Toys R Us will further its return to brick-and-mortar retail in the U.S. with the opening of a flagship at the American Dream mall in New Jersey later this month. In addition to selling toys, the 20,000-square-foot store will focus on experiences with features like a two-story slide and an ice cream parlor, parent WHP Global said…

    Supply-chain disruptions, driven by the ongoing shortage of microchips that has dented new-vehicle stockpiles, undercut U.S. sales at Hyundai and Kia for the fourth straight month in November. Volume dropped 20% at Hyundai and 5.4% at Kia last month, the companies said yesterday.

    CVS is offering a proprietary solution that will read prescription information aloud at all of its pharmacy locations. The drugstore giant is making a feature called Spoken Rx, which it developed in collaboration with the American Council of the Blind, available at its nearly 10,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, including the more than 1,700 CVS Pharmacy locations within Target.

    Lexus retained its spot as the most-liked brand by dealers in the latest National Automobile Dealers Association Dealer Attitude Survey. The survey, which is conducted twice each year, serves as a NADA report card on dealers' relationships with the automakers they represent. Sibling brand Toyota ranked second in the summer 2021 survey…

    Southeastern Grocers is expanding the footprint of its Hispanic banner via store conversions. The supermarket company has opened two new Fresco y Más locations, in Tampa and Deltona, Fla. The Tampa store, its third in the market, was converted from a Harveys Supermarket, while the Deltona store was formerly a Winn-Dixie.

    UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service say they feel good about their ability to handle peak holiday volumes this year, thanks to expanded capacity, availability of vaccines for workers and consumers shopping earlier and in stores due to supply chain concerns.

    Authentic Brands Group has chosen to forego an initial public offering and has sold stakes in its business to private equity firm CVC Capital, hedge fund HPS Investment Partners and existing stakeholders. Authentic Brands' portfolio includes full or partial ownership of Aeropostale, Barney New York, Brooks Brothers, Forever 21 and Sports Illustrated magazine...

    Foot Locker reported better-than-expected Q3 sales and adjusted earnings and expressed confidence it was ready to meet holiday demand despite persistent supply-chain issues. The company says it expects global supply-chain constraints to persist throughout Q4. Total sales increased 3.9% to $2.19 billion, above estimates of $2.15 billion vs. sales of $2.1 million.

    General Motors President Mark Reuss said yesterday the company will co-develop semiconductors with several producers to make chips that can handle more electronic features in its vehicles, a revamp of strategy that comes as a shortage of these items continues to roil the global auto industry.

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    Target Corp. reported stronger-than-expected Q3 earnings and sales and said it's ready for the holidays as it remains focused on "protecting prices" for customers. The discounter, similar to other major retailers such as Walmart and The Home Depot, chartered its own ships to deal with global supply chain congestion and ensure that merchandise arrived at stores and warehouses in time to meet holiday demand…

    Walmart delivered strong Q3 results that bode well for the company as it heads into the holiday season and raised its full-year earnings guidance for the third consecutive quarter. The retail giant sounded a confident note as, similar to other retailers, it deals with supply-chain disruption, labor shortages and inflation.

    Restaurant Brands International is adding a fourth brand to its portfolio. The parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has agreed to acquire sub sandwich chain Firehouse Subs for $1 billion in cash. Founded in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs has approximately 1,200 locations across the United States.

    Walgreens Boots Alliance and VillageMd continue to expand in Florida. The two companies will open 20 full-service primary care clinics at Walgreens stores in the Tampa area during the next year. The first Village Medical location at Walgreens in Tampa opened Oct. 26 in Pinellas Park, with several more openings to follow in early 2022.

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    Despite spending heavily behind the introduction of breakfast items, Wendy's will need to up its morning game to meet ambitious growth goals, Ad Age says. The restaurant chain, which after several false starts over the years plowed into the breakfast business in 2020, expects breakfast to grow 20% to 30% this year behind a $25 million advertising push, executives say.

    Walmart has chosen the Dallas-Fort Worth region as the site for two new projects: a 1.5-million-square-foot automated fulfillment center opening in 2023 and a 730,000-square-foot grocery distribution facility that will open in 2024. The sites will feature increased automation to streamline the supply chain and follow the retailer's announcement that it also plans to build another 720,000-square-foot high-tech distribution center in South Carolina, opening in 2024...

    Amazon shoppers will be able to use the Venmo app as a payment option starting next year under a new deal between the e-commerce giant and PayPal, Venmo's parent. PayPal previously had an arrangement with eBay, which ended last year and precluded the use of the Venmo app on Amazon...

    Walmart said yesterday it has started using fully driverless trucking in its online grocery business, aiming to increase capacity and reduce inefficiencies. Walmart and Silicon Valley start-up Gatik said that since August they've operated two autonomous box trucks - without a safety driver - on a 7-mile loop daily for 12 hours. The Gatik trucks are loaded with online grocery orders from a Walmart fulfillment center called a "dark store."

    Kroger is using a giant, robot-powered warehouse - instead of opening stores - to break into Florida, a new market for the country's largest supermarket operator. It plans to use the same strategy in the Northeast, where it will deliver online orders to homes and serve customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for the first time.

    Kroger is launching a subscription program that will offer members free deliveries and double gas points. The program, called Kroger Boost, is being rolled out in the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis markets. Customers paying $99 a year will get free delivery in as little as two hours, and a $59 membership offers free delivery within 24 hours on orders of $35 or more…

    Ford Motor's U.S. vehicle sales showed positive signs of recovery from an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips that's wreaked havoc on the global automotive industry this year. The Detroit automaker yesterday reported sales of 175,918 new vehicles in October, down by 4% from a year ago but a far narrower loss than in prior months.

    Hyundai and Kia posted lower U.S. sales for the third straight month in October as tight chip supplies and other bottlenecks continue to undermine light-vehicle output and dealer stockpiles, Automotive News reports. Deliveries slipped 1.1% at Hyundai, though the company said retail volume rose 1% to an October record of 52,767.

    Coca-Cola said yesterday it has bought full control of sports drink maker Bodyarmor for $5.6 billion, making it the company's largest brand acquisition to date. Owning Bodyarmor helps Coke gain market share in the sports drink category, although PepsiCo's Gatorade is far and away the market leader with roughly 70% market share. Coke bought a 15% stake in Bodyarmor in 2018, becoming its second-largest shareholder...

    Petco is opening a new concept store under the banner of the chain's Reddy private label line of pet products that features apparel, collars, leashes, beds and feeders. The experiential store will offer a "fitting station" for apparel and a "treatery" with whipped cream cups for dogs among its amenities. The store is located in New York's SoHo neighborhood.

    Global supply chain difficulties are likely to persist, but Target is ready to face the challenges heading into to the holiday season, CEO Brian Cornell said. The retailer is hiring an additional 30,000 employees for its supply-chain team and is chartering its own cargo ship to build up inventory…

    Toyota plans to spread its new home-built Audio Multimedia infotainment system that is debuting this year in the 2022 Tundra pickup across the rest of its lineup within the next three to four years, according to Steve Basra, COO of Toyota Connected North America. Toyota is taking a similar tack with its new Lexus Interface, which debuted this year on the 2022 NX crossover.

    BJ's Wholesale Club's holiday plans include starting Black Friday early, shuttering stores Thanksgiving Day and adding new seasonal and permanent employees. The membership warehouse club retailer is kicking off its official holiday promotion with an early bird savings event Nov. 4 -29.

    Hy-Vee and Walmart have started offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine boosters after approvals from the CDC and FDA. The free shots follow those authorized for the Pfizer/BioNTech booster in September, and Hy-Vee is giving away $10 store gift cards to people who complete their vaccinations or get a booster by Nov. 1...

    Walmart and Coinstar are collaborating on a test of bitcoin kiosks at 200 of the retailer's U.S. stores. The pilot program is part of Walmart's initial exploration of a strategy regarding digital currency and a larger initiative by Coinstar and the cryptocurrency cash exchange Coinme, which currently makes bitcoin available through more than 8,000 kiosks…

    Two home-improvement giants and the nation's leading consumer electronics retailer took the top spots in an overall ranking of retail companies - as chosen by the public. Lowe's was the top-performing brand overall in research and data analytics group YouGov's latest U.S. Retail Rankings 2021, followed by The Home Depot and Best Buy. Rounding out the top five were Barnes & Noble and Ace Hardware.

    The holiday campaign is under way at Lowe's, and efforts to stock up on artificial Christmas trees, decor and gift items amid the ongoing supply-chain challenges have ensured a sufficient supply, the retailer said. The stores have stocked about 4,000 tree options, including slimmer versions for smaller spaces, and the retailer is also expecting more decor demand from local merchants and small businesses this year...

    Procter & Gamble yesterday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations, but higher costs weighed on the company's profits. The consumer giant also raised its forecast for commodity and freight costs for the remainder of the fiscal year, warning it believes inflation is still increasing...

    Walmart has announced the return of its month-long savings event, Black Friday Deals for Days - this time with something extra for Walmart+ members. Paying Walmart+ members will receive early access to online Black Friday events throughout November - an opportunity to shop all the deals four hours earlier than the scheduled start times for all three events.

    Walgreens Boots Alliance beat Q4 earnings forecasts as the rise in employer mandates drove renewed demand for COVID-19 vaccines and sales of over-the-counter medicines rebounded. The company also said it will invest $5.2 billion in-store clinic operator VillageMD, and CEO Roz Brewer said the retailer could rethink selling tobacco products in its stores…

    Macy's has signed a long-term deal with sports gear merchandiser Fanatics to expand Macy's offerings of sports apparel, fan gear and other sports-related merchandise through its digital channels. The products will be available on Macy's website and mobile app, and Fanatics will handle order fulfillment and shipping...

    Hyundai Motor's global operating officer said yesterday the automaker wants to develop its own chips to reduce reliance on chipmakers, Reuters reports. A global shortage of semiconductors, triggered partly by surging demand for laptops and other electronic products during the pandemic, has shuttered some auto production lines globally this year…

    Best Buy said yesterday that it has agreed to acquire Current Health, a UK tech company that helps with remote patient monitoring and telehealth. With the move, Best Buy is pushing further into health care - a sector that CEO Corie Barry frequently describes as a growth opportunity.

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    Netflix and Walmart have announced the launch of the Netflix Hub at Walmart, making the world's largest retailer a primary online destination for the streamer's branded original series merchandise. Product categories include music, apparel, toys and games.

    Michaels has plans to sell arts and crafts made by its customer creators by the middle of next year on its digital platforms. "Makers have been giving us feedback. They're finding friction points and we're responding," said CEO Ashley Buchanan. The company has "hundreds of coders around the world working to completely revamp and recode our website and app," she said…

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    Intuit is returning to the Super Bowl with a commercial for its TurboTax brand. This would make it TurboTax's ninth consecutive Big Game ad as the company once again looks to reach consumers at the start of tax prep season. TurboTax is the first brand to confirm it will run a commercial in Super Bowl LVI, which will air on NBC on Feb. 13.

    Home Depot is hiring Walmart to deliver paint, tools and other online purchases to customers' doors. The retailers announced the partnership yesterday. The home-improvement retailer is the first retail client to sign up for Walmart's new delivery business, GoLocal.

    Best Buy is rolling out a new membership program nationwide that includes special holiday perks and members-only deals. The consumer electronics giant's new Totaltech program, which costs $199.99 per year, includes free round-the-clock Geek Squad tech support and access to a 24/7 VIP service with dedicated phone and chat teams.

    Black Friday is arriving more than a month early for one retail giant. Starting this week, Amazon is offering what it calls "Black Friday-worthy" deals for the holiday season, with a new gifting by email/text feature for Prime members. The e-commerce titan is unveiling a wide variety of features, solutions and curated assortments aimed at holiday shoppers…

    General Motors said late last week the semiconductor chip shortage that has hit production at automakers worldwide was abating, while reporting its first quarterly sales fall in a year. "As we look to the fourth quarter, a steady flow of vehicles held at plants will continue to be released to dealers," GM said, adding that it was expecting a more "stable operating environment."

    General Motors is getting into software services, announcing that a platform called Ultifi will be in new models starting in 2023. The idea is to use the cloud-based system for over-the-air updates, which Tesla already does, and to offer new smartphone-like features for cars, such as facial recognition to start the vehicle. The Ultifi platform gives the vehicle a foundation for a variety of apps and services, GM said…

    Two industry forecasters think Toyota Motor North America sustained the not "sustainable" and will beat General Motors in U.S. sales for a second consecutive quarter as microchip and other supply shortages wreak havoc on traditional market shares. Most automakers are expected to announce their September and Q3 sales tomorrow.

    The $11.4 billion that Ford Motor and a partner are investing in two new manufacturing campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky show that the automaker is committed to electrifying its vehicle lineup, but it likely will need even more battery plants than that to meet its goals, Executive Chair Bill Ford said yesterday.

    Walmart continues to expand its healthcare partnerships. The retail giant is partnering with health records system company Epic to integrate all of Walmart's health and wellness lines of business - across channels. By creating a single, unified system, the retailer intends to engage patients, health care professionals, insurance carriers and other stakeholders in its Walmart Health offering through a unified portal.

    Costco Wholesale ended a strong year on an even stronger note, topping the $60 billion mark in quarterly net sales for the first time in its history. In another first, its annual profit hit $5 billion, growing at its fastest rate in more than 20 years.

    Amazon Business, which has grown rapidly since its launch in 2015, will increase its U.S. product sales by 43.5% on a year-over-year basis to reach $27.59 billion in 2021, according to a forecast by eMarketer. Last year Amazon Business, which offers a B2B e-commerce platform similar to its consumer-facing website, brought in $19.23 billion in U.S. product sales.

    Plants producing heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge vehicles will idle next week due to the global semiconductor shortage, The Detroit News reports. Demand for consumer electronics has led to a scarcity of the microchips used in vehicle electronics, halting factories worldwide and increasing vehicles prices.

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    General Motors has signed an agreement with car rental giant Hertz to help funnel more loaner vehicles to dealerships amid the global microchip shortage, Automotive News reports. As an enhancement to GM's existing Dealer Courtesy Transportation Program, Hertz will provide loaner vehicles to dealers at the automaker's current rate, GM said.