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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Move over plant-based meat, lab-grown meat is coming

    I heartily -- no pun intended -- agree, James, but I think the big issue is going to be legal challenges from the (actual) meat industry or "industries," really since beef, pork, chicken, etc. aren't some monolith, to any use of the term "meat." We've already seen this with the dairy industry and the various plant-based "milks" on the market.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Move over plant-based meat, lab-grown meat is coming

    Jake holds his "enthusiasm" well ... seriously, though, I don't think any of us can really know the answer to this. I CAN say, though, that it's not going to be a contest unless we come up with a better term than "lab grown" meats. Perception is all important here, and in the battle between Ma Nature and the mad scientist, the former is going to win ... every time.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Is Trump declaring war on counterfeits or Amazon and other e-marketplaces?

    A retailer is responsible for what they sell, there's no doubt about that. With third party sellers though, the complication is in deciding who "the retailer" is, the platform -- Amazon, eBay, etc. -- or the party that actually ships the goods. I don't think you're ever going to ever get a complete solution to this. Certainly the platform can, and should, set certain standards and practices that the vendors must follow, but it still has to be up to the latter to follow them. As for this enforcement effort, specifically, we have an administration whose performance is suspect at best. Let's not go into "at worst" -- that frequently launches diatribes against the leading third-party platform ... gee, what could co wrong?
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Will store closures worsen in 2020?

    12,000 > 9,300, so the answer to the question posed by the post's title is "yes." The more interesting question, then, I guess, is "what will be the makeup of those closures?" Will it continue to be pruning of "underproducing" stores, or will whole chains go under ... and if so which ones? Sears and JCP are the obvious choices, of course -- though there's a debate as to whether the former is really a major retailer any more. I don't think the latter will close (this year anyway) but it's becoming ever harder to see a future for it. And, as always the big wild card is the economy. Will the manufacturing recession spread into services? Will we "win" our way into a trade abyss? Will some bubble (housing, Tesla stock ... take your pick) burst? Tune in next week, and until then: Hi Ho Silver ... away!
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Cross-brand collaborations open up store shelf space for CPG brands

    Matt's topic is interesting in-and-of-itself, but what really struck me was the comment "sugary cereals are thriving on the grocery shelf." Wait, so the "smart food" movement was a fraud?...well, overhyped? Probably not, as much as the claim points out that a small segment can grow and become more important -- less unimportant, perhaps -- and yet still be less than a dynamic factor. So back on topic: do I think cross branding will grow? Do I think it will be a major player? See above.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Is a ‘hassle cost’ justified in resolving customer service issues?

    An interesting topic -- maybe even a provocative one if we accept "unnecessary obstacles to avoid providing them with refunds..." Unfortunately the brief news articles here don't really provide enough detail about the study to evaluate it. How, for example, did it differentiate a "necessary" obstacle from one that's "necessary"? (Indeed do we even define a process such as providing information as an "obstacle"?) Ultimately, I guess the big question here -- which doesn't seem to be answered -- is what do these authors recommend?
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Does convenience trump price for today’s consumer?

    My initial reaction to this study is that it's a perfect example of the "say one thing, do another" phenomenon that plagues surveys (83% ... really?). But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that convenience is important (even if maybe not dramatically more so than in the past). So what does a retailer do? They listen to their customers, of course ... but they don't place the needs of one group over the other. Increase staffing and accessibility for BOPIS? Fine, but don't take people off the sales floor, or place the information desk where no one can find it to do so.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Does IKEA need parking lots?

    "(A)ll items too big to carry will be home delivered within 24 hours." This of course is what lies at the end of the asterisk attached to the "No Parking" claim. So the real question, here, is whether/not this -- adding a delivery component -- represents a fundamental change to IKEA's business model. I would argue it is, at least, a big one. We'll just have to see how the first few test stores work out (and without seeming a chauvinist, I'll point out that what works in Vienna, may not work in Boston ... let alone Plano, TX).
  • Posted on: 01/20/2020

    Best Buy CEO faces alleged misconduct probe

    Is the letter disclosing a legitimate concern or is it just libel? Without knowing that, it's hard to know what the outcome is, or even what it "should" be. The fact that this isn't BBY's first such incident is telling, though I'm not quite sure what it's telling us: do they have a problem with boundaries or did the earlier incident (just) facilitate making baseless charges. At this point the proper response for everyone is to sit back and allow the investigation to proceed ... without forming any preconceptions.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2020

    Is Bose doing the smart thing in closing its stores?

    This is a little different than most of the store closing stories we see in that this isn't a retailer, it's a manufacturer (indeed the pic shows a "factory outlet" although I'm not sure all their stores appear as such). So the question is, were these stores like (those of) Apple or Nike -- i.e. highly successful brand flagships -- or more like others that we never really noticed? I'm guessing the latter. If they come to regret the decision, they can always reopen them ... perhaps on a more limited basis.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    Wegmans has a better website, but did it need one?

    The same thing as with a website in any channel: the ability to find what you want, with a minimum of effort (you'd think it would be simple by now, but I continue to be surprised by "what were they thinking?" moments when shopping online). How much difference it will make is, of course, debatable. Normally with these kind of (presumably) marginal improvements, my comment is "worry about this when you have everything else right"...but many would argue that Wegmans has.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    Are Gap Inc. and Old Navy better off together?

    What the?! It's true that it's better to admit a mistake and move on than continue it, but of course it's best not to make it in the first place. And "best" is what Gap needs right now. Whatever the merits of the separation idea may be on their own -- and they've been discussed here (a lot) -- this reversal is going to give (reinforce?) the idea that management doesn't know what it's doing.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    Burger King sets the dining mood with a ‘Whopperish’ aesthetic

    Methinks the Instant Poll QOD is a little misleading: in a competitive environment, everything can become important, but only if you're going head-to-head on what's MOST important; so in this case it means "fix the menu." Personally, I always thought BK deserved better than they got; but that was a long time ago and with the emergence of better competitors -- both in burgers specifically and fast food more generally -- it may be too late. Oh! If only 20 years ago someone had just thought to get the fries right!
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    What does Target’s Christmas miss mean?

    OMG! Oh...My...God! Or, really more like, "yawn." As I've commented -- lectured? -- here repeatedly, single point comparisons don't mean much, whether they're for a month, a season or even a whole year. That having been said, the gap between the reality and the expectation is rather dramatic, so I would say this is maybe a problem. But for the finance department, not the sales staff.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    Did Trump’s phase one deal with China deliver the goods for retailers?

    At this point, of course, we're entirely dependent on predictions ... and one's faith in the competence of this administration. I'll leave it there.
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