retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story yesterday about how Walgreen is positioning itself for a move into the fresh food and convenience grocery business, which led MNB user Beatrice Orlandini to write:

Boots did it and rather successfully in the UK so I guess Walgreen could do it, too. One smart move was to address its wide female customer base with the "Shapers" range: low calorie sandwiches and snacks for people (but you can tell they had mostly women in mind!) that want to keep in good shape.

A pharmacy that sells junk fund would/should be a contradiction, but you never know. The Romans used to say "pecunia non olet" (money has no smell). Let's hope that Walgreen's sense of smell is quite developed.


MNB user Gary Maxworthy wrote:

When Walgreen’s  opened a store near us my reaction was we do not need another national drug store chain.

Five years later, Longs is no more, taken over by CVS, which epitomizes to us how to project a lousy national chain image, and Walgreen has become a well run well priced operation with an ad that fits our needs. They price milk and ice cream and other perishables extremely competitively everyday. Plus their ad as I mentioned is excellent on key drug and grocery items.

MNB user Mary Ellen Lynch wrote:

Our 24 hour Walgreens already fills the convenience store void in my town.  The parking lot is always full even though there is a major grocery retailer across the street, and a key drug competitor a half mile down the road.  Walgreen’s is smart to leverage their premium locations.  If Walgreen’s can establish appropriate controls to insure consistent high quality fresh food they will succeed.  Our community is “starved” for quick fresh food options.

MNB user Richard Evans wrote:

Walgreen's is uniquely poised to get into the food business. Question is space. How are they going to work in the thousands of skus they now carry with the additional items and still offer competition to the big grocery retailers?

Whoever they decide to hire to head this up had better be pretty sharp because it's going to be a huge challenge. Can't wait to see what they come up with.

In a story yesterday about how Johnson & Johnson apparently has mishandled a new recall, as opposed to how it famously handled the Tylenol recall back in 1982, I noted that it doesn’t matter what anybody did thirty years ago or thirty hours ago...what matters is what you do today.

Which led MNB user Rosemary Fifield to write:

My favorite all-time reminder for myself: "Yesterday's home run won't win today's ballgame."

Regarding the FDA’s new reconsideration of the health impact of bisphenol-A (BPA), a compound used in plastic bottles and food packaging, MNB user Glenn Cantor wrote:

A recent issue of Time magazine featured an article addressing epigenetics, which is a science that investigates the short-term genetic impact of environmental factors.  The FDA’s concerns about the BPA used in plastic bottles and packaging are particularly relevant not only because of the direct harm these environment factors create in people, but also their ability to temporarily alter predisposition to health issues in successive generations.  The article mentions, as an example, a study that validates the effect on children of men who smoke in their preteen years, because of changes to the switches that direct DNA.

If there is scientific validity to the concerns about this chemical, the FDA is in a unique position to impose restraint on an industry that would not otherwise do so independently.   This is justified protection against something for which consumers would have no other recourse.

And in response to all the emails I got yesterday about my Jimmy Durante reference, all I can say is...

Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
KC's View: