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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Marshalls brings Father’s Day gifting to Manhattan’s streets

    I thought at first that the passerby was expected to climb the wall, and while this would have been truly innovative ... well, maybe TOO innovative. Back to what was actually done, Marhsalls gets props for creativity, but as with all of these NYCentric ideas, I don't see how it can be transferred to the rest of the country. Not that something isn't needed. With few men wearing ties anymore, I think many people are at a loss as to what to get dad.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Sam’s to open small concept focused on tech, fresh and grab-and-go foods

    I guess I'm missing something, but this makes zero sense to me. A warehouse club is about purchasing items in bulk. For an individual you picture a purchase filling up someone's storage room for months, so I don't see the place for "grab-and-go" meals. Are there really that many big picnics people need to cater? Indeed, my admittedly grumpy take on most of these "smaller format" concepts is that they're the end result of market saturation. Not so much a good idea as "what else can we try?"
  • Posted on: 06/13/2018

    Will IHOP’s burger buzz translate into sales?

    As for attracting attention: mission accomplished! But at the same time the source of the stir -- "but you're a pancake place" -- points out just how hard it will be to get people to think along new lines. And I'm not sure how good an idea it would be anyway. Giving up (what I presume is) dominance in the breakfast field in order to enter the already overcrowded lunch field seems like a Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Facebook to ban advertisers if they don’t clean up their acts

    One might have thought this is the kind of policy a company would have devised a long time ago on its own (i.e. without having been caught up in intense negative publicity), although of course the changes have likely been under development for some time. I'll wait to see what happens, but the"FB" model (rapid development that encourages user -- and revenue! -- growth with little/no oversight) doesn't make me terribly optimistic.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Are chronic online returners only a few bad apples?

    I don't think anyone would be surprised by this -- it's been said on RW often enough -- but personally, I'm surprised by the 9% figure. It's higher than I would have expected (though of course, how the question was phrased determined how many people got put into the "worst" category). But really the bigger issue isn't how big the number is, it's how well companies can identify these people. Without an effective method, you'll either alienate a large percentage of your (good) customer base, or continue to suffer abuse.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2018

    Are retailers short-changing national grocery brands?

    Who is Acosta? This firm that found "shoppers overwhelmingly prefer national brands" one asks; turns out it's a company that helps firms in their brand management ... gee what a surprise! My cynicism aside, I think it's fair to state the general perception is that private label is cheaper, and most people equate cheaper with "not as good." So on average, I would expect private labels to do better in commoditized goods -- like rice and milk -- and less so in lines where "taste" is (all) important, but regardless, the answer to the question of "what is the optimal mix?" is the same: what maximizes profits for the store.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2018

    Retailers told to forget social media

    I think Mr. Salvatori simplifies things a bit, but I like the tone: obsessing about your facebook page at the expense of things like inventory management and cyber-security -- the dark side of tech -- seems like a good way to end up on RetailWire as one of our periodic "what went wrong?" topics.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2018

    Why did Bon-Ton fail while Macy’s did not? 

    Curiously missing from all this is the issue of debt: although Bon-Ton likely would have failed eventually, the immediate cause of its failure was an inability to make payments. Beyond that ... well, pretty much everything (except "label consolidation," which was actually something BT had practiced with zeal in its earlier days, but would have made little sense with better known names like Carsons and Younkers). The ever quotable Howard Davidowitz once made a remark to the effect that "They run stores in the sticks ... and they run them badly." Though I don't know enough about management to comment further, operating small stores in struggling second (and third-... and "n"th) tier markets is about as difficult a task as I can imagine in retail.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    How many e-mails are too much?

    Until a study comes along that shows over-emailing is counter-productive -- presumably because it either ends up being deleted, unread or actually alienates (would be) customers -- I don't think there will be any changes. If even then. It's largely seen as a hit-or-miss proposition, dependent on volume, and someone who sends less will simply get fewer hits. More personalization is a mixed blessing, to the extent that it means fewer but better solicitations, it would seem welcome. But because that "better" comes at the price of intrusive data collection, it ups the "creepy" factor.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    Neiman Marcus results show the latest sign of department store life

    "Our strategy is working..." until it doesn't. Even by the standards of short-termism these frequent "look at so-and-so's last quarter" posts seem mis-directed. Of course in a given category there are likely to be stronger and weaker performers, particularly over short periods of time, but it says little about long-term prospects. Department stores have been declining for the past 30-80 years (depending on who you ask) and recent trends have only accelerated the downward direction ... the real question is whether or not "rock bottom" will be reached while there are still some left. Now of course, NM isn't a typical department store: luxury is doing well, and by its nature is IMHO less affected by online than many segments. The likely demise of L&T, or its merger into Saks, will make for (even) fewer, tho stronger, competitors. As for Macy's and Kohl's, they will continue to reap the benefit of struggling JCP and, especially, Sears ... but bigger slices of a shrinking pie is no winning strategy.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Mental health is a retail management issue

    I don't doubt that mental health can affect the workplace, but as its name suggests, it's a "health" issue, and companies not being hospitals -- other than offering medical coverage -- most are not well equipped to deal with it; nor do I particularly think they should try, as amateur efforts are likely to be worse than useless. And the issue being "important" doesn't change that fact.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Macy’s taps staff for their influencer clout

    There's nothing remarkable about a salesperson making a recommendation -- indeed it's one of the main things that makes for a "good" one -- but I'm dubious how well it can work in the largely anonymous world of social media. Would I really care what Jane/John Doe at Paramus had to say If I've never (even) met her/him? Macy's probably has little to lose by trying it, but I wouldn't count on overwhelming results.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2018

    What will Starbucks do without Howard Schultz?

    I think they'll do just fine (and if they don't, it will be a negative reflection on Mr. Schultz that he didn't prepare [better] for his departure, as it is an important, if overlooked, part of a CEO's job). I expect that management will concentrate more on selling coffee, and less on distractions -- i.e. don't expect SB to be the source for anymore potential POTUS candidates -- and I'm fine with that ... more than fine, in fact.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2018

    Can department stores be reinvented with a pop-up approach?

    I struggle to understand how this is in any way a "department store," other than the superficiality of selling a few different goods. So in answer to the question, as I would interpret it, would a Macy's or JCP benefit from turning its 100-200K sf stores into a kind of giant crafts fair? No. They might make use of it on a small scale -- which is perhaps what is being suggested -- but personally, I think the "discovery" angle is becoming overrated, particularly insofar as we're often told that department stores are too big and hard to shop. How does adding even more uncertainty to that process help?
  • Posted on: 06/01/2018

    Will Rite Aid be of much benefit to Albertsons?

    The least of the Big Three druggists added to perpetually underwhelming Albertsons, so small + small = small. My expectations are low -- so low they'll probably be exceeded -- but unfortunately nothing I read in this story compels me to change them.
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