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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
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  • Posted on: 12/13/2019

    Is there any limit to how many stores Dollar General can open?

    "Over stored" is a general concept. We may have too many gas stations, steak houses and department stores, but (still) have too FEW charging stations, vegan restaurants and "pre-owned" clothing stores. In short, composition matters. And dollar stores seem like exactly the kind of thing we may not have enough of, IMHO, and a lot of conventional wisdom notwithstanding, they're relatively immune to online competition and there seems to be no shortage of people who need to save money (or at least want to). So they're certainly the type of business that MIGHT have growth potential. When the limit will be reached -- or whether it might already be here -- I can't say.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2019

    Are customers more loyal to brands or influencers?

    I couldn't agree more Lee. I've no trouble understanding an endorsement from a celebrity -- an actor, athlete ... even a Warren Buffet -- in short, people who've actually done something and perhaps have a reason to be listened to. But people who have no more qualification than the (often self-crowned) amorphous title of "influencer"? A hired gun without a holster.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Best Buy vs. Big Lots

    Another non-competitive showdown: Best Buy was amusing, short and squeezed in some product info; Big Lots was just a jumble of loudness and images. That having been said, something about the BB spot just didn't work (which is perhaps reflected in its middling scores): I think it's the incongruity of the sales associate being on the roof -- and underdressed for the cold ... perhaps it would have worked better if she had been on the ground, talking to the friend instead.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Will IHOP fans flip out over its new fast-casual breakfast foods concept?

    A restaurant without seating? Sorry, no, I don't think so. It may well find a market, but I'm betting the market is small ... just as food trucks have been a nice complement to -- not replacement for -- restaurants.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Why did Jet.com’s fresh delivery service go stale in NYC?

    Nothing new, and if they haven't learned it already, they probably never will: grocery delivery is not, at present, a viable i.e. money making business, and an attempt at "fresh" that depends on lots of middlemen will be neither profitable nor truly fresh. Almost day old fish? I think an upper East-Sider needing cod would have been better served by sending Jeeves up in Uber to buy it directly.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Is secondhand gifting a holiday disruptor?

    I think it's more of a question of availability: aftermarket marketplaces like eBay have made it quite easy to buy pre-owned quality merchandise easily, something that would have been difficult if not impossible in the days when doing such meant visiting garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. But even here there are limits: some don't mind "used," some definitely do.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    Well, it's an interesting idea, but I hesitate to call it a good one. Too many people will take the wrong basket — unaware the coding even exists — and complain about the results. But is it necessary to even try this? I've been in Sephora many times and had no trouble with either (1) finding help when I needed it, or (2) simply saying "no" when I didn't. Indeed, given the small purchases (I would think) people typically make there, I'm wondering how many people even pick up a basket in the first place.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    Well that was easy -- by far the easiest decision I can remember making in this annual process! Etsy's spots were crisp, clear and right to the point, telling us what they offer and then backing it up with specific examples (at least someone learned the lessons of Advertising 101!). The Amazon spot was the usual muddle of "how clever we are" distractions ... the only thing I got from it was a desire to find out where that train is.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    How does Backcountry.com come back from its trademark battle backlash?

    Backlash? Admittedly I wasn't in the target group, but I'd still be surprised if one-person-in-a-hundred had heard of this. Really, of course, this case has only a little to do with marketing, and much to do with our sad handling or mishandling of intellectual property. That this kind of legal action was even allowed to go forward I find far more disturbing than its obscurity suggests.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    Will Americans of all colors respond to ‘Shop Black Week’?

    I'll have to concur with Doug here: too many "Shop XXXX Week"s around, and this one has the added complication that most people, I would imagine, would have trouble identifying what are and are not "black owned businesses". Certainly they extend well beyond the stereotypes shown -- hair care and restaurants -- but are not readily identifiable.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    "Assisted suicide" might be a more apt term. Or at least if I thought the premise was true; but Walmart showed similar (if somewhat less spectacular) results. I suspect as we sort retailers by price level, we will see a pattern: the long term one of a continued shift toward discounters and a short term one, declining consumer activity. On a sad) side note: I suspect George toyed with the idea of using this same data for the topic "Will this be JCP's last Christmas?"
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Should Starbucks stick with its open bathroom policy?

    Question: how is "anonymized" data able to identify race? (Or to put it another way: maybe the data can be "re-individualized" if one really wants to.) This is the classic "no win" situation: serving people who "should" be there while discouraging those who shouldn't, and to further complicate it, perhaps offering a public service to the latter, as long as they cause no problems. And the issue is by no means limited to restaurants: I was in the downtown L.A. ****** last year around Xmas and discovered the washroom access required a key. Yeah, sure, there was a procedure for doing so -- find a sales associate.... Finding Blitzen would be easier! But it was inconvenient and thus annoying. But what's the standard for determining who is a "customer" in a department store? Only those who've already bought something? Only "Rewards Members"?
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    No and no. That probably few of us even remember there was a "prior incident" is telling as to how frequent these have become and as a result how immune we've become to paying attention to them; something that is both good and bad for the impacted retailers, and society at large.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    What's next, hospital ERs for "rewards members"? Epic fail.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    Personally, I'm reluctant to lump CBD with (other)"plant-based" products, for the simple reason that I think the former is a fad, while the latter is not. That having been said, I don't see a lot of private label in either of these categories for the obvious reason that both are still small and unsettled markets. I don't expect that to change for a few years yet.
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