retail news in context, analysis with attitude

No surprise here...we continue to get email about the state of affairs at Supervalu.

One MNB user wrote:

Just a comment on the most recent response to the Supervalu situation.    A reader responded "I would like to take offense at your statement that those of us who have left "did not seem to be able to do the work to fix it (issues, sales, downward slide, etc.) either’.  And also in the statement that Supervalu has done ‘a good job of ensuring the top talent was retained.

I am one of the 800+.  The writer of the original response is welcome to listen to my phone calls from younger, inexperienced "Team Members' who are now being asked to perform tasks they are not experienced in or have never been exposed to.

Someone referred to Craig Herkert as "trying to do all that he can to turn it around, trying to be the merchandiser coach (caught in the weeds) and being the visionary leader (in the air)."

A better description of Craig Herkert would be that, as his competitors merchandise, operate their stores and service there customers providing a shopping experience which compels the consumer to return, CH is out in the parking lot rounding up shopping carts.

Prime example would be, as I toured our stores this week (not the stores in Great Britain), our main competitor .2 miles down the road had 18 ounce private label Peanut Butter at 2/$4 (every day price).  Our price on the same item--$2.99 (every day price).  Now, as a consumer I would ask, what makes our product 50% better?  And this is the industry leading programs/processes that CH and his 17 VP's have put into practice.

Yes, that Kool Aid better taste good.  "Eight Great Plays To Win" should include being competitively priced.   And please, I get into the stores on a daily basis and this is just one of the MANY examples I can provide.

But then, what do I know, I am only a 46 year experienced industry professional who had his "position eliminated" two weeks ago.

Another MNB user wrote:

I enjoyed the thoughtful post on Supervalu yesterday.   While I am not, nor have every been an employee of Supervalu, I would like to make a comment on the last paragraph of that post:  “I too hope that what made Supervalu (and Albertsons and American Stores) great can be unearthed and change the game.”

I believe the truth is that the game has changed and the successful practices of the past for American Stores, Albertsons, and Supervalu, in my view are more likely to be part of the problem than the solution.    The game changes are in all likelihood what created the environment that made these acquisitions and mergers necessary.    In my eyes, the Supervalu experience is very similar to that of many other food retailers, which is symptomatic of the structural changes in the industry.

On the subject of a new “virtual supermarket” test in Australia, MNB user Gail Nickel-Kailing wrote:

This is the third example of this kind of "virtual supermarket" that I've seen in the last few months. The first was in Korea - in the subway.

It's really critical for people using mobile applications like this to make sure that you really CAN get a good cell connection where you're expected to scan codes. There's nothing more frustrating than to try to get a connection in a building like the Javits Center or a subway - bad connection = bad customer experience.

That said - I absolutely adore the idea of instant communication and "impulse" opportunities. I've got Amazon Prime because I really like getting my items in 2 days without paying extra shipping. So I admit it - I'm into instant gratification.

BTW - I'm a 62 year old female with an iPhone, an iPad and 2 laptops - call me connected!

Take care, eat well, be well!

You’re absolutely right about the opportunity that impulse marketing offers.

Case in point. I’ve promised my daughter and her boyfriend that before they go off to college, I’m going to give them a private course in classic movies. (Unlike my sons, she never seemed interested in sitting down and watching great old movies with me, or maybe she just had better things to do. But now, maybe because her boyfriend is interested, she is.)

One of the first things I am going to show them is the first two Godfather movies. Now, I have a boxed set, but yesterday I got a special one-day only offer from Amazon - $25 for a Blu-Ray high-def version of the movies for just $25. Which I leapt at, just because I think the better the quality, the better the experience.

I’m into instant gratification, too.

Regarding Wawa’s planned Florida invasion, MNB user Chris Utz wrote:

I hope Florida works out for Wawa.  They should be popular with snowbirds from the northeast.  Too often, a hometown retail hero stubs their corporate toe trying to compete in different marketing area.  Food Lion's Texas entry comes to mind…

MNB user Steven Ritchey disagreed with my assessment yesterday of Pete Rose - I said that while he deserves to be lauded for his on-the-field achievements, he ought not be elected to the Hall of Fame because he broke baseball’s sacrosanct “no gambling on baseball” rule.

Yes, he  bet on baseball, he lied about his gambling.  But if morals were part of the criteria for being in the Hall of Fame, many of those who are there, would never have gotten within sniffing distance.  Besides, what is moral to some, is repugnant to others so morality is too subjective.  No, it should be about what you did on the field, and  because of that, I think Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.  You can respectfully disagree with me, that is your right.


I’m not talking about morality here. I am talking about the integrity of the game, and the importance that it not be undermined by people in the game who gamble on it.

That, to me, is disqualifying. Pure and simple.

But, of course, you can disagree with me, too.
KC's View: