business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader who wanted to respond to our story about Kroger's Florida-based strategy, which apparently focuses on e-commerce, distribution centers, and virtually no stores:

I saw this Kroger truck driving in Orlando a couple days ago.  This was taken in front of the Costco at Millenia Mall.  As a retired Publix associate I have been following the Kroger Groveland news.  My understanding was that they were not yet making deliveries so perhaps this truck was just a teaser to raise awareness of what’s coming?

Maybe.  Or, Kroger has moved beyond teasing and now wants to consummate an online relationship with food shoppers.

From another reader:

Kroger’s still unpublished strategy in Florida is one to keep a close eye on.  Let’s not forget their partnership they’ve been testing with Walgreen’s for several years, and their role in all of this (there are over 700+ Walgreen’s in Florida).

Picking customer orders from a store is still an unprofitable model.  If Ocado can drastically change the operational costs, and Kroger can figure out how to efficiently distribute these orders through partners like Walgreen’s, they should be at a significant cost advantage in Florida.  The potential is then there to invest these savings back into price, and offer value that retailers like Publix would struggle to match.  It’s a great story that is unfolding, the only problem is that it feels like we are watching a snail race. 

Let's remember the Hemingway line about going bankrupt - that it happened "gradually, then suddenly."

That's exactly what could happen here.

Another MNB reader wrote:

Would love to see Kroger find a way into the Northeast as well, which would require an acquisition.

Maybe not.  Maybe we're learning that stores are not the critical component they used to be, at least in terms of launching a business.

On another subject, one MNB reader wrote:

I don’t understand the comment regarding people that are not getting the vaccine and that they only care about themselves? Why would vaccinated people be afraid of unvaccinated people; they cannot get the virus. It’s the unvaccinated people that are putting themselves at risk. I do not plan on being vaccinated; part is for religious reasons and the other is the unknown nature of this vaccine and what the long term effects might be.

We took note above of the Washington Post story about how immunocompromised Americans continue to be at great risk, and there also have been stories about how we're seeing greater occurrences among children who cannot yet be vaccinated.

I think that's the concern when it comes to people who have decided not to get vaccinated - or just have not yet been able to.  If they don't wear masks, they potentially put all these people at risk.

The argument is that the more people who get vaccinated, the better able the country - and the world - is to starve the virus of oxygen.  That's a compelling point, I think - that the decisions we make do not just affect us, but also our fellow citizens.