PROFILE

George Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, RetailWire
George Anderson has extensive executive-level experience in editorial, marketing and sales in the advertising, retail/wholesale and print, video and digital media industries. Mr. Anderson has served as the editorial voice of RetailWire since the site's founding in 2002 and has been interviewed by a wide variety of media outlets including the Charlotte Observer, Providence Journal, MarketWatch, NPR, Wall Street Journal Radio and others. Previously, Mr. Anderson served as president and creative director of the IdeaBeat Creative division of IdeaBeat.com. His duties included creating Online Profit Guides and Company Spotlights recognized as "Best of the Net" by About.com for a blue-chip list of consumer goods manufacturers and technology companies. Before joining IdeaBeat, Mr. Anderson created a successful sales and marketing communications and custom publishing company called Not Your Average Agency. Mr. Anderson's experience includes eight years with Progressive Grocer Associates/Maclean Hunter Media, where he held a variety of marketing services and sales management roles. His assignments included work in the company's four divisions including Progressive Grocer, Frozen Food Age, Retail Technology, and Retail Insights (Supermarket Insights and Convenience Store Insights video division.) For editorial inquiries, please contact George at: RetailWire 116 South Union Avenue Cranford, NJ 07016 908-325-2499
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  • Posted on: 07/01/2020

    Anti-mask shoppers find themselves publicly shamed

    Hugo's Tacos has closed its two restaurants in Los Angeles. Here's the company's statement on Instagram (edited for brevity): To Our Customers Our Taco Stands are exhausted by the constant conflicts over guests refusing to wear masks. Staff have been harassed, called names, and had objects and liquids thrown at them. A mask isn’t symbolic of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy. Both of our locations are going to take a break and recharge. We’ve loved serving you the last 15 years and hope the LA community comes together on this issue so we can feel safe and reopen soon. Thank you to the majority of our guests who are always respectful and kind.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2020

    Will expanded fresh and frozen food selection drive Target’s pickup business?

    While I will admit I'd be hard-pressed to give Target a grade higher than a C- for its grocery execution to date, it's also important to note that without grocery, its stores would have been closed to walk-in businesses for months since it would have failed to qualify as an essential retailer in many places. Selfishly as a customer, I'm rooting for Target to get its grocery game together and dealing with its out-of-stock issues, in general. It does, however, have a long way to go IMHO.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2020

    The face mask rule is now simply a suggestion at some H-E-B stores

    I know that San Antonio and Bexar County (78 have died to date there) were among the most aggressive in shutting down when the outbreak began. H-E-B, to its credit, has been a leader in its response to protect the communities it serves and its workers. That said, the Texas state legislature, the state's governor and lieutenant governor are clearly committed to reopening the economy and seeing what happens. It's early still, but recent statewide numbers are concerning. Axios reported yesterday that testing increased in Texas 36 percent over the past week. That's good news. The bad news is that confirmed people with the virus went up 51 percent. The state is also seeing increases in the percentages of people being tested who are coming back positive for COVID-19. Directionally, those stats are headed the wrong way. Let's hope that Texans who choose to shop without face masks at H-E-B stores and elsewhere can somehow be encouraged to change their ways and choose to protect others by wearing coverings even if they are not concerned about catching COVID-19 themselves.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    In Cranford, NJ, the town is partially closing a street (Thursday through Monday) to create a public plaza, of sorts, so that restaurants can further move outdoors. The town, which is already very pedestrian-friendly, has a number of restaurants that currently offer outside dining. By closing the street, the town will be giving businesses more room to safely serve customers and keep staff safe. Cranford is reopening with 466 confirmed cases of COVID-19 here to date and having lost 90 people to the virus including 77 in long-term care facilities.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from CEO Matthew Shay in response to the death of George Floyd and attacks on retail businesses. "It is with deep dismay and shared outrage that our communities express their anger and frustration through peaceful protests over the unjustifiable death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis. Yet racial injustice continues. There is a real problem and divide in this country that we share the responsibility to address. It requires leadership in the municipal, state and federal levels of government, in our schools, our places of worship, our businesses and our homes, so we can work together — honestly, transparently and inclusively — to find solutions. Defacing, looting and plundering businesses, whether viewed as a direct outgrowth of fury or an opportunistic act of vandalism and theft, impedes progress and healing. Of primary concern to our retailers is the safety of their teams, the communities they serve and the emotional and physical well-being of their African American colleagues and customers. Retailers are committed to the values of diversity, inclusion and opportunity and that has always been at the heart of our industry. The actions of a few are impacting not just stores, but also putting at risk the people who work and shop there. We must stand together to stop racial injustice. We must work together to create greater understanding of the challenges faced by African American men and women, young and old, in communities large and small. We urge people to stop looting and destruction under the name of protest. It denies access to goods, services and jobs for those who need help the most, and takes focus away from the conversation we must have if we are to heal these wounds — not with talk, but through action."
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is it safe to bring back food sampling?

    My first reaction when reading about this was that retailers may figure out how to put samples safely in the hands of shoppers in stores, but won't they be encouraging shoppers to break their own face masks-required rules if people are lifting up their masks to put food in their mouths.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    You're spot on. Retailers are already reporting that they don't expect the sales bump they saw in April, which coincided with stimulus checks reaching millions of Americans, is likely to last. With unemployment numbers astronomically high and still climbing and millions likely to see pay cuts or worse unless the government further backs employers on meeting payrolls, the situation may not be substantially better in July or September. Merchants are adapting and innovating as quickly as they can, but it's difficult to see how the "now normal" (that one's for you George) going back to anything close to the previous normal short of proven treatments and/or vaccine for COVID-19.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    It would be interesting to see if Alibaba sought to take advantage and promote Singles Day more aggressively in the U.S. this year than it has in the past. The question is, how likely is it to do that?
  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Will face masks be a lifeline for apparel retail?

    You're right that these are not surgical masks. It does look as though Blade + Blue is selling the masks at a price where this is not simply an act of altruism. The masks also include filters that presumably offer at least a little more protection from wearers infecting others if they have COVID-19, which is the primary reason medical authorities recommend that we wear masks.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Can Target afford to pay (not pay) a $15 minimum wage?

    I believe that Walmart's minimum wage for starting employees in stores is $11 an hour, not counting current hazard pay. Workers in its distribution centers, again not counting hazard pay, start between $17 and $18 an hour based on Reuters' reporting. I'm not aware of Walmart, as Target has done, pledging to start workers at $15 by the end of this year. Walmart does, however, frequently make a case that bonuses and other forms of compensation/benefits it offers to workers make it competitive for labor in the market. I suppose, depending on where you stand, paying lower wages could either a competitive advantage or disadvantage at the present time. It's clear with so many out of work that it's no longer a job-seekers market as it was before the pandemic hit.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    Thanks
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    Neil - Americans have shown a willingness to pay higher prices in grocery stores as illustrated in the latest DOL numbers. Do you think there's room for grocers to raise prices to help increase pay levels even if not to the $2 an hour level? Looking more long-term, are there are opportunities for large chains, in particular, to remake themselves into more horizontal, responsive organizations where differences in compensation are less dramatic from the c-suite to stores?
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers?

    From our summary of a Fast Company article posted in Retail News yesterday: "An analysis of 64 scientific studies carried out by the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and funded by the World Health Organization has concluded that the use of personal protective equipment was effective in reducing transmission of previous coronavirus outbreaks including SARS and MERS. "Roger Chou, director of the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center at OHSU and a professor of medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, who led the study, said, “We were trying to take the evidence from viruses that we thought would be most like COVID-19… in general, if you look at [individual healthcare workers] using masks versus no masks, the risk of being infected drops by anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent.” 'Nuff said.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2020

    Should grocers close their doors to customers for safety’s sake?

    Having reread the article and the source pieces, I'm pretty sure no one is suggesting that grocery stores be closed down. The recommendation is that supermarkets where workers are most at-risk change their operations to pickup and delivery models. This is the same restriction placed on sit-down restaurants in my town and across many parts of the country. I think everyone involved in the grocery business has a basic understanding of the complexities and costs associated with making this shift. Trader Joe's, for one, has chosen over the years not to sell online understanding the challenges that come with it. For many (most) going to a pickup- and/or delivery-only model will not make sense and commonsense precautions and practices are the way to go for these. I do find it somewhat troubling, I must admit, suggestions if not outright assertions put forth by some business leaders, politicians, and pundits that there are acceptable losses of life associated with this pandemic. Many of these same people pooh-poohed the COVID-19 threat in the first place suggesting it was no more dangerous than the flu. For the record and for those who still equate the flu with COVID-19, I ask them to do the math. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 35.5 million Americans had the flu in the 2018/19 season and 34,200 died. Around 835,000 people in the U.S. have gotten COVID-19 to date and more than 42,000 of those have perished. The numbers of infected and deaths related to the coronavirus are widely believed to be underreported due to a lack of testing in the U.S.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2020

    Should grocers close their doors to customers for safety’s sake?

    I think one of the downsides to shoppers being required to wear masks is that people, consciously or not, seem to think they no longer need to be as careful about social distancing in stores. This past weekend at a Whole Foods in New Jersey, I stood well back and watched customers get within a couple of feet of one another as they shopped the produce aisle. A month back when we weren't wearing masks, people seemed to be very aware of maintaining six-feet of separation.

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