…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…
• From USA Today:
"U.S. consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March, reflecting the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic as Americans complied with stay-at-home orders. The Commerce Department said that the spending plunge was accompanied by a sharp 2% drop in personal incomes in March, with both declines attributed to impacts of efforts to deal with the pandemic."
The story notes that "consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity and has been the economy's standout performer in recent years."
• Apple yesterday reported that even though its stores were closed for part of the quarter, revenue was $58.3 billion, up one percent from the same period a year ago. The reason: Apple's services revenue was $13.3 billion, up 17 percent year over year.
There may be a lesson in here for other retailers. If you only focus on selling stuff - and especially if you are selling stuff that other retailers sell - then it makes sense to develop and offer services that differentiate your business. Apple's product lines may themselves be differentiated - I'm a dedicated user and fan, and so I have a bias toward almost all things Apple - but it is not the only company selling computers and smart phones. So getting into the services business has been an incredibly smart move. It is what we always talk about here on MNB - being not just a source of product, but a resource for consumers.
• The Chicago Tribune reports that Amazon now is hiring "for the brick-and-mortar grocery store it’s opening in south Naperville. A job posting for 'grocery & food service associate' can be found on the company’s website. No opening date is provided."
The story notes that interior work has been ongoing in the former Dominick's location, though Amazon has not disclosed details about the store - which may or may not be part of the new grocery chain that it has talked about launching this year, but seems to have been delayed by the pandemic.
“Join us as we launch a new Amazon grocery store in Naperville,” the job posting says. “We are passionate about creating a shopping experience that customers will love. If you are customer-obsessed, like learning new things, and want to contribute to end-to-end store operations for a new business, this is the place for you!”