nafta Freight in September

Trucks carried almost two-thirds of the freight moving between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, in September, and continued to be the most heavily used mode, according to federal released Nov. 29.

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GDP, Cass Freight Index Show Positive Signs for Trucking

Two economic reports released on Nov. 29 brought some optimistic signs that the transportation and warehousing industries might be recovering from the problems of earlier in 2016, industry experts said.

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Holiday Inventory: Intuition just isn’t enough anymore

When it comes to holiday inventory, most retailers use their intuition and industry knowledge to make their sales projections, plan their promotional calendar, and schedule product reorders. This was fine when the season’s promotions were merely percentages off and customers purchased products in stores. But as the retail world becomes more complex, so too must retailers’ holiday plans. With an estimated 40% of retailers’ yearly profits on the line, intuition this holiday season just isn’t enough.

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Shipping, Trucking Companies Adapt to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In Anthony Mayor’s two decades with St. George Logistics, he’s never known fulfillment center employees to work the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That changed this year, a result of record high holiday demand for shipping and trucking companies and the increasing popularity of e-commerce.

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ATA Names Hub Group Trucking a Top 3 Safest Carrier

Hub Group, Inc. announced recently that Hub Group Trucking has been recognized by the American Trucking Association (ATA) as one of the three safest operating carriers within its division and category in the ATA’s National Truck Safety Contest.

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Cyber Monday becomes next big target for shoppers

After a four-day holiday weekend shopping frenzy, consumers have their sights set on the next discount shopping target — Cyber Monday.

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How much did the average shopper spend Black Friday weekend? Survey says…

Deep discounting is behind a small drop in what shoppers said they spent over the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend, according to an industry survey released Sunday.

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Black Friday Shoppers Are More Hooked on Discounts Than Ever

The good news for retailers from this Black Friday weekend? More Americans went shopping this year, either online or in stores. The bad news? Those shoppers spent less.

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Durable Goods Orders Surge 4.8% in October

U.S. durable goods orders rebounded strongly in October, surging past expectations amid increased demand for aircraft and other transportation machinery.

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California Town Mulls Autonomous Delivery Robots

Delivery robots zipping around a city may seem like something out of science fiction, but the future could come sooner than anticipated in Sunnyvale, California.

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Nearly 40% of JCP.com orders are picked up in stores

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. says consumers picked up nearly 40% of JCP.com orders at a local store in the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 29.

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More Retailers Are Choosing to Close on Thanksgiving Day

After spending several years rushing to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, retailers have been hit with a dose of reality: It may not be worth it.

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Grainger Aims To Double Its Direct Online Sales To $2 Billion By 2019

Grainger held its annual analyst meeting on Nov. 11 at its Lake Forest, IL headquarters, where the company recapped its fiscal performance and shared its market expectations going forward.

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Inside Seventh Generation’s Quest to Blow Up Without Selling Out

It had become, suddenly, all about the pods. Ever since Tide’s breakout product landed on supermarket shelves in 2012, the brightly colored candy-size pillows of liquid detergent had surged in popularity, becoming the closest thing to a craze the laundry industry had seen since the stacked washer/dryer in the 1980s.

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Nielsen Reports Growth in Energy Drink, CSD Sales

Energy drinks showed a surge in sales in the latest Nielsen xAOC (expanded all outlets combined) report, up 6.7 percent in year-over-year dollar sales for the 4-week period ending November 5. The boost, as reported by Wells Fargo Securities, follows a slow growth period for energy drinks of only 3.3 percent shown in Nielsen’s August report.

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Amazon No Longer Owns and Ships the Majority of Items It Sells

Until Thursday, the majority of items sold on e-commerce giant Amazon were sold directly from the Seattle company, meaning that the company owned and shipped the items directly themselves. But on Thursday, Amazon said that half of all items sold on Amazon are officially from third-party sellers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.

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Package Carriers Building Up for E-Commerce Delivery

Parcel delivery companies are getting closer to online retailers—literally. The package-delivery operations at FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. have been opening more and larger sorting facilities that are readily accessible to their customers—shortening the often time-consuming first leg of a shipment, from e-commerce fulfillment center to shipping hub.

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Dr Pepper Snapple Is Buying This Antioxidant Drink Maker for $1.7 Billion

Dr Pepper Snapple Group said on Tuesday it would buy Bai Brands, a maker of antioxidant beverages, for $1.7 billion in cash, in the latest example of a soft-drinks maker investing in products that are perceived to be healthier.

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Analysis of 2016 Fleet Fuel Spend and 2017 Forecast

The stability of fuel pricing over the past 36 months has been the No. 1 factor contributing to keeping fleet operating costs flat in calendar-year 2016.

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Construction of $80 million driverless car testing site begins in Mich.

Leaders of the American Center for Mobility testing site for driverless cars formally kicked off construction of the planned $80 million project, saying Michigan will be competitive in a race for a federal autonomous vehicle testing designation.

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The Future of Refrigerated Trailers

What will the refrigerated trailer of the future be made of? Strong, lightweight and corrosion-proof composites? Very possibly. Economical, efficient aluminum sheet-and-post design, like now? Yes, for a number of years yet. So say engineers engaged in designing and building temperature controlled trailers.

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5 mistakes from Black Fridays past — and how retailers can avoid them

The most wonderful time of year for retailers is just around the corner, but they won’t reap the profits of Black Friday weekend before first navigating an obstacle course full of potential pitfalls.

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E-Commerce Expert Says More Brands Should Sell on Amazon

It may seem anachronistic to call Gap and Lands’ End “early adopters,” given that so many retailers and brands have been selling on Amazon for years. But in the apparel business, some have a deep-seated trepidation about relinquishing any measure of control over brand equity.

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Freight Rail Poised for Manufacturing Boom, Norfolk Southern Exec Says

A top rail executive sees America’s growing energy independence fueling a manufacturing boom that in coming years will increase freight rail traffic, especially in centrally located states such as Indiana.

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Trading Places: What A New Congress And Administration Could Mean For Retail Trade

During the 2016 election cycle, trade was much-maligned by both party nominees. Lost in the election-year rhetoric was the positive impact that trade has on our economy and in the lives of every American.

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Staying Alive in an Ever-Changing Retail Landscape

New market entrants, creative delivery requirements, forecasting uncertainties, rising customer expectations – all are writ large in the frenzied period running from Halloween through New Year’s.

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Organics Raising the Steaks for Food Manufacturing

Consumer appetites for organic foods are at an all-time high. As grocery shoppers buy more goods labeled as organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO and other attributes of healthier foods, food manufacturers need to adapt to the complex challenges of the organic products supply chain.

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Tips for Success in a ‘Free Shipping’ Environment

Here’s a daunting statistic: The value of merchandise ordered via same-day delivery is expected to exceed $4 billion by 2018 — it was $100 million in 2014. The big reason for this jump is the grueling pace set by Amazon Prime Now, which offers two-hour delivery for consumers in 27 US markets and counting.

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Shipping Companies Expect Holiday Package Volume to Skyrocket

Delivery companies are preparing for a barrage of delivery requests by adding new jobs and warning customers of deadlines as retail holiday sales begin.

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Consumer Products: With Passage of California’s Proposition 67, Question is “Would You Like Paper or…Paper?”

On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 67, the statewide ban on carry-out plastic bags, by 52 percent. At the same time, California voters rejected Proposition 65 by 55 percent–a measure that would have sent the proceeds from sales of paper bags and reusable bags to environmental causes.

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Proposed Chicago Bypass Freight Railroad Could Have Capacity for 110 Trains a Day

A Great Lakes Basin Railroad forecast shows as many as 60 trains riding its rails daily through southern Lake and Porter counties in Indiana by its third year of operations, with that number declining to the low 50s and finally to 22 at the railroad’s eastern terminus in LaPorte County.

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ELDs and converging dynamics: Will they alter truckload, LTL landscape?

Analysts have already suggested that the coming electronic logging device (ELD) mandate could see some adjustment with the new administration. Consider it a wildcard — that and other trends are converging in trucking and could make for some unusual dynamics, notes one financial consulting firm.

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Spot Market Freight Availability Hits Second Highest Level of 2016

While October was the second strongest month for spot market freight availability so far this year there were only small improvements in rates, according to the freight matching service provider DAT Solutions and its North American Freight Index.

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E-commerce accelerates in October, the runup to the key holiday season

New monthly retail sales data released this morning suggests that the all-important fourth quarter is off to a solid start for e-commerce.

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How Technology Is Transforming Retail

Across the retail landscape, a war is going on, and the battles are being fought on multiple fronts: business models, channels, brands, customers, technologies, and more. Some of these are old scores reignited by new protagonists armed with new weapons, but quite a few are new clashes.

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Samsung to Buy Harman for $8 Billion in Bold Autos Gambit

Samsung Electronics Co. is spending $8 billion to buy its way into a burgeoning market for automotive technology alongside Apple Inc. and Google as the smartphone business wanes.

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Troubled Hanjin’s Fleet Shrinks to a Tenth of Its Size

Hanjin Shipping Co.’s fleet has shrunk to about a tenth of its size after the South Korean container line returned most of its chartered vessels to owners in the weeks after its bankruptcy filing.

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Wal-Mart Sets Environmental Plan as People Seek Green Items

Wal-Mart is laying out its environmental map for the next several years as it tries to satisfy customers who want green products at affordable prices.

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Report Shows Retail Imports Up as Holiday Shoppers Head to Stores

With the holiday shopping season under way, imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to be up 4.4 percent this month over the same time last year and should see a slightly larger increase next month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

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TreeHouse undergoing renovations

After suffering from a “self-inflicted wound” during the third quarter of fiscal 2016, TreeHouse Foods is reorganizing in an effort to better serve the market for private brands. The initiative involves reorganizing TreeHouse’s operating companies into a single, customer-facing approach and realigning sales teams from their present sales channel orientation to a product category basis, according to the company.

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The maker of Subaru cars won’t ramp up U.S. production despite tight inventory, saying it won’t risk profit margins with overproduction.

The maker of Subaru cars said Wednesday it doesn’t plan to ramp up production for U.S. consumers quickly, despite tight inventory, because it would rather have shortages than overproduction.

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Samsung Electronics Co. was hit with another blow as U.S. officials announced a recall of 2.8 million of its washing machines

U.S. product-safety officials announced a recall affecting 2.8 million Samsung Electronics Co. washing machines, in another stain on the company’s reputation already following the botched Galaxy Note 7 phone recall.

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The Rise of E-Commerce in Furniture Manufacturing and the Merchant Wholesale Trade . Furniture and Home Furnishings Sales

Since the turn of the century, e-commerce has slowly climbed its way into the furniture and home furnishings merchant wholesale trade. Merchant wholesalers* weathered the recession well growing 43.8 percent in sales 2002 to 2014 to $76.9 billion while the e-commerce portion of those sales jumped 113 percent to $11.1 billion. MSBOs* total shipments at $21.0 billion in 2014 grew more slowly — 17.3 percent 2002 to 2014. E-commerce shipments from merchant wholesalers alone have increased a yearly average of 7 percent, while furniture MSBO’s have increased by 3 percent.

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JC Penney, Kohl’s Join Amazon In Rewriting Holiday Calendar

In more evidence that the traditional holiday retail calendar is out the window, JC Penney and Kohl’s are breaking new ground for retailers, offering pre-Black Friday sales that highlight deals they will offer as soon as the pumpkin pie gets served. And Amazon has thrown down the gift gauntlet early too, with relentless Black Friday specials starting earlier this week.

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Trucking Trends: The Ripple Effect

Demand for truckload capacity has been steady but unspectacular of late, and through mid-September, rates for spot van, refrigerated, and flatbed freight varied little from averages in June, July, and August. Shippers have benefited from a sense of “normalcy” on the spot TL freight market, which thus far has been devoid of big splashes and ripple effects that typically drive contract rates higher.

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Avalanche of E-Commerce Expected to Boost FedEx Shipping Volume This Holiday Season

FedEx expects about 10% growth in holiday season shipping volume amid an avalanche of e-commerce.

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