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Scott Norris

Sales Development Manager
An ever-learning Gen Xer in Minnesota with long experience in retail operations, logistics and purchasing, and sales & marketing management. Love to travel; my daughter's from Asia and so is my heart.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2022

    Can in-store coffee add pep to retail sales?

    Target has always had a food element near the entrance, because that was always part of their Dayton's DNA. As a kid I remember the McGlynn's Bakery - cookies as a treat for being good during the trip, cinnamon rolls for later. (I suppose they served coffee too, but I was too busy looking in the display case to notice.) They've gone through different iterations over the last 50 years, but the partnership with Starbucks has definitely performed well.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Are outsized private label gains in grocery a foregone conclusion?

    Target's grocery pivot in the Before Times to shoot for majority own-brand in core categories, as a point of differentiation as well as cost control, continues to pay handsome dividends.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Kellogg thinks it makes more sense apart than together

    If I were at General Mills this morning, I'd be at least running the numbers to see if acquiring the cereals to shut down competition would be worthwhile...
  • Posted on: 06/23/2022

    Will ‘coopetition’ enable retailers to profitably deliver online orders?

    Similar to the valid concerns raised when using Amazon FBA. I think Natarajan's idea should be tested, but without co-operative warehousing as well, aren't the merchants simply shifting where boxes get shipped from their respective DCs, and adding some unpack/sort/repack labor, rather than removing boxes and labor altogether? Optimistically this could remove a half-step of transportation and packaging. However I suspect he may have simply just invented a less-efficient Post Office.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Kroger CEO says customers are ‘rethinking their shopping’ habits

    If the major retailers are still using the Big Four meatpackers for their sourcing, any margin gains are likely to be minimal - it will take time to build a broader and more resilient supply ecosystem (see also the Lego thread today) but it is necessary to prevent rent-seeking behavior and unchecked price gouging. Diversification is also necessary for food safety (the current baby formula meltdown, etc.).
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Will a U.S. factory transform Lego’s supply chain and eco-footprint?

    The U.S. is, to be fair, still the world's second-biggest manufacturing center, but for certain industries and products the supply chain has been utterly offshored. From the children's product world, here's one tiny example: there's only one crayon factory in the U.S., and it's 100 percent dedicated to Crayola - no chance for domestic private-label. (It's the only product I have to import!) Good job of siting for Lego - they can use container backhauls to reach the West Coast at a decent shipping rate, and possibly even use ocean freight from Hampton Roads to supplement supply into the EU.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2022

    Could better technology have averted the supply chain crisis?

    As I learned a long time ago, in the end it doesn't matter how much you complain to the railroad if the train can't get through due to a snowstorm or congestion. A smarter way to track inventory or a more clever forecasting algorithm won't help much when your ship can't unload or your factory on another continent is locked down because of disease. And that means there will always be some degree of inefficiency - as planners we can embrace that uncertainty and overbuild our networks somewhat so that we can be resilient, or we can deny reality and insist all costs everywhere must be minimized - and lose everything with any ripple of interruption.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2022

    Is an urban retail recovery underway?

    Here in Minneapolis, the North Loop, Downtown East, and Nordeast districts are booming with construction cranes all over the skyline. You've got the river and parks, stadiums and universities, more and more retail, and yes the downtown office towers for those who work there. Good rail connections to the airport, too. Gas hasn't been as bad here as in other parts of the country, but even at $4.75 why do you want to live 30 miles out of town even if you don't work all the way in the city center?
  • Posted on: 06/08/2022

    Driverless trucks to keep Sam’s Club in-stock around the clock

    Property managers and developers should be thinking a few steps ahead to accommodate automated cargo vehicles - optimized docks and dedicated access lanes to make the "last mile" even smoother, for instance. No reason that the vehicle profile ultimately has to look like a conventional box truck, either. You could even have intermodal applications where the auto-truck picks up right from a rail yard, eliminating the distribution center altogether! The next five years should see rapid evolution and it will be exciting to watch.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2022

    Will automated fulfillment centers deliver big results for Walmart?

    Very much an "all of the above" approach as no single strategy covers all the bases - regional centers won't help with perishable grocery but are excellent for hard and soft goods. I also like Target's deployment of metro-area consolidation points that leverage store fulfillment while still trying to moderate the number of vehicles and unproductive trip-miles.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2022

    Target isn’t wasting any time in cutting the glut from its inventory

    Not so much "wrong" - more like shipments that should have arrived three to six months ago are only getting delivered now and don't have the shelf/floor space allocations available. For instance, Target's outdoor/garden assortment this spring was pretty weak compared to previous years - but I suspect a lot of inventory wasn't off the ships yet in time for the post-Valentine/pre-summer seasonal display section. A pity as I wanted to spend $200 on their well-designed Project 62 solar lamps - but they simply weren't available. Perhaps we'll see them show up on clearance in the next month?
  • Posted on: 06/01/2022

    Will antitrust legislation single out Amazon and let retail rivals slide?

    There's a lot of similarity between this bill and the Communications Act the FCC uses to make sure, say, Comcast doesn't give NBC-Universal channels preferential access over their network/telecom-owner competitors. I feel we've covered the concept of Net Neutrality here, and had the impression that most of the commenters thought it was a good principle. (That is, if Verizon has a sponsorship deal with Safeway, they can't throttle Kroger's uplink speed or delay their emails.)
  • Posted on: 06/01/2022

    Will antitrust legislation single out Amazon and let retail rivals slide?

    This is a similar case to the travel industry's CRS wars of the late 1980s-mid 1990s, where if you were using SABRE, American's flights would somehow always come up first; United if you were on Apollo; etc. High switching costs meant agencies were locked in, which would mean even whole towns were effectively locked in. (Lock-in is just as real if you're selling on FBA or buying with Prime.) Yes, the politicians had to get involved and yes, it was legal for them to do so and yes, the airlines wailed and made the same arguments Amazon is using. Ultimately the airlines spun off their CRS systems, partly because of antitrust, but mostly due to their ever-growing investment requirements, and those CRS companies merged and evolved into the websites and apps we rely on today. Marketplaces evolve, sometimes from within and sometimes due to external forces. I will beat my drum again to spin out Amazon's logistics division, because I think it will create much more value for sellers as well as consumers if allowed to follow its own unchained path.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2022

    Is Best Buy’s home pickup recycling service worth the price?

    Here in the Twin Cities, we have a nonprofit job training outfit called Tech Dump which accepts and recycles consumer appliances and electronics at a much lower cost than Best Buy - you have to drive it there, but for an old microwave or flat screen TV, paying $30 to get it off my hands and help folks learn skills, it's very much worth it. For larger appliances, like that GE dryer where the tiny plastic stem to the selector knob broke off and you can't replace the module, our local large appliance chain Warners' Stellian takes the old unit away at no cost when you buy a new one, with free delivery and very reasonable installation. We're proud to have Best Buy headquartered here in MSP - but it's strange that they're out-competed by local "little guys" - I wonder if this will be the case in other markets as well?
  • Posted on: 05/31/2022

    Why are retailers struggling so hard to balance inventory?

    The Port of Long Beach is reporting record throughput - finally - but that only means ships that pulled into harbor two months ago are finally being unloaded. Ships are stacking up empty outside Chinese ports now due to COVID-19 lockdowns, while Korean manufacturers can't get enough empty containers to ship goods piling up on their docks. It's going to stay weird for a good long while - get used to "Christmas in July" sales and year-round Pumpkin Spice offerings...
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