retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the continuing trend of men doing more supermarket shopping, MNB user Liz Aviles wrote:

I read the LA Times’ story with great interest since our agency recently fielded a survey exploring the rising numbers of men who are not only grocery shopping, but also taking on the primary responsibility for turning those groceries into meals for their families. We’ve been tracking these changes for the past few years and are also amused by the media’s recent coverage of this story. I completely agree that the grocery shopping experience is no longer the homogenous picture that most marketing depicts. Still, even with a growing body of research that speaks to this shift, many brands are reluctant to veer from the belief that today’s grocery shopper is still a mother with kids and a husband who remains uninvolved in the care and feeding of their families.

Given the number of studies that still focus on the “phenomena” of men grocery shopping, our research team decided to dig a little deeper and explore how and why more men are cooking for their families. Their responses certainly speak to changing parenting dynamics, but they also highlight the emotional satisfaction that many men derive from cooking for their partners and their kids. I hope the media’s chatter will eventually recognize this part of the story.


MNB user Tim Korosec had some thoughts about some of Best Buy’s online miscues during the holiday season:

My 25 year old son told me what just happened to him at Best Buy and I knew you would enjoy the "experience".  My son looked on to look for a battery for a camera.  $19.99 on-line.  He happened to be in the local Best Buy store and thought he would check the price in store.  $29.99.  He took the battery to the checkout and asked a customer service manager if they would match THEIR OWN on-line pricing and he was told"no".  They would match competitors on-line pricing, but not their own.  He was told he could go home and purchase it on-line and then check the option for picking it up in store and get the on-line pricing.  At which point my son pulled out his iPhone and went to  and purchased the battery and chose to pick it up in-store. He did this while standing in front of the cashier.  He then showed the cashier his on-line receipt from his phone and they completed his purchase for $19.99.  Giving him the same battery he had taken from their shelves to ask the original question if they would match their own on-line pricing.  Customer service?  Hardly.

I don’t mean to be harsh here, but companies that pretend not to understand how the world works in 2012 - or worse, don’t know how the world works when it comes to how consumers shop - are morons. They’re guilty of retail malpractice. And they have no right to survive. (And, in the end, little likelihood.)

Was that too harsh?

One MNB user reacted to yesterday’s piece taking note of a Reuters report that Wegmans, Wawa and W.L. Gore & Associates (maker of GORE-TEX clothing) “have joined the ranks of hot tech companies like Facebook in the debate over a U.S. securities rule that can force privately held companies to disclose finances they'd rather keep secret ... They are lobbying for legislation that would increase the number of shareholders a company can have before it must make detailed disclosures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and exempt employees from that cap.”

Companies such as Facebook have attempted to skirt the 500 shareholder rule for some time.  Facebook tried to circumvent the SEC by selling a block share to Goldman Sachs as one investor; Goldman-Sachs would then sell pieces of that block to individuals.  But Facebook would only show one shareholder net.  The 500 shareholder limit is to reduce investor uncertainty in significant or larger companies.  Companies can offer stock options to executives as they please – they just cannot do it under the table once they surpass 500 stockholders.  The rule was implemented in 1934 and limitations expanded since.  It was the rolling back of such depression-era financial and regulatory rules that directly led to the 2008 financial meltdown.  This taxpayer would rather not repeat that debacle.

We had a story before going on vacation about retailers that simply don’t “get” their markets, which prompted one MNB user to write:

I worked for a Midwest retailer (CUB) who opening a store in Chicago.  They went to great lengths to ensure they were providing the correct products for the customers that lived closest to the store.  It was primarily African American.  As we were doing the final walk through just before the store opened, one of the folks who had flown in from Minneapolis, remarked about one of the signs over the HBC section that said “ ETHNIC HAIR CARE”.  He remarked that due to the fact that almost all of the customers coming to this store were African American, wouldn’t this be just HAIR CARE?  We all thought about it and the sign was changed before the store opened.  At the end of the day you have to think like a consumer to do any type of display and have it be successful.

KC's View: