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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • Posted on: 10/18/2018

    LabCorp deal brings blood testing to Walgreens’ pharmacies

    Given the Theranos scandal, this seems like a curious (ill considered?) choice with which to jump into, or perhaps really "further into" medical services. Not, of course, that the problems of a particular firm should tarnish an entire industry, but I think nevertheless they point up the issue of credibility. Cost and (increased) accessibility are important issues in healthcare, but quality remains far and away the most important (particularly when insurance is paying for things). So while I think they may have something to offer, and wish them well, there are some barriers to entry that need to be overcome.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Should ‘best by’ dates expire?

    The problem here is largely that of slow-moving inventory (whether it's on the store shelf or the consumers') So the alternatives are better inventory management or more stale items being sold and/or consumed. So while I'm sure everyone would prefer the former, I think we all know removal would likely lead to the latter instead. I vote stay.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    Far be it from me to offer a defense, but if we step back from the hyperbole for a minute: the worst EVER? There was Sewell Avery, who almost single handedly destroyed Montgomery Ward (apparently others later finished the work he started), and Ron Johnson's tenure at JCP (IIRC a one third fall in yr/yr sales), and whoever ran Circuit City and ... well you get the idea: there've been plenty of candidates. What was different here, or course, was that on one ever stepped in to stop him; and we know why. So maybe the "award" he should really get is the worst retail owner, ever.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    ‘Frictionless’ is the annoying word of the year

    I definitely like the concept of an "annoying word of the year" contest, but I'm not sure "frictionless" should get it (or at least that it's a clear winner). Aren't subscription services "frictionless"? Or charging meals to your room at a hotel? So it's not meaningless, but over- or misused. The problem is the age-old: someone promising something they can't deliver (no pun intended).
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    I don't doubt the premise. I'm one of the large majority who said "more" — but it's certainly not a new phenomenon. Look through an archive of any newspaper from the last century and it's filled with ads advertising sales. But offsetting this, I think, is the corresponding rise of cult-like people who pay a premium to have something first: go to one of those much heralded Apple product debut early AM lines and ask if people still pay full price. Yes, and then some!
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will J.C. Penney’s new private brand connect with Instagram-savvy moms?

    It will work if it's stuff people want to buy. I'm not quite sure how one defines "Instagram-inspired" products -- and to be honest, I doubt anyone at JCP does either -- but everyone agrees they need to try new things if they're to survive, so carry on, and good luck.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    Would it have worked under competent ... well, let's just say, "other" ownership? Perhaps, but remember that the whole reason this person got ahold of it was largely because it was already a mess. I'm waiting for the book to come out, but my suspicions are that it's "Mervyn's" writ large: i.e. financial machinations destroyed whatever hope for survival that existed and allowed a few to benefit at the expense of the rest of the stakeholders; something of which Adam Smith would not approve ... nor I.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    And what, exactly, are all these "benefits"? Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I'm doobieous ... er, dubious that someone selling them is being completely impartial. But back to the question: given that there's been no change on the Federal level, and that would be necessary for any mass marketing, at this stage I would say "small likelihood".
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Is disruption coming to the alcohol beverage business?

    I believe Ken is oversimplifying things a bit, as there are a variety of distribution systems around...indeed they're very state-specific. And we've already seen the growth, at least in California - and I would think in other states where it's permitted - of 'big box" retailers like BevMo that have "disrupted" the retail level; but that's the key, "where it's permitted" - alcohol is probably the most heavily regulated consumer good there is, and that's not going to change.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Best Buy’s golden years strategy deliver long-term success?

    This would seem to upend (or is it just give new meaning to) the phrase "life-long" customer, but I agree the demographics support the idea. That having been said, I was disappointed George's piece didn't discuss more their strategy(ies) beyond the obvious of purchasing a device maker; it seems like there is much more that a company could do.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Gap sends its Visa cardholders to Amazon and Target

    Not much; presumably the hope is that customers will stay with GAP for what they sell and (only) use the others for what they sell, but as the saying goes, "how are you gonna keep 'em on the farm after they've seen Par-ee?" And I would say that even without GAP's history of unexciting comp sales.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Giant Food expects big things from a new, mini-grocery store concept

    Although judging by the poll results it seems not to be an opinion shared by many, I'm not enthused by this seeming rush to "urban" groceries. Once one gets beyond the media hype about downtown "renaissances", they'll find the population really isn't there to support everyone and their brother trying to do this, and trends like online delivery will worsen conditions long-term. Not that I have any great faith in online grocery, either, but I think whatever success it finds will likely be in wealthy, concentrated, carless neighborhoods — the very markets targeted here. But I'll wish them well. Hopefully some can find a win despite my misgivings.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    The article seems to be talking about two, or even three, different things: actions as an employer (time off, etc.) vs. as a retailer/company/"citizen". I've nothing against the former; the latter on the other hand, however well-intentioned it might start out, I see as fraught with problems.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Walmart adding plus-size women’s brand to its digital portfolio

    Most, if not all, of these acquisitions have been quite small, certainly compared to Walmart (but then who isn't?), and I'm guessing unknown to most WM shoppers, so it's safe to say what they are really buying is the talent and experience contained within them. Will it work? Will they fit together into a coherent program or just be an odd collection pushed to the margins of the company? I suspect some will and some won't (work), but even for the "successes" it will be a constant struggle against the existing WM culture, which is a monolith of volume and low prices.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Are retailers deaf to radio advertising’s potential?

    While I think it's probably true that (many) retailers underestimate radio, it's nonetheless true that radio has real issues: too many ads and a high-concentration of ownership that seems to stifle innovation (how many "talk-radio" or "bro-country" stations does every market need?). Unfortunately radio never had -- until recently with the development of online streaming -- the equivalent of cable television, which for all its faults was nevertheless able to deliver highly segmented audiences ... decades ago.
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