retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story the other day about how Dunkin' plans to spend close to $60 million for 'state-of-the-art, high-volume' brewing equipment for domestic locations, with matching investments from franchisees.

Prompting MNB reader Mat Medeiros to write:

Dunks should invest in good coffee instead of equipment to mass produce more bad coffee. They are the McDonalds of the coffee world, everywhere and consistent ... consistently awful.

Regarding the decision by Ahold Delhaize to close down the Midwestern segment of its Peapod e-commerce business, one MNB reader wrote:

Is anyone making any money (profit) from their delivery businesses?  I see all these businesses undercharging the consumer for these services and my question has been, once the true cost of delivery is passed to the consumer, will the consumer think the convenience is worth it?  This goes for all the retailer delivery concepts and the third party restaurant deliveries.

The other two things that I question: if employment continues to do well, where are retailers going to find the employees to deliver these goods? And if employment goes the other way because the economy goes south, will consumers want to pay extra (assuming that the cost of delivering eventually reflects the added cost to deliver) for what they can do for themselves?  I still think retailers have to invest in delivery but unless I am seeing it wrong, I think everyone is losing money on it and that can’t happen forever.

I would agree that the economics are challenging, but I do think that most consumers believe that the convenience is worth it.  And I think if you believe that delivery is going to go away, you are kidding yourself.

Responding to the piece about CVS offering a number of "voices" in its stores, representing both brands and the store, one MNB reader wrote:

We recently discontinued a product at CVS.  The result?  We are now making more profit than before.  I was a real eye opener.  I’m waiting for the second half of the message that says CVS will require “additional participation” from it’s suppliers to fund the new Harmonization initiative.  I’ve grown so cynical in my old age.

We had a piece yesterday about how a Girl Scout troop decided to sell its cookies outside an Illinois marijuana dispensary, selling 230 boxes during a four-hour shift.

One MNB reader responded:

When I was a young boy I sold cans of butter toffee peanuts (Brooks and Adams) to earn my way to YMCA camp each summer.  My dad was a bank manager and on paydays I would camp out in front of the bank and hawk my peanuts.  He would buy a couple cans and set them on the counter by the tellers for sampling and many people would pick them up on the way out.   Now that people seldom use banks to cash their paycheck it seems completely reasonable for scout troops to seek out new places to sell their goodies.

And from MNB reader Dan Beard:

Great business 101 lesson for the Girl Scouts “fish where the fish are."  Shielding these ladies from society would be a disservice.  I think this exposure with the attendance of an adult could be a valuable teaching moment if handled properly.

I also got this email from MNB reader Jim Hornecker:

Can you help me understand your view on marijuana? I see your undying animosity towards tobacco and it contrasts sharply with your relentless positivity towards cannabis. Smoking marijuana is at least as unhealthy as smoking tobacco. And yet you deem tobacco executives as having a special level of hell reserved for them, but you effectively encourage retailers to get on board with all things cannabis. Why?

I think I've generally said I am conflicted on the subject of marijuana.  I get the creams, cosmetics and edibles … but I am completely against the notion of vaping or smoking it.

So I am decidedly not in favor of "all things cannabis."