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Inside Retail (May 10th, 2017)

Coca-Cola Co.’s (KO) new CEO James Quincey is encouraging a less cautious workplace culture as he aims to create a “total beverage company.” Coca-Cola’s culture of timidity around risk, called “New Coke syndrome” stems from its launch of a new version of its soda in 1985 that met with widespread criticism. Quincey, 52, who took the helm of the Atlanta-based beverage company May 1, says because consumers are increasingly turning away from soda and sugary drinks, Coca-Cola needs to continue branching out into other beverages – confidently. About 70 percent of Coca-Cola’s global sales by volume is soda. – WSJ

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Office Depot Inc. (ODP) reported first-quarter earnings that beat Street expectations after a wave of store closures reduced costs. The Florida-based office supply retailer is also divesting in Australia, China and parts of Europe as it sharpens its focus on North America. Office Depot lowered its cost of goods sold and occupancy by 7 percent, but it also saw revenue decline as a result. Sales declined 7 percent to $2.68 billion. Profit was 16 cents per share, topping the Street view of 12 cents per share. In the next three years, Office Depot plans to close about 300 more stores. – REUTERS

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Target plans to launch a pilot program for next-day delivery of convenience items, the company said. The program, underway in Minneapolis for some employees, is called Target Restock and aims to save consumers time. In the pilot phase, REDcard members will be able to access an online shopping section where they can buy essentials for the household. They’ll be packaged at a nearby store. Orders made before 1:30 p.m. will be delivered the next business day. “Target is connecting stores and digital to create new services for guests,” the company said in a blog post. – RETAIL DIVE

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Retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) are strategizing ways to connect with consumers on a more personal level. Those companies that can leverage technology to identify a customer’s personal preferences are getting revenue boosts of 6 percent to 10 percent, according to Boston Consulting Group’s survey of C-level executives at 50 companies with a market caps of more than $500 million. “Brand individualization unlocks the ability to enhance loyalty,” the report said. Starbucks has begun sending personalized food and drink recommendations to consumers who use its app. – EMARKETER RETAIL

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Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (BONT) said its chief operating officer, William Tracy, will become its next CEO, replacing Kathryn Bufano, who resigned as of April 25 as her contract expired. Before becoming COO in July 2015, Tracy held various management positions with Hudson’s Bay Company, including vice president of supply chain, logistics & omnichannel. Tracey said in a statement that he sees “opportunities to build on the strategic initiatives we have in place.” Bon-Ton shares are down 43 percent year to date and down 62.5 percent the past year. – FINANCIAL TIMES

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. may fork over $300 million to settle a foreign bribery investigation, if the U.S. Justice Department has its way. The retail giant has already spent about $840 million on an internal investigation of alleged bribes it paid in Mexico to build stores there. An investigation looked at Wal-Mart’s behavior across the world, including in Brazil, India and China. Wal-Mart has not yet agreed to the amount, which is significantly lower than the last request for more than $600 million. The negotiations are in the final stages and neither Wal-Mart nor the U.S. Justice Department has commented. – WSJ

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