business news in context, analysis with attitude

Continued reaction to our stories over the past few days about the Fleming-Kmart divorce, Kmart's decision to at least temporarily be a self-distributing for groceries, and our tongue-in-cheek suggestion that since Wal-Mart is considering opening up a wholesale division to supply independents, maybe it could supply Kmart as well…

One MNB user wrote:

"It’s hard enough for a food wholesaler who knows how to handle food to supply a poorly run organization like K-Mart.

"Imagine how hard it will be for a company that has poor logistics capabilities to supply itself with product it has no skill in handling.

"My conclusion (all along...): KMART is dead as a doornail."

MNB user Jerry Leonard wrote the following about Fleming's travails:

"The Retailer wants 3 basic things:
1. Groceries
2. The price you told me they would be
3. Delivered when you told me they would be

"Fleming, go back to serving the needs of your customers."

Sometimes, there is elegance is simplicity…

Another member of the MNB community wrote about the decision by Fleming to stop supplying Kmart:

"When you are losing money on an account and will never make money, the better managers bite the bullet, take their licks and move on. This is the right thing for Fleming to do and they will be better for it."

Finally, MNB user George Morrow wrote:

"Just to set the record straight, McLane is not just c-store business. They also supply goods and services (such as clipstrips) to all 1,200 Wal-Mart Supercenters and 40, or so, Neighborhood Markets. Thought you would like to

Thanks, George.

One other comment on this ongoing story, if we may.

We were reminded yesterday that it doesn't seem that long ago that Jeff Noddle of Supervalu was being excoriated for his failure to land the Kmart business, after the retailer decided it wanted one supplier rather than splitting the business between Fleming and Supervalu.

At the moment, however, Noddle looks like the smartest guy in the business…

We also got email responding to yesterday's story about French women spending less time cooking than in the past:

"I could not resist responding to the reduced time in the kitchen among French women. While it is true that the French marketplace is slowly adopting more convenience foods (and very tasty options, I might add), I have to question whether the French have become more time starved. This is a country that has progressively adopted a more and more reduced workweek. Are they down to 36 hours now? So either the French are struggling with what to do in their time off, or they are working two jobs, or the 36-hour week is a myth. I have long entertained the notion that "time" and "stress" are useful marketing terms to deceive folks into believing that the have no time and therefore ramp up convenience foods markets. I will be very interested (to see) this in the French marketplace. For a good inside look - read "Paris to the Moon," by Adam Gopnik. The French are the only folks on the face of the earth to a speed setting for saunter on their running machines!!"

And the problem with this is…?
KC's View: