business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Six Meijer stores in the Dayton, Ohio, area are scheduled to have official ribbon-cuttings today, as they reopen with new design packages that emphasize the fashion areas of the store. "Our guests are seeing more than just a remodel," said Mischelle Langdon, Store Director of the Miami Township Meijer location. "They are witnessing the Meijer concept of the reinvented superstore format. It's fun, impressive, exciting and we can't wait to officially unveil it." Meijer was one of the pioneers of the supercenter format, having opened its first one back in 1962. Forty years later, as supercenters have become one of the major forces affecting the food industry, it is encouraging to see that 156-unit Meijer breathing new life into the concept. Especially since Wal-Mart is trying to suck all the consumer dollars out of the food industry and siphon them directly to Arkansas. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

  • USAToday reports that Kmart is going for both the ying and the yang of Christmas, offering the “ghost” of Martha Stewart as the “nice” side of shopping there, while Joe Boxer underwear is promoted as the “naughty” side of Kmart. One Kmart executive is quoted as saying, "We've got good products at good prices. We can't fail." Which may have been what Charles Conaway was saying as the good ship Kmart approached the iceberg. Now, this strategy may work, but we think that any society that uses Martha Stewart as the symbol of “nice” has serious questions to ask about itself…

  • Dow Jones reports this morning that French retailers Auchan and Casino are creating a joint venture to offer retailing and trade services to international customers that want to expand into new global markets. The new venture is not, according to the companies, a joint buying service for the two of them.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that shoppers seem to be hitting the malls early this holiday shopping season, prompted by a short traditional shopping period (Thanksgiving is late this year),a desire to avoid crowds, a need to get the best deals because of economic concerns. In addition, retailers are offering special deals designed to generate early holiday shopping traffic.

  • If you were listening closely last night on HBO, you heard grocery industry icon Stew Leonard’s mentioned on “The Sopranos.” An ex-convict and recovering alcoholic/drug addict is referred to as someone who once “boosted a bunch of pork lions from Stew Leonard’s.” Getting mentioned on “The Sopranos” is as sure a symbol as you can find that your company has entered the annals of pop culture stardom…
KC's View: