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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    Should the holiday selling season be retired?

    With Xmas sales seemingly beginning in July, and a whole series of (often contrived) "events" throughout the year, it seems like it's already "mission accomplished." Beyond that, people buy based on their own needs. I'm not sure one should -- or even can -- try to force changes.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2017

    Should Kroger sell its c-stores?

    Selling off fringe businesses has become the latest trend just as acquiring them was a fad a few years ago, so I detect bit of "jumping-on-the-bandwagon" here, which I don't see as a positive thing. Then again, it may be a well thought-out decision. Either way, it's not going to make much difference in their future.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Should Coach Inc. have changed its name?

    A feel of the cart before the horse: worrying about whether the new name — which supposedly reflects a new strategy — is a good thing, when the concern should be over the strategy itself. I have doubts about the strategy, but I'm sympathetic to the "do something" fears that lie behind it.As for the name change itself: it seems like a risky move — "desperate" is probably too strong a word — since a familiar and popular brand has enormous value, Juliet's inquiry of "what's in a name?" notwithstanding.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands

    The small space allotments and randomized nature of this make it seem more like a lottery than a "store", so I'd be hard pressed to guess how useful people will actually find it. And I think the same could be said for the brands themselves: the number that can be spotlighted is so small I'm not sure how useful it will be for the ocean of brands that is actually out there.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges?

    Probably no need to go into the specifics of Ms. Halzack's claim. Actually one can't go into specifics since there don't really seem to be any other than breathlessly mentioning Amazon and Whole Foods. (Does she even have any idea of how WF functions?) But ultimately it's pretty simple: it's between people who think grocery will remain primarily store-based, and any transition to online — if occurs at all — will be gradual and handled by existing players vs. those who think it will rapidly — if not, in fact, instantly — becoming an online delivery model because, you know ... "Amazon". I'm in the former camp.As for the ideas Kroger outlined: they don't strike me as revolutionary, but rather fine tuning what successful businesses are always engaging in. Are there other things they might do? Perhaps, but management is far better to know than I whether or not they should.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2017

    Amazon gives teens their own Prime logins

    I suppose this is analogous to the old "Starter Accounts" (or whatever they were called) that banks/thrifts used to offer — remember those? And they even paid interest! So my reaction to this is largely one of nostalgia. From a practical view, I'm unclear on the advantage vs. simply having family-wide access to a single account.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    How can retail stores open doors to higher quality applicants?

    Not to play Devil's Advocate here - well, I guess maybe a little - and I certainly don't advocate making the application process difficult, but it seems beyond a certain basic level all of these "doors" might actually be counterproductive: presumably companies look for motivated and talented people, and I wouldn't expect that kind of applicant to, say, have trouble navigating a web site or requiring a text option...only the least qualified would.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2017

    Will Lidl follow Aldi’s path in the U.S. – or Tesco’s?

    The early results hardly sound encouraging.In order to succeed — or, more on point, avoid the F&E experience — Lidl will need to avoid the mistakes the former made (with regard to location, branding, product mix, etc.) and also have sufficient patience to give the stores a chance to work. Oh yes, the big one: the idea has to be able to work, whether the country needs another house brand hard discounter is not particularly obvious. I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2017

    Google’s real-time translation tech could be huge

    It has potential, certainly. And as one who uses various translator "engines" to deal in international transactions, I can say that they're not just useful but allow things to occur which otherwise would not.But yes (there's always a "but") I also know the problems, particularly the need to simplify things to an almost childlike level (I couldn't -- or wouldn't want to -- imagine negotiating a complex contract this way). And what of "languages" that do much of their communicating with gestures and idioms? "Hymie" from "Get Smart" comes to mind.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Can AR trigger TRU’s turnaround?

    While I wish them well, I don't see a lot of hope. TRU's advantages were in pricing and volume (having a lot of locations) and these have largely been lost. Turning your store into an arcade doesn't sound like a business model (unless of course you actually ARE an arcade).
  • Posted on: 10/04/2017

    Has Amazon really saved Whole Foods from its ‘Whole Paycheck’ trap?

    At IIRC there were a number of studies that showed, when comparing like for like, WF's prices were competitive. I also seem to recall they were a successful business, unsolicited amateur advice and complaints notwithstanding. But who knows what Amazon's (short or long term) plans are ... actually being profitable has always seemed to be a goal with an infinite timeframe.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2017

    Personalization works. Why don’t more marketers use it?

    Although the claims may well be true -- they certainly make sense -- I'm a little reluctant to accept the specific percentages. I would have to think personalized e-mails are more likely to come from sites/organizations that already have an existing relationship, so there's likely a selection bias. But as to the main point being made, why do so few make even the most minimal effort? Other than cost, I really can't offer an easy yet plausible reason.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Burger King buses in customers in need of a Whopper fix

    I think RW needs a daily, or maybe weekly feature entitled: "Clever or Desperate?" where unorthodox ideas like this can be highlighted.But back to this week's entrant: I think shuttles make a lot of sense when people want to get to your business, but can't; OTOH, if people don't have that desire, then "no." It's a good way to lose money, fast.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Macy’s counts on new rewards program

    I actually listened to the investor call on this, and Mr. Gennette gave a very polished, professional presentation; if that was my only exposure to Macy's, I would have been overwhelmingly impressed. And yet ... I can't help but ask myself things like, why wasn't this done sooner? Or if it WAS done sooner and this is really incremental change, is it really big news? Or even the more basic one -- is a "Rewards Program" really fundamental to the success of a business? (With regard to the last question, the answer will most certainly be that pleasing the 80/20 -- or 90/10 or whatever -- small group of customers who account for most of your business, and increasing, or at least retaining their patronage IS crucial, regardless.)And then there's the biggest question of all: aren't most of Macy's problems (at least in-store) like disorganized stores and minimalist service a result of cost cutting, that is not being reversed, and seems necessary for the department store model to (continue to simply) exist? Hence a death spiral of cuts>lower sales>more cuts...? I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2017

    Should shorter lines for the iPhone 8 concern Apple?

    I think the reasons for the shorter long lines -- and think how many companies would salivate even thinking about that phrase -- are pretty well explained above. Indeed, the remarkable thing we should be studying is that the "hype-building" machine has been kept running at full speed for so long.Does this mean Apple is returning to earth, and will have to compete along with everyone else, offering quality products and actually having to "sell" them? Perhaps.
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