business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the Amazon-Walmart competition, one MNB reader wrote:

When I order anything from Amazon with my Prime membership, even later in the day on a Friday, I'll get it Sunday. When I've tried to order the same item from Walmart, on a Friday, it would ship Monday, and I would get it Wednesday. Amazon still way ahead in my opinion, as far as e-commerce goes.

We had a piece the other day about how LL Bean continues to stick with its values and value proposition, even when it could cut corners a bit, make a few compromises, and make a lot more money. Which prompted MNB reader Chris Grathwohl to write:

E-commerce has created an avenue for greater visibility for shoppers, and driven buyers more towards price as the ultimate measuring stick. As a result, more and more companies are jumping on the price-play band wagon, and while their top line may show a short-term gain, the bottom line isn’t as fortunate.

It is refreshing to see that a company whose unique selling proposition is one of value over price is willing to stick to its guns. That has served LL Bean well in the past, and I’m guessing it will do so in the future as well.


And, MNB reader Monte Stowell chimed in on our discussion of whether movie tickets are a good value. (Some think they are way too expensive…I think they’re a good value, as long as the movies are good.)

Movie tickets are not too expensive. It is the cost of the concessions. Add a medium size popcorn and a medium size soft drink for two people, you have added about $20.00 to the cost of your movie tickets, totaling about $40.00. I would like to see someone who goes to a professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or a soccer game, and ask them how much they spent for the tickets, parking, and concessions, especially for a beer. All of a sudden, the math shows me that a movie, from a cost standpoint is a much better deal. Also, avoid the major chain movie complexes and go to the local movie theatre. The admission and the concessions are often 30-40 percent cheaper.

I went the other day with my son to see Logan Lucky at the AMC Loews in Port Chester, New York, which is our preferred theater. What I didn’t realize until we got there was that the movie was playing in a new Dolby Cinema that AMC has installed there, which offers better projection systems, superior sound, reclining seats and reserved seating. The tickets were also a lot more expensive - more than $19 apiece, as opposed to the roughly $13 charged in its more traditional theaters with digital projection.

I loved the movie … but I must admit that I was underwhelmed by the theater. The seats were okay, but not great … the projection and sound seemed only marginally better (though the difference might’ve been more evident with a different movie), and I’m just not sure it was worth spending almost 50 percent more per ticket.

I did like the reserved seating, though … but I also happen to know that if I go to the Living Room Theater in Portland, Oregon, I can get perfectly fine projection and sound, comfortable seats and reserved seating…for $11. Plus, there is a really good restaurant and bar, so I can enjoy a nice local ale or wine and some sushi while watching the movie.

I still think that movie theaters are a great value, as long as the movie is good. But I think that they have to be careful not to push too hard against the price ceiling.
KC's View: