retail news in context, analysis with attitude

One MNB reader passed along to me an email that an MNB fave - Scott Moses, Managing Director and head of Food Retail & Restaurants Investment Banking at PJ Solomon - sent to his industry friends.

I thought it worth sharing:

To my friends across the grocery sector,

As a customer and a citizen, I want to thank each of you and your teams for the heroic work you are doing to help sustain all of us and our families during this difficult time. 

I often talk about supermarkets being the families who feed America’s families and the important role your stores have played as pillars of thousands of American communities – for generations – not just for customers, but for the millions of teammates working in stores. 

In a crisis, this is exponentially more apparent; grocers consistently are the last ones to leave and the first ones back in.

The pivotal role our sector is playing during this extraordinary time is truly inspiring. I believe the way you are rising to this challenge to serve your communities during this time is going to be remembered for a long time to come, indelibly branding the hearts of your customers with lifetime loyalty. 

As you will see in the attached material, market confidence in our sector’s ability to rise to the challenge and lift our communities has driven meaningful grocery sector valuation improvements this month, notwithstanding the broader market decline.  We remain committed to continuing to keep you updated on sector and macro developments, humbly following the great example you are setting.

On a personal level, I have never been more proud to be associated with this sector. 

I wish all of you and your families good health and the fortitude you will need to continue the Herculean work ahead of you.

We are all pulling for you and know you will meet the challenge with grit and grace.

With extreme gratitude,

Scott Moses

KC's View:
 

I think Scott speaks for a lot of people.

I'm a little more cynical than he is, though, so I would add a caveat - while people in the industry are working hard across the board and performing an enormous public service, the last thing they should be is complacent about their new prominence and definition as "essential."

It won't necessarily last.

I'm going to continue to hammer this point, which I made on Friday:

I know that every company, big and small, is swamped and challenged by the demands of the moment.  But I think that every company that wants to be prepared for what the market is going to look like when we get to the end of the tunnel ought to have a small task force charged with figuring out what that company needs to look like at that point.

What products and services will the company offer that it did not offer before?  What did the company offer before that needs to be jettisoned?  How should the company's management structure be redesigned to be more responsive?  To what degree can stores and the company's front lines be better empowered to be more responsive, relevant and resonant?

You cannot wait to ask these questions until the crisis is over.  You need to ask the questions and begin formulating answers now.  Every company will be transformed, but the question is whether they will transform themselves or be transformed by events.

And I don't even think that Scott would disagree with me on this.