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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
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  • Posted on: 08/16/2022

    Have restaurant meals become a better deal than food from grocery stores?

    So a (much) higher set of prices went up relatively less than a lower set? Well, guess what: they're still much higher! (and it's no mystery why: labor costs -- the biggest component of restaurant costs -- didn't go up as much). Sorry, but I find the whole premise of this post bassackwards: I think if anything, rising prices will make people eat out less than previously.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2022

    Will Kohl’s self-pickup system be a difference maker?

    Normally, of course, convenience is seen as a good thing, but with regard to the specific question I wonder if minimizing contact isn't also minimizing the upselling opportunities. Regardless, Kohl's still has its (same old) "store" issues -- so no Silver Bullet.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2022

    Is Amazon’s deal for iRobot all about mapping Americans’ homes?

    I think if you're one of those people who finds something sinister in everything Amazon does, then you won't like this. I'm not one of them, so I tend to give this a shoulder shrug. At the same time, though, I find myself asking the same thing after most Amazon acquisitions -- or really any big company acquiring another company (and I'm not sure if I ask more when the acquisition is related or unrelated to the acquirers core business): how was the world made better off by this happening? I usually don't think it was.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2022

    Will refurbished products deliver ‘good as new’ results for Walmart?

    Sorry, but I'm going to be the naysayer here: Walmart's whole raison d'être is low prices, but it achieves this thru ruthlessly stripping away underlying costs -- generally relying on standardization and buying in bulk; but refurbishing things is to a large extent a bespoke business. I just don't see the same old business practices working here.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2022

    Is Walmart’s HQ reorg a good thing or cause for concern?

    Walmart has more than 2M employees ... 200 is less than one one-hundredth of one percent of this total; granted, every one of them doesn't work at the HQ, but I think we all get the idea: this isn't even a "nothingburger," it's a nothingburger wrapper. Save your "thoughts and prayers" for the laid off ... the company itself is just fine.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2022

    Are grocers profiteering from inflation?

    What a silly premise! Grocery is one of the most competitive -- and lowest margin -- industries in the country, and food prices are notoriously volatile. The idea that there's some cabal of evil grocers rubbing their hands together in glee as they "profiteer" is ... mirthful.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2022

    How should influencer marketing be measured?

    I don't think the metrics for measuring this are much vaguer than for many other marketing concepts ... how do you measure the value of goodwill or philanthropy? What is different, IMHO, is that this type of marketing doesn't have a lot of lasting value: so let's get busy on those metrics, people, to prove me wrong! :)
  • Posted on: 08/03/2022

    The Nordstrom tire return story is true

    I think there's something missing here: IIRC Nordstrom had actually purchased Northern Commercial, they weren't just "a previous tenant" ... which is a crucial detail as to why there was some obligation, or at least a feeling that there might be one. And I also recall the legend became something of a problem later, as increasingly unrealistic expectation built up. Back to the basic question: yes it's still possible to develop and build upon a service culture ... but each generation redefines what that means, so it's not just a question of doing what our forbearers did.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2022

    Should the cryptocurrency crash scare retailers?

    Unchanged: zero then, zero now (which isn't at all a statement of how likely it is to be accepted, only how good an idea it is). As for the Deloitte ... uhm, study, I'm curious who paid for it.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2022

    Dynamic pricing may be ‘stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey’

    The premise here seems to be if people "understand" something, they'll like it. I think that's true only to the extent that "because we can" isn't the primary reason. Of course a(n asked) price is only meaningful if people are willing to pay it: $6000 for a ticket doesn't strike me as rational behavior ... even for The Boss.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Will the ‘Credit Card Competition Act’ lead to lower prices for retailers and consumers?

    And how exactly would these savings be "passed on"? Will every store do like gas stations and have cash and credit prices? I won't defend -- nor will I condemn -- the basic fees that are charged, other than to point out the problem of making blanket assessments like "the U.S. is X times so-and-so country." Keep in mind that the basic fee is an ever smaller part of the total: if retailers want lower discounts, then credit card issuers are going to have to scale back their "reward" programs. When a customer gets 5% back, where do they think that money comes from?
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Should ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates be reimagined to reduce waste?

    How many times do need to discuss this same topic? There may or may not be better ways to handle food and reduce waste -- a certain amount of waste is always going to occur because of conflicts between supply and demand (i.e. we'd rather have too much than risk having too little) -- but reducing the amount of info people receive is never one of them.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2022

    Are mobile devices creating connected store associates yet?

    While I've no doubt they will become more common, I've many as to how useful they will be: the problem isn't the device(s), it's actually locating an associate that has one.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2022

    Will the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model overcome economic and regulatory challenges?

    I won't say BNPL is a scam, as it offers an actual service. But it takes little imagination to see that the there's a real danger of the first two words -- particularly the second -- to be emphasized at the expense of the latter two, particularly the third. So it will do well when the economy is doing well, and falter when the economy does the same (when the bill comes due literally as well as figuratively). If people want to spend their way into the poor house it is their business ... at least until talk of a bailout for said debtors begins.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2022

    Will marketers hit a home run or strike out with MLB’s uniform ads?

    Yeerrrrrrrrrr out! My prediction: the impact on (and for) advertisers will pale in comparison to the negative press it will generate for MLB. But now that we're here, let's ask about the actual impact: do these small logos really do anything? I think in cases where the product is integral to the sport -- a player's wearing an apparel logo, a racing car driver displaying a motor-oil, etc -- it can maintain brand help brand image when it's part of a well-developed overall program. But just sticking your name on something doesn't do much, and the further your product is from the sport, the effect will get commensurately smaller as well.
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