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    Published on: January 28, 2020

    by Michael Sansolo

    In 1894, London faced an emerging problem of stunning concern. At the time, the streets of the city were clogged with horse-drawn conveyances of all types. The roughly 50,000 horses in London all had digestive systems, which meant that the streets of London also were being clogged by horse waste.

    The problem wasn’t confined to London, of course. New York was estimated to have 100,000 horses producing 2.5 million pounds of manure daily not to mention the added problems of horse urine and dead horse corpses. The Times of London captured the concern of the day by predicting that by 1944 the streets of the city would be constantly buried under nine feet of manure.

    Obviously that didn’t happen.  The automobile was invented.  And while automobiles weren't invented specifically to address the horse manure problem, this averted crisis can be seen as a good example of how even the most dire problems can be mitigated by smart solutions.

    It also reminds us of how important it is to look forward and see where the storm clouds are massing, so we can come up with solutions sooner rather than later.

    Supply Chain Drive.com recently reported on a similar coming crisis, which got me thinking about those horses in London.  Thanks to the explosion of delivery services, cities around the globe are just beginning to grapple with the challenge of what to do with all the traffic that entails. As Supply Chain Drive explains, New York is a prime (pardon the pun) example. As customers increasingly turn to delivery of goods, companies need find ways of handling that treacherous last mile.

    It’s easy to see this already. The last two apartment buildings where my daughter has lived both remade their lobbies to accommodate the flood of packages arriving every day. Supply Chain Drive extrapolated what all those deliveries are going to mean to already-crowded city streets and projected that endless gridlock is in our future.

    The website quotes a New York-based professor who pointed out that this rush to delivery makes it clear that old fashioned shopping trips done one shopper at a time are actually more efficient. So too is the notion of finding new ways to consolidate shipping to permit drivers to make many deliveries in a single trip.

    For the moment, there is no solution at hand. Shoppers increasingly like and rely on delivery services and those services, in turn rely on roads and drivers - two commodities that are increasingly in short supply.

    Rather than simply look at the London manure crisis as a model for hope, we would be better served to consider the likely realities of this situation. Increasingly congested roads will only lead to additional delivery problems at all parts of the supply chain and will only increase the pressure from existing driver shortages. So it behooves all of us to focus on logistics and how to possibly wring even more inefficiencies out of the system.

    Go figure, it might even give stores an ability to provide environmentally aware shoppers with an important reason to do their own shopping rather than outsource it to, say, Amazon. 

    But most importantly, it reminds us to keep looking to the horizon for the problems and opportunities coming at us in tomorrow’s world and to find solutions that work for both our customers and us.

    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at <A HREF="mailto: msansolo@morningnewsbeat.com "> msansolo@morningnewsbeat.com </A>.  His book, “THE BIG PICTURE:  Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.

    And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    by Kevin Coupe

    Interesting piece in the Washington Post about "the differences between millennials’ financial trajectory and those of earlier generations: In 1990, baby boomers, whose median age was 35, owned nearly one-third of American real estate by value.

    "In 2019, the millennial generation, with a median age of 31, owned just 4 percent."

    The story makes the point that "millennials, many of whom are entering their prime home-buying years, are likely to make up some of that gap by the time they see 35. But they’re not likely to reach 30 percent of the housing market — or even the 20 percent attained by the smaller Generation X at the same point in their lives."

    The big factor in this shift, the <i>Post</i> writes, is debt:

    "Millennials’ massive debt burdens also make it difficult to them to save for a down payment at any housing price. For households headed by someone younger than 35, median debt ballooned from $21,000 in 1989 to $39,000 in 2016. During that same time period, the percentage of under-35 households with student loan debt more than doubled, from 17 percent to 45 percent, and their median debt more than tripled, from $5,600 to $18,500."

    And, even as "baby boomers slowly age out of homeownership," making available a "projected $13.5 trillion in housing inventory," the fact is that "millennials and younger generations might not be able to afford them."

    The question that retailers need to ask themselves:  What else will these folks be unable to afford?

    This trend, of course, will raise other questions.  Like, what will happen to an economy that largely depends on consumers for growth if a significant percentage of the population cannot afford to purchase the item that for most people becomes a major way to build wealth?  What will happen when these factors run headlong into an economic recession?

    How will retailers - many of them already in economic distress because of changing consumer habits and the requirement that they invest more and more capital just to keep up and remain relevant - adjust and compensate?

    I have no answers for these Eye-Opening questions.  But I think they are worth asking, and beginning the search for the different answers that will work for different retailers.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The Wall Street Journal this morning has a story about how grocers looking to be more effective in e-commerce fulfillment "are testing micro-fulfillment systems that can spit out as many as 4,000 orders a week but can still be housed in the back of stores or in urban areas where space is at a premium. The store owners are evaluating whether automation can help tamp down costs while speeding up deliveries and they are turning to a new set of startups aiming to make e-commerce fulfillment more efficient in a small footprint."

    The story notes that while e-grocery sales are still relatively small - about 3.5% of overall food and beverage sales - they are growing, which leaves retailers "scrambling to retool operations" that will be appropriate to what consumers seem to need and want - whether it be click-and-collect, delivery, or both, using store-pick or central-pick, and then adapting those solutions to the specific requirements of fresh food while maintaining some level of profitability in a low-margin sector.

    Micro-fulfillment centers are seen as being a fast and relatively economical way of addressing these problems.  For example, Takeoff Technologies’ 10,000-square-foot systems "cost around $3 million and can be up and running in about four months … The centers hold some 15,000 different products and require about a dozen workers to operate, including some manual picking."

    This approach is finding favor with some major players - Albertsons, Wakefern and Ahold Delhaize all are working with Takeoff to develop micro-fulfillment centers.

    KC's View:

    Seems to me that smart retailers will be making concerted pushes into the micro-fulfillment space, and maybe even ought to be looking at expansion plans with an eye toward replacing some new store plans with dark stores that are keyed to the e-commerce business.  I'd be setting up systems that are appropriate to both click-and-collect and delivery, and especially to auto-replenishment models, that can create stronger connections to the shopper.

    Of course, if you doubt that e-grocery will pretty quickly grow to five, 10, 15 even 20 percent of sales, then keep doing business the same way you're doing it.  It'll be okay.  Really.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Bloomberg has a story about Lavka, described as Russia's answer to Amazon, which is delivering groceries to Moscow consumers within 15 minutes of them being ordered.

    Owned by Yandex, Russia's largest technology company, Lavka has "spread small warehouses across the capital stocked with about 2,000 items and uses bike couriers to deliver orders. Its strategy is to build market share by being a digital convenience store—the place consumers turn to for ingredients, toothpaste or even a packet of condoms delivered straight to their door."

    The story notes that Yandex has "upended the local taxi market and launched a variety of other digital services, including restaurant deliveries, as it surpassed 127 billion rubles in sales ($2 billion). The latest push comes as Russia’s once-slow embrace of e-commerce  accelerates. While many companies offer delivery of online grocery orders, consistently doing it this quickly breaks new ground."

    Bloomberg writes that Lavka has not made a profit yet, but the company is hopeful that this will change as usage becomes more common and volume increases.

    The story notes that "each warehouse is about 150 square meters (1,600 square feet), roughly the size of a small convenience store, and serves an area within a radius of about a mile, facilitating quick deliveries. By comparison, online supermarket Perekrestok.ru fills Moscow orders via truck from three distribution centers ranging from 4,000 to 18,000 square meters."

    KC's View:

    Sounds like these are Russia's version of micro-fulfillment centers … 

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The Orlando Business Journal reports that "Publix Super Markets has confirmed it is under contract to buy five Lucky's Market leases in Florida; and German discount grocery chain Aldi has confirmed it is in negotiations for several of the locations in the state, as well."

    The news comes as Lucky's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday and said it would close its Colorado headquarters.

    The Denver Business Journal reports that Lucky's yesterday said it owes about $30  million to its 50 biggest creditors, has between 10,000 and 25,000 creditors in total, has assets worth between $100 million and $500 million and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion.

    The story notes that Kroger, "which announced late last year was selling its stake in the company, is listed as holding 55% of the equity interests in the Lucky Market Parent Company. Lucky's Founder Holdings LLC owns the remaining 45% stake in the parent company."

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Fast Company has a story that starts by pointing out something that is common knowledge:  "It’s true that in the coming decades, the U.S. will indeed get browner—a shift that is already well underway. In 2018, non-Hispanic white Americans accounted for about 60.4% of the population, as per Census Bureau estimates. That’s a notable drop from 2000, when they comprised 69.1% of the American populace.

    "In two decades, we’ll be on the cusp of a demographic milestone: the advent of a white minority. According to 2018 census projections, the non-Hispanic white population will fall to about 49.7% by the year 2045."

    If indeed the American population will look markedly different, Fast Company writes, "a similar transformation will likely follow in the workplace. In recent years, the corporate world has had endless conversations about the importance of diversity, first positioning it as a moral imperative and then making the business case. Many companies and executives have repeatedly pledged their commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts, often with little to show for it. Soon they’ll have no choice but to act."

    It will be critical, the article suggests, to act with the knowledge that a non-white population is not monolithic in any way.  Greater diversity also won't just be about color - there will be more women in the workplace than ever, and more older people.  And research suggests that a prosperous America will, maybe more than ever, be dependent on the immigrant population.

    "All this means that in the coming decades, businesses that have given lip service to promoting diversity will likely have to widen their hiring pipelines, out of sheer necessity," Fast Company writes.

    You can read the story here.

    KC's View:

    I got an email from an MNB reader the other day suggesting that diversity initiatives can be a slippery slope, because they sometimes can lead to inexperienced and unqualified people being moved up.  And sure, that can happen … but it isn't like business isn't rife with examples of white males who moved up way beyond their capabilities and talents?  (Ever read "The Peter Principle?")

    The fact is, diversity initiatives actually open leaders' eyes to a much vaster population of people who can enrich a company's culture and, because they may see the world in different ways, also do wonderful things for a company's bottom line.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The New Yorker has a lovely piece about Fairway Market, the iconic New York City that has entered bankruptcy, the victim of some combination of greed and mismanagement and neglect that lasted just long enough to make it almost impossible for the current owners to rescue it, making a sale of some stores and a closure of others inevitable.

    Fairway, the story says, was "one of those odd original New York institutions that grew up organically, on the sidewalk, unlike the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores that have competed with it in recent years, which were dropped down on the street from a retail empire headquartered elsewhere. No less a magus of social history than Simon Schama once wrote of Fairway that it if it were possible to award the congressional Medal of Honor to a food market, Fairway would already have won one for its service to appetite, and that its cheese department alone turned 'Rabelaisian excess into a stationary New York festival of aroma, color and texture'."

    The "democratic energy" at Fairway, the story says, "was so extraordinary that someone coming home to New York from a place like, say, Paris - where the division between the gastronomic and the generic, the élite and elementary is still strong - would be knocked sideways by the coexistence of those seemingly contradictory principles."

    "Such private enterprises, from coffeehouses and grocery stores to high-end department stores, with their vast common spaces … create the social capital that supports our common life - the possibility of bumping into people with whom we share a common citizenship but don’t often share a common space or pursuit. The accumulated social capital of such spaces becomes our common life. The single man buying cheese and the family buying paper towels in bulk stand in line together."

    In the end, Fairway's bankruptcy "seems likely to cost the employees far more than it will the investors - not to mention the customers."

    It is a thoughtful piece, and you can read it here.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    •  The Associated Press reports that Chipotle has been fined $1.3 million by the Massachusetts Attorney General because of more than 13,000 child labor violations at its restaurants in the state.

    According to the story, "The fine detailed that Chipotle had employees under the age of 18 working past midnight and for more than 48 hours a week. Teenagers told investigators their hours of work were so long that it was preventing them from keeping up with their schoolwork. The company also regularly hired minors without work permits … The violations also include failure to keep accurate records and pay timely wages. Lastly, the company was ordered a voluntary $500,000 payout to a state youth worker fund dedicated to education, enforcement and training."

    •  The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the US Department of Justice is looking into a possible merger of bankrupt Dean Foods, the top-selling US milk processor, and Dairy Farmers of America, the largest U.S. dairy cooperative by membership.  The two were said to be in deal discussions after Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection late last year, but antitrust regulators reportedly are "discussing with farmers and retailers the potential impact of such a deal on milk prices and competition in the dairy business."

    The story says that "some farm groups have raised concerns that a tie-up between Dean and DFA might lead to an excessive concentration of milk buyers in parts of the country. As U.S. milk consumption has fallen about 40% over the last four decades, fluid-milk production has shifted to a smaller number of bigger plants."

    •  The Washington Post reports that while Kellogg's "made a commitment to phase out by 2025 wheat and oats on which farmers have used glyphosate as a drying agent," the company "neglected to tell the industry groups that support wheat and oat growers."

    Those groups are not pleased.

    Caitlin Eannello, the director of communications at the National Association of Wheat Growers, says that her organization maintains that "glyphosate is very safe, and there’s no real alternative. If it were to be totally eradicated, producers would probably stop growing. [Kellogg’s] made an announcement without talking to us."

    The story points out that "glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the Bayer-Monsanto weedkiller that is the most heavily used herbicide in the United States … A 2018 study by the Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats, most at higher levels than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health. They also found a third of the 16 samples made with organically grown oats had glyphosate, but at much lower levels."

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    •  Charles “Chuck” Fry, co-founder of Fry’s Food Stores, which is now owned by Kroger, passed away last week.  He was 92.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Digital strategies aren't just about creating alternatives to the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.  Done effectively, they can actually bring people back to the store, while also eliminating customer anonymity, creating rich and actionable data, and deepen relationships between the store and consumer in a way that transcends the simple transaction.

    Our newest Retail Tomorrow podcast, which brings together a terrific panel of experts from a wide range of disciplines, was recorded at Google’s New York City offices during the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Show.  Our guests:

    •  Matt Alexander, co-founder of Neighborhood Goods, an unusual and fascinating take on physical retailing with stores in Dallas and New York.

    •  Patrick Flanagan, senior vice president of digital marketing and strategy for Simon,  which has more than 200 properties in 37 states and Puerto Rico.

    •  Tom Furphy, CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners, a member of the Retail Tomorrow podcast family and a regular contributor to "The Innovation Conversation" on MNB.

    •  And Jalna Silverstein, a leader in Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Practice and its Real Estate, Consumer Experience and Retail Strategy.

    You can listen to the podcast here.

    This Retail Tomorrow podcast is sponsored by the Global Market Development Center (GMDC).

    Pictured below are our panel members, from left:  The Content Guy, Matt Alexander, Tom Furphy, Patrick Flanagan, Jalna Silverstein.

    Published on: January 28, 2020


    by Michael Sansolo

    In 1894, London faced an emerging problem of stunning concern. At the time, the streets of the city were clogged with horse-drawn conveyances of all types. The roughly 50,000 horses in London all had digestive systems, which meant that the streets of London also were being clogged by horse waste.

    The problem wasn’t confined to London, of course. New York was estimated to have 100,000 horses producing 2.5 million pounds of manure daily not to mention the added problems of horse urine and dead horse corpses. The Times of London captured the concern of the day by predicting that by 1944 the streets of the city would be constantly buried under nine feet of manure.

    Obviously that didn’t happen. The automobile was invented. And while automobiles weren't invented specifically to address the horse manure problem, this averted crisis can be seen as a good example of how even the most dire problems can be mitigated by smart solutions.

    It also reminds us of how important it is to look forward and see where the storm clouds are massing, so we can come up with solutions sooner rather than later.

    Supply Chain Drive.com recently reported on a similar coming crisis, which got me thinking about those horses in London. Thanks to the explosion of delivery services, cities around the globe are just beginning to grapple with the challenge of what to do with all the traffic that entails. As Supply Chain Drive explains, New York is a prime (pardon the pun) example. As customers increasingly turn to delivery of goods, companies need find ways of handling that treacherous last mile.

    It’s easy to see this already. The last two apartment buildings where my daughter has lived both remade their lobbies to accommodate the flood of packages arriving every day. Supply Chain Drive extrapolated what all those deliveries are going to mean to already-crowded city streets and projected that endless gridlock is in our future.

    The website quotes a New York-based professor who pointed out that this rush to delivery makes it clear that old fashioned shopping trips done one shopper at a time are actually more efficient. So too is the notion of finding new ways to consolidate shipping to permit drivers to make many deliveries in a single trip.

    For the moment, there is no solution at hand. Shoppers increasingly like and rely on delivery services and those services, in turn rely on roads and drivers - two commodities that are increasingly in short supply.

    Rather than simply look at the London manure crisis as a model for hope, we would be better served to consider the likely realities of this situation. Increasingly congested roads will only lead to additional delivery problems at all parts of the supply chain and will only increase the pressure from existing driver shortages. So it behooves all of us to focus on logistics and how to possibly wring even more inefficiencies out of the system.

    Go figure, it might even give stores an ability to provide environmentally aware shoppers with an important reason to do their own shopping rather than outsource it to, say, Amazon.

    But most importantly, it reminds us to keep looking to the horizon for the problems and opportunities coming at us in tomorrow’s world and to find solutions that work for both our customers and us.


    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at msansolo@morningnewsbeat.com . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    by Kevin Coupe

    Interesting piece in the Washington Post about "the differences between millennials’ financial trajectory and those of earlier generations: In 1990, baby boomers, whose median age was 35, owned nearly one-third of American real estate by value.

    "In 2019, the millennial generation, with a median age of 31, owned just 4 percent."

    The story makes the point that "millennials, many of whom are entering their prime home-buying years, are likely to make up some of that gap by the time they see 35. But they’re not likely to reach 30 percent of the housing market — or even the 20 percent attained by the smaller Generation X at the same point in their lives."

    The big factor in this shift, the Post writes, is debt:

    "Millennials’ massive debt burdens also make it difficult to them to save for a down payment at any housing price. For households headed by someone younger than 35, median debt ballooned from $21,000 in 1989 to $39,000 in 2016. During that same time period, the percentage of under-35 households with student loan debt more than doubled, from 17 percent to 45 percent, and their median debt more than tripled, from $5,600 to $18,500."

    And, even as "baby boomers slowly age out of homeownership," making available a "projected $13.5 trillion in housing inventory," the fact is that "millennials and younger generations might not be able to afford them."

    The question that retailers need to ask themselves: What else will these folks be unable to afford?

    This trend, of course, will raise other questions. Like, what will happen to an economy that largely depends on consumers for growth if a significant percentage of the population cannot afford to purchase the item that for most people becomes a major way to build wealth? What will happen when these factors run headlong into an economic recession?

    How will retailers - many of them already in economic distress because of changing consumer habits and the requirement that they invest more and more capital just to keep up and remain relevant - adjust and compensate?

    I have no answers for these Eye-Opening questions. But I think they are worth asking, and beginning the search for the different answers that will work for different retailers.
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The Wall Street Journal this morning has a story about how grocers looking to be more effective in e-commerce fulfillment "are testing micro-fulfillment systems that can spit out as many as 4,000 orders a week but can still be housed in the back of stores or in urban areas where space is at a premium. The store owners are evaluating whether automation can help tamp down costs while speeding up deliveries and they are turning to a new set of startups aiming to make e-commerce fulfillment more efficient in a small footprint."

    The story notes that while e-grocery sales are still relatively small - about 3.5% of overall food and beverage sales - they are growing, which leaves retailers "scrambling to retool operations" that will be appropriate to what consumers seem to need and want - whether it be click-and-collect, delivery, or both, using store-pick or central-pick, and then adapting those solutions to the specific requirements of fresh food while maintaining some level of profitability in a low-margin sector.

    Micro-fulfillment centers are seen as being a fast and relatively economical way of addressing these problems. For example, Takeoff Technologies’ 10,000-square-foot systems "cost around $3 million and can be up and running in about four months … The centers hold some 15,000 different products and require about a dozen workers to operate, including some manual picking."

    This approach is finding favor with some major players - Albertsons, Wakefern and Ahold Delhaize all are working with Takeoff to develop micro-fulfillm
    KC's View:
    Seems to me that smart retailers will be making concerted pushes into the micro-fulfillment space, and maybe even ought to be looking at expansion plans with an eye toward replacing some new store plans with dark stores that are keyed to the e-commerce business. I'd be setting up systems that are appropriate to both click-and-collect and delivery, and especially to auto-replenishment models, that can create stronger connections to the shopper.

    Of course, if you doubt that e-grocery will pretty quickly grow to five, 10, 15 even 20 percent of sales, then keep doing business the same way you're doing it. It'll be okay. Really.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Bloomberg has a story about Lavka, described as Russia's answer to Amazon, which is delivering groceries to Moscow consumers within 15 minutes of them being ordered.

    Owned by Yandex, Russia's largest technology company, Lavka has "spread small warehouses across the capital stocked with about 2,000 items and uses bike couriers to deliver orders. Its strategy is to build market share by being a digital convenience store—the place consumers turn to for ingredients, toothpaste or even a packet of condoms delivered straight to their door."

    The story notes that Yandex has "upended the local taxi market and launched a variety of other digital services, including restaurant deliveries, as it surpassed 127 billion rubles in sales ($2 billion). The latest push comes as Russia’s once-slow embrace of e-commerce  accelerates. While many companies offer delivery of online grocery orders, consistently doing it this quickly breaks new ground."

    Bloomberg writes that Lavka has not made a profit yet, but the company is hopeful that this will change as usage becomes more common and volume increases.

    The story notes that "each warehouse is about 150 square meters (1,600 square feet), roughly the size of a small convenience store, and serves an area within a radius of about a mile, facilitating quick deliveries. By comparison, online supermarket Perekrestok.ru fills Moscow orders via truck from three distribution centers ranging from 4,000 to 18,000 square meters."
    KC's View:
    Sounds like these are Russia's version of micro-fulfillment centers …

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The Orlando Business Journal reports that "Publix Super Markets has confirmed it is under contract to buy five Lucky's Market leases in Florida; and German discount grocery chain Aldi has confirmed it is in negotiations for several of the locations in the state, as well."

    The news comes as Lucky's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday and said it would close its Colorado headquarters.

    The Denver Business Journal reports that Lucky's yesterday said it owes about $30 million to its 50 biggest creditors, has between 10,000 and 25,000 creditors in total, has assets worth between $100 million and $500 million and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion.

    The story notes that Kroger, "which announced late last year was selling its stake in the company, is listed as holding 55% of the equity interests in the Lucky Market Parent Company. Lucky's Founder Holdings LLC owns the remaining 45% stake in the parent company."
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Fast Company has a story that starts by pointing out something that is common knowledge: "It’s true that in the coming decades, the U.S. will indeed get browner—a shift that is already well underway. In 2018, non-Hispanic white Americans accounted for about 60.4% of the population, as per Census Bureau estimates. That’s a notable drop from 2000, when they comprised 69.1% of the American populace.

    "In two decades, we’ll be on the cusp of a demographic milestone: the advent of a white minority. According to 2018 census projections, the non-Hispanic white population will fall to about 49.7% by the year 2045."

    If indeed the American population will look markedly different, Fast Company writes, "a similar transformation will likely follow in the workplace. In recent years, the corporate world has had endless conversations about the importance of diversity, first positioning it as a moral imperative and then making the business case. Many companies and executives have repeatedly pledged their commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts, often with little to show for it. Soon they’ll have no choice but to act."

    It will be critical, the article suggests, to act with the knowledge that a non-white population is not monolithic in any way. Greater diversity also won't just be about color - there will be more women in the workplace than ever, and more older people. And research suggests that a prosperous America will, maybe more than ever, be dependent on the immigrant population.

    "All this means that in the coming decades, businesses that have given lip service to promoting diversity will likely have to widen their hiring pipelines, out of sheer necessity," Fast Company writes.

    You can read the story here.
    KC's View:
    I got an email from an MNB reader the other day suggesting that diversity initiatives can be a slippery slope, because they sometimes can lead to inexperienced and unqualified people being moved up. And sure, that can happen … but it isn't like business isn't rife with examples of white males who moved up way beyond their capabilities and talents? (Ever read "The Peter Principle?")

    The fact is, diversity initiatives actually open leaders' eyes to a much vaster population of people who can enrich a company's culture and, because they may see the world in different ways, also do wonderful things for a company's bottom line.

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    The New Yorker has a lovely piece about Fairway Market, the iconic New York City that has entered bankruptcy, the victim of some combination of greed and mismanagement and neglect that lasted just long enough to make it almost impossible for the current owners to rescue it, making a sale of some stores and a closure of others inevitable.

    Fairway, the story says, was "one of those odd original New York institutions that grew up organically, on the sidewalk, unlike the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores that have competed with it in recent years, which were dropped down on the street from a retail empire headquartered elsewhere. No less a magus of social history than Simon Schama once wrote of Fairway that it if it were possible to award the congressional Medal of Honor to a food market, Fairway would already have won one for its service to appetite, and that its cheese department alone turned 'Rabelaisian excess into a stationary New York festival of aroma, color and texture'."

    The "democratic energy" at Fairway, the story says, "was so extraordinary that someone coming home to New York from a place like, say, Paris - where the division between the gastronomic and the generic, the élite and elementary is still strong - would be knocked sideways by the coexistence of those seemingly contradictory principles."

    "Such private enterprises, from coffeehouses and grocery stores to high-end department stores, with their vast common spaces … create the social capital that supports our common life - the possibility of bumping into people with whom we share a common citizenship but don’t often share a common space or pursuit. The accumulated social capital of such spaces becomes our common life. The single man buying cheese and the family buying paper towels in bulk stand in line together."

    In the end, Fairway's bankruptcy "seems likely to cost the employees far more than it will the investors - not to mention the customers."

    It is a thoughtful piece, and you can read it here.
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    • The Associated Press reports that Chipotle has been fined $1.3 million by the Massachusetts Attorney General because of more than 13,000 child labor violations at its restaurants in the state.

    According to the story, "The fine detailed that Chipotle had employees under the age of 18 working past midnight and for more than 48 hours a week. Teenagers told investigators their hours of work were so long that it was preventing them from keeping up with their schoolwork. The company also regularly hired minors without work permits … The violations also include failure to keep accurate records and pay timely wages. Lastly, the company was ordered a voluntary $500,000 payout to a state youth worker fund dedicated to education, enforcement and training."


    • The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the US Department of Justice is looking into a possible merger of bankrupt Dean Foods, the top-selling US milk processor, and Dairy Farmers of America, the largest U.S. dairy cooperative by membership. The two were said to be in deal discussions after Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection late last year, but antitrust regulators reportedly are "discussing with farmers and retailers the potential impact of such a deal on milk prices and competition in the dairy business."

    The story says that "some farm groups have raised concerns that a tie-up between Dean and DFA might lead to an excessive concentration of milk buyers in parts of the country. As U.S. milk consumption has fallen about 40% over the last four decades, fluid-milk production has shifted to a smaller number of bigger plants."


    • The Washington Post reports that while Kellogg's "made a commitment to phase out by 2025 wheat and oats on which farmers have used glyphosate as a drying agent," the company "neglected to tell the industry groups that support wheat and oat growers."

    Those groups are not pleased.

    Caitlin Eannello, the director of communications at the National Association of Wheat Growers, says that her organization maintains that "glyphosate is very safe, and there’s no real alternative. If it were to be totally eradicated, producers would probably stop growing. [Kellogg’s] made an announcement without talking to us."

    The story points out that "glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the Bayer-Monsanto weedkiller that is the most heavily used herbicide in the United States … A 2018 study by the Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats, most at higher levels than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health. They also found a third of the 16 samples made with organically grown oats had glyphosate, but at much lower levels."
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    • Charles “Chuck” Fry, co-founder of Fry’s Food Stores, which is now owned by Kroger, passed away last week. He was 92.
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    …will return.
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 28, 2020

    Digital strategies aren't just about creating alternatives to the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience. Done effectively, they can actually bring people back to the store, while also eliminating customer anonymity, creating rich and actionable data, and deepen relationships between the store and consumer in a way that transcends the simple transaction.

    Our newest Retail Tomorrow podcast, which brings together a terrific panel of experts from a wide range of disciplines, was recorded at Google’s New York City offices during the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Show. Our guests:

    • Matt Alexander, co-founder of Neighborhood Goods, an unusual and fascinating take on physical retailing with stores in Dallas and New York.

    • Patrick Flanagan, senior vice president of digital marketing and strategy for Simon, which has more than 200 properties in 37 states and Puerto Rico.

    • Tom Furphy, CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners, a member of the Retail Tomorrow podcast family and a regular contributor to "The Innovation Conversation" on MNB.

    • And Jalna Silverstein, a leader in Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Practice and its Real Estate, Consumer Experience and Retail Strategy.

    You can listen to the podcast here.

    This Retail Tomorrow podcast is sponsored by the Global Market Development Center (GMDC).

    Pictured below are our panel members, from left: The Content Guy, Matt Alexander, Tom Furphy, Patrick Flanagan, Jalna Silverstein.

    Enjoy!







    KC's View: