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Amazon Almost Killed Target. Then, Target Did the Impossible

In 2017, everyone was laughing at Target.

Sales had continued to slide. Stores were in disrepair. And company leaders were struggling to adapt to the changing behavior of consumers–many of whom were shopping more and more with online retailers like Amazon.

As fellow retailers Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Gap collectively shuttered hundreds of stores because of similar struggles, analysts said Target should do the same.

But Target executives, led by CEO Brian Cornell, had a different idea. The key to revitalizing Target, they said, was to go on the offensive.

So, in March 2017, Target made a huge announcement: It planned to invest over $7 billion in a turnaround strategy that would include:

  • remodeling existing stores (and opening smaller ones in urban areas);
  • introducing new, private label brands; and,
  • enhancing its digital shopping experience.

Wall Street thought the plan was a disaster. On the day of the announcement, Target suffered its largest stock plunge in almost a decade.

But fast-forward to today, and Target is thriving. First-quarter results for 2019 beat analysts’ expectations. The store’s private-label lines are exploding. And as comparable store sales continue to rise, the stock price is trading at an all-time high.

How did Target do it?

A close look at the company’s brilliant turnaround strategy reveals some major lessons for businesses of any size.

Here are some highlights:

Think long term.

When Target announced its turnaround plan, Cornell expected backlash. He knew investors would hate the idea of stuttering profits for the foreseeable future.

But he held fast to his plan. “We’re investing in our business with a long-term view of years and decades, not months and quarters,” Cornell said at the time.

Cornell knew this reset was necessary because so many Target stores had fallen into disrepair over the years. And while the company was making efforts in e-commerce, it simply didn’t have the infrastructure to deliver.

Contrast that with today. Target has remodeled hundreds of stores, and it has built a hundred “mini-stores” in urban areas like New York and on college campuses (with plans to open dozens more of these every year for the foreseeable future). The company also invested heavily in its e-commerce operations to great benefit. (More on this in a minute.)

By focusing on the long-term health of the company instead of short-term financial performance, Cornell took a page out of Jeff Bezos’s playbook–and it clearly worked.

Leverage your strengths.

Target’s e-commerce infrastructure needed a complete revamp. But could the company really compete with Amazon and Walmart, which were years ahead of the curve?

It could–by doing things a little differently.

Target execs knew that as popular as e-commerce has become, the majority of retail shopping still takes place in physical stores–especially when it comes to clothing.

So Target chose to focus on a model that would maximize its strengths. Known as “ship-to-store,” Target’s e-commerce platform turns physical stores into mini warehouses for online customers. That makes it possible for customers to order a product online, and then pick it up in a store on the same day.

Ship-to-store reduces Target’s shipping and handling costs, and takes advantage of already existing space in physical stores. And if a customer decides to do some shopping while already there at Target, the benefit is two-fold.

Fill a gap.

Consumers had once affectionately referred to Target as “Tarzhay,” an ode to products and style that were affordable yet a step above those offered by competitors like Walmart. Over time, though, Target had created too many labels that were clear misses.

“Tarzhay” had lost its cachet.

But nobody had stepped up to fill that gap of stylish, exclusive clothing for lower prices. So, in an effort to rebuild its reputation, Target doubled down on its exclusive brands. The company has launched 20 private-label lines over the past three years, including brands for modern furniture, kids’ clothes, electronics, and home goods.

The investment paid off: Six of Target’s private-labels each do more than a billion dollars in annual sales. These labels, together with other brands sold exclusively at Target,  contribute nearly a third of the company’s overall revenue (and an even greater percentage of profits).

In addition, Target has worked hard to fill gaps left by unsuccessful competitors. For example, when stores like Toys “R” Us and the Sports Authority went bankrupt, Target saw this as opportunity: market share begging to be gobbled up.

Yes, Target has definitely gotten its groove back. It did so by bucking analysts’ advice, and instead returning to basics:

Thinking long-term. Leveraging strengths. Filling gaps.

I guess Target got the last laugh after all.

By: Justin Bariso Author, EQ Applied

Source: Amazon Almost Killed Target. Then, Target Did the Impossible

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MacKenzie Bezos Is Now Worth $36.1 Billion. But Who Is She?

MacKenzie Bezos was not fussy, which was helpful, as there was no time for fussiness at Amazon headquarters in early 1996. She shared her office with a junior employee in a space that doubled as the company kitchen. For 12 hours a day, as workers squeezed by to use the microwave, she presided over the accounting. At night she headed to the warehouse to pack orders.

She “was a huge contributor,” says Mike Hanlon, Amazon’s seventh employee. “She really is a talented person in a way that I think gets lost when you’re the billionaire’s wife.”

The mystery around MacKenzie, 49, seems carefully cultivated. She largely slipped into anonymity after Amazon’s early years and has granted no interviews since January, when her split from husband Jeff became public. The couple finalized their divorce in July, with MacKenzie getting 25% of his Amazon stock. That stake is currently worth $36.1 billion, enough to put her 15th on this year’s Forbes 400.

“She should have gotten 50% of the company,” says Nick Hanauer, one of Amazon’s first investors. “MacKenzie was an equal partner to Jeff in the early days.”

In keeping with character, MacKenzie wouldn’t talk for this story. To shed some light on her, we spent weeks contacting more than 100 friends and former classmates and coworkers; even that yielded only a hazy picture, one of an intensely private but talented woman who has, quietly, excelled at every stage of her life.

MacKenzie grew up in San Francisco, a middle child with two siblings. At 6, she wrote a 142-page book called The Book Worm. Her parents, a homemaker and a financial planner, sent her to Hotchkiss, the Connecticut boarding school, where she graduated a year early. She studied at Cambridge, then Princeton, where she majored in English; Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison was her thesis advisor. “She was generally a very poised and a quiet and brilliant presence,” says Jeff Nunokawa, one of her English professors.

After graduating, she took a job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, where she began dating Jeff Bezos, who left to found Amazon in 1994. From the outset, MacKenzie was heavily involved. “No one really had job titles . . . so she did just about everything,” says Tod Nelson, another early employee.

MacKenzie pulled back around the time Amazon went public, in 1997, to focus on fiction writing. She kept a low profile until 2005, when HarperCollins published her first novel, The Testing of Luther Albright. Morrison deemed it “a rarity.” MacKen­zie followed it in 2013 with Traps.

The more recent chapters of her life are largely unknown. In 2018 she and Jeff committed $2 billion to fight homelessness and support nonprofit preschools. In May, as their divorce neared completion, she signed the Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half her wealth. True to form, she hasn’t said a word about where those billions will go.

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I’ve been a reporter at Forbes since 2016. Before that, I spent a year on the road—driving for Uber in Cleveland, volcano climbing in Guatemala, cattle farming in Uruguay, and lots of stuff in between. I graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in international relations and Arabic. Feel free to reach out at nkirsch@forbes.com with any story ideas or tips, or follow me on Twitter @Noah_Kirsch.

Source: MacKenzie Bezos Is Now Worth $36.1 Billion. But Who Is She?

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A new book about Amazon.com and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, “The Everything Store,” is not receiving positive feedback from Bezos’ wife. John Blackstone reports.

Amazon Is Launching a New Program to Donate Unsold Products, After Reports That Millions Were Being Destroyed

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Amazon wants its third-party sellers to make better use of their unsold or unwanted products that often get dumped — by giving them away to charity.

Amazon is launching a new donations program, called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, for third-party sellers that store their inventory in Amazon’s warehouses in the U.S. and UK, CNBC has learned. Starting on September 1, the donation program will become the default option for all sellers when they choose to dispose of their unsold or unwanted products stored in Amazon warehouses across those two countries. Sellers can opt out of the program, if they want.

The donations will be distributed to a network of U.S. nonprofits through a group called Good360 and UK charities such as Newlife and Barnardo’s. After this story was published, Amazon announced the program via a blog post on Wednesday afternoon.

The new donations program is designed to reduce the amount of inventory that must be dumped from Amazon’s warehouses, helping the environment and putting otherwise wasted products to some use. Recent reports found that Amazon routinely discards unsold inventory, with one French TV documentary estimating Amazon to have destroyed over 3 million products in France last year. Given that Amazon generates the bulk of its sales in the U.S., the number of destroyed inventory in its U.S. warehouses is likely much larger than those found in other countries.

“This program will reduce the number of products sent to landfills and instead help those in need,” Amazon wrote in the email to sellers announcing the launch.

Sellers who spoke to CNBC said the new program makes it cheaper to donate their unwanted inventory. Amazon charges 50 cents to return unsold inventory to sellers, much more than the 15 cents charged for disposal. Sellers destroy their inventory for a variety of reasons, including returns that are no longer usable or for safety issues.

In an email statement to CNBC, Amazon’s spokesperson confirmed the launch of the new program, adding it’s “working hard” to bring the number of destroyed products to zero.

“At Amazon, the vast majority of returned products are resold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers, or donated to charitable organizations, depending on their condition,” Amazon said.

By: Eugene Kim

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/

 

Jeff Bezos To Give MacKenzie 25% Of His Amazon Stake, Worth Tens Of Billions, In Divorce

Axel Springer award ceremony

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, announced on Thursday that he will transfer roughly 4% of the company’s stock to his wife, MacKenzie, most likely by early July. The couple are in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Those shares are worth more than $35 billion as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday. That would make MacKenzie the third-richest woman in the world, behind L’Oréal’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who is worth an estimated $52.9 billion, and Walmart’s Alice Walton, who is worth $45 billion. She would rank as the planet’s 26th-richest person, ahead of Nike’s Phil Knight.

Jeff Bezos will remain the world’s richest person, with a net worth above $110 billion, per early Thursday afternoon stock prices. Bill Gates is the world’s second-wealthiest individual, boasting an estimated $99.5 billion fortune.

While still pending, the Bezos divorce settlement will likely be the largest in world history. Other divorces of the ultrarich include Steve and Elaine Wynn (she received an estimated $850 million settlement), as well as Bill and Susan Gross (she received a $1.3 billion settlement).

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Jeff Bezos said, “In all our work together, MacKenzie’s abilities have been on full display. She has been an extraordinary partner, ally, and mother.”

MacKenzie posted a tweet of her own, saying, “Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff from each other. … Happy to be giving him all my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continued contributions with the teams of these incredible companies.”

The couple filed a petition for divorce on April 4, and they expect an official decree to be issued in early July, they said in an SEC filing that outlined the transfer of shares. The filing noted that Jeff Bezos will continue to exercise voting control over MacKenzie’s shares, unless she sells them on the open market or gives them to qualifying nonprofits.

If MacKenzie transfers shares, the recipient of the stock must sign a similar agreement granting Jeff Bezos voting control.

The couple announced their divorce in January, following 25 years of marriage. Their separation stirred a tabloid frenzy, as intimate text messages between Bezos and his romantic partner, Lauren Sanchez, a TV anchor, were leaked by the National Enquirer.

Bezos subsequently published an open letter accusing American Media Inc., which owns the National Inquirer, of extortion and blackmail. AMI has denied wrongdoing.

Bezos also hired a team of investigators to determine who accessed his private messages. His consultant Gavin De Becker ultimately accused the Saudi Arabian government of illicitly gaining access to Bezos’ cellphone. Saudi officials have denied that allegation.

Angel Au-Yeung covers global business leaders and follows their money for Forbes Magazine.

I’m currently a reporter on the wealth team at Forbes. Before that, I spent a year on the road—driving for Uber in Cleveland, volcano climbing in Guatemala, cattle farmi…

Source: Jeff Bezos To Give MacKenzie 25% Of His Amazon Stake, Worth Tens Of Billions, In Divorce

Why Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Could be Bullish for Amazon Shares

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News of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos divorcing sparked questions about how the split could affect the world’s most valuable company’s stock. While there were questions, there wasn’t panic. Investors are in wait-and-see mode. The news, which came Wednesday via a tweet from Jeff Bezos, barely moved Amazon’s share price. It closed Friday at $1,640.56……..

Source: Why Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Could be Bullish for Amazon Shares

Amazon Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company for the First Time Ever With a Market Value of $797billion – Surpassing Microsoft — BCNN1 WP

Amazon has become the world’s most valuable company for the first time, surpassing Microsoft. The shift occurred Monday after Amazon’s shares rose 3 per cent to close at $1,629.51 and lifted the e-commerce leader’s market value to $797billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s stock edged up by less than 1 percent to finish at $102.06, leaving the computer […]

via Amazon Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company for the First Time Ever With a Market Value of $797billion – Surpassing Microsoft — BCNN1 WP

Amazon Partners On New Ethereum Marketplace For Enterprises – Sarah Hansen

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Kaleido, a startup that aims to help enterprises implement blockchain technology, has launched a new platform in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Kaleido Marketplace will provide tools and protocols for all the components of new blockchain projects, “from the app all the way to the chain,” founder and CEO Steve Cerveny told Forbes. Commodities platform Komgo, whose network of financial institutions includes Citi, ING, Koch Supply and Trading, MUFG Bank, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole Group, BNP Paribas, and Shell, is a current client…………

 

 

 

 

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale: Amazon Selling 120 Million ‘Made in India’ Products Worldwide – Livemint

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New Delhi: This year’s Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday sale in the United States and other parts of the world will have a desi touch as e-commerce giant Amazon has teamed up with over 37,000 Indian exporters to sell more than 120 million ‘Made in India’ products.

In a statement, Amazon said customers shopping on Amazon can avail exclusive deals on ‘Made in India’ products from across categories such as electronics, accessories, cookware, clothing, luxury products, toys, home décor, art & crafts, etc during the Black Friday sale.

The ‘Made in India’ products are being sold to Amazon customers worldwide for the biggest shopping season in the US and some other countries under Amazon’s Global Selling Program.

“I’m very excited for the international holiday season on Amazon, particularly Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, it was our first global sale season on Amazon and we did 2X of our regular sales, which was completely unexpected. This year we’ve invested a lot more in our portfolio of products, added enhanced content, continuing to use FBA, and expect a surge of 3-4X from last year sales,” said Mobashir, owner of Estalon and a seller under Amazon’s Global Selling Program.

Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide for Amazon last year, and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses alone.

Even Indian exporter on Amazon witnessed a revenue growth of over 1.5X year on year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season in 2017. Products in categories such as home, books, health and personal care, apparel, beauty, and office products were the most popular. In 2018, in addition to the popular categories of 2017, newer products in categories such as checkbook covers, sling bags, Christmas bedding, tool aprons, personalized wallets, aroma oils, etc. will be offered on exclusive deals during the shopping season.

A significant number of products have already been shipped to Amazon Fulfilment Centres worldwide to facilitate one day delivery to Amazon Prime members. Customers shopping on Amazon will have a fast and reliable delivery experience during the upcoming shopping season for ‘Made in India’ products.

Amazon Black Friday Deals Week 2018: Fire Stick And Echo Dot Bundles At Huge Price Cut – Madeline Kaufman

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If you’re looking to buy a Fire Stick and or maybe you want to invest in an Echo Dot, here is your perfect opportunity. Or, if you’re looking for two tech gifts for your Amazon product-lover, we’ve got a treat for you. Today, you can save $40 on either the Fire TV Stick 4k and a 3rd generation Echo Dot or a Fire TV Stick and a 2nd generation Echo Dot……….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/17/amazon-black-friday-deals-2018-fire-stick-and-echo-dot-bundles-at-huge-price-cut/#35bac176a028

 

 

 

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Bezos Is Right To Worry About Amazon’s Future – Bryce Hoffman

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When word leaked out of Seattle that Jeff Bezos had told employees “Amazon will go bankrupt,” the company’s stock took a nose dive. But those comments shouldn’t worry Amazon.com investors; Bezos’ statement should reassure them. Why? Because Bezos was right when he said, “Amazon is not too big to fail.” And while the same can be said of any large corporation, few CEOs are willing to acknowledge that fact. Yet, those few who do  like Bezos  are the sort of self-aware critical thinkers who will help make sure their companies not only survive, but thrive, in the long run……………

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brycehoffman/2018/11/17/bezos-is-right-to-worry-about-amazons-future/#84ca0c82dc92

 

 

 

 

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