business news in context, analysis with attitude

We wrote yesterday about the supercenter explosion in China. This prompted an email from MNB user Dan Raftery, of Prime Consulting Group:

“The ultimate irony may be that foreign retailers sell Chinese manufactured goods in China. Asia has taken over a large share of production in the past 10 years. It’s only a matter of time before the export pipeline is full of goods and the homeland becomes a viable market. Although their economy has a long way to go before the majority of Asians can be considered "major league" consumers, its headed in that direction. And Western nations are fuelling it as manufacturing sources continue to move East.”

Yesterday, reacting to our earlier story about Jack In The Box getting into the c-store business, one MNB user wrote:

Just imagine a Convenience complex with the following: Convenience store, Gas station, Fast Food Court, Dry cleaners, ATM, Car wash, Ten minute oil change…everything you hate to do in one spot. Just call it ‘Minutes,’ when you only have a minute to spare!”

To which another user now responds:

“Isn't that called a Neighborhood Market?”

Sure…go ahead and scare the MNB community. (Must be Halloween…)

Actually, we’re pretty sure that even Wal-Mart isn’t offering all of these services in the Neighborhood Market concept…at least, not at the moment.

And MNB user James Hervey of the National Association of Convenience Stores wrote:

“Just wanted to point out that several complexes like that described do exist in the convenience store industry and are doing quite well. In fact we profiled three operators with operations such as Mr. Engleman described in the Ideas to Go! general session at our recently concluded annual convention; Blue Harbor Pointe, operated by Chip Lavigne in Mandeville, LA; The Washingtonian Cafe operated by Carlos Horcasitas in Gaithersburg, MD; and the Lone Star Food Store operated by Bill Douglass in Sherman, TX.

Great examples all of retailers defining convenience through quick access to
multiple services for their consumers.”

Thanks, James.

Yesterday, MNB user Ken Robb wrote to criticize Wal-Mart on several levels. Another member wrote in to take the opposite position:

“Please ask Ken Robb to give us the name(s) of the town(s) with populations under 10,000 where Wal-Mart has built supercenters. It would save me a lot of searching trying to find one.

“As far as demanding "unprecedented financial incentives and tax abatements from local governments", if these towns weren’t willing to give them to Wal-Mart, and/or to any new industry willing to build a plant in town, where would all these town be? Dried up and blown away?

“Besides, most of the towns are breaking their backs, financially, to outdo the neighboring town in order to attract any kind of new business.

“Also, ask Ken who are, and where are, these "many workers that now barely survive on part-time minimum wage jobs without benefits or group health insurance". I'd like to get in touch with them as Wal-Mart is ALWAYS in need of good new employees; pays above minimum wages and offers benefits and group health insurance after a minimum period of employment.

“As far as having a "killer instinct", the only one I've ever really seen Wal-Mart executives having is one of being sure to offer their customers the best value possible, ALWAYS!

“Are we better off now than we were before?

“I believe our customers are answering that question best. To the tune of $217.8 billion in sales last year.

“Now, as to the comments from Richard Lowe, "There is no end to how low customer want to go. In fact, they would love it for free." , my response goes like this.

“ Of course. Why not? Would you turn a freebie down if it was something you used or needed?

“However wanting it and getting it for free are two different things. As long as someone figures out how to make something cheaper and are willing to sell it for the right price, Wal-Mart will probably buy a couple million; so, what's the beef?

“I completely disagree that the "free enterprise system was built on how much one could make when selling something". Maybe the guy that made the first something thought that but I'd bet my bottom dollar the guy that knocked off what guy #1 was making, made it for less and sold it for less.

"Low wages and benefits" is the same old, same old crying we keep hearing from those wanting to unionize Wal-Mart in order to save their own high paying jobs. Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of hearing it and I hope they all lose their jobs when Wally World comes to their particular town.

Our story about Wal-Mart’s Asda Group in the UK using chicken fat to fuel some of its trucks drew the following response from MNB user Kristen Northrup:

“1. What will the exhaust smell like?

2. Wouldn't that be fabulous slogan on a t-shirt to wear to the gym?
'powered by chicken fat.'”

Reacting to our story about Procter & Gamble having a great quarter, one member of the MNB community wrote:

“Go Procter Go!!!

“As an 11 year veteran of Procter & Gamble ( I was hired right off of campus from the College of William & Mary) and stockholder I couldn't be happier.

“Say what you want about P&G, they still consistently market the Best consumer packaged goods to the World.

On another subject, our weekly collaboration with Rodale Press, MNB user Bill Duncan wrote:

Good that you are doing this. Rodale is understands good health is an investment you make every day. It is important that the real message gets out that regular exercise AND good eating habits are essential to good health. As a runner you know how true this is. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think they can just diet their way to good health. What a myth.

By the way, just purchased a Boflex gym set about two months ago. Recommend it to anyone seeking a superior work out. in limited time. Didn't buy this for a long time because of the Boflex TV ads...nobody looks like that...except me in a couple of months. I am living proof that you can build your body past 50.

You inspire us, Bill…
KC's View: