retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Tom Kroupa:

The juxtaposition of today's two top MNB stories about your personal experience with Barnes and Noble vs Amazon's plans to expand to 3,000 bricks and mortar Amazon Go stores by 2021 could not have been more insightful in contrasting their two approaches to retail. 

We observe that Barnes and Noble is not using its creativity to be more competitive in either retail or online platforms. Then there is Amazon, a behemoth in the online platform, who may conquer the bricks and mortar model in an innovative way. One of them has been and continues to re-write the rules while the other has slipped into mediocrity, or worse into irrelevancy. 
Thank you, as always for your good analysis of the state of the industry.

From another MNB reader:

Good for Amazon, but I think 3,000 is a very ambitious number to reach by 2021 - that's 3 a day for the next 2 1/2 to 3 years. Unless they build some of them in a Target, for example, now that would be intriguing!  Notice how all the retail stocks tanked on this news?

Yesterday’s Eye-Opener was about how a New York Times story said that ranch dressing, described as “the one true American dressing,” is by far the most popular dressing in the US, with 40 percent of Americans saying it is their favorite.

Here’s something else I didn’t know: Ranch, the Times writes, “has spread far beyond salad. It is a routine dip for chicken wings, baby carrots, French fries, tortilla chips and mozzarella sticks. It is incorporated into American classics like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, potato salad and Thanksgiving-turkey stuffing. And it is drizzled over tacos, Tater Tots, casseroles and — perhaps most controversially — pizza.”

MNB reader Kelsey Cease wrote:

Really? I’m from the Midwest (where Ranch is king) and I can remember people putting Ranch on all of these foods, especially pizza, for at least the last 12 years. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out.

One MNB reader wrote:

Dipping pizza, especially plain cheese or pepperoni, in ranch dressing is delicious. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Didn’t knock it. And I intend to try it.

Thank goodness for the MNB reader who wrote:

Very nice article, Kevin. I did know any of this either.

The Times piece took note of a notes that “a successful pop-up restaurant in Portland, Ore., called Ranch, became a permanent restaurant entirely dedicated to pizza with ranch.”

I spend a lot of time in Portland, but haven’t been there. Yet.

And then the Times quoted a Brooklyn, New York, pizza expert who seems to be a little skeptical. “This is what happens when you legalize cannabis,” he said

One MNB reader wrote:

The pizza expert in N.Y. wouldn't know - there are no ranches there.

And MNB reader Paul Durrenberger wrote:

Best laugh I’ve had all week!
KC's View: