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    Published on: June 11, 2009

    Now available on iTunes…

    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:

    Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.

    A little over a week ago, I got an email that has sort of been gnawing at me…so I thought that I’d do what I so often do here on MorningNewsBeat…think it through out loud and see if I can reach some sort of conclusion.

    The email was responding to a quick note that I wrote apologizing for the fact that much of the previous day’s posting was seen in italics, which made it a little harder to read, especially for aging baby boomers. After I apologized, I said that part of the problem was that I had not seen italics because I work on a MacBook and use Apple’s Safari browser, which actually fixed it for me. As I said then, I have no idea how this happened, but couldn’t help but feel “happy to be a Mac guy.”

    The email, from an MNB user named Alan Lamb, read as follows:

    This is a very common problem when we depend on technology, and it leaves us vulnerable. I see so many people using GPS in their cars that it's got to the point where they have lost contact with their environment and simply follow the computer generated instructions. If the machine fails they have no idea where they are!

    When your Mac 'fixed' your error, it actually fooled you into thinking everything was fine, but still left you with a post that didn't display correctly for a vast majority of your readers.

    In a similar scenario, poorly written browser code often looks fine if you use MS Internet Explorer, but fails on other browsers that follow html display standards more closely.

    You may be "happy to be a Mac guy" but if it degrades your ability to communicate clearly, why?

    When we give up attention to details it seems to make our lives simpler, but in the long run it leaves us open to failure.

    Now, I get his point – that an over-reliance on technology can actually disconnect us from reality, and that this is something about which we must be vigilant. And that’s a fair position.

    And, I guess I can be accused of allowing technology to put me in a position where I did not communicate clearly, and that maybe I was inattentive to details. That’s probably something I should work harder at.

    But, to be honest, I’m not sure what the solution is … other than simply doing my best and counting on the fact that if the copy is in italics or if there is a misspelling or some other sort of error, people in the MNB community will quickly let me know and I’ll be able to fix it. I like to think we’re all here for each other…and I never mind when people offer corrections. In fact, I used to give away t-shirts to people who caught misspellings, but I couldn’t afford the postage!

    Of course, when the recent problem with the italics took place, I was on the road, so I wasn't able to respond to the emails very quickly. I guess I could give up traveling so that I’m always around to fix mistakes, but that doesn’t sound like a good use of my time and energy.

    (Besides, traveling around the world and giving speeches about retailing and consumer trends is how I make a living. And I’ll digress for a moment here to point out that if you need someone to speak at your conference, meeting, business dinner or even a wedding or bar mitzvah, give me a call at 203-662-0100. Operators are standing by.)

    I’ll be honest about something else. I am happy to be a Mac guy … even if the fact that what I view as superior technology occasionally causes a misstep. Great technology doesn’t just seem to make life simpler…it actually does make life simpler, though there are, of course, some glitches from time to time.

    As I reason this through, I come back to what I think is a mistake in Mr. Lamb’s reasoning…a mistake that is illustrated by the very fact that we’re having this conversation. Technology doesn’t have to disconnect us from reality. In fact, used properly, it creates greater and more resonant connections. My screw up with the italics pales, I think, compared with the hundreds of emails I get each week, and the opportunities that this technology-based business has created for me to meet new people, see new places, learn new things and enjoy new experiences.

    I think this same logic applies to so many ways in which technology is applied, whether it is the GPS in a car, the scanner in a checkout lane, the RFID tag on a product, or almost every other kind of technology innovation. All these things - when used as tools that heighten our knowledge and expand our communities rather than as crutches that isolate us from reality - make our lives and our workplaces richer and more fulfilling.

    I’d put that both in boldface and italics, but I might mess up the coding and be back to the beginning of this discussion.

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

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    In Scottsdale, the tribune reports that Walmart’s Marketside stores – a small-store convenience and fresh food-driven format that the retailer has been testing in four Arizona locations – has a new name.

    They used to be called just “Marketside.” But now, in an apparent bow to the conventional wisdom that the stores lacked a specific identity, they are now being called “Marketside by Walmart,” and the banner uses the familiar Walmart logo to drive home the point.
    KC's View:
    Smart move.

    Now, here’s another idea for Walmart.

    The company ought to use the “Marketside” name to brand its in-store fresh food sections, using it as a kind of umbrella concept that cuts across formats. It would add brand equity to the “Marketside” name, give it greater visibility and recognition, and more firmly establish what the standalone stores are trying to do.

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    Good interview in Saveur with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, in which he addresses some of the current and future trends having an impact on the conduct of business:

    Local Foods: “Over the past five years, we've more than doubled our percentage of sales coming from local foods,” Mackey says. “Expanding our selection of locally grown produce has been relatively easy. The biggest challenge has been finding local animal farmers and ranchers to work with, but our meat cases are slowly starting to showcase more local and region-based options. We've recruited hundreds of regional producers over the past couple of years to produce grass-fed beef, pastured chickens, and pastured pork. And we've loaned about 2.5 million dollars to nearly 50 local producers to help them grow their businesses … Many times, the producers come to us, but we've also created new positions in the company called ‘Local Food Foragers’. These folks search for small, local producers by visiting farmers' markets, local food shows, and competitors' stores.”

    The Next Big Trend: “I believe it will be animal welfare ratings [on meat sold in our stores]. We've been working with animal welfare organizations and animal scientists to develop our 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program, which we are beginning to roll out in some stores. Our hope is that this will eventually raise consumer awareness about how most livestock animals are treated and will lead to sustainable alternatives to the current, inhumane system.”

    Mackey’s Goal # 1: “Focus on Healthy Eating Education. It isn't enough to sell healthful, nutritious food, because people are so confused about how to eat well and they don't know how to cook. We intend to teach them both. ”

    Other Mackey Goals: “Place a greater emphasis on foods from developing countries that are ethically sourced for high quality, environmental sustainability, and fair labor practices. … Stock only those meat products that have the highest ratings according to our 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program … Pay serious attention to sustainable seafood. This is a serious problem around the world, and it's only getting worse. ”

    And Yet Another Mackey Goal: “Open smaller stores. We're going to open mostly smaller stores in smaller communities.”

    KC's View:
    I have to say that one the things I liked most about the Mackey interview is that when asked about small companies that Whole Foods has helped grow, he responds, “Some companies that started small but are widely known today are Silk Soymilk (I prefer their unsweetened soy milk), Odwalla (I'm a huge fan of Mango Tango), Naked Juice (Mighty Mango is great), and Honest Tea (Black Forest Berry is my favorite).”

    I love the idea that he is so specific and so passionate – and so verbal - about the products he likes. Sure, outspokenness has gotten him into trouble from time to time, but I also think it makes him an exceptional merchant.

    And just as an aside, I’d watch out for those smaller stores.

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    Politico reports on how the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled US Congress “are moving across several fronts to give government a central role in making America healthier — raising expectations among public health experts of a new era of activism unlike any before. Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas. The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie.”

    This is only one side, however, as there is considerable resistance to this view of a government role – some would say interference – in how much people eat and exercise. “Clean living in balance is an appealing notion,” Politico writes, “but finger-wagging moralism may not play so well in some precincts of Middle America, where voters may decide government commentary on the size of their beer gut or that plate of nachos isn’t such a good idea.” Skeptics say this is yet another example of America becoming a “nanny state,” and they want no part of it.

    In the end, Politico notes, the debate will center on the financial side of good health. Does better health put less stress on the economy in terms of the costs of caring for people who do not take care of themselves? Proponents of greater government intervention will argue yes, while opponents will say that there is not much proof to back up that position.

    KC's View:
    I’m not big on “finger wagging moralism” – not from anyone, but especially not from politicians. I am big on transparency…because I think it allows people to make better and more informed decisions.

    “More time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas” – it all sounds great. But I have to admit to wondering if these ought to be government priorities at this particular point in our history, and if we even have the money to pay for such things. I am not, however, one of those people who thinks that by doing such things we will end up on an inexorable path to socialism. (After all, Obama likes Five Guys cheeseburgers…and that’s a pretty good character reference right there.)

    I guess we’re going to find out.

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    The National retail Federation (NRF) is out with its fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey, reporting that nine out of ten retailers (92%) say that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up eight percent from 2008.

    Nearly three-fourths (73%) of retailers also reported the level of organized retail crime activity has increased over the past 12 months, an increase of 11 percent from 2008.

    According to the study, “42 percent of retailers say their company is allocating additional resources to address organized retail crime. According to the survey, the average retailer spends approximately $215,000 annually just on labor costs to fight organized retail crime. Some retailers surveyed spend far more, with six percent of respondents spending more than $1 million dollars a year to employ loss prevention executives devoted to organized retail crime.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    Bloomberg reports that in a speech last night at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant said that the US should adopt a food safety system similar to Canada’s and have a single agency in charge, rather than the two agencies that make the system more complicated in the US.

    If the government of Canada can monitor the safety of its food products with one single food-inspection agency, why can’t the United States?” Conant said. “The structure and framework of food safety in Canada is something we can learn from as we look at the makeup and coordination of our own food safety agencies.”

    Conant said that inspections at Campbell’s Toronto plant are more efficient and effective than in its US facilities.

    KC's View:

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Sub-Committee has unanimously approved a version of legislation designed to improve the efficacy of the nation’s food safety system.

    According to the story, “The legislation would boost the authority and funding of the Food and Drug Administration. It would impose a $500 annual registration fee on every food facility to increase funds for the FDA's food-safety operations, and would require the food industry to make it easier for the FDA to track tainted products … To win support of Republicans and the food industry, Democrats agreed to halve the registration fee to $500 and add a cap so no single company would be charged more than $175,000. The industry, which has argued that using the fees expressly to pay for inspections could create a conflict of interest, will have a say - through public hearings - on how the FDA should spend the money. And instead of imposing a sweeping record-keeping requirement, Democrats agreed to ask the FDA to first study how the industry should maintain records, and the costs and benefits associated with it.”

    In response to the committee vote, United Fresh Produce Association president/CEO Tom Stenzel said, ““Today’s markup represents another important step in transforming our nation’s food safety laws and addressing needed improvements for ensuring consumer confidence in our food safety system. We applaud the subcommittee, both Democrats and Republicans, for taking this important step and creating a strong legislative framework that will help modernize our country’s food safety programs.

    “While this legislation is still a work in progress, we are pleased that the committee has addressed some of the key issues we think are important in this bill, including providing for commodity specific, science-based standards for produce by the federal government, allowing for industry-driven advances on traceability, and targeted research funding that will help drive important food safety innovations in the produce industry.”

    And Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) president/CEO Pamela G. Bailey added, “This bipartisan bill contains many of GMA’s food safety proposals, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Congress to enact food safety legislation that makes prevention of contamination the foundation of our food safety strategies.

    “The Subcommittee should be commended for its commitment to work in a truly bipartisan manner to strengthen and modernize our nation’s food safety system. There have been significant improvements made to the draft legislation and we look forward to working with the Committee to make other critical improvements before full Committee mark-up.”

    KC's View:

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    Marketing Daily reports on new research done by Mintel suggests that “forty-five percent of consumers in a survey of 820 adults said they eat (functional) foods because they make up for a perception of unhealthy eating habits. Thirty-seven percent said such foods are supplementary to a healthy diet, and 31% say they serve as de facto natural treatments for specific complaints or for weight loss.

    “Of those who shy away from such foods, 38% said they take a vitamin supplement instead, and 37% said such products are too expensive. Thirty-two percent of consumers don't believe the claims that marketers make for such products.”

    • The Los Angeles Times reports that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has instituted a system that awards consumers a $2 coupon if they find products past their expiration dates at either CVS or Longs Drug Stores (which actually is owned by CVS). The two banners have been singled out because of past infractions with which they have been charged by the government.

    • Published reports say that Anheuser-Busch plans to launch a wheat version of Bud Light this fall…the second line extension for the popular brand, which saw Bud Light Lime quickly establish itself in the category.

    KC's View:

    Published on: June 11, 2009

    The following story ran yesterday on MNB:

    “Faced with diminishing sales because of the impact of the recession, many restaurant chains are developing products that can be sold in the nation’s supermarkets as a way of bolstering their brand image, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

    “Examples cited in the piece are Starbucks, which is looking to sell more bagged coffee and Starbucks-branded ice cream in grocery stores; Burger King, which will start selling its Apple Fries (apple slices designed to look like French Fries) in supermarkets this fall; and other chains including Dunkin’ Donuts and California Pizza Kitchen.

    “The Journal writes, ‘Some restaurant chains began developing grocery items prior to the recession as a way to boost brand recognition, but now they are finding that packaged food helps them offset some of the loss in traffic to their restaurants’.”

    This isn’t an entirely new issue here at MNB…and I was consistent in my commentary, which read, in part:

    I understand the whole notion of giving customers what they want. But I also believe that the supermarket industry is engaged in a long-term battle for share-of-stomach with anyone and everyone that sells food. And while supermarkets never will have 100 percent of the pie, I think they need to be a lot more aggressive about not doing anything that adds credibility to the competition.

    This is hardball. There is a legitimate argument that supermarkets should never hype a brand with which it competes. Never. Ever.

    Because the fast food and chain restaurants aren’t going to do anything to bolster a supermarket’s brand equity. Nope, they’re just going to nibble and chomp away at your sales every chance they get.

    I am, to say the least, in the minority in my opinion.

    One MNB user wrote:

    Can’t wait to see the feedback you will receive on your rant pasted below. While I understand your point there is also the issue of relevance, which you advocate. Am I relevant to my potential customer base if I refuse to put a Starbuck’s Kiosk in my store or refuse to carry Starbuck’s Coffee in my coffee section? To what do I compare my premium private label coffee if in fact I can’t show a direct comparison on my shelf to what is accepted as the leading brand available in the market? It seems to me these decisions should be made on the basis of the sales and margins they generate for my business and the customer satisfaction they deliver to my shoppers NOT on a basis of I won’t support them because they happen to also compete with me for total food expenditures.

    I am less surprised by your position on the issue as I am by the strength of that conviction. It’s as if someone stomped directly on a personal landmine of yours.

    MNB user Steven Richey wrote:

    I still would like to see you run a store, then it might be a little harder to come down so hard on stores selling a restaurants products. I think you need to come out of your ivory tower a bit and shop with the masses. Besides, how many products have been in stores for years that are from restaurants, I can think of a few, Night Hawk frozen dinners, Marie Callendars frozen dinners, Taco Bell shelf stable Tex Mex products

    We can talk all we want to about the supermarket being an advocate for the consumer, but the bottom is still going to be making a profit, it’s what they are in business for and I still believe that when presented with a new product, most category analysts will be asking, what is my cost, what can I sell it for, will there be a market for it and how does it fit overall with the rest of the category.

    I think you can stop beating this horse, it left the barn over 30 years ago.

    MNB user Frederic Arnal wrote:

    Did you ever think that the supermarkets might be taking sales away from fast food chains by selling their branded products? Dollars spent on frozen White Castle sliders in the supermarket are dollars not spent at the restaurant.

    Maybe the fast food chains are making a mistake by enabling consumers to experience their products at home.

    MNB user Paul Schlossberg wrote:

    KC, your position on branded restaurant products being sold in supermarkets is very clear and consistent. Let's follow your logic forward.

    Should supermarkets also stop buying from manufacturers selling to competing channels? Examples: club stores; mass merchandisers; convenience stores; chain drug; foodservice chains in fast food and other venues. After all, all of these venues are competing for "share of mouth." That's an adaptation from share of wallet. People will eat and drink as often as 6-8 times a day. Brands want their products offered as a solution whenever and where ever thirst or hunger strikes.

    What would happen if supermarkets did stop buying from manufacturers serving other channels? Private label brands would come to dominate the shelves in supermarkets. And taking your logic down the line, supermarkets would get much smaller. After all, a big chunk of the profits at supermarkets is derived from manufacturer allowances.

    Don't forget that there are leading manufacturers with branded products featured at various foodservice venues. Think about soft drinks, table-top condiments, snacks/candy, and branded ingredients that are featured on the menu. There are many, many more examples.

    Should restaurant operators stop buying from manufacturers whose brands are sold in supermarkets and other retail venues? Market research I was involved in (going back to the '70's) indicated that restaurant patrons expected to find their favorite brands at restaurants. It is highly likely that restaurant patrons still expect to find their favorite brands on the menu and on the table-top.

    Let's be very careful about initiating a protectionist campaign in America's retail and foodservice channels. This could be a marketing and merchandising version of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

    Brands have impact beyond the traditional definitions of channel structure. We are looking at a new world with "all channel brands." Shoppers should decide if restaurant brands will sell in supermarkets. If shoppers don't buy it, supermarkets won't keep it on the shelves.

    Shoppers do not think in terms of channels or market segments. They think about where (based on their location) they can get a beverage, a meal, a snack. When they get to a venue, their choice/selection criteria usually gets down to their preferred brands. It actually starts with thirst and/or hunger, then categories of products and then brands. The choices are made around brands.

    Supermarket shopping, fill-in or pantry loading, might be a different process. It's not based on immediate consumption. But brands still emerge as the final choice. Exposure to those brands, from advertising, on-line, at restaurants, etc., will influence favorable (or possibly unfavorable) reactions. That is what will drive shopping decisions in supermarkets.

    MNB user Philip Herr wrote:

    As I started to read this I anticipated your comment. And after hearing it quite a few times, I still don't agree with your position. After all, supermarkets are in the business of selling food and if offers from Burger King or CPK help to bring people into the store, then so be it. If you extrapolated your argument, you would need to conclude that supermarkets should sell only private label. Because every branded product on the shelf in some way competes with their own label -- so out it goes!

    My point is that brands drive traffic and ones from so-called competitors contribute as well.

    MNB user Alfred S Kober wrote:

    I have to agree with you up to a point. Supermarkets do compete with fast food outlets, but a high quality minded retailer does not nor can they compete with high end restaurants for experience. No retailer can offer the reward, the theater, the celebration that comes from eating and entertaining by going to a really great restaurant.

    One offers necessities and the other luxuries. There is a totally difference in the mind of the consumer between these two. Therefore they can gain synergy by joining together to enhance the experience of both. This is especially true when the intrinsic quality of the meal is equal in both … The problem it creates when the retailer tries to compete with the high end restaurant using lower quality. Then they will lose. When the same quality if offered in both, then both can grow and benefit because then, the only difference to the consumer is, do they want a great eating experience in a home atmosphere or a great eating experience in a restaurant atmosphere. Many of the country’s best retail and food service operators understand this and support one another.

    MNB user Rhonda Williams wrote:

    I tend to be leery of superlatives. Using this line of reasoning, why would a retailer opt to carry products that compete with its own Private Label brands? If you sell your own PL peanut butter, then why sell Jiff, Laura Scudders and Peter Pan? I think you are throwing out the baby with the bath water here. If I can buy BK’s apple fries from my local grocer store, along with the ground round and hamburger buns, isn’t that better than not buying any of those items at the store and giving the business to BK?

    Yet another MNB user wrote:

    I work for a restaurant franchise called Cafe Yumm!. Our restaurant sells bowls of different organic ingredients and calls it a Yumm! Bowl. One of the ingredients in our Yumm! Bowl is Yumm! Sauce, an invention created by one of the owners. It's a blend of savory spices and organic ingredients. It can be used as a dip, sauce, dressing or topping. It is one of the most beloved items in our restaurant.

    Since the start of Cafe Yumm!, customers began requesting Yumm! Sauce at retail. We started selling the sauce only in our restaurants and have since expanded where we offer our product. Now, our loyal customers can buy Yumm! Sauce in several natural foods stores in Oregon and in every Whole Foods store in Washington. I am proud of our product because it's actually a healthy alternative to most salad dressings and dips. I think grocery stores who support us by offering our product on their shelves are doing a good thing for us and for themselves: 1) they support local business by offering Yumm! Sauce in their stores and 2) Yumm! Sauce sells quickly so they're making money from the product.

    I understand grocery stores are giving up a piece of real estate to a competitor when they put our product on the shelf, but consumers drive what the shelves are stocked with and if they want Yumm! Sauce, they're going to get it! The restaurant examples you've given in your excerpt are mostly the fast food chains Americans have literally GROWN to love... I just wanted to make the point that not all restaurant product offerings are bad and it doesn't necessarily mean that the grocery store is giving up a piece of the money pie.

    Another MNB user offered:

    Why would any supermarket want to promote a restaurant chain product? One word. Profit. Restaurant visits are down nationally. Families are eating at home more and more. You preach that this is the time for stores to be snatching food dollars. What a better way than to offer the same California Pizza Kitchen dinner for less than half the money at home. I know that we, as a family, have picked up several of the restaurant fares being sold at our local Winco instead of going out for dinner. Most retailers will place the lost leaders on the bottom shelf and the items at eye level will typically be your higher margin items. Any guesses where the 2 varieties of Pizza Kitchen pizzas are located?

    And, from another MNB user:

    While I totally agree with your premise the food stores compete with restaurants and they shouldn’t help the competition, I think that today this argument is like closing the barn door after the cow gets out. The proliferation of restaurant branded food in today’s supermarket is so great that any store that takes out restaurant brands is likely to lose customers to stores that carry the products they want. These products by and large are convenient, carry a quality image, and generally have a value equation compared to buying at the restaurant so they fit a consumer demand.

    There was some sympathy for my position:

    MNB user Chris O'Brien wrote:

    I enjoyed your response under the article “…And How Restaurants Seek To Get A Piece Of The Action.” I think that consumers will just as gladly buy a package of Ore Ida French Fries if they find the TGI Fridays Fries are not on the shelf. And they won’t be reminded of TGI Fridays next time they’re thinking about what do for dinner.

    MNB user Gary Harris wrote:

    Don’t sugar-coat it for us, Kevin, tell us how you really feel!

    I get your point, and we certainly don’t do a lot of this (we do have Starbuck’s coffee) but I don’t see it as being as vile a practice as you do. We do need to differentiate ourselves as much as we can, but with the variety of choices available we have to decide which items we can make our own and which we might want to piggy-back on due to their success and acceptance by our customers.

    Anyway, as always thanks for the commentary. It always gets us thinking, and re-thinking.

    Another MNB user chimed in:

    As I pondered the position you took regarding never selling restaurant branded products in grocery chains, a thought crystallized in my mind.

    What is the purpose of private label in this era? While one may argue that a value proposition to branded emulations is the key driver, it is clearly only one such strategy. The recognition of private label innovation as a core strategy has been mastered by many retailers and it is certain that the food service industry is a fertile area for ideation of emerging consumer trends. Why not evaluate the best products from the restaurant industry and design similar or better than products for first to market implementation in their own brand?

    Another MNB user wrote:

    You are so right on! Look at the success of Trader Joe's and Aldi's! We stopped in San Cristobal, Chiapas, MX on the way home and bought 2 KG of their locally grown coffee, which was recommended by a visiting Columbian. It is some of the best coffee ever. We are looking to import 5 KG. So there are many opportunities to differentiate and create ones own brand and a reason to go to the store!

    For the record, I am not demonizing restaurant brands. And I understand that few retailers would adopt the absolutist position that I advocate…and to be honest, I am trying to be a little provocative here.

    My position is simple. Too many retailers, even today, do not consider their own brand equity as a high priority. Why is it so radical to suggest that instead of selling Dunkin’ Donuts, a supermarket should have a bakery section featuring selection and quality uniquely its own? That’s the essence of my argument, and I think you can apply it to most sections of the supermarket.

    “Compete” is a verb. Now more than ever.

    And I just think that retailers need to find every differentiating advantage and exploit each and every one to the greatest possible degree. As opposed to focusing too much time and attention on items that also are carried by the competition in a variety of venues.

    Why is this such a radical position? Is it because it requires a rethinking of supermarket strategies and tactics that, sure, have existed for years…but aren’t necessarily right just because they are established?
    KC's View: