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Inside Retail (Apr 18th, 2018)

Amazon said it’s making it easier for customers in more than 100 countries to find products available for international shipping. The service will be available through the Amazon Shopping App. It will include 45 million products in five languages. “Customers have been asking for a way to easily find and shop only for products available to be shipped to them,” Samir Kumar, vice president of Amazon Exports and Expansion, said in a statement. Amazon also just announced that it’s partnering with Best Buy to sell Amazon Fire TV-powered televisions in Best Buy stores and on Amazon.com. – CNBC

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Toys R Us has rejected a bid from a billionaire trying to save the retail chain. Isaac Larian, CEO of toymaker MGA Entertainment, made a $675 million bid for about 200 of the 735 Toys R Us locations in the U.S. and about 80 locations in Canada. The bid was reportedly too low. Toys R Us, which is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, has not said if it will entertain bids from others. Larin had previously tried to raise $1 billion to bid on Toys R Us through GoFundMe, but he did not reach his goal so bid for the company with his own funds. – CNN

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Discount retailer Big Lots CEO David Campisi is stepping down after five years at the helm. He has been on a leave of absence for medical reasons since December, the company said. Now Big Lots is looking for a new CEO as other executives have been coordinating to carry out the CEO duties. Big Lots is in the process of rebranding to focus more on furniture sales. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots has 1,416 locations in 47 states. Big Lots shares are down about 9 percent the past year. – RETAIL DIVE

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Tesla is reportedly trying to increase its production rate even as it faces setbacks. In a letter to employees, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called for the company to produce 6,000 Model 3 vehicles each week by the end of June, up from its previous goal of 5,000 per week. Tesla recently suspended its production of Model 3s for the second time this year to work on bottlenecks in its automation process after it experienced delays. Tesla is currently producing about 2,000 to 2,500 Model 3 vehicles per week. – BUSINESS INSIDER

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Starbucks is closing about 8,000 locations, or more than half its stores, for a half-day in May to address unconscious racial bias issues with about 175,000 employees. The training could cost the company about $16.7 million in lost sales. Last year, Starbucks had about $22.4 billion in revenue. The coffee shop chain is trying to address bias issues after two black patrons were arrested for trespassing as they waited for their friend without buying anything. The company called the arrest “reprehensible.” Starbucks shares are fairly flat this year, up about 1 percent. – BLOOMBERG

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