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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure play e-tailers?

    Desperation moves -- doing something because everything else has failed -- usually don't work. Of course there are marginal retailers for whom the reduced cost structure of online, assuming of course that the costs really ARE less, may prove the difference between being in business and not being in business. (Which group these two fall into is impossible to know.) But it's unlikely to be a solution to the very basic problem of trying to sell what people just don't want to buy.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Will customer tracking help save shopping malls?

    I'm not impressed. There's a long history of retail design -- as in a century or more -- telling us "where one store should be set up in proximity to another," as well as other things this type of analysis is likely to tell us. In fact, I would go further and say that most things modern technology helps us do have been done for a long time, it's just easier and cheaper now. (No small thing, of course, but it means there are few really "revolutionary changes" happening.)And let's not forget the obvious: there's nothing to track if the (would be) customers aren't visiting the mall in the first place!
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    What do know-it-all shoppers want?

    They want not to be stereotyped. No, seriously, I don't think there is any one thing that all want or that even the same person wants at different times. Sometimes it's as simple as "what aisle is __ on?" Sometimes it's as complicated as "my throat hurts, do you have something for it?" Certainly, though, they want the associate to know at least as much as they do about solving their problem(s).
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    Will tech innovations change foodservice?

    Missing from all this is any mention of cost: if "Flippy" costs $200K, or if it costs $10-20K annually for servicing, software upgrades, and what not, then the savings may be illusory. Other than that, I don't know ... but the famous Feeding Machine scene from (Chaplin's) "Modern Times" comes to mind.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    Javelin's comments don't make much sense (to me): engaging in apples-to-scones comparisons after acknowledging differences in conditions. I don't think it's any mystery that airports (here) long put an emphasis on efficiency -- and rightly so -- and more recently security, predictably, if not always logically. There's nothing wrong, per se, with developing retail, but not if it comes at the expense of the first two criteria, or terminals-as-malls will result in higher fees.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    Will Google/Levi’s smart jacket finally make wearables fashionable?

    What a shame that April 1st is on Saturday this year, cuz what a story this would have made! Or is it really true? Answering the phone is the last thing in the world a bicycle rider needs to do, and if this is where "wearable" technology is headed, then I've lost whatever interest and hope I had for it (which was pretty small to begin with).
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    Will the soy-in-chicken report sink Subway?

    Hard to give an opinion without knowing the truth ... other than the obvious point that most people will think "chicken" should contain 100% chicken and the fact that (even) Subway implies something else when it says "only trace amounts of soy" won't satisfy a lot of people.Subway weathered the Jared crisis well, I think -- as it should have since they were really an innocent third party -- but this may prove harder to overcome.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2017

    Will Uniqlo beat Zara with speed and customer focus?

    Is this really a contest, or more to the point -- is retailing now such a desperate, winner-take-all battle that we need to pair up competitors and see who's going to "beat" the other? Can't they both exist ... to the benefit of everyone?
  • Posted on: 03/17/2017

    Are Amazon’s boxes prime ad real estate?

    I guess it depends on the type of ads. Some kind of mass marketing where a company buys placement on ALL of Amazon's packaging, vs. trying to target specific consumers (you know, that thing that is supposed to be one of the big advantages of the digital age). The former, obviously, would require deep pockets and a mass appeal, while the latter would complicate shipping a lot, I would think.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2017

    Does Neiman Marcus make sense for Hudson’s Bay?

    There's very little if anything I like about this idea:
    1. that this company was said to have been considering Macy's, and now are focusing on a luxury retailer, suggests they don't have any clear strategy, but just want to buy anything;
    2. the deal would almost certainly involve debt, which is often a bad idea, and almost certainly one where the company is already leveraged;
    3. the company already has two upscale retailers (L&T, Saks) so this would them a virtual monopoly on the sector - though one could argue Nordstrom should be considered in the mix as well - which in the end would likely be bad for consumers and for at least one of the 3 brands.
    The only winners I see are the bankers involved getting fees ... and the lawyers too, if things end badly.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2017

    Can UPS fly past Amazon in drone delivery?

    Methinks a better question would be "Will ANYONE "win" in this space?" I'm still waiting to fly my jetpack to work.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2017

    Does Macy’s incoming CEO have a plan to turn the business around?

    "...looking at a move to a more self-service model." Really! Who'd have thought that was even possible? (At any rate it's 180º from what I'd recommend.)I wish them well, but none of these ideas excites me; fewer coupon restrictions? Sounds great but why were they there in the first place? Stores-within-stores? Again, sounds great, but if it's only in a few of their stores, or even if it's the whole "Top Doors" group, I don't see how it would help all the others. Indeed it might even hurt as consumers in lesser markets are disappointed to find out they're second tier.I think the chain as it is, is too big and unfocused and needs to be broken up into smaller, more coherent components.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Will being more like Home Depot work for J.C. Penney?

    While I'm not going to say "no," I'm usually dubious when I see "returning to services it once offered years ago but later dropped." There's usually a reason why it (they) was (were) dropped -- like they weren't doing very well in it -- and I would have to think in this case the competition has only gotten tougher over the years.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Has the retail industry’s real estate bubble burst?

    That adding too MUCH space would lead to soaring rents is, of course, a non-sequitur, but I agree with the basic premise of overbuilding ... doesn't everybody? (Though whether/not apparel is more/less overbuilt than other sectors I can't say). And the shift to online shopping along with changes in the buying habits of younger consumers will only exacerbate this.So the real question is what to do about it: should -- can? -- it be repurposed, or must it simply be demolished ... and what will be the impact of that on the commercial real estate sector?
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Will ‘Fearless Girl’ lead to more women on retail company boards?

    The corporate world is progressively less "diverse" -- by whatever criteria you are measuring -- as one moves up the hierarchy, so this is simply the end result of that underlying foundation. So changing those lower strata is more important that statuary, various "Days," or other superficial attempts, but for those who are unhappy with the current state of affairs, the recent past isn't very encouraging: new age companies are some of the least diverse around.