PROFILE

Ron Margulis

Managing Director, RAM Communications

Ronald Margulis is Managing Director of RAM Communications, a public relations firm based in Cranford, NJ. RAM Communications provides media relations counseling, trade marketing and communications support to clients in the retail, transportation, manufacturing and technology industries. Among the services offered are media relations, information sourcing, speech writing, issue research and analysis, editorial and design analysis, newsletter publishing, presentation and video scripting, marketing brochure and training manual production, focus groups and meeting planning.

With more than 1,000 articles published, Margulis is also an accredited journalist. His writings on the food, retail, tobacco, information technology and transportation industries have appeared in Canadian Business, Chicago Tribune, Cigar Magazine, Computerworld, Convenience Store News, Distribution Channels, Executive Technology, FT.com, Food Arts, Forbes, ID, Sales & Marketing, Shipping Digest, Supermarket News, Washington Times and several other newspapers and magazines. As an editor and reporter, he has interviewed more than 50 CEOs of leading global companies and dozens of government officials including four US Cabinet Secretaries, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Treasurer of Australia.

Margulis has won numerous awards for his writing, has written more than one dozen industry reports/white papers and is contributing editor of three professional reference books. He has been quoted in several leading newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer and Smart Money, on topics ranging from technology to crisis communications, and has been featured on Bloomberg Radio, Talk Canada, Westwood One and National Public Radio. He has spoken at numerous business and academic conferences, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Public Relations Society of America.

Margulis graduated with honors from George Washington University, earned an MBA in economics from New York University and studied journalism at University of London. The son and grandson of supermarket operators, he also completed a management training internship and meat cutter’s apprenticeship at Wakefern Food Corp. (Shop-Rite Supermarkets).

Margulis is married to Patricia Paul, an artist. They live in New Jersey with their daughter Elena. His recreational activities and hobbies include fencing (President, Westfield Fencing Club), hiking, skiing, reading, cooking and map collecting.

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  • Posted on: 09/15/2020

    Will the election sidetrack holiday shoppers?

    Nothing short of a civil war or overwhelming natural disaster will stop, or even hinder in a major way, sales during the coming holiday season. While both political extremes are trying to convince us that’s exactly what will happen if the other side wins, that rhetoric is nonsense. U.S. consumers will always be the winners, regardless of the diatribes.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    COVID-19 will redefine the meaning of Christmas creep in 2020

    The answers to both of these questions is largely dependent on the second round of stimulus checks. If the checks are large enough and come out in September, we can and should expect earlier promotions. If they are delayed, so should the bulk of the promotions.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Grocery CEO to anti-maskers – Got a complaint, call me on my cell.

    Ms. Spires has several things going her way with this program. Kings is an upscale supermarket with stores located in upscale suburbs that likely won’t attract as many mask scofflaws as a Walmart. Kings is in metro NYC, which had the worst of COVID-19 first and has shoppers who are more compliant with the mask mandates as a result. And the stores are in a solidly blue area so politics won’t come into play as much as it would even in Pennsylvania next door. That said, it is a good idea to make the CEO available and not just for this issue. The buck has to stop somewhere and if the shopper knows where that is she will always feel more comfortable in that store.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2020

    Will Amazon install distribution hubs in malls across America?

    Amazon will have competition for that mall space going forward. Owners would prefer those anchor positions to be something synergistic to the other tenants in the mall, so are trying to attract healthcare-oriented and social organization renters like urgent care, gyms and even schools. I see the synergies with Whole Foods and the Amazon food store, but not with a fulfillment center. It seems Simon may be running a little scared from the current retail property environment.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    How is Tractor Supply acing the pandemic?

    Tractor Supply isn’t the only rural lifestyle/expanded hardware retailer that’s doing very well this year. Both Harbor Freight and Family Farm & Home are growing rapidly. There are a few commonalities between the three. First, leadership at each has made a concerted effort to communicate directly with customers during the pandemic, offering a mix of comfort, support and “do-good” marketing. Also the assortment at each centers on items for the home and it doesn’t hurt that each sells a good amount of what can be called survival gear. Next is their use of sophisticated technology for demand forecasting, which helps keep them in stock on things like masks and gloves. Last, each has avoided controversy so far, whether it’s over masks or protests. I fully expect this retailing trend to continue well beyond the pandemic.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2020

    Why does it take a crisis for retailers to get innovative?

    There really are two types of crises that retailers (and all other organizations) can face – ones that impact the company alone, self-made or otherwise, and ones that impact the entire industry. The first variety is often an exercise in emergency management, putting out fires and trying to establish a solid plan to emerge in whatever shape on the other side. Not a lot of opportunity for innovation when the threat is existential. The second variety, with competitors facing the same conditions, means companies need to not only get through the crisis but do so in a manner that positions them for a potential performance advantage on the other side. This is prime innovation territory for both technology and process. This is why companies that invest more during the down times succeed after them.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2020

    Are subscriptions a winning strategy to get through the pandemic?

    Subscription services are a bit faddish, a stepping stone to much more personalized curation of product for shoppers. There is almost always a miss among the assortment sent, so the shopper is rarely totally satisfied. Plus, there is rarely real value beyond the “surprise” of the package contents. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see this as a good long-term strategy for retailers or brands.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2020

    What will retail’s back-to-school season look like this year?

    Regardless of the plan for individual districts, there will be a big increase in AmazonBasics and other private label school supplies sales. Consumers are definitely pulling back and we can expect another boost for store brands.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Walmart debuts virtual summer camp and drive-in movie programs

    Not to pat myself on the back, but I suggested drive-in movies and corralled outdoor seating for local restaurants to a friend who owns several malls experiencing less-than-stellar traffic back in April. He started a movie program at two locations and has outdoor restaurants operating at five of them, and they’re putting up good numbers. Walmart will experience the same with their programs.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2020

    Has the pandemic proven Instacart’s business model?

    As fast as Instacart has grown during the pandemic, other vendors that offer much better deals for retailers have strengthened their capabilities. These competitors are in the form of comprehensive e-commerce platforms and automated micro-fulfillment centers, and have long term advantages for the retailer that Instacart doesn’t offer.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2020

    Is business too busy saving itself to save the environment?

    Quick answers – yes and positive. If nothing else, consumers now understand the critical importance of cleaning things to keep healthy. Their hands, prep surfaces, even doorknobs and mail. They are looking ever more closely at what they’re using to sanitize everything around them. Partly because they have time but also because they see the damage harsh chemicals can do on their hands with constant washing and elsewhere. So there is a desire for products that are better for us. The question, which will be even more important if the economy continues to tank, becomes are those items affordable to everyone? Store brands will likely influence this outcome so I remain positive the trend for more environmentally-friendly products has legs and both retailers and suppliers need to bolster their corporate sustainability programs.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Are store brands set for a big growth spurt?

    Brian Sharoff, the PLMA president quoted in this story, passed away last weekend after a short illness. For almost 40 years he led the association and had a lot to do with the transformation of store brands from low quality copycats of national brands with category shares in the low single digits to the robust and ever-growing sector it is today. He was constantly thinking about how to make the industry better and it showed every November at the trade group’s annual event in Chicago. On a personal note, as a writer he always had a good quote for me. He will be missed.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Is Amazon about to buy J.C. Penney?

    Big stores just are not the future of apparel and home goods retailing. Amazon would be better served buying the post office.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and award these great workers money out of other people’s pockets, but we have to remember that even with the dramatic volume increases grocery is still a penny or two per dollar net income business. Supermarket operators are very well aware of the additional profit they’ve earned. They also know the cost for those extra earnings. If they’re transparent with their team members and reward them based on added output, the workers, shoppers and the community will be more than satisfied.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2020

    Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers?

    I'm not a lawyer, but it certainly seems the potential for legal action against retailers who knowingly allow the spread of COVID-19 that results in sickness and deaths is huge. In terms of risk mitigation, it’s a no-brainer.

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