retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the travails at JC Penney, one MNB user wrote:

Kevin, agree with your comments regarding JCP. However, maybe it’s me (an average consumer)
but I I just don’t get why JCP is in so much trouble.

When JCP went to EDLP, I thought that was a brilliant strategy – wow, guess I was wrong. Is it really all about perception of the shopper? I am a consumer who works and has a hectic life (like most people I know today), so when I need to purchase anything from appliances to clothing, I don’t want to wait for a sale – I don’t want to search for coupons/deals, etc. -  I want to buy what I want, when I want it and at the best possible price. I got tired of the Macy’s sale strategy. An item on regular price is $219, but on sale Wednesday, it is reduced to $200 or I can wait for to receive a special coupon in the paper or flyer so I get a 20% discount off regular price or I can wait for a Father’s Day sale and get 15% off the regular price! It makes my head pound! Ever go into Macy’s during a sale? The cards behind the cover one which gives current sale price are all different. It’s annoying. BUT, I can go into JCP and buy what I want at the same price on a day that is convenient for me and walk out feeling I have been given a fair deal.  I don’t have to wait for special sales, coupons or whatever. I don’t feel ripped off by JCP – I know they have to make a profit but an EDLP works for me. I guess it’s all about reality and perception.

I guess you aren't an average consumer. Or at least not JCP's average consumer.

Some thoughts about Tesco's Fresh & Easy...

One MNB user wrote:

Kevin - you have always been Tesco's biggest cheerleader from day one. You were almost certain that they'd get the Fresh & Easy thing right. Many people thought it was DOA. I rest my case.

Fair enough.

You're right. I always thought Tesco would get it right. Tesco has always been a great company, and history suggested it had both the wherewithal and the opportunity to do something both different and remarkable.

And I think the word I've probably used most often about its inability to adapt has been "disappointment."

Though upon reflection, probably "gobsmacked" would be more accurate.

Another MNB user wrote:

You always have great thoughts to start my day:  Here’s one for you...

What if Amazon Fresh were to buy up the Fresh&Easy distribution center & Kitchen & Produce & Meat companies in Riverside, CA as well as their northern CA distribution investments?

They would now have more leverage in Southwest USA to do a really big move into grocery retailing.

I have no insights or inroads or facts into this (even though I once worked for F&E)…just a thought.

And responding to yesterday's commentary, in which I accused Tesco of being guilty of epistemic closure, one MNB user wrote:

I think we need a MNB poll on how many retailers know what epistemic closure means.  You can start the count at:  Know: 0, Don’t Know 1!
Well, at least I learned something new today!

I've used "epistemic closure" at least a dozen times in the past few months, and even devoted an entire commentary to the term - you can read/watch it here.

We had a piece about rising beer prices in baseball stadiums, which prompted MNB user Steven Ritchey to write:

When the Nolan Ryan group bought the Texas Rangers 3 years ago, one of the first things they did was reduce the price on many of their concessions by .50 to $1.00, including hot dogs and draft beer.  Now, I don’t drink beer at the ballpark since I’m always the driving the nearly one hour drive back home (I try to be responsible) so I don’t know if they’ve gone back up on their prices or not.  But I do know they did this right before a weekend series with Boston with guaranteed sellouts that weekend.  They also went down on parking prices that weekend on the lots they own.  I know it cost them like a  half million in revenues that weekend, but was a major hit with the fans.

And regarding the rebranding at IRI, one MNB reader offered:

As a former employee, IRI is facing the struggles of many companies who have not been able to invest in their business over time, and are now facing the challenge of being irrelevant within their market and customer base.  As new shopper data sources have emerged, IRI has not been able to acquire or digest the meaning of these, which is a gap that is quickly widening.  Additionally, as consumers have become more interested in buying “fresh” product (produce, meat, etc), IRI finds themselves without the ability to measure these growth areas.  IRI walked away from their retailer relationships years ago, to the point where many on the retail side of the business don’t even know that IRI still exists.  It’s best for the industry to have choices for data suppliers, but without the ability to invest, IRI will struggle to work its way back to where it started, much less to where everyone else is today.

Yesterday, I described the just-departed Pat Summerall has having, with John Madden, "defined Sunday afternoons for generations of Americans."

To which one MNB user responded:

For me it was Tom Brookshier with Summerall who meant Sunday football...
KC's View: