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Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
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  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    Walmart ditching khakis for jeans in dress code test

    The 2015 change (subbing T's for collars) had a practical justification; I don't see one here, other than that the job market is so tight they're desperate to hire anyone ... even Stanley Kowalski. Having a muddled mix of colors and fabrics would seem to defeat the whole point of a uniform, which is to make employees look ... well, uniform.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    How will Amazon replace Whole Foods’ rewards program?

    “A change is on the way!” Ronald Reagan not withstanding, those are really the most feared words in the English language. Obviously, I don't know what the changes are, and of course not every change is a bad one, but underestimating current benefits and/or overestimating "improvements" is a common theme in many a corporate boondoggle. Companies that begin with a cult-like following often have difficulty maintaining that relationship with their customers as they get larger, and while Whole Foods seems to have been successful in the transition, that can always change — so tread carefully, Jeff.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Who will fill the retailing void left by Toys ‘R’ Us?

    None of us here (who answered the poll) seems to agree with Mr. Hall's take on things, but I guess we'll have to see. I think a bigger concern for the toy industry is the loss of TRU as a promotional venue: the implication being that there was something of a showrooming effect with them "doing the heavy lifting," so to speak, and then people actually buying at discounters or online. (Though how true that actually was I can't say, since the same charge was originally leveled against them years ago by independent toy sellers.)
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Has Google found a formula for undercutting Amazon’s product search advantage?

    One of the big advantages of Amazon and for those who don't like it, I suppose a disadvantage as well, is that you're dealing with a single, known seller (although in the case of third party sellers on Amazon, this is somewhat more complicated). Unless google wants to be more than the catalogue here, I don't see it fundamentally undercutting Amazon.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    I think we have a terminology issue here: to me "food hall" is something like the British use of the word -- a (usually upscale) market that sells groceries and prepared foods for take-out -- whereas the usage here seems more akin to a food court (albeit a more customized one). But regardless of what it is we're talking about, the market -- no pun intended -- seems rather limited. Even if 300 materialize, that would be about 1 per million people; so only larger areas will have them, and even then no more than a handful. It hardly sounds like a solution to mass vacancies.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Will electric vehicles prove a bane or a boon for c-stores and energy drinks?

    I'd like to see some of these reports predicting 25% EV share within 7 years -- it hardly seems to match the trends we see right now. But back to the main question: yes, obviously, impulse item sales will decline if the venues (where they are sold) are visited less often; and combined with more online shopping in general, but particularly with groceries, it might be a very worrisome problem. But the big question of course is how many of their (energy drink) sales are impulse-driven ... difficult to say much meaningful without those numbers.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Backstage shops star inside Macy’s

    Like a lot of people, I believe, I'm a critic of Macy's not having any consistent image. Upscale stores in heritage markets like California mixed with (I've heard) run-down dumps in stores brought in from the May Company. And this is reflected in strategies and promotions being widely touted, until you get to the fine print that virtually says "NOT coming to your store." But whether this merely adds to the confusion, or rather makes them more of a "full-line" seller -- in price if not in merchandise -- is hard to tell from the outside.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Death Wish Coffee goes from small roastery to Amazon’s ‘most wished for’ brand

    This is a nice story, assuming of course it's what the founders wanted -- not everyone wants to be big -- but it sounds like a lot of its success is due to traditional "old school" methods: a Super Bowl ad and mass distribution in stores like Safeway can't hurt ... right? Of course you have to have the right idea to begin with, and DWC obviously tapped into an unmet need ... whether or not it's long-term or just a fad, only time will tell.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Retailers must unite to bring dying downtowns back to life

    It should be obvious to everyone that downtowns are "dying" -- and have been for 3/4 of a century -- for reasons that are far beyond the control of local merchants. And while I wish everyone well in their efforts, the idea that "getting together" and planting flowers is going to materially change that is ... uhm ... fundamentally flawed. Yes, of course merchants should belong to the local association, and work with city governments to assure as much as possible a safe and clean environment, but they also need to have realistic expectations of why they're there and what they hope to accomplish. Trying to bring 1948 back isn't going to work.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

    Good Lord! If Nordstrom can't be successful in NYC which has a retail market bigger than many states -- quite literally -- then retail as we know it is doomed. And speaking of which, doomed, and of Lord -- as in Lord and Taylor -- I think the more interesting question is what if any future Fifth Avenue will have as the traditional (retail) "Main Street" of the city with the pending downsizing of the latter.And then what the further weakening will mean to Macy's, as lower Fifth's ability to bridge between Herald Square and Rockefeller Center-57th St. is continuing to weaken.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Thrive Market wants to change the world with new organic meat and seafood line

    Popular idea ... which of course means everyone and their brother is trying it. I wish them well, but I suspect that offering "50% below retail" may may be easier than making it happen; particularly when a well-funded competitor -- or even several of them -- offers 60% below.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    I think the answer depends on how you define "traffic." If it simply involves visiting the mall, then probably it will; but if it means visiting ALL, or at least a large portion of it, then I don't think so. The problem is the time that most people see movies. It's in the evening when the other shops will already be closed.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Target succeeds by going big on convenience in small stores

    I've said before and will continue to say until I see compelling evidence otherwise: if Target's success depends on small stores, they're in trouble. The numbers simply aren't there store count wise to make up for poor performance in their traditional formats. I won't say "don't do it," but I will say "don't do it unless you've fixed the leaks in the main fleet."
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Bed Bath & Beyond offers an exchange for Toys ‘R’ Us gift cards

    Frequent readers will know my distaste for gift cards, and this is a perfect illustration of why ... limited liquidity. But enough about me; obviously BBB doesn't have to offer anything, so while I suppose anything should be looked upon as a gift, I also have to think the rather severe limitations on time are going to limit the effectiveness of this offer.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    I don't know that I would call this "upscale." Maybe the wider aisles are needed because of all the customers! But regardless, my take on this is based on my faith in the company: not so much as "if it ain't broke why break it?" but rather fine tuning a well running machine.
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