Consumer and retail news: 10 things you need to know today


Peter Wynn Thompson/AP Images for Amazon

1. Amazon is knocking down Prime’s price by $26 this weekend

Amazon plans to celebrate its Golden Globe win for its original series “Mozart in the Jungle” by giving out a big, one-weekend-only discount. Friday through Sunday, Amazon’s shopping club, Prime, will cost $73, down $26 from its usual $99 annual price tag. ($73, because this was the 73rd annual Golden Globes.)

2. Walmart is closing hundreds of stores and laying off thousands of employees

Walmart will close 269 stores, including 154 in the United States. The move will affect more than 16,000 employees, including 10,000 in the US. This is part of the retailer’s efforts to shift resources to Walmart’s supercenters and smaller-format Neighbourhood Market stores

3. American Apparel has turned down Dov Charney’s buyout offer

American Apparel’s former CEO, Dov Charney made a $300 million bid to buy back his former company. However, Bloomberg has reported that the company has rejected his attempts. Charney was backed by Hagan Capital Group and Silver Creek Capital Partners, and their private equity unit PressPlay Group, Business Insider learned in a press release earlier this week.

4. ‘Confidential’ memo shows Deutsche Bank admitting its screwup was the reason American Apparel employees didn’t get paid last week

In separate American Apparel news, Deutsche Bank has admitted that it is responsible for the retailer’s recent payment scandal. A copy of the memo was obtained by Business Insider.

5. Zulily had a great response after a customer tried to return a coat

When Kelly Blue Kinkel tried to return a coat she purchased from the online retailer, the customer service representative she spoke to agreed to refund her money — but he said the company wouldn’t take back her coat. He asked that she give her coat to charity or someone who truly needs a coat. She posted the story on Facebook, and now it’s going viral. US Weekly reported the story first.

6. Retail sales fell in December, as expected

With all 12 months in, we now know that 2015 was the worst year for retail sales since 2009. “A disappointing headline and even worse details suggest that spending in Q4 will likely drag GDP down even further,” BNP Paribas’ Bricklin Dwyer wrote to clients. “The December retail sales report implies a downward revision to our tracking estimate of consumption spending in Q4.”

7. This pizza restaurant’s bathroom sign is receiving national attention

Pure Pizza of Charlotte, North Carolina, is generating buzz for an unexpected reason: a note hanging inside its unisex bathroom. “We have a UniSex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations,” the note reads.

8. This liquor brand grew sales from $1.9 million to $160 million in under 5 years — and it’s now more popular than Grey Goose or Jim Beam

Fireball Whiskey’s sales are soaring. It’s the sixth-most popular liquor brand in America by retail sales, putting it ahead of classic brands like Grey Goose and Jim Beam, according to CNN Money. That doesn’t include sales in bars.

9. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explains to Business Insider why 18% of employees quit during the company’s radical self-management experiment

Hsieh believes that the employees who chose to leave are happier, regardless of what caused them to take the severance package. “We want to make sure that employees aren’t here for just a paycheck and that they truly believe that this is the right place for them,” he said to Business Insider.

10. Lululemon is avoiding the retail industry’s worst trend

At the ICR Conference in Orlando, CEO Laurent Potdevin said that the company sold 90% of its apparel at full price between Cyber Monday and Christmas, Sapna Maheshwari of Buzzfeed reported. This is notable, as most retailers often have to resort to heavy promotions during the holiday season.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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