retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story the other day about a comparison of a Tesco Express store in London and a Gristedes store in New York City. No surprise, the Tesco won by almost every metric … though I argued that it wasn’t even a fair fight because Gristedes is a miserable example of food retailing.

MNB reader Lisa Bosshard responded:

My first thought is, what comparison, with the largest UK chain vs. some small 30 store chain in NY?   If they wanted to be more authentic, then they should have compared a small format Walmart to the Tesco.  Not sure who would win, but at least it would be apples to apples, pun intended.

From another reader:

The London-NY story swept the global retailer news and I had the same reaction as you. “Not Fair, Not Relevant.”

Regarding Amazon Go’s speeded-up shopping experience, MNB reader Jim Huey wrote:

Kevin, can someone talk to the NFL and have them implement this technology for reffing?

Another reaction to Amazon Go:

One part of this that wasn’t clear to me is how you know how much you have spent?  Unless you keep track yourself which doesn’t seem convenient at all.  Before you walk out the door,  do you know how much you have spent?

I sent your article to my son who works in Virtual Reality Computer systems. He explained to me how this system works and based on his explanation, theft won’t be part of the equation because you won’t be able to hide the fact that you have something in your possession.

He also told me to think about the future of computers from the perspective that programmers think about it – if something that a human being does takes more than 10 seconds,  then that function can be replaced by a computer with more efficiency and lower costs.  I don’t like to hear this but it is coming and we as a society need to be ready for it.

I do think that we are heading into an age where personal conversations are being so minimized that it will lead to even further disregard for human life.  (Just my opinion.) 

On the subject of changing drinking habits, MNB reader Brian Carpentier wrote:

I think you are dead-on with your view of the beer industry changes. As a now craft beer drinker, I as well have shifted over some to some very cool vodka and bourbons. For one there are no light craft beers … It has also crossed my mind in curiosity how the percentage  of change is in the beer industry in those states that legalized marijuana vs. the rest of the country.

That’s a very good point … I hadn’t thought about that.

From another reader, reacting to my changed drinking habits:

I too have switched from a  beer drinker to a liquor drinker. For a great budget Bourbon try Elijah Craig. You won't be sorry.

And another:

I’ve tasted more brands of Vodka than I’d care to admit. From Smirnoff to Stolly to Absolute to Finlandia to Skyy to Kettle One. Oops, I think I just admitted it. A few years ago I discovered Boru Irish Vodka. It is not only the best I’ve ever tasted, but it is about half the cost of the so-called premium brands. It’s hard to find in most stores, but can always be found at Total Wine. Slainte!

Back at you.

And, from another reader:

Beer is a right of manhood.

Young men do not drink their Father's beer.  Young men want their own brand that says they are not their Father (even if they use their Father’s credit card to pay for it).

Beer is as much a social statement as it is a refreshment beverage.

I actually called my 28-year-old son, Brian, last night to ask him about this, because my reaction was that what you describe is not true in our situation.

He agreed. Brian told me that when he started drinking beer at home, he drank craft beers - because that’s what we had around. And he never felt the need to rebel or stake out his own ground, because he really liked the ground that I’d staked out.

Over the years, Brian’s tastes have diverged from mine a bit. I like red and amber ales more than he does, and he loves IPAs more than I do. But he’s also teaching me about bourbon and vodka and why Hendrick’s is his favorite gin but you have to drink it with a slice of cucumber.

Finally, regarding the decision by Toys R us to close some 180 of its stores, one MNB reader made the following point:

It wasn't many months ago that the executives at Toys R Us received bonuses to entice them to stay. Now that they are closing stores are their bonuses due to be paid back? Unsuccessful companies should not be giving executives who make poor decisions bonuses. They are closing stores and store level employees will lose their jobs. Trickle down economics don’t appear to be working for them and most of America.

Pay the bonuses back? Are you kidding? These clowns probably will want additional bonus money for going through the store closure process.
KC's View: