retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal reports that in last week's earnings call, Procter & Gamble CFO Jon Moeller "used the phrase 'irresistibly superior' 17 times and 'irresistible superiority' six times," apparently out of the belief that in all of its segments, P&G would be able to build market share with its basic value proposition.

Analysts listening, however, were confused, which meant that the company had to issue a clarifying statement: "“In a slower growth macro environment, we are establishing an even higher standard of excellence—that of irresistible superiority for our products and packages. Irresistible superiority means our products are so good, consumers don’t ever want to part with them.”

The problem, of course, is that P&G's products are not so 'irresistibly superior' that they've been able to avoid competitive challenges and market share erosion. Saying it doesn't make it so. Better to have consumers saying it ... which, now that I think about it, suggests to me that maybe Moeller was test-driving a new marketing slogan for the company.

Yahoo Finance has an observation about Starbucks' earnings call last week - that CEO Kevin Johnson believes that the company is a tech company in addition to being a coffee company, and that its "laser-focus on technology could help insulate it from the woes of retail."

In fact, the story says, "the word 'mobile' was used 24 times on that call.

Johnson said at one point that "looking to the future, this is all about how our digital relationships with customers intersect with experiential retail in our stores. We are confident that we’re well on our way to further increasing overall store capacity while delivering enhanced Starbucks experience to our customers.”

• Weis Markets announced that the company plans to invest $90 million in its growth in 2017.

Jonathan Weis, chairman/CEO, said that the budget includes money for "14 remodels, a new unit in Brunswick, Md., two fuel centers and the continued expansion of our distribution center in Milton, Pa. We also have seven new stores in the active planning stages and expect most of them to open in 2018."

The 2017 plans follow a highly active 2016, in which the company "acquired 44 stores and converted them in just three months’ time, growing our store base by more than 20 percent,” he said.
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