MARS Elects 2018 Officers

The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) last week announced its newly elected slate of 2018 officers.

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Spot Load Posts, Capacity Hold Firm as Rates Continue Decline

Spot market truckload freight rates continued moving lower for the week ending Feb. 10, according to load board operator DAT Solutions, despite a slight increase in available freight and a drop in truck capacity.

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Big Data in Railroading Moves from Theory to Practice

It was a sunny mid-December day as academics, railroaders and data scientists filed into a basement theater on the University of Delaware’s campus. The group — nearly 200 people in all — assembled for the university’s fourth annual “Big Data in Railroad Maintenance Planning” conference in Newark, Delaware.

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How to Build an Intelligent Supply Chain

Building a cognitive system is not just about the software or tools in place, but also about the decisions made along the way.

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Spring Freight Season Signs: Where’s it Getting Hot and Where it’s Not

While spot market van rates have been in a slow decline for about seven weeks now, there are signs they could start to rebound soon.

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Taking Advantage of 2018 Truckload, Less-than-Truckload, and Intermodal Strategies

Learn more about what’s influencing your truckload, less-than-truckload, and Intermodal surface transportation strategies in 2018 and how to overcome the challenges.

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Gap lost 54% of its shoppers in one year

What’s more, almost four out of every 10 (38%) of the retailer’s lost customers shopped at Old Navy instead, according to research from 1010data.

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Sears buys more time to pay a $400M loan

An agreement between the ailing department store retailer and its lenders will kick a loan due next year out to mid-2019, easing some of the financial pressure on the company.

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Gander Mountain back from bankruptcy as ‘Gander Outdoors’

The company, acquired by Camping World in May, is opening new stores and rebranding under its new owner.

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Charming Charlie secures financing, plans reorganization

Charming Charlie has struck a deal with its lenders and private-equity backers to reorganize as it moves through the Chapter 11 process, lawyers for the Houston-based retailer said. The company expects to close around 100 underperforming stores in the reorganization, and it has secured two new loans from existing lenders to keep stores open and stocked.

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Dollar General Corp. plans to put a nearly 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Longview, Tenn.

Longview municipal leaders continue putting together the permits, variances and agreements needed to finalize bringing Dollar General Corp.’s next warehouse to the city.

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Overstock founder wants to ‘walk away,’ pursue blockchain opps

CEO Patrick Byrne hopes to walk away from the e-commerce business in favor of opportunities in cryptocurrency.

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Pier 1 plunges amid strong competition

The company is set on maintaining stores, which are pivotal to boosting sales in all channels, executives said.

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The Limited, Toys R Us and Gymboree among 11 retail bankruptcies impacting mall investors

Sears will sell its DieHard brand auto batteries and tires on Amazon, in an expanded partnership with the e-commerce company. Sears started selling its Kenmore appliances on Amazon earlier this year and rolled out a feature that lets appliance owners control their devices with voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa.

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Party City enters new market via acquisition

Party City Holdco Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the MG Novelty Corp. for approximately $5.5 million.

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Citi analysts: Walmart ’emerging as a true challenger to Amazon’

Despite the big-box retailer’s e-commerce growth, some argue Walmart is sitting on a massive liability — excess space.

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Bon-Ton misses $14M interest payment, restructuring could follow

S&P analysts downgraded the department store retailer to default levels, writing that a debt restructuring, either through bankruptcy or out of court, was “likely” in the near future.

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76% of online holiday shoppers headed to Amazon

The e-commerce giant is dominating this season thanks to free shipping perks and high conversion rates, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey.

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Will Walmart woo holiday procrastinators with in-store pickup?

While the big-box retailer can’t compete with Amazon’s last-minute delivery, it does have one major advantage — over 4,750 stores. But is that enough?

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Costco keeps growing in-store, online sales

Costco is holding its own amid the rise in online retail, booking 10.3% same-store sales growth in the most recent quarter and enjoying a 90% membership renewal rate, the retailer reported. A same-day delivery deal with Instacart and a click-and-collect program available for select items also fueled a double-digit rise in e-commerce sales.

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Fresh Thyme to open 10 stores, expand into Pa. next year

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will reportedly open 10 new stores next year, including the retailer’s first locations in Pennsylvania. The move marks a slowdown in new store openings for Fresh Thyme, which opened 20 stores this year, growing its roster to 66.

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Retailers see strong demand heading into the home stretch

The strong start to the holiday season has buoyed stock prices at retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s and Gap, and merchants expect the momentum to continue into the final shopping weekend. “We know the vast majority of our customers are still shopping,” Walmart Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies said.

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Jet.com woos wealthier shoppers with new offerings

Walmart-owned e-commerce site Jet.com is transforming itself from a bulk seller of household goods to an online retailer of specialty goods including fashion and footwear. The site is aiming for more affluent consumers with offerings from brands acquired by Walmart, including Modcloth and Shoes.com.

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Data: Amazon.com has more than 300 US logistics facilities

Amazon.com has about 150 million square feet of warehouse space in 330 facilities across dozens of US states, and fulfillment centers account for most of that square footage, according to data from MWPVL International.

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Canadian online furniture distributor Article is doubling its warehouse space near Florida’s Port of Jacksonville.

A Canadian company that sells online furniture wants to set up a North Jacksonville distribution center at Imeson Industrial Park that could start in January with 10 employees and grow to more than 100 in five years.

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Bankrupt Toys ‘R’ Us Weighs Closing at Least 100 Stores

Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. may close up to 100 U.S. stores in the face of weak holiday sales.

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Is Lidl slowing its pace of US store openings?

German discount grocer Lidl has slowed its expansion in the US, with plans to put the opening of its second New Jersey store on hold and the cancellation of some store openings in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, according to reports. Lidl opened its first US store in June to much fanfare, but traffic to the stores has since slowed, experts said.

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Mills Fleet Farm distribution center opening on fast track in Chippewa Falls

Midwest U.S. retail chain Mills Fleet Farm will open a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center in Chippewa Falls, Wis., operated by DHL Supply Chain.

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A large Macy’s Inc. fulfillment center outside Tulsa, Okla., tripled its staffing for the holidays.

Macy’s Fulfillment Center in Owasso has hit its peak season, and that means bringing on extra hands to help with the additional holiday shipments.

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Target to pay $550M for grocery-delivery startup Shipt

Moving to compete with Amazon and Walmart, Target has agreed to pay $550 million for grocery-delivery startup Shipt. Target said that by early 2018, the deal will allow about half its stores to provide same-day grocery delivery.

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Don’t Compromise Your Personal Information This Holiday Shopping Season

The most memorable part of this holiday shopping should be an amazing deal you found — not having to jump through endless hoops trying to reclaim your identity.

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Tyson Foods: New facility to create 1,500 jobs

Tyson Foods Inc. plans to build a new chicken production complex in Tennessee, a $300 million project that is expected to create more than 1,500 jobs when the facility begins operations in late 2019, the company said Monday.

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Post returns to profitability in fiscal 2017

After a challenging fiscal 2016 in which the company sustained a loss of $3.3 million, Post Holdings, Inc. returned to profitability in fiscal 2017, generating net income of $48.3 million, equal to 51c per share on the common stock, in the year ended Sept. 30.

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From turkey to trimmings, Thanksgiving food sales are moving online

Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for grocery retailers, but not all of the action is happening in stores. Increasingly, shoppers are going online to buy their turkeys, pies, sweet potatoes and other fixings.

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Extremely slow CPG growth plagues 2017 — and is likely to continue

According to Euromonitor International, U.S. packaged food sales will grow just 1.2% in 2017, reports FoodNavigator-USA. This is below the average growth rate of 1.7% for the past five years and much lower than growth rates of 3% or more seen prior to the Great Recession.

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Investing in the Public Good is Good for Employees and Investors

How does a family-run company grow from two employees to a Nasdaq-traded (Nasdaq:HUBG), $3.5 billion in revenue enterprise with more than 4,000 employees? I think it has a lot to do with hard work and creating a talented and engaged workforce.

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Volvo to supply Uber with self-driving-compatible cars from 2019

Volvo Cars and Uber have announced a framework agreement under which the ride-hailing company will receive a fleet of self-driving-compatible vehicles from the Sweden-based car company, starting in 2019.

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Amazon goes into the holidays with magnified store presence

Amazon goes into the holiday season with a newly magnified brick-and-mortar presence, giving it more opportunities to sell its Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and other gadgets.

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2017 holiday shopping trends: How consumers plan to research & purchase gifts this season

Two weeks out from the busiest holiday shopping time of the year, many holiday shoppers are already hitting the buy button.

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A retailer’s guide to Black Friday 2017: 3 trends to watch

The shopping holiday has turned into a month-long event culminating over Thanksgiving weekend. From Twitter accounts to follow to trends to watch, here’s what you need to know this year.

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Just In Time For Cyber 5: Millennial And Gen Z Holiday Shopping Insights From eBay

Thanks to the influence of Millennials and Gen Z, the consumer journey in today’s market keeps evolving. Rather than stopping by a brick-and-mortar store for their purchases, consumers are accessing virtually any product or service they need from a smartphone. When an item is one-click away, why bother with the additional time needed to go to a physical store?

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Petco Acquires PupBox

Petco acquired PupBox, a puppy- and life stage-focused subscription service company. PupBox delivers customized products and training information to new puppy and dog parents based on their pet’s current stage of development and physical characteristics.

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Strong Comps Fuel Ace Hardware In Third Quarter

In a third quarter highlighted by its acquisition of The Grommet, Ace Hardware benefited from a strong comparable store sales increase.

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J. Crew bleeds in Q3; ups store closings

Even a strong performance by Madewell couldn’t save J. Crew Group in its third quarter as the retailer’s ailing flagship brand continues to drag down the company.

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Dollar Tree Q3 profit and sales beat estimates

The nation’s largest dollar-store retailer on Tuesday posted better-than-expected sales and earnings results, fueled by a boost in customer traffic and spending in its stores.

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Collaboration in supply chain management is key

“As complexity and consumer and shareholder expectations increase, CEOs and supply chain professionals must retrain their focus on contributing to strategic initiatives instead of solely on fulfilling demand as cheaply as possible.”

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How This Small Retailer Wins the Holidays By Completely Transforming Itself Every Year

Portland, Maine’s Sea Bags is recycling old boat sails into all manner of holiday-themed products.

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Trucking Trade Groups Support NAFTA

The North American truck-transported trade supports tens of thousands of jobs and generates billions in revenue annually, according to a statement from the American Trucking Association (ATA), Cámara Nacional del Autotraporte de Carga (CANACAR), and the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

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What Dollar Shave Club says about the future of subscription services

The model continues to gain traction among brands. But is it about to explode, or collapse?

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3 ways to reach Gen Z during the holidays

The youngest generation might not be the biggest spenders, but they have influence over family purchases — and they’re growing up fast.

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Social media-engaged shoppers spend more on purchases

A shopper who engages with a retailer through social media is likely to spend 19% more than the average consumer, although that finding comes as consumer social media engagement with retailers has slipped about 2% across the sector, according to data from social media analytics firm Shareablee, reported by Chain Store Age.

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The Death Knell for the Bricks-and-Mortar Store? Not Yet

On a quiet strip of Rue de Marignan, just down the block from the Paris power-lunch spot L’Avenue, Alex Bolen, the chief executive of Oscar de la Renta, was standing outside No. 4, where the brand is to open a store next May.

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Sales and income picture gets brighter for Snyder’s-Lance

Third-quarter sales for Snyder’s-Lance jumped 3.7% to $564.2 million, with net income from continuing operations reported at $32.7 million. This represents a 10.5% boost, compared to $29.6 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per diluted share just missed expectations by a penny, coming in at 33 cents, compared to 30 cents in the year-ago period.

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See’s Candies Ramps Up Production For a Busy Holiday Season

After Halloween, some may already have their fill of candy. But not for the South San Francisco-based See’s Candies factory where they’re actually adding a second shift this week to ramp up for the holidays.

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U.S. department stores tap brakes on stocking for holiday season

This holiday season, retailers are making a list, checking it twice, and then ordering less for U.S. shoppers.

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Truck Makers Point to Improving Market in 3Q

Truck makers highlighted growing demand for their equipment in third-quarter earnings reports even as they posted mixed results. One saw profitability slip but revenue climb, while two others reported an increase in net income and revenue.

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Henry Schein Inc. Q3 Earnings Rise 0%

Henry Schein Inc. (HSIC) released a profit for its third quarter that rose from last year.

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How to Build a Supply Chain Champion Following Chicago Cubs Theo Epstein’s 5R Strategy

Theo Epstein’s approach to building a championship baseball team highlights five principles of supply chain design that we call the 5Rs, the 5Rs have enabled companies from Amazon to Zara to win on the world’s toughest playing field – today’s global marketplace.

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Video calls help forge customer ties

To build rapport with consumers who might be hesitant to visit the showroom, Jeff Wyler Automotive Family Inc. staffers are using FaceTime to bring the dealerships to them.

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FMCSA Grant is Helping Iowa Veterans Train for Trucking

With driver shortages across the country, training to become a trucker can be a good bet for employment.

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More on household packaging: Green is in but so are these other trends

Home fragrance is one household packaging segment where new options have been introduced to give consumers greater flexibility in the way that fragrances are delivered. Candles are popular, but flameless options are often preferred and in some areas, such as hotel rooms and dormitories, are the only permissible option.

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Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

Amazon.com appears determined that its marketplace sellers will not be undersold heading into the holidays. According to numerous press reports, Amazon has begun lowering prices on goods sold by third-parties on its site.

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Supply Chains Need to Turn to the Digital Frontside

An enterprise-wide digital supply chain can lead to a 20% reduction of procurement costs, a 50% reduction in supply chain costs, and an increase in revenue of 10%.

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Intermodal volume remains strong in Q3, reports IANA

Data issued today by the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) showed that third quarter intermodal volumes turned in its best over all performance, for any quarter, in more than three years.

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FedEx Holiday Season Surge Could Hit 400 Million Packages

FedEx expects to deliver 380-400 million packages this holiday season with three busy Mondays driving a record-breaking pace.

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Class 8 Orders Rocket Higher, Up 160% Year-Over-Year

Preliminary October North American Class 8 net orders significantly surpassed expectations, rising to 36,200 units, ACT Research Co. reported.

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Amazon just bought three domain names related to cryptocurrency

Amazon has registered three new cryptocurrency-related domains, according to trade publication DomainNameWire.

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Blue Apron loses customers, but the loyal ones are spending more

The number of customers Blue Apron served in the third quarter shrank 6 percent from the year-ago quarter and 9 percent from the previous quarter.

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AAR Reports Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending October 21, 2017

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 559,989 carloads and intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year.

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Walmart is using shelf-scanning robots to audit its stores

Robots are already a common sight in warehouses (Amazon alone use more than 45,000) but now they’re moving into stores too.

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International Paper to combine unit with Graphic Packaging

Oct 24 (Reuters) – International Paper Co has agreed to combine its North America consumer packaging business with Graphic Packaging Holding Co in a deal that values the International Paper division at $1.8 billion, the companies said on Tuesday.

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Ribbon-cutting for first-of-its-kind chemical manufacturer in Delaware

A specialty chemical company said its Delaware plant can now make a key chemical bonding agent, common in household products, from 100 percent renewable resources. This is a first in North America.

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Amazon is now literally building its way into people’s lives

Online retailer Amazon wormed its way into the lives of Americans with books, then with e-books, then with Kindle, then with loads of stuff besides books, then with “free” shipping at Prime, then with personal assistant Alexa.

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La-Z-Boy Hits Retail Milestone with 350th Store

The company-owned store, known as La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Décor, uses the “design concept” format that has been in place since 2011. The company said locations in this format have the highest average volume per store of any of its retail formats.

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