Michael Terpkosh

President, City Square Partners LLC

A wholesale, retail and supply-chain leader with demonstrated success developing and executing strategic initiatives in category strategy, merchandising, marketing, and consumer insights. Strong record creating innovative programs to meet the challenges of ever-changing industries. Experience consulting with manufacturers and retailers domestic and abroad. Leader of many company-wide initiatives delivering enhanced business efficiencies while creating new sources of company revenue. Managed teams from 12 to 175 associates locate across the United States.

  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Walmart has a too much grocery problem

    I find it interesting that Walmart admitted low margin groceries are putting a drag on their results. Welcome to grocery retailing! Walmart does need to find the correct balance between grocery and general merchandise. Looking at Target, they have the opposite issue. Target is great with their general merchandising and branding across the store, but they continue to struggle with the grocery side of the business. For Walmart to find the right balance, they must up their game on general merchandise branding and offerings. This includes some upscaling of products/brands to drive incremental sales and profits.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    As a dedicated recycling household, my family would welcome the opportunity to have eco-friendly shipping options including the consolidation of items into one package. I believe most consumers would appreciate this service option and would be willing to accept a slight delay in shipping to help the environment. If Amazon moved in this direction, they could set an industry standard others would follow.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Will consumers decide that buying less is better than buying ‘green’?

    The movement to become less materialistic is still maturing with the consumer. The trend does cut across generations, but I feel it is too early to tell whether this trend will gain enough momentum to be a widely adopted lifestyle. For the retailer, the opportunity is to carry down-sized packages and products that are more durable (longer lasting). The consumer may be willing to pay more for more durable goods. The materialistic folks looking for green products are already part of a lifestyle movement and are willing to spend more to feel good about their purchases. Retailers are already doing a great job offering products that cater to this lifestyle. The caution for retailers is as green buying becomes mainstream, competition increases, retail prices go down and margins will get squeezed. Retailers will need to actively search for new and improved green products to differentiate themselves with the consumer.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Should McDonald’s CEO have been fired over a ‘consensual relationship’?

    Corporate policies around rules of conduct must be followed regardless of an individual's position in an organization. Any corporation that lets an employee "slide around policy" and looks the other way sets themselves up for more employee issues and lawsuits. I understand the relationship was consensual, but he was CEO. This means all employees of the company ultimately report to him including his consensual partner. In the end I feel Mr. Easterbrook and the Board made the right decision to part ways.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2019

    Are retailers out-of-step with consumers when it comes to price?

    Retailers have always struggled with understanding the consumer importance of price. With all of the advancements in pricing analytics, most retailers still look at price two ways: regular retail and promoted retail. The consumer perception of a product's retail price can vary from store to store, channel to channel. The current omnichannel shopping experience adds to the complexities of retailers trying to understand consumer price perception. The important conclusions from the survey are retailers need to invest more in pricing analytics and consumer insights to try to get a better understanding of the consumer's price perception.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2019

    McDonald’s drive-thru AI knows what you want before you order

    It will be interesting to see the reaction of customers. Some will see it as a convenience while others will think it is down right creepy. For McDonald's this may help to speed up the drive-thru experience. That in itself may sway most customers to think of this in a positive way. However, the enhanced convenience will wear thin for the customer when they buy a used car from another customer or get new license plates with different numbers. Regardless of the restaurant or retailer, the power of using AI will only be realized when the customer fully accepts it and even looks for it in their shopping experiences.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will free deliveries for Prime members make Amazon the driving force in online grocery?

    Amazon may get an initial incremental bump in grocery sales, but then the ability to sustain the business will be dependent on high quality fresh (every time, all the time) and the right variety of center store items. Regardless of any sales gains for Amazon, they along with Target, Best Buy, etc. can't absorb the cost of free shipping over the long-term. At some point they all will return to charging for shipping, create an incremental fee or raise the cost of goods. I agree with other comments, the grocery wars across the omni-channel are finally beginning.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2019

    AI needs to be more than just a bright, shiny object

    Artificial Intelligence has great promise to help retailers be more nimble and respond to customer/consumer needs. However, a retailer must step back and have the foundational data pieces in place before trying to implement any AI solutions. I mean foundational pieces such as clean POS data, clean loyalty data and adequate IT systems to allow AI to deliver against its promises. A retailer needs deep pockets to set up their own AI shop with the expertise to manage AI on their payroll. Most retailers will look to the outside for help and a retailer needs to find an outside solution provider that is strategically interested in helping the retailer get their foundational data right FIRST before implementing any AI solution.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    What should retailers do when brands post fake reviews?

    A retailer must have a strong written policy outlining the business relationship between the retailer and the supplier. Call this a partnership agreement, corporate policy statement or whatever you like. This written policy must clearly state the actions a retailer will take if their supplier partner fails to live up to their side of the partnership and creates distrust. This should include steps to reduce the supplier's ability to work in partnership with the retailer up to and including removal of the product from the retailer. Regardless of the FTC ruling, the creation and maintenance of trust in a business relationship is between the retailer and the supplier.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    I agree with many of the comments already expressed today. As someone that has spent over 32 years in grocery wholesale and retail, the attraction of large CPG big money is not going away. The money goes beyond slotting to ad fees, corporate programs, selling show fees, etc. Many larger retailers even charge for access to their POS and loyalty data. As far as the large CPGs -- Kraft-Heinz, General Mills and others have learned the hard way you can't save your way to prosperity when it comes to driving your traditional brands via trade funds. I feel a blended approach is needed by all retailers to balance the big, traditional brand money with keeping an eye on innovation and maintaining enough space (shelf, ad, etc.) for innovative, smaller CPGs. A retailer must create a strategy of innovation meaning the retailer is actively looking for new brands, adding them to their item mix and shouting them out to the consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    Will Best Buy wrap up Black Friday sales with a price match guarantee in October?

    The Best Buy early deals and price guarantee are nice incentives for customers using the My Best Buy loyalty program. Plus, Best Buy is getting some free press about the guarantee that could create increased consumer participation in the loyalty program. Best Buy should get a sales boost leading up to the holidays that can also help their supply chain stay more efficient. Of course there is the fine print of "only guaranteed through Black Friday" meaning December is still fair-game for price reductions at Best Buy, especially if the competition gets hot.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    I applaud Kellogg's efforts to break down the traditional monolithic culture of a Top 100 CPG. Large, traditional CPGs are taking it on the chin from many angles including culture, innovation and not keeping up with the changing consumer. One of the biggest hurdles for a large CPG to becoming more nimble, more digital, etc. is they need fresh talent from outside of the "brand management" and "sales management" world to better reposition their traditional brands. Introducing diverse talent, as with the changes at Kellogg's, can create real change and drive future success.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2019

    Do Carolinians have Wegmans on their minds?

    Wegmans is the textbook example of a retailer that is customer service focused, has an excellent retail shopping experience and a progressive grocery growth strategy. They stay nimble to address the changing needs of their customers while staying true to their employees and business model. Wegmans has been a "best in class" retailer since the early days of the ECR movement and at the forefront of progressive changes in the grocery retailing business. All of this adds up to excitement and a loyal customer following.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Do retail metrics need to be reinvented?

    I like Deloitte's approach to creating new metrics that can be applied across channels. The metrics allow for an apples-to-apples comparison of retailers. However, I don't feel any of the new metrics provide a retailer (regardless of channel) with an understanding of the retailer's share of the consumer wallet. The "creating value" metrics don't address any calculation of market-share or share of wallet. In other words, a retailer can have very positive numbers, but no clue if they are gaining on their competition for a bigger share of the pie. The retail industry will always need some sort of a market-share calculation to understand how retailers perform in the marketplace.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2019

    Will consumers go for Kroger’s food hall concept?

    For any retailer with urban stores, the more you can provide to the shoppers in the area the better you increase your odds of getting more consumers into the store. There are many positives here to offering numerous, diverse food choices that are not "grocery store made" and the retailer creates a different type of shopping experience. A con for the retailer is the potential for high turnover of the restaurants in the retailer's space. Plus, the retailer needs to make sure they get the grocery shopper dollars, not just the restaurant sales from the customers.

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