Posted by Dale Buss on June 28, 2012 05:22 PM
Walmart's critics have beaten up on the company for a lot of things over the years — its environmental policies, the treatment of its female employees, corporate donations to conservative political groups. But now Walmart, apparently, has gone too far by advertising that it sells good steaks.
The chain was critiqued recently by a Phoenix-based blogger, for example, for "mak[ing] it appear" that diners of an upscale local restaurant, El Chorro, "were saying things about Walmart steaks like, 'It was one of the best filets I've ever had.'"
Such grilling aside, from Walmart's point of view, the marketing campaign to spread the work for its upgraded USDA Choice steaks has worked well. "It's been pretty amazing," Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn told Ad Age. "This one has really had a big impact so far."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 27, 2012 02:33 PM
Best Buy founder Richard Schulze wants to take his company private in the hopes of preserving its value after a tumultuous year, including an internal investigation that revealed his knowledge of an alleged affair involving former CEO Brian Dunn, which he failed to tell other members of the board.
Schulze, the electronic retailer's largest shareholder, with slightly more than a 20% stake valued at $1.4 billion, resigned as chairman and a director of the Richfield, Minn., retailer earlier in June to consider the options and is working with Credit Suisse Group.
“A move to take the company private wouldn't be easy. Best Buy's 'enterprise value,' or stock market value plus its debt, minus any cash on hand, is about $8 billion," the Wall Street Journal reports. "A buyout offer would likely have to approach $11 billion to entice other shareholders to sell, analysts say.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 21, 2012 03:03 PM
Starbucks has been spreading its wings in recent months. First the news came that some of its outlets would start serving beer and wine. Then Starbucks opened its first Evolution Fresh juice bar in suburban Seattle. Earlier this month, the ubiquitous coffee chain purchased the Bay Area's La Boulange bakery for $100 million in a bid to upgrade its food offerings. (That deal was done in cash, by the way. No word if the money was in a briefcase handcuffed to anybody’s wrist.)
That’s a lot of wing-spreading, but Starbucks execs over there must be cranking down extra double espressos these days because now comes word that Starbucks is giving more love to another sub-brand by opening its first Tazo tea store this fall in the hopes of doing for tea what the company has done for coffee drinking.
The plan is for the Tazo store, located in its corporate hometown of Seattle, to “sell more than 80 varieties of loose-leaf tea and other tea products,” Reuters reports, and “also offer hot and cold tea drinks, brewing equipment, pastries, packaged chocolates, infused sugars and honey.” As it is now, Tazo is a $1.4 billion brand for Starbucks, but the company would like to grow it since it estimates that the global market for tea is $95 billion.
And today Starbucks announced its first Seattle's Best Coffee "commuter concept" store in Brooklyn, near the NYC borough's new Barclays Center sports arena that will be home to the Brooklyn Nets this fall.
According to a press release, SBC's "concept menu, which debuted as a test in Chicago in March, boasts delicious coffee beverages, and commuter-friendly sandwiches and snacks that will appear for the first time on the East Coast." We assume that Brooklyn Nets co-owner Jay-Z will approve.
Posted by Shirley Brady on June 18, 2012 06:35 PM
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. today ousted its JCPenney brand president, Michael Francis, who oversaw the retailer's merchandising and marketing operations, with a terse statement that "We thank Michael for his hard work at jcpenney and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Francis, who was hired last October "at great expense" (as the New York Times retail reporter tweeted, in light of his whopping $12 million signing bonus) from Target is seen as taking the fall for his boss, company CEO Ron Johnson, the former Apple top retailer who oversaw JCP's new brand strategy in January. Now, of course, the heat is on Johnson to clean up a mess that was arguably of his own making.
For an executive whose goal is to "simplify" matters internally and externally, it was Johnson who championed the idea of killing coupons and sales in favor of "fair and square pricing" (a reference to its logo), so-called "monthlong value" and "everyday low" pricing and twice-monthly clearance events on every first and third Friday (aka "payday" in America). The brand recently scrapped that strategy and is re-embracing the dreaded s-word — "sale."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 14, 2012 03:57 PM
K-Cups are everywhere in the news now that Starbucks is rolling them out from coast to coast. Yet in the grocery aisle, those little "K-Cups" designed for single serving Keurig brewing machines are highlighting the battle between store brands (private labels) with name brand consumer packaged goods for shelf space.
Both Kroger and Safeway, two major U.S. grocery chains, are launching private label "coffee pods" for the Keurig machine. Safeway announced it will bring to market five types of Keurig-compatible filtered coffee pods. The chain already makes three store brand instant products for the machine.
The move by Safeway and Kroger caused shares of Green Mountain, the company that sells K-Cups along with Keurig brewing machines, to plummet. Since September, in fact, its stock has dropped 82 percent, according to Reuters. Two of the patents that cover the K-Cup design will expire in September 2012, which means other companies, not just Green Mountain, could manufacture Keurig-compatible cups.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 7, 2012 04:04 PM
Running of the Brides, the infamous, annual Filene’s Basement sale where brides-to-be madly dash for deeply-discounted wedding gowns, (as seen above from last year's sale at Boston's Hynes Convention Center) may have run its course, as the chain with roots dating back to 1909 continues to be dissolved.
It’s been a sad saga since Filene's Basement, the American retailer famed for its high-spirited Running of the Brides franchise — which sees shoppers line up at the crack of dawn, dress up and cheer as they storm the racks of bridal gowns — and sibling retailer Syms, known for its tagline "an educated consumer is our best customer," announced they were facing the ultimate markdown: Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Fast forward to this week, and the indefinite postponement of a scheduled auction to sell off the intellectual property of Filene’s Basement and parent company Syms Corp. until creditors can agree on a plan to close out the bankruptcy case.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 7, 2012 02:03 PM
Many small businesses steer clear of anything controversial or political so as not to offend any potential customers. After all, the customer is always right, even if they are saying exactly the opposite thing from what the last customer said.
Brooklyn Industries, a 14-store outfit that's based in (where else?) Brooklyn, NY, and sells hipster-licious clothing, bags, and small household goods, is not afraid. Its store windows are provoking conversations about subjects that not everybody wants to talk about, necessarily, when all they want is to grab a t-shirt.
The retailer explained the thinking behind its thought-provoking window displays: "Inspired by Spike Lee's film Jungle Fever, we wanted to take a closer look at race in Brooklyn. We asked local residents about their lives and experiences growing up here."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 6, 2012 12:14 PM
JCPenney has a newfound love for "sale." Ron Johnson, the CEO of JCPenney, this week continued his efforts to claw back the troubled retailer's new business model this week by telling an investment meeting that the company now will be moving away from the implausible term "month-long value" that was introduced in January as part of its new pricing strategy in favor of re-embracing a word that had become verboten at Penney HQ of late: "sale."
"No one really understood [month-long value]," he told the Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference in New York on Tuesday about why the retailer is re-embracing the S-word after making a big splash about dropping it back in January. "What we intend to do is a sale. We run 12 a year."
Yes, Johnson is busy backpedaling from one of the ribs of Penney's new business model — to eschew sales and other "confusing" consumer promotions in favor of an everyday-low price strategy — following dismal first quarter results that saw coupon-clipping moms stay away in droves.Continue reading...