retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to my piece yesterday about the US Open giving free parking to Mercedes owners, and linking it to a past rant/whine, one MNB user wrote:

Let me get this straight, it's ok for Whole Foods to give preferred parking to hybrid car owners but wrong for the USTA to give a break to Mercedes owners?

I think they're both wrong but at least they each show loyalty to something. You, on the other hand, seem to ride the fence.

Green's ok, but rich isn't? I don't even know if there is such a thing or not, but what about a hybrid Mercedes? Would that get you a front row, free, parking spot?

Make up your mind, please.

Are you asking if being rich is morally equivalent to being green? If you are, I think I’m going to dodge that question. At least for the moment.

I would argue that the USTA is being inconsistent and unwise by adopting policies that made the sport seem like a rich person’s indulgence rather than one that tries to bring in a more diverse and sustainable audience. Whole Foods, on the other hand, is being entirely consistent - giving preferred parking to green cars is precisely in line with its overall marketing message.

On the same subject of tennis not following a sustainable path, MNB user Dave Moore wrote:

Just like professional sports, we often make long term brand building take a backseat to short term profit. Baseball has long paid lip service to marketing to the next generation of fan, yet consistently schedule World Series games to start later in the evening as they chase TV revenue. Whether the Trekkies are correct or not, baseball is risking its long term future for a lucrative today. How many brands and retailers are pursuing the same strategy?

MNB user Steve Panza wrote:

The new ownership of the Texas Rangers have rolled back prices on everything - tickets, parking, food, gift shop, etc. in order to make the game more fan friendly. The fans are responding, too. Who would of thought that more people would buy when prices were lowered?

And, from another MNB user:

I agree with you on the mixed messages at the US Open regarding helping kids and parking your car for $19 unless you drive a Benz.....This mixed message is done at all major sports now as they talk about the kids and sell to the adults. This is why you see empty box seats behind home plate at Yankee Stadium... Did anyone ever think to save a hundred of the unsold seats at game and have kids in those seats or maybe young adults or students who are active in the game?  Professional sports is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing....what what they say and see what they really do..Corporations are starting to crack down on costly season tickets or PSL’s when they can call a broker anytime if a really good client is in town. Then they can invest in the seats behind home plate at Yankee stadium. It is still a lot cheaper in the long run.

On another note what I found interesting was the Start Trek comment of baseball losing its life in 2042...... Remember in the 1985 movie Back to the Future??  A line in the movie predicted Florida would win the world series in 1997.... Well in 1985 there was not even a Florida team in baseball.. Well in 1997 Florida Marlins won the World Series..Keep that quote in your pocket...... But in 2042 most of us will not remember or care anyway!!!

I’ll only be 88 in 2042. I have every intention of being around.

We’ve gotten some interesting emails responding to the cuts made by SaveMart this week, with one MNB user writing:

Save Mart is doing the classic slash and burn, 'beatings will continue until morale improves' A&P two-step.  These latest cuts, the third in a row; are in a company that never did this in 50 years. They may put on a strong face for the market, but the company is in disarray and individual morale is deeply shaken at every level.  Tightening store labor (service) and capriciously raising margins are a recipe for disaster.  Up to 40+ year employees at all levels are being whacked, for cost savings ... For those of us left, we are almost all universally looking elsewhere.

And MNB user Lynn Olsen wrote:

The article on the restructuring at Save Mart Supermarkets initiated two reactions from me.

First, I think the notion of bringing Marketing, Merchandising, and Operations under one leader will bring the major benefit of promoting strategic alignment. In my nearly four decades of industry management experience, turf battles born of different functional perspectives of what’s right for the business have been one of the single most debilitating influences on company performance. There is an old saying, “What you see depends on where you sit”.  By having these three customer-facing functions sit all at the same table, Save Mart will have a chance to learn whether or not the new team operates with one voice on behalf of the customer.

Second, I wonder about the 36 people who suddenly became expendable. How much intellectual capital will walk out the door with them? Restructuring due to new enablers such as technology or process improvement initiatives helps to free up capacity for growth. But the elimination of long-term associates and company leaders often also brings downside effects: confusion, fear, and inertia while the survivors wait for the next restructuring to come. My question is: rather than try to just cut their way to success, what are companies doing in tough times to develop their emerging leaders and organizational capabilities to improve their longer-term market share and return prospects?

And, regarding the decision by A&P to sell seven Connecticut stores to Big Y, MNB user Ellen Feldman-Ornato wrote:

Good riddance to them in Middletown, CT. A&P has disinvested in that store over the past 3 years  and the opening of Price Chopper’s gorgeous new store across the street sealed that store’s fate. It will be interesting to see who moves in next – one mile from Wesleyan in a part of town that exploded during the last housing build out.
KC's View: