business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s story previewing the changes that Wal-Mart intended to make in its Sam’s Club business, MNB user Norma Gilliam wrote:

“Sam's can afford to focus on the business customer and leave the consumer business to Wal-Mart Stores. Costco does not have such an outlet for the consumer. Their club is it, until they open the new gourmet-style store. It will be interesting to watch. And, in many cases, the consumer will continue to shop at Sam's and purchase the commercial sized packages as they see fit.”

Probably true…

We got a request from Eric Stromberg of David Food Co-op:

“The email from Kate Baillie on the Loblaw's cart insert system was inspiring. Our store, the Davis Food Co-op, strives to reduce waste. I have called Loblaws twice to ask if they would provide information about the concept of reusable inserts, but have met with no response. Do you or any MNB readers know who sells the inserts?

“By the way, our best waste reduction scheme is a large commercial composter called the earth tub, made by Green Mountain Technologies. We are putting about 600 lbs per week of inedible food and produce waste into the composter, and we give the finished compost to our shoppers. The project is sponsored by our City, and we pay for 4 hours of labor per week for maintenance.”

Can anyone help with the cart inserts? Just let us know…

Responding to yesterday’s piece about LL Bean, MNB user Dan Low wrote:

“My wife and I have also made numerous treks back to the Maine Coast from Ohio and frequently visit Freeport for the purpose of going to LL Bean. I view the store in Freeport as a "destination spot", although I always leave with a little less in my pockets! I have also experienced the LL Bean factory outlet retail stores and let me tell you, they represent the true outlet experience. A whole lot of small and XXXL with little in between. It may serve as a good outlet for LL Bean, but I believe it "cheapens" what LL Bean stands for; high quality, value, customer satisfaction.”

We agree about the outlet experience, and always have felt that it cheapens the brands that operate them. But we recognize that they have become a big business…and we’re in the minority with our views.

We got an email yesterday about our story detailing Harris Teeter’s new fresh foods approach, from MNB user Shari Tenbrink of the
Hubert Company:

“I am Harris Teeters sales rep. I am helping them develop the merchandising side of it. The deli case look. There are consumers out there would are "hungry" for the cooking demos. It's like having your own cooking class, where you can go and buy the product and go home and try it-the same day. With the right blend of product this program will go beyond its expectations. Harris Teeter seems to be only grocery chain who is willing to try different approaches at getting the consumer to shop at there stores.”

Regarding Wal-Mart’s looking for a variance to build a big store in Dallas, MNB user Gail Ginther wrote:

“Does it strike you as strange? Planning on building a 200,000+ store, in an area zoned for 85,000 sq ft. It's not as if they are asking for a slight variance, they're asking for a total disregard of the established standard. Is this just Wal-Mart arrogance, sure that they can prevail over anything? Or did someone in the store planning and real estate area not do their homework? (Somehow I can't imagine that being the case.)”

And, in response to our MNB Sports Desk piece previewing the playoffs, one MNB user wrote:

“I will be watching the playoffs with much anticipation. I, as you do, think that Bonds once again WILL choke and the Giants will lose in the first round. He will go down as the greatest regular season player and the worst postseason player in the Hall of Fame.”

Well, we’ll certainly know more in a few hours time. But we tend to agree.
KC's View: