retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There is a fascinating piece in DBusiness, the Detroit business journal, entitled “Polyester Palace,” looking at the “dysfunction” and “hubris” that led to Kmart’s downfall as a national retailing force.

Among the stories included in the piece:

• How, in the early 1980s, Kmart essentially gave Sam Walton the run of its Michigan headquarters, believing that his Arkansas-based company would never be a threat. What he learned there, the story suggests, help him turn Walmart into a retailing and logistical powerhouse.

• How the company had no idea why certain products were being sold for specific prices...and when scanning technology pointed out some enormous holes in its pricing mechanisms, it took years for changes to be implemented.

• And how the company completely dropped the ball on its supercenter strategy, despite the best efforts of people like Gene Hoffman, the former Supervalu and Kroger executive, and Dave Marsico, who ran the company’s supercenter division and ended up running into a buzz saw of interference.

The piece is worth reading in its entirety, by clicking here.
KC's View:
One suggestion. Don’t read the piece just for the pleasure (or pain) of seeing how Kmart screwed up. When you read the piece, see if there are mistakes that Kmart made that are being replicated in your company.

I’m willing to bet that there will be more than a few people who will experience some degree of recognition.