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January 16, 2019

Publishing News

Meredith Executive Chairman Lacy to Retire
Release: Meredith Corp. announced that executive chairman Steve Lacy will retire from the company on March 31, following his 65th birthday on March 20, in line with Meredith's historical practices. Lacy will continue to serve as chairman of the board--a position he has held since 2009--in a non-executive capacity. 'The actions announced by the board today are in keeping with Meredith's longstanding and highly successful succession planning practice, one that has been in place for 50 years,' said Meredith board of directors vice chairman Mell Meredith Frazier. 'I want to congratulate Steve and thank him for his 20+ year tenure at Meredith, and look forward to his continued leadership as chairman of the board.' Lacy joined Meredith as CFO in 1998 and quickly moved into an operating role, leading Meredith's digital, broadcasting and publishing groups, respectively. He was named president and CEO in 2006, and became chairman and CEO three years later. He moved into the executive chairman role in January 2018, with Tom Harty succeeding him as president and CEO. During Lacy's tenure, Meredith's revenue doubled and profit more than tripled. He significantly grew legacy Meredith businesses, and oversaw a tremendous expansion of the company's national and local media footprint, capped by the transformational acquisition of Time Inc. Lacy also conceived and led an employee health and financial wellness program that has received national recognition and become a model for American industry. 'Steve was everything an organization could hope for in a CEO and will continue to serve Meredith well as chairman," said Harty'...

Meredith Moves SI Swimsuit Issue's Timing to May's Swim Daily writes: "'When Sports Illustrated launched SI Swimsuit in 1964, they chose February because back then there was a gap in sports," said SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day. 'But now there is no shortage of sports events in winter, so moving the issue to May aligns us perfectly with the joy that comes with the start of summer... This year, we're revealing our real time, so you can follow along and catch all the behind-the-scenes action... Be sure to follow SI Swimsuit on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see where in the world we're headed next." 

New York Magazine Editor’s Exit Starts Talk of Successor, Sale
WWD, writing on Adam Moss's decision to leave New York Media after 15 years as New York magazine's chief editor: "'told The New York Times — his previous employer — in an interview that running a magazine simply isn’t what it used to be, alluding to the endless focus on driving and diversifying revenue and making ends meet. “I get reports back about what sold at what price point and all that stuff, and I think, ‘Wait, really, this is what I do for a living?’” he said to the Times. “You do spend less time worrying about getting a story right.' And maybe that’s shown a bit as of late. Recently there have been stories that have been at odds with the cultural zeitgeist New York has long traded in, especially under Moss. Last month there was an unfunny essay by a comedian who attempted to characterize Priyanka Chopra as a 'global scam artist' for her 'fraudulent relationship' with Nick Jonas — that didn’t go down well, and the article was eventually deleted. In September, there was a magazine feature on Soon Yi Previn, the longtime wife of Woody Allen, that received plenty of blowback... Moss tried to make clear in his memo that his decision to leave was his and the reasons behind it entirely personal. 'I love this place and I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do next,' Moss said. He was sure to add: 'I don’t feel any anxiety for the company.' But there is plenty of change going on. An online paywall recently went up for the first time, showing subscription revenue isn’t what it used to be; verticals are being increasingly propped up as stand-alone brands to drive online traffic and create more advertising opportunities. And there’s still speculation of what exactly the future is for New York under the corporate leadership of Pam Wasserstein as digital media is going through its first real taste of upheaval. Staffers are nervous, too, and recently went public with their unionization effort. There is still industry talk that Wasserstein is shopping New York Media around for an outright sale, which could happen sooner than later, with one source saying there are ongoing talks with Bryan Goldberg of Bustle Digital Group and another pointing to Penske Media Corp. (which owns WWD)… Representatives of neither company could be immediately reached for comment."

Wired Laid Off 5 Journalists Last Week
Slate: "On Thursday, Wired magazine called an all-hands meeting on the day its newsroom moved to a different floor of One World Trade Center, the headquarters of its parent company Condé Nast. At the meeting, editor-in-chief Nick Thompson announced that the magazine was cutting five positions, sources who were present told Slate. Then the entire staff was told to vacate the floor and move to their new offices.The journalists let go included senior features editor Alexis Sobel Fitts and Brian Raftery, a senior writer covering film and TV. Also laid off, per her post on Twitter, was digital producer Lydia Belanger, who had joined the magazine just two and a half months earlier. Sources confirm two members of the art staff were eliminated as well.A Wired spokesperson confirmed to me that there had been layoffs but declined to confirm the names or the head count, saying only that it was a “small number.” A spokesperson for Condé Nast said last week’s layoffs were limited to Wired, with no other Condé Nast properties affected"...

Former Vogue Entertainment Director Hops to British Vogue
WWD: Jill Demling, who was longtime entertainment director of American Vogue before she was cut from her position last fall...under budget constraints, has crossed the Atlantic to British Vogue, where she’s been named entertainment director at large. The magazine does not currently have an entertainment director and Demling’s position is effective immediately"...

FT Woos Young Readers With Targeted Newsletter Content
Digiday: "For subscriptions publishers like the Financial Times, cultivating regular reading habits with younger generations is essential to securing future paid customers. That’s why the publisher has established a long-term program to get school kids and teachers regularly reading FT content.The program has been designed to help students contextualize their school curriculum with relevant news articles written by FT journalists. The publisher lifts the paywall with participating schools and students and students can create their own online and mobile accounts. Those that do are sent weekly email newsletters, curated by the FT’s global education editor, Andrew Jack. These feature links to stories that are relevant to their specific fields, whether it be economics, the environment or politics.In doing so, the hope is that 16- to 19-year-old students can more easily contextualize fact-heavy text-book information by reading relevant, real-life, contemporary examples of world and businesses news"...


Retail News

Walmart to Bow High-Tech Consolidation Center
PG: "Walmart Inc. has revealed plans to open a 340,000-sq.-ft. high-tech consolidation center in Colton, Calif., this July--the first in the company’s supply chain to receive, sort and ship freight via automated technology that 'will enable three times more volume to flow throughout the center and [help] Walmart deliver the right product to the right store, so customers can find the products they need,' according to the company. Initially to be staffed by 150 full-time associates, the center is expected to employ more than 600 workers by 2021. 'With the combined might of people and world-class logistic technology, this facility will be the most efficient consolidation center in Walmart’s supply chain,' the mega-retailer asserted. Walmart currently operates consolidation centers, which take multiple orders and group them to make the process more efficient for its distribution centers across the U.S., but the process is manual at those facilities. The new system, however, allows suppliers to fill one huge order instead of various ones.The technology also solves the problem of suppliers shipping orders in trucks not filled to capacity, resulting in added shipping costs and additional trucks on the road causing more carbon emissions and traffic. Walmart says it can pass on the savings generated by the new system to shoppers in the form of lower prices. What’s more, automating the receiving process upstream in the consolidation center lets supply chain teams group products based on how they are stocked, thereby making unloading easier. The new center will also be a warehouse where having products separated and stored further upstream allows Walmart’s supply chain to react more quickly to deliver product, as in the case of unexpected bad weather. In related news, Walmart broke ground last October on a tech-enabled perishable grocery DC in Shafter, Calif."

Stop & Shop to Test 'Self-Driving Grocery Stores'
SN: "Stop & Shop plans to pilot driverless vehicles that bring consumers a selection of groceries when summoned via an app.The Ahold Delhaize USA supermarket chain said Wednesday that the test, due to launch this spring in greater Boston, will use autonomous electric vehicles from San Francisco-based startup Robomart Inc. Billed as a “self-driving grocery store,” the vehicles will carry an assortment of produce, meal kits and convenience items directly to customers, where they can choose what they want. The process works as follows: Stop & Shop customers use a smartphone app to request a shopping visit from the closest Robomart. When the vehicle arrives, customers go outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors and then pick the fruit, vegetables and other products they want to buy off the shelves inside. After taking their items, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way. The vehicles’ RFID and computer vision ”grab-and-go” technology automatically records the products customers selected and charges them. Receipts are e-mailed in seconds... The driverless vehicles are piloted remotely from a Robomart facility. Stop & Shop said the tele-operated vehicles will be restocked with fresh items throughout their journey to ensure the best selection for customers. Perishables are kept fresh via purpose-built refrigeration and temperature control in the vehicle. Besides at-your-doorstep convenience, the vehicles offer a checkout-free shopping experience and address a key consumer obstacle in online and mobile grocery shopping: the ability to pick out your own fresh produce, Stop & Shop and Robomart noted. The Quincy, Mass.-based grocer said Robomart also could extend the chain’s market reach beyond its brick-and-mortar footprint. The system, too, provides detailed analytics that offer insight into sales and consumption patterns... The partnership marks the second Stop & Shop robotics pilot announced this week. On Monday, Ahold Delhaize USA unveiled a program to deploy maintenance robots from Jabil’s Badger Technologies at about 500 Giant/Martin's and Stop & Shop locations to help improve in-store efficiencies and safety.And in another test, Ahold Delhaize USA is working with Takeoff Technologies to develop mini robotic warehouses to assemble orders made through online grocery subsidiary Peapod, with pickup available through Stop & Shop stores."

Walmart, Microsoft Team to Battle Amazon In Health Care
CNBC: "As Amazon keeps growing, Microsoft is getting involved with ever more retailers. On Tuesday Microsoft said it has signed a multiyear deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). Amazon’s core business still lies in e-commerce — it has expanded in brick-and-mortar retailing through Amazon Go Stores, its Whole Foods acquisition and other efforts — and at times that’s proving to be an advantage to Amazon’s competitors in the cloud business. In the case of Walgreens, Amazon’s recent push into health care looms large. Although the company has kept its intentions closely guarded, it’s making moves like acquiring online pharmacy PillPack and teaming up with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway on a long-term plan to improve care and reduce costs for employees. WBA CEO and Executive Vice Chairman Stefano Pessina said he’s not afraid of Amazon moving into the space. 'If they will come, they will create another ecosystem and people will live together,' Pessina told CNBC’s Jon Fortt in an interview announcing the news. 'We have never believed that someone could monopolize the market. We believe that if you do the right things you can drive even if you have hard competitors.' Under the deal, WBA is signing up more than 380,000 employees for its Microsoft 365 cloud apps offering, including Office 365, Windows 10, and mobility and security tools. The company will move most of its information technology workloads to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud.Beyond operating Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, WBA has almost 400 distribution centers that deliver to hundreds of thousands of doctors, hospitals, health centers and pharmacies annually, according to its latest annual report. The company acknowledged Amazon’s PillPack deal in the report’s risk factors section.The deal will also include tests of “digital health corners” within some Walgreens stores, plus cooperation on research and development and software for managing patient engagement and chronic disease. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the CNBC interview the deal was sparked by a conversation about three years ago. '[WBA] went through a pretty rigorous process of really finding the right partner who can bring both world class technology, but also the trust in order to be able help them build this ecosystem,' Nadella said. “Because, ultimately, this is about broad partnerships that need to be harnessed by Walgreens in order to deliver the services that [they’re] envisioning and they needed to find a partner who, on the technology side, has the capability to do that ecosystem orchestration and is trusted, and that is something where we obviously do well in and I’m glad to sort of really bring all of that to this partnership. Nadella said Microsoft will act as the “glue” for various technology and partnerships that will bring data from multiple sources together in order to establish new programs"...

Stater Bros. Promotes Retail Operations Chief
SN: "Keith Thomas has been promoted to group SVP of retail operations at Stater Bros. Markets. The Southern California grocery chain said yesterday that the move makes Thomas a member of the executive management committee, which formulates company strategy. He previously held the title of SVP of retail operations. In the new role, Thomas will continue to lead Stater Bros.’ retail operations and training departments and oversee the operation of all the San Bernardino, Calif.-based grocer’s 172 supermarkets. He reports directly to president George Frahm"...

Walmart Exiting One of CVS's Pharmacy Groups
PG: "Walmart Inc. has decided to leave the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) commercial and managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks over a pricing dispute. CVS Health has requested that the mega-retailer continue to fill prescriptions as an in-network participating pharmacy through April 30. Walmart will remain in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network, however, while the company’s Sam’s Club division will stay part of the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks.According to CVS, Walmart’s move isn't expected to have a significant effect on CVS’ 2019 financial results"...

NRF Study: 70% of Online Buyers Expect Free Shipping
MNB cites a new NRF study that finds that “consumers increasingly expect free delivery of items they buy online and are also embracing new options like picking up their online purchases at a local store… The report found that 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68% a year ago... Many consumers now consider shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page, with 65% saying they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts. 39% expect two-day shipping to be free, and 29% have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.' 70% of consumers who are aware of buying online and picking up in store had tried it, and the top reason for doing so was to avoid paying for shipping. Picking up at the cash register is still the most frequent practice, done by 83% of those who've bought online and picked up in-store. But as options grow, 63% would like to be able to use curbside pickup (tried so far by only 27%), 56% want merchandise delivered to the trunk of their cars (tried by 19%) and 50% want to retrieve purchases from a locker (tried by 16%).”


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