business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of food retailers exchanging gift cards plus a 10 percent bonus for the government-issued economic stimulus checks in the mail this week, one MNB user wrote:

I spoke with a client today and they are going to start selling $330 cards for $300 as an ongoing promotion and it will be mutually exclusive from the stimulus checks. Look to see other retailers do this as well.

My client stated that just from the reduced credit card transaction fees they will save a lot of money. Better to have one $300 transaction than ten $30 ones.

Credit card companies are going to hate this.

Gee, that's a shame.

MNB user Baronda Bradley wrote:

With all of the news stories and follow-the-leader tactics that the grocery stores are pursuing regarding cashing tax rebate checks, the clearest benefit I see is that those same retailers are getting fresh, warm leads--namely, updated names and addresses of clients who are extremely likely to shop in their stores--for the price of a fresh, warm loaf of bread.

Sounds like a good trade to me!

Regarding yesterday's story about supermarkets disappearing from New York City neighborhoods for a variety of economic reasons, one MNB user wrote:

I think we need to ask ourselves why we don’t care more about solving this problem that has been escalating over the years. With all the government subsidies and corporate charitable donations being done today, you would think someone would at least see this as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from a “good corporate citizen” standpoint. The difficulties in managing stores in these areas must make this equation not work out. Is anyone even having the conversation?

MNB had a piece yesterday about an FMI session focusing on industry collaboration, which prompted MNB user Jim Swoboda wrote:

OK, the key takeaways were:

• Focus on the consumer
• Connect business information with trading partners
• Prepare your people for a new world
• Share the supply chain

Geez, that sounds strangely like ECR!


We also had a piece yesterday about how the high cost of corn is creating an environment in which some manufacturers may move away from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and toward the use of sugar. MNB user Ellen Ornato observed:

It would be interesting if a health organization would track the connection between the obesity curve and the introduction and then pervasive insertion of high fructose corn syrup into nearly every packaged good. A return to sugar is a good thing; we know what sugar is, where it comes from and what it does! Now if we can just get them to eliminate aspartame from everything we’ll be back on the path to consuming purer foods.

It may sound like whining, but aspartame is now in ALL gum, not just gum that’s “sugar free.” Juicy Fruit and even the kids’ Bubble Tape have it in there! No gum is safe to chew anymore. Yikes.

MNB user Marc Berliner had some thoughts about the possibility of Wegmans opening a store near Boston:

I live in Westwood and this issue is receiving a lot of attention in town. There is a town meeting tonight were the issue is sure to be a hot topic of debate. Wegmans is already being heavily marketed in town. Yesterday we received a 4-page brochure from the developers of Westwood Station (where the Wegmans would exist) talking about what Wegmans offers to shoppers, how they get so involved in their communities, etc.

Commenting on our recent review of a terrific book entitled "Death To All Sacred Cows," MNB user Glen Terbeek wrote:

If the supermarket industry is to put "Death To All Sacred Cows", then it better start thinking about convenience (and the supply chain) all the way to the dinner table, not just to the store shelf. There is a lot more to preparing and serving meals than shopping in the store. In fact, to really attack "the" Sacred Cow, it is time to start thinking about convenience (and the supply chain) in reverse order, starting at the completion of the meal and working backward. I call it the Demand Chain. The current food distribution model will continue to come under attack by outsiders who understand the consumers' false economics (including convenience) in the way business is done (meals are served) today.

As usual, Glen Terbeek nails it.

Attention must be paid.

KC's View: