retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB noted last week that Walmart has been extraordinarily consistent and progressive in its approach to environmental issues, which led one MNB user to write:

You are absolutely correct about Walmart beating the environmental drum loudly and often. However, as appreciative as I am about those efforts…when I think of Walmart, I think of all the sweatshops in China making all the cheap stuff Walmart puts on their shelves, and all the small American companies that have jeopardized their survival so they could meet Walmart’s price points, and the Walmart employees that are uninsured or underinsured that need public assistance to make it through a medical issue. The new premium; the ability of a brand to transcend the value of a product, and communicate the values of a company. These are my perceived values of this company, I could be wrong.

Life is complicated, and few companies are perfect. Point taken.

On the subject of Tesco facing a unionization effort in its US Fresh & Easy stores, where it has a choice of either recognizing the union or forcing a secret ballot, MNB user Mike Griswold wrote:

Depending on Tesco’s passion for union-free, let’s not discount option 3, which is closing the store.

That doesn’t seem likely. But you never know.

One MNB user wrote:

From one who has had to deal with Unions for years, I hope Tesco brought shovels with them. As they will need them do dig in for a long fight. Ask Wal-Mart, unions are like bit bulls, once they get their teeth in you, good luck. Not sure Tesco has the money, time or talent to fight this one…

On the subject of Procter & Gamble coming up with a new coffee roasting process for its Folgers brand that will allow it to compete more effectively with the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts – even though it remains the top-selling packaged coffee in the US, one MNB user wrote:

As you so often say…If you don’t manage your brand…your competitor will!

Chiming in on the discussion of SAGA stores (Starbucks, Apple, Google, Amazon) that come to have greater meaning to shoppers than most retailers, MNB user Tim O’Connor wrote:

It’s great that we can all identify SAGA retailers and what they do right after the fact. (Good write up, BTW.)

The major retailers are learning from SAGA and co-opting their strategies and capabilities with varying degrees of success as is the natural competitive process.

The real question is what are the strategies for SAGA Companies to regenerate or for the next SAGA company to come forward.

The sooner we see it the more fun and more dynamic this industry will be.

Becoming a SAGA company, as hard as it is, may not be as difficult as remaining one and maintaining that kind of culture as an organization evolves and grows.

I made a joke last week, wondering if as a result of the government takeover of AIG all taxpayers will start getting proxy statements in the mail. Which led one MNB user to write:

So far in recent history, government takeovers/assistance of/to industries seem to be a pretty good investment. The Chrysler bailout ended up with the loans paid off early and a stronger Chrysler. The takeover and consolidation of bankrupt northeast railroads in 1975/6 to make Conrail ended up with the company becoming one of the most profitable railroads and sold off for a good profit. Not bad for us taxpayers in the long run.

I know, this screams of Socialism. I guess even Republicans are Socialists when the issue warrants.

I used the phrase “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again” last week, which led one MNB user to caution:

And again . . . and again . . . and again. At this point, you're either preaching to the converted or wasting your breath.


The thing is, MorningNewsBeat gets 100 new subscribers each I hope I’m doing neither.

And finally, in “OffBeat” on Friday I mentioned that Michael Sansolo and I would be attending the second-to-last Mets game at Shea Stadium next Saturday afternoon…which led to a fast email from the aforementioned Sansolo:


We are going to the second to last REGULAR SEASON game. All we need now is the MNB Jinx!

Not sure if I have that kind of juice.

But point taken.

Though, having watched the Mets drop two out of three to the Braves this weekend, next Saturday has the potential for being a very depressing afternoon.

Good thing they serve beer.

KC's View: