”Big Lots alleges … [a small Tampa, Fla., research firm, Retail Intelligence Group] pried information out of store managers, in effect stealing trade secrets and aiding and abetting employees’ breach of fiduciary duty. It has asked the court for an injunction to immediately stop what it calls “wrongfully induced” snooping.
Just what are Retail Intelligence’s methods? Among them is the most basic stock research tool on Wall Street: “channel checks,” a vague term that has historically meant anything from counting cars in parking lots to conversations with company suppliers to casual run-ins with customers.
The Big Lots suit alleges that Retail Intelligence’s channel checks took a nefarious turn. It accuses the group of illegally pinching information out of store managers, inducing them to disclose trade secrets about the discount chain’s sales, inventory and foot traffic.”
See article at: WSJ 23Nov10: “Insider Trading: The Next Frontier”