• fa
    • tt
    • gg

Michael Blackburn

  • Posted on: 10/14/2022

    Kroger and Albertsons are merging

    I guess they had their lawyers and advisors review, that a deal was possible. But like others, divesting just 375 stores seems too low ... with over 50% Albertsons stores within 5 miles of a Kroger. National scale to better compete with AMZN and WMT, sure. But at the same time, I'm concerned both companies will take their eyes off current strategic initiatives, and notably Kroger's push into digital with Ocado.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2022

    Will a gas tax holiday drive retail in the right direction?

    No! While surging fuel prices are a major contributor to overall inflation, the issue is basic supply and demand. Either we increase supply, or destroy demand. Increase supply will take investment. But oil companies have been unwilling to risk their capital, and regardless, this take years to create any benefit. So it's about demand destruction. Lowering the tax/price will only fuel demand and further price increases to offset any tax benefit.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2022

    Albertsons puts its digital transformation on the fast track

    I'm still surprised by all the positive views of "partnerships." Sure it's easy and initially cost effective. But why share your data, and lose your brand identity to a third, possibly competing, party?
  • Posted on: 02/18/2022

    What happens to pharmacies when the COVID-19 vaccine demand wanes?

    The pandemic has opened consumers to telehealth, alternative care -- and there is a big opportunity for pharmacies to help lower the cost of primary care. However it's a long way from the current state of a CVS/Walgreens store to that promised land. Meanwhile, Rite Aid will be left behind in the dust.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Are large grocery chains putting profits before people?

    Yes, it’s premature to be pulling back the bonus pay, especially as cases are increasing in over half the states. To their credit, grocers were quick to increase pay. Yet despite this cost and other COVID-19-related operating costs, most still reported not only record sales, but profits as well. A true profit sharing plan could have been considered. As for "bashing" grocery relative to other sectors, I don’t really see the grocery space acting any more ethically correct over the past years than these other players. Most of the major players are focused on the outdated theme from the '80s of maximizing shareholder profits; profits before people. Ultimately perhaps it’s the consumer’s fault, always searching for cheap prices rather than a good value.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Do retailers need ‘trickle up economics’ to beat COVID-19?

    We need to get back to normal! God, I hope not. Exactly when did conspicuous consumption, a term initially used to describe greed, become an economic goal? "Two-thirds of our economy is consumption -- we need to get the consumer buying again!" B.S. A company's focus needs to shift back from stockholders to stakeholders, labor needs to better organize, and finance needs to be better regulation, meaning not more complex, but simple (see Glass-Steagall). Capitalism is not the best system, but its the best so far (Churchill). Yet we don't even have capitalism, we have a corporatism/cronyism, that the pandemic will likely only fortify, with the big getting bigger -- this has been a windfall for Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, CVS big pharma, big tech... Perhaps we should think in terms of using this crisis to forge a new, better system, similar to how past pandemics improved city infrastructures, with better sewage, aqueducts, parks, etc.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2020

    When should non-essential retail stores reopen?

    Agree 100%. These types of polls are dangerous
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    I used to think yes, but I'm not so sure despite the survey results. You have your conscious consumer, and your convenience consumer. On the other hand, Bezos could spin this and say with more sales going online, and more stores closing, all those closed outlets should be converted to green space with planted trees -- a new "Amazon."
  • Posted on: 11/05/2019

    Is Amazon starting to fall out of favor with American consumers?

    Is Amazon a retailer or a logistics company? Clearly the latter, and if by any measure the former they are not particularly compelling. The question is about last mile profitability. As the tech to solve last mile profitability gains scale throughout the industry, it would seem the Amazon "logistics" advantage would fade, and those "compelling" retailers stand to win, as they always do.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Can retail rivals beat Amazon without having lower prices over the holidays?

    I'm not sure how this study was conducted. Whenever I walk into an electronics store, chain or mom and pop, and take my phone out, the first thing the sales person says is "we will match Amazon." So Amazon is great for price transparency, but I don't believe it provides any meaningful price advantage over the competition.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Nike launches digitally-led store

    I'm not sure if this is a great idea, but manufacturers finding more innovative ways to go direct to consumer can't be good for Foot Locker, Finish Line, Dick's ...
  • Posted on: 06/29/2018

    Will Amazon’s PillPack acquisition disrupt the retail pharmacy business?

    No. This currently is no more than a test concept for Amazon. CVS and Walgreens are well-entrenched and have plenty of ammunition to react including the tech to do what PillPack offers. Delivery has not been a growing business for retail pharmacy -- of course Millennials never want to step into a brick-and-mortar store, so maybe in 10 years when their prescriptions ramp up beyond Adderall, Amazon may have an impact. P.S., great buy opportunity for CVS and WBA, who are already diversifying away from pharmacy.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie parent expects to thrive after Chapter 11

    Things went downhill after the Sweetbay/Harvey's acquisition. The reorg gets rid of about one-third of their debt and 15 percent of their stores. It gives them better footing, but it's still the same old story we've been hearing from both these chains (both Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo have filed previously this century) for the past decade-plus. A new plan to remodel and create a store of the future. Despite a projection to return to profitability in 2019, cash flow will remain weak and the balance sheet still somewhat leveraged, so the company will still be handcuffed by how aggressive they can be. Their best chance is if Kroger or Albertsons is interested in the real estate ... Amazon?
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges?

    So a year ago Kroger was a Wall Street darling and now they are in denial? Do they have an organic growth problem? Yes, that has been clear for the last decade, ergo their decision to become more acquisitive. And they continue to generate profits and cash flow. They are growing online business, albeit mostly click and collect. Delivery, which is a small fraction of online grocery, is mostly through third parties but they are testing their own. No one has figured out grocery delivery, including Amazon. Ask any landlord if they have any qualms renting space to Kroger. My only concern would be if Kroger management actually takes this type of criticism seriously.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Will exclusive nutrition labels set Raley’s apart from rivals?

    Trying to find these types of products in a traditional grocery store is like trying to find buried treasure, so anything that simplifies the process is welcome for those concerned about sugar, gluten, etc. The only thing Raley's has to to do is clearly communicate with the shopper that the labels are positive, not negative -- these are the products you want.
  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.