retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our Superquinn column in Monday’s MNB, Karen M. Connell, executive vice president of the Association of Sales & Marketing Companies (ASMC) and member of the MNB community, wrote:

“Were you the only male shopper in Superquinn? You repeatedly referred to "she" or "her" in your piece. I realize that statistics show women as the primary grocery shoppers but in many metropolitan areas the shift is occurring quickly. Maybe if these hand-held scanning devises catch on, we will see a lot more men doing the shopping.”

Being the primary shopper in our house, and also being male, we agree that more attention ought to be paid to men food shoppers. In this case, it was just shorthand…nothing more than that. Though we’ll admit to it being somewhat sexist shorthand.

Sorry.



Regarding our story about how warehouse clubs such as Costco may be facing slowed growth, MNB user Mike Shea wrote:

“So why are their comps still running at 6%...how many other “slowing” retail formats are showing this kind of growth?”



Responding to our comments about online shopping, and suggestion that free delivery will end up being a cost of doing business, we got a note from MNB user Howard Seiden:

“I understand big chains trying to encourage delivery by lowering its fees. I am a single independent who delivers. I charge $10.00 for delivery and think that is too low for the personal service this class of customer expects. By the time you take the order, pick it and deliver it you're breaking even. Let the big guys lose money. I can't afford to lose money on delivery.”

And MNB user Robert Reynolds wrote:

“Did you ever consider that maybe nobody is ever going to make it in this business. Only by creative assumptions and cost allocations can this business make money.”

To be honest, it never occurred to us that nobody would make it in e-grocery. Never.

Done right, it is too big an idea.



Regarding Home Depot’s decision to get rid of its Nathan’s hot dog kiosks, one MNB user wrote:

“My dad is going to be very disappointed... It's the only place he can get a hot dog anymore, since my mom banned them from the household diet!”



Our ongoing stories about obesity issues and related legislation elicited an email from one MNB user:

“Obesity is being seen as the problem instead of a symptom. I think the reason obesity is increasingly rampant in the United States has everything to do with a consumer culture whose highest value is
consumption/acquisition. What better unconscious spiritual metaphor than layers of suffocating fat around our hearts?”


MNB user Mark Macedonio wrote about the Congressional proposal to spend upwards of a quarter-billion dollars on anti-obesity initiatives:

“Why should the government spend any money on this type of initiative? Will a lame government advertising campaign promoting physical fitness have any impact whatsoever? Isn't it enough that all the major networks cover our Chief Executive performing his daily workouts or participating in marathons? Isn't that in itself inspiration enough for our huddled and yearning masses? Besides, on the private side of things, Bowflex Infomercials on network television are more effective in inspiring fitness than any prospective government campaign.

“I have a better idea for the $250 million budget. How about directing this budget toward feeding, sheltering and providing healthcare to the many homeless and poverty stricken people across our great country. Target the funds toward helping the less fortunate "survive". Their "fitness" will improve as a result. You want fitness? Join the Marines!”


And another wrote:

“I think our tax dollars would be better spent on building walking/biking paths in as many cities and towns as possible. In the area where I live, it's not possible to safely ride a bike or jog along the roads. There are no shoulders on the roads, and the traffic has increased to the point where there are no "back roads" anymore. Also, tax credits for purchase of health club memberships or home fitness equipment would be a more positive and effective use of these funds. Make it easier and safer for people to be active, and give them a tax break for it.

“Retailers could benefit from the new "War on Fat" as well, by building walking trails around Malls (with a "juice bar" nearby) and displaying fitness-related items prominently.

“On a lighter note, will the government soon appoint a "Special Fat
Prosecutor"?”


We think they did already. Ken Starr.



And on that note, we’ll see you tomorrow.
KC's View: