retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Upshop and Itasca Retail have announced a merger of the two companies, saying that they will be "integrating Itasca Retail's merchandise receiving, retail ordering, and inventory optimization and management - most notably the Magic Inventory Intelligence and Computer-Generated Ordering application - into Upshop's total store operations experience," enabling retailers to "access one inventory record and unified demand forecast to order for the entire store in real time."

The goal, the companies said in their announcement, is to "tackle one of the most urgent retail challenges: improving on-shelf availability while reducing labor burden."

Full disclosure:  Itasca is a recent MNB sponsor.



•  The Associated Press reports that "Walmart and CVS Pharmacy have settled with the state of West Virginia for a combined total of $147 million in a lawsuit over the companies’ roles in contributing to the oversupply of prescription drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic in the country’s most impacted state, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Tuesday.

"Walmart and CVS were two lawsuits that were part of a larger trial that was pushed back to June of next year along with Kroger and Walgreens. Morrisey recently announced a settlement with Rite Aid for up to $30 million to resolve similar litigation.

"The lawsuits allege the pharmacies’ contributions to the oversupply of prescription opioids in the state have caused 'significant losses through their past and ongoing medical treatment costs, including for minors born addicted to opioids, rehabilitation costs, naloxone costs, medical examiner expenses, self-funded state insurance costs and other forms of losses to address opioid-related afflictions and loss of lives.'

"It brings the total settlements by the state in opioid lawsuits to $875 million, including $296 million with manufacturers, $400 million with wholesalers and $177.5 million involving pharmacies."



•  Axios reports that Nordstrom "adopted a poison pill after listed Mexican department store chain Liverpool acquired a 9.9% stake for around $295 million."

The story notes that "Nordstrom is a perpetual M&A bridesmaid, but always ends up remaining single. The founding family tried to take it private it 2017, but failed to secure adequate financing. Then it partnered with Leonard Green for an $8 billion buyout, but again the banks balked. Now, in response to outside interest from a retailer with a 2x+ market cap, it's building a brick wall."

Axios writes that "were anyone to acquire 10% or more of Nordstrom's stock without board approval, the Seattle-based retailer could issue new shares at a 50% discount to existing 10% or more holders (i.e., the Nordstrom family, which holds a 15.9% position)."