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    Published on: April 26, 2007

    To hear Kevin Coupe’s weekly radio commentary, click on the “MNB Radio” icon on the left hand side of the home page, or just go to:

    Or, to simply read the commentary in text form, continue below…

    Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, brought to you by Webstop, your first stop for retail website design services.

    What do you call an aging Yuppie?

    This was the question that I posed a few weeks ago in a radio commentary that originally was focusing on the way in which technology makes constant and state-of-the-art access to the Internet – and therefore, to the world – not just possible, but to some of us, as important as the air that we breathe.

    I mentioned in this space that I was astounded to find out that I actually had neighbors who get television reception using an old fashioned antennae strapped to their chimney, don’t have any sort of cable television, and while they have a computer, they’re still using dial-up AOL. They’re practically Amish!

    Now, I was criticized for that characterization – not just by MorningNewsBeat users who felt I was out of line, but by Mrs. Content Guy, who told me that I was both incredibly shallow and a spoiled Yuppie. My response was that I’m too old to be a Yuppie…and I posed the following question:

    What do you call an aging Yuppie, anyway?

    Well, I got dozens of responses…and I thought I would share some of them with you.

    Several of the respondents focused on my addiction to Internet access in coming up with names. Kathy Monro suggested GOOFA, for “gone overboard on fast access.” That’s pretty good, as was TECHNOCRAT, suggested by Landy Hauck – I think, based on the rest of her email, that she was putting the emphasis on “rat.”

    There were a number of emails that stressed the attitudinal. Dan Graham said that most of the aging Yuppies he knows have turned into GRUMPIES, while Brad Seifert said they’d turned into FRUMPIES.

    Matt Byham didn’t have an acronym, but we liked his description anyway: FASHIONABLY FERMENTING.

    Andy De Paolis suggested GERI-YUPPIE.

    Amy Miller suggested GUPPY, for “Graying Urban Professional.”

    Mark Walton also suggested GUPPIE, but he said it would stand for “Geriatric Yuppie.”

    Brian Baulier came up with several suggestions – MAMMAL, for “Middle Age Middle Manager, Ambition Lacking.” And MAMMARIE, for “Middle Age Middle Manager Actively Retired In Employment.” He also had another one that I can’t use here because it was obscene…but Brian, if you’re listening, I want you to know that you made me laugh out loud.

    While you all are winners in my book, the ultimate winner, in the end, was obvious. Mike Flaherty suggested that the best acronym for aging yuppies should be COUPEE – for “Cranky Old Urban Professional.”

    Not only was it good and funny – it sucked up to the Content Guy. That’s an unbeatable combination.

    For coming up with COUPEE, Mike Flaherty wins a limited edition MorningNewsBeat t-shirt…not to mention my endless admiration.

    For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    During the next few weeks, MNB will present a series of previews looking at some of the cutting edge topics and speakers who are on the agenda for the 2007 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show, scheduled for May 6-8 in Chicago, Illinois.

    The timing is good. Just this week, Wal-Mart announced that not only does it plan to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics over the next two or three years, it could raise that total to 2,000 within seven years. Wal-Mart currently has just 76 such clinics in operation, so this represents a major commitment.

    That’s just one prominent example of a powerful retail trend – opening in-store health clinics that offer basic diagnostic services, as well as flu shots and other immunizations. The trend has the potential of not just affecting the retail business, but also how healthcare is provided in this country.

    The in-store health clinic trend will get significant attention at the 2007 FMI Show, with am actual clinic on display on the show floor and a “Close Up” session on the subject – “In-Store Clinics: Are They Right For You?” – scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 2 p.m.

    Lisa Loscalzo, executive vice president of The Little Clinic, will be part of that session…and so we engaged her in the following e-interview to get a sense of what’s happening and what will be discussed.

    MNB: Give us a sense of how many in-store medical clinics there are in the US at this point?

    Lisa Loscalzo: There are a total of approximately 425 clinics in operation in the U.S. today.

    MNB: How do they break out in terms of supermarket locations, drug stores, and any store formats where they may be located?

    Lisa Loscalzo: Twenty percent are in supermarkets, 60 percent are in drugstores, and 20 percent are in mass merchants.

    MNB: Are there differences in how different organizations run them, or are they pretty much the same?

    Lisa Loscalzo: There are essentially three operating models:

    1) A Nurse Practitioner-based model treating minor illnesses , providing vaccinations and some health screenings.

    2) Physician-based model, offering expanded services with diagnostics on site.

    3) A Nurse Practitioner-based model offering some expanded services included lab testing.

    MNB: What kind of liability do stores have in providing this kind of medical care?

    Lisa Loscalzo: Retail health clinics are generally required to carry their own malpractice and general liability insurance as part of their lease arrangement with the host retailer.

    MNB: What is your sense of the next iteration of the in-store medical clinic? What will they offer that they’re not offering now?

    Lisa Loscalzo: Retail health clinics can play a key part in the evolution of whole-store health with the idea that health, food and pharmacy are all tied together so you will probably see programs and services developed that take advantage of these synergies.
    KC's View:
    This is what is called a “tease.” Check out the session and the mock-up at FMI for a sense of how the in-store health clinic model may be able to have an impact on your business.

    And, yet again…this reminder about the annual MNB Wine Party scheduled for FMI…

    On Sunday, May 6, from 6-7:30 pm, we will once again be hanging out at the Bin 36 bar…and if any members of the MNB community would like to stop by, say hello, and chat for a bit…well, the first couple of bottles of wine will be on us. It’ll be a great opportunity for all of us to put faces and voices with the names and words that appear on MNB plus an excuse to drink good wine. (Not that we need an excuse…)

    And there will be a special guest appearance this year – for the first time, Mrs. Content Guy will be joining us!

    Bin 36 is located at 339 N Dearborn on the west side of Marina City, between the river and Kinzie.

    See you in Chicago.

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    The New York Times reports that former President Bill Clinton is joining with television chef Rachael Ray to fight against the childhood obesity epidemic.

    The partnership is scheduled to be announced on Ray’s syndicated talk show today.

    According to the Times, the announcement “is timed to coincide both with spring sweeps and with the birth of the Yum-o Organization, Ms. Ray’s new nonprofit multimedia mix of culinary education, encouragement and scholarships.

    “Through Yum-o, she plans to create segments for her show and a new Web site…that might help a family figure out how to hit the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon and come home with the right ingredients to make three simple meals for the week.

    “Ms. Ray will work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the organization President Clinton’s foundation and the American Heart Association created to combat diabetes and childhood obesity.”

    On Ray’s show, Clinton reportedly talks about his lifelong weight problem, and how his passion for fast food eventually led to quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery in 2004.
    KC's View:
    This strikes us as smart marketing on both sides, especially because Ray says, “I don’t want to talk about obesity. I want to talk about how fun healthy food is, period.”

    We have to make the obesity fight less about denial if we’re rally going to have an impact.

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    The Rocky Mountain News has an interesting story about how Whole Foods, which has made a commitment to helping local suppliers build their businesses, gave a $50,000 loan to Colorado-based Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, which will use the money to “become a certified organic producer” and “allow the company to replace an outdated and wasteful irrigation system with a modern, water-conserving one.”

    “Haystack Mountain is one of the first five area recipients of a program the Austin, Texas-based grocer announced late last year, pledging $10 million in direct loans nationally to encourage and nurture local producers,” the News reports.

    “In this part of the world, Whole Foods has made five loans totaling $219,000, and there are at least 10 more applicants in the pipeline, said Will Paradise, the retailer's Rocky Mountain regional vice president.”

    The rates are about half those that would be charged by a bank, according to the company, and the loans are geared to both small, existing producers as well as start-up companies.
    KC's View:
    This strikes us as an extraordinary way to do business – to use money to commit not to suppliers, but to a way of life, a way of looking at the world. So many retailers are inner-focused, almost to the point of narcissism…they don’t see beyond their own walls and operational needs. (In some quarters, this goes beyond narcissism and enters the realm of paranoia.)

    There is a sense here of a company seeding the ground to see what happens, to see if it can make a difference.

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    • Tesco yesterday said that it expects to have 100 of its “Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets” in the US by February 2008, that it plans to spend $400 million (US) a year for the next five years as it rolls the concept out, and that its first markets will be Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County (California), Phoenix and Las Vegas.

    Tim Mason, CEO of Tesco’s US operations, said that while the concept has been described as a convenience store, “it's not a beer and chips business,” and he noted that the company wants “to sell fresh, healthy foods.” The stores will not sell tobacco products, and Mason said that everything sold by the company will be free of trans fats, artificial colors and artificial flavors.

    Employees at the 10,000 square foot stores, according to Mason, will make the decision as to whether they want to be unionized or not.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    ABC News reports that while trans fat “has become the whipping post of the entire health community” because it raises the bad (LDL) cholesterol and lowers the good (HDL) cholesterol, there now seems to be some evidence that some natural trans fat could have some health benefits.

    Go figure.

    “One such natural trans fat is called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA,” ABC reports. “It's present mostly in meat and dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese.

    “Preliminary research suggests that its benefits may include actually reducing the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. A review of clinical research over the past 16 years, published recently in the journal Lipid Technology, stated that natural CLA trans fat ‘has no effect or may actually lower LDL cholesterol and has little effect on HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.’”

    Consumers still need to be careful about how much of it they consume, but the evidence seems to be that there is a considerable difference between the manufactured trans fats that one finds in cookies and fried foods and the natural variety that are in meats and dairy products.
    KC's View:
    This is mostly evidence of how complicated the nutrition business is, and why consumers get confused.

    Bob Johansen, of the Institute for the Future, points out that we live in what he calls a “VUCA” world - one that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. This certainly applies to issues of nutrition and health, and it is up to the retailer to help consumers make sense of it all.

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    The Australian reports that Australia’s biggest retailer, Woolworths, may team up with Tesco to launch a bid for Coles Group that would compete with one made by Westfarmers, an Australian home improvement chain.

    Woolworths had been reported to be considering throwing in with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for a bid, but is now leaning toward Tesco. If the two do decide to team up and are successful, it is speculated that Woolworths would keep Coles’ Target and Officeworks chains, and Tesco would get the food chains.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    NamNews reports that Wal-Mart owned Asda Group in the UK is testing what it calls “Bag-Free Checkout” at one of its stores. If consumers don’t take plastic bags, they are given “green goodies for schools” vouchers, which schools can turn in for a variety of environmental product s big and small (ranging from aluminum can crushers to bug hotels).

    Asda even has an anti-bag czar, Claire Costello, who says, "It's simply not sustainable to keep throwing away billions of bags each year. That's why we want our customers to change the habit of a lifetime.”

    If the test works, Asda says it could expand the concept to other locations.

    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart, “under pressure to boost productivity at its Sam's Club wholesale unit, is cutting a small number of store-management jobs at the operation as part of a rare nationwide job cut.” The chain reportedly plans to consolidate some 3,000 manager positions at the almost 600 club stores, though it remains unclear how many people will lose their jobs.

    A spokesperson for the retailer, however, denied that the moves were being taken to reduce costs. “"This is not about cost reduction; it's about providing better service to our members," she tells the Journal.
    KC's View:
    Sure. Because the first thing you do when you want to improve service is eliminate personnel.

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    • Published reports say that a consortium headed up by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has succeeded in its effort to acquire UK-based Alliance Boots, for the equivalent of $22.12 billion (US). According to reports, KKR plans not to close any stores and institute any layoffs…and even wants to open new stores wherever appropriate, and even would like to expand the chain to Europe.

    • The New York Times reports this morning that management at Wendy’s International is considering a possible sale of the company, following disappointing earnings reports for the first quarter.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    • The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. reported that in its most recent quarter, sales were flat at $1.61 billion and same-store sales were down 1.5 percent. The company also declared a loss of $7.2 million, which was good news when you consider that during the same period a year ago it had a loss of $39.1 million.

    • PepsiCo reports first-quarter net income of $1.1 billion, up 16 percent compared with $947 million a year ago.

    In the latest quarter, PepsiCo Beverages North America had revenue of $2.09 billion, up from $1.99 billion. Revenue in the Frito-Lay North America segment rose to $2.55 billion from $2.39 billion. Revenue in the Quaker Foods North America unit rose to $463 million from $443 million. PepsiCo International profits increased 29% on strong snacks and beverage growth.

    • reports that its first quarter rose to $111 million, up from $51 million during the same period last year. Revenue rose 32 percent to $3.02 billion.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 26, 2007

    We commented yesterday that all of Wal-Mart’s “spy games” seem to suggest a certain paranoia, which led one MNB user to make a very canny observation:

    It sometimes seems, from reading your newsletter, that half of the Western world is taking shots at Wal-Mart. How, exactly, does that qualify as "paranoia"?

    This is, of course, a variation on the old truism: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

    And it is an excellent point.

    But let us suggest that maybe if Wal-Mart spent more time focusing on the stores and less time conducting espionage schemes, maybe it wouldn’t be suffering some of the problems that it has been encountering lately.

    Another member of the MNB community wrote:

    I disagree with you that Wal-Mart is showing signs of corporate paranoia. First, it's quite common for large retailers to recruit security personnel from government agencies. This is no different than a major airline recruiting pilots from the Air Force. I doubt Wal-Mart is really worried about minor scandal among its employees but more worried about terrorist attacks on it's facilities and its employees. Protecting the assets of a company the size of Wal-Mart is a huge responsibility and requires a highly sophisticated task force.

    Maybe. We still think it is over the edge…and that Wal-Mart’s efforts to prevent people from knowing how far over the edge it is will, eventually, be the bigger scandal.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    In response to Spy Games. I see it in very simple terms. Old Sam sucked us in for years spouting "Buy American", then outsourced the whole shebang. So if a few folks are angry, I mean really, really angry, then WM needs to be paranoid. The boss used this one on us last week concerning the new Bloom stores in our area, "If the neighbors dog poops in your backyard more than once, grab the rifle, not the shotgun, its quicker." I can see the same analogy applied to WM management.

    On the subject of Marsh’s changes under new management, one MNB user wrote:

    FYI … Marsh hired Roy Kip as Senior VP of Merchandising only a few months ago. He’s a solid guy with the force to make things change. I worked for Roy at Clemens Markets, and although we didn’t get along, I respect the hell out of him. He’s extremely intelligent and knows the business. I suspect his merchandising touch is involved here. If Jack Clemens had let Roy apply his talent and be a force of change, Jack would still have a supermarket chain where he could look out the window. Now the North Penn community hates him, and he sits in an empty office.

    Good for Frank and Roy. I look forward to great things at Marsh.

    It’s when the people who don’t like you offer kudos that you know that you’ve made it.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    I believe that Frank Lazaran was the best thing that could have happened to Marsh, my hat’s off to the folks who made the decision to put Frank into Marsh. Given no restrictions he will get the job done!

    We had an interview the other day with Thornton May, executive director and dean of the IT Leadership Academy, in which he looked at how the industry should respond to a time of extraordinary change (a subject he will address in depth at the upcoming FMI and MarkeTechnics Shows).

    May maintained that “we are migrating from the ‘4 P’s’ of industrial age marketing - Product, Price, Placement & Promotion - to the ‘4 C’s’ of post-Internet/pre-cyborg customer service - Communication, Customization, Collaboration, and Clairvoyance.”

    But one MNB user made an excellent point:

    The Four P’s are still very valid. People still want a good product, at the price they are willing to pay, where they wish to shop, and you have to advertise to get them to notice. None of that has changed.

    I would assert that 4Ps are the primary stimulants of consumer behavior, yet they are still the basics of good marketing. In our ever fragmented and highly competitive market place, the Four C’s could be viewed as advanced tactics aimed more at the shopper experience.

    But neither the 4Ps or the 4Cs mention ethics or business morals. Ethics continues to have ever-increasing shopper awareness that have nothing inherently to do with the products themselves. Sustainability, Environmental Stewardship, and Fair Trade top those lists of increasingly required business ingredients, demanded by the youth of this country through an awakening being driven home by our “global warming” awareness.

    4Ps = Good
    4Ps + 4Cs = Great
    4Ps + 4Cs + Ethics = Category Killer

    Finally, regarding the death of the legendary journalist David Halberstam, MNB user Paul Schlossberg had a personal memory:

    My favorite book (of his) is "October 1964." While I was in college, I worked at Yankee Stadium selling beer in the stands. I worked at all the World Series games in New York – wow, does that date me. The way he described the games brought me back to Yankee Stadium. Game 5 went in to extra innings after the Yankees tied it up with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. That made me a few extra bucks. We got another inning to go out and hawk our products.

    Tony Kornheiser had an excellent interview with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and a longtime friend of Halberstam’s, the other morning on his radio program in which they both recalled Halberstam as someone who simply couldn’t wait to get his pants on in the morning so he could get to work – interviewing and researching and writing, immersing himself in the people and worlds that he portrayed so evocatively. He was all energy and enthusiasm, Kornheiser said, someone he simply couldn’t imagine at rest.

    Paul Schlossberg, of course, makes the other salient point about Halberstam and his work.

    He got it right.
    KC's View: