business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday I did a FaceTime commentary about how Victoria's Secret, which is being spun off from L Brands later this year, is getting a new board of directors.  It is made up of seven women and one man (who may be there for diversity's sake).  I argued that this is may be an example of choosing leadership that reflects the consumer base as opposed to, at least in this case, is more interested in objectifying the people who purchase its products.

Prompting one MNB reader to write:

So - once again we get the liberal police telling us that because a woman wants to look good - feel sexy and probably feel good in Victoria's secret lingerie - it is because men objectify them? Soo now now that there are 7 women on the board. .. Do you want them to launch a line of Burqa's? What will these women change - they are selling sexy items. So what.  Lighten up francis. 

If i want to look at a sexy woman - and she wants to be seen as a sexy woman - why do you even care? Overreach - dull - grey - monolith.

Not only are you not enlightened - but because you see life through gray glasses doesn't mean we have to. Your Wokeness and the wokeness of this country is tired. it was tired before it was tired. we dont need you voicing public outrage over something that is nothing.  

Your comments will change nothing - they reveal nothing - there was nothing profound - nothing but a liberal coastal boomer whining in his rose'.

Two things.

I'm confident in my assessment that Victoria's Secret has made a business out of objectifying women.  If you want to disagree, that's your privilege … and I think your choice of words speak for themselves.

As for me being "a liberal coastal boomer whining in his rosé" … I'm pretty sure that on that particular evening, I was drinking Tito's and soda with a slice of lime.


Regarding the Ohio pizzeria that is making a pizza topped with cicadas, MNB reader George Denman wrote:

I live just 30 minutes from this pizzeria in Dayton, yet there is not enough money in the world to get me to try this concoction with our without the cicadas. Cabbage and bugs have no place on my idea of pizza. I’ll stick to my favorite pepperoni and black olives on a thin crust from Cassano’s in Dayton.

On another subject, an MNB reader wrote:

Kevin - years ago you offered some speculation as to what would happen when online companies started to collect sales taxes.  I was thinking about this the other day - I wonder what your thinking is these days about that?  Probably need to separate from pre-Covid and today though…

It certainly doesn't seem to have slowed down the growth of e-commerce … not before Covid, and certainly not during the acceleration of the past 16 months.


I did another FaceTime the other day about how businesses have to step up now there seems to be an epidemic of people deciding to change their careers, which prompted one MNB reader to write:

I'll give you my take at my supermarket chain, Shaw's, and I'm sure other chains as well. Department heads are burnt out after the last year and a half dealing with Covid, etc. Staffing is very difficult, as people are taking higher paying jobs, especially HS age kids. Our corporate parent I feel definitely views us as liabilities, not assets. Morale couldn't be lower than it is right now. There are no qualified people to promote as we have no training programs, so if a department head leaves, it's disastrous.

We had training programs back in the Sainsbury days, when Shaw's was doing really well. Frustrating to see a once great company being destroyed by Albertsons and private equity.

From another MNB reader:

Small retailers in particular walk a fine line between thinking long term and having to survive in the short term.  I know personally, due to unemployment and job prospects or lack thereof, I was forced to do things that I knew, I knew would hurt me in the long term, but, I had to keep my home, I had to eat, I had to survive.  Being in the Supermarket industry, I've seen lots of small operators face the same conundrum, some survived, some didn't.

And another:

Man oh man would I like to send your message today to our ownership group.  They have suspended the annual salary increase – indefinitely – until the company’s financial performance returns to acceptable levels.

Mind you, we are still turning a profit at a rate above industry standards, and Sales reps whose territories have shrunk got commission rate increases “to keep them whole”.

Oh, and they didn’t suspend their dividend.

While many of us are grateful for still having our jobs, as Bill Murray says in Caddyshack “How about a little something, you know, for the effort?”


Finally, Michael Sansolo did a column the other day about the recent news of Walmart deciding to give nearly a million workers free smartphones, complete with an installed app.

One MNB reader replied:

Good morning Kevin and Michael, 

Thanks for your ongoing commitment to sharing your views and the news in retail.  I agree that connecting every employee has a massive impact, maybe the largest of any “technology” investment possibility today. 

Note that Walmart isn’t first to do this in a modern way, meaning beyond the two-way radios of the retailers you mentioned and many more … Add The Container Store, Bass Pro/Cabelas, Macy’s, Home Depot Canada, Living Spaces, and many more. All have realized the power of connectivity to productivity, employee engagement, customer experience, and the bottom line. They’ve also entered the 21st century with a heads-up hands free approach that uses voice rather than screen and keyboard to ensure store employee are focused on customers and the job and not on a device in their hand.