business news in context, analysis with attitude

As always, a story about Tesco’s Fresh & Easy stores yesterday generated plenty of email…

MNB user David M. Metz wrote:

An old economics teacher once told his class that when starting a business, it takes at least 3 years before you know whether or not your business will succeed or fail. The first is in the planning and execution stages of ones Ideas. One must choose people for their company that will support their Ideas and help them make the right decisions for you can't do it alone you need partners. When launching said company, the owner needs to listen to the different views of each of its partners in order to make the right decisions / choices for his company. Brain Storm and look at every aspect of that business and make the right choices. But the ultimate decisions are made by the owner or owners.

Then in stage two this is the launching and implementation phase of the process.

Stage 3. Making changes to your business format as things progress and you support what you started and then expand as needed.

Now I suspect that Fresh & Easy has a lot of people working at Tesco and Fresh & Easy who have a similar plan / play book and they are most likely between stage two and three, making changes and tweaking their business model as needed. Unlike most companies though they have the financial support of their sister company Tesco who is the third largest retailer in the WORLD to keep them afloat for a quite some time.

Living in Southern California, My wife and I get to visit the Fresh & Easy stores often and they are opening a Fresh & Easy less then a mile from our house so we are waiting and very excited and can't wait for the stores opening. My wife and I hope they succeed and continue to grow.

When we visit, we have found that Fresh & Easy believe in a quality first! 2. They work with partners that supply their stores with product and help them create a playbook that meets or exceeds their needs. 3. Fresh & Easy marks things down on a regular basis that have sat on the shelf for what they consider to be long enough due to lack of interest in that item or because of lack of business as everyone likes to point out. But I see this as an opportunity to tray a new thing or it is a way of helping a family out during these hard time who might be strapped for cash and provides them with an opportunity to purchase something that is otherwise to costly to afford otherwise.

I have chosen to join the club in the hopes that they will survive. Yes it has taken Fresh & Easy time to acclimate their business to the different cultures living in Southern California but they are getting it. They will need to continue to tweak their business model a bit more with every city they move into, but they will do it again and again until they are done and have gotten it right.

And if they are so wrong, why are the likes of Wal-Mart creating similar Stores formats to compete against the Fresh & Easy model? I guess Fresh & Easy might not be so wrong after all.

And MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

I suspect that the truth about Fresh & Easy’s fortunes lie somewhere in the middle, not as rosy and Tesco wants us to think, not as dire as some so-called industry experts want to say, but somewhere in between.

Some of these “experts” have pooh poohed the format of a Fresh & Easy and have speculated heavily on it’s relevance, well, Walmart and Safeway are concerned enough about it to roll out their own responses to it. That by itself should tell people something about the small store format, that people who make a living actually having to do retail, not writing about it, feel a need to formulate an answer.

On the subject of Starbucks’ need to satisfy Wall Street while trying to be true to its core values – two impulses that may not be synergistic – MNB user Steve Panza wrote:

One company that seems to do well while snubbing its corporate nose to Wall Street is Costco. And I doubt very much that Jim Senegal and Howard Schultz are strangers. Customers find value in shopping at Costco. Is there any value in stopping by a Starbucks?

Only if you like the coffee. Which a lot of people do.

And, I got the following email yesterday from an MNB user:

NO WAL*MART in today's Morning News Beat????? I'm trying to decide if that's a sign of something...but can't decide what it would be! Just thought I'd let you know that your readers notice!

It happens. Not often, but occasionally. Just as we occasionally go 24 hours without writing about either Fresh & Easy or Starbucks.

But, thank goodness, not frequently.

KC's View: