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Michael Blackburn

  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Can retail rivals beat Amazon without having lower prices over the holidays?

    I'm not sure how this study was conducted. Whenever I walk into an electronics store, chain or mom and pop, and take my phone out, the first thing the sales person says is "we will match Amazon." So Amazon is great for price transparency, but I don't believe it provides any meaningful price advantage over the competition.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Nike launches digitally-led store

    I'm not sure if this is a great idea, but manufacturers finding more innovative ways to go direct to consumer can't be good for Foot Locker, Finish Line, Dick's ...
  • Posted on: 06/29/2018

    Will Amazon’s PillPack acquisition disrupt the retail pharmacy business?

    No. This currently is no more than a test concept for Amazon. CVS and Walgreens are well-entrenched and have plenty of ammunition to react including the tech to do what PillPack offers. Delivery has not been a growing business for retail pharmacy -- of course Millennials never want to step into a brick-and-mortar store, so maybe in 10 years when their prescriptions ramp up beyond Adderall, Amazon may have an impact. P.S., great buy opportunity for CVS and WBA, who are already diversifying away from pharmacy.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie parent expects to thrive after Chapter 11

    Things went downhill after the Sweetbay/Harvey's acquisition. The reorg gets rid of about one-third of their debt and 15 percent of their stores. It gives them better footing, but it's still the same old story we've been hearing from both these chains (both Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo have filed previously this century) for the past decade-plus. A new plan to remodel and create a store of the future. Despite a projection to return to profitability in 2019, cash flow will remain weak and the balance sheet still somewhat leveraged, so the company will still be handcuffed by how aggressive they can be. Their best chance is if Kroger or Albertsons is interested in the real estate ... Amazon?
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges?

    So a year ago Kroger was a Wall Street darling and now they are in denial? Do they have an organic growth problem? Yes, that has been clear for the last decade, ergo their decision to become more acquisitive. And they continue to generate profits and cash flow. They are growing online business, albeit mostly click and collect. Delivery, which is a small fraction of online grocery, is mostly through third parties but they are testing their own. No one has figured out grocery delivery, including Amazon. Ask any landlord if they have any qualms renting space to Kroger. My only concern would be if Kroger management actually takes this type of criticism seriously.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Will exclusive nutrition labels set Raley’s apart from rivals?

    Trying to find these types of products in a traditional grocery store is like trying to find buried treasure, so anything that simplifies the process is welcome for those concerned about sugar, gluten, etc. The only thing Raley's has to to do is clearly communicate with the shopper that the labels are positive, not negative -- these are the products you want.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    The customer base for both of these businesses is literally dying. A merger/consolidation in a declining business makes sense -- add some scale, cut costs, maybe generate a few top-line synergies between the two channels. But this should be just the first step. Next they have to find a way to engage a new, younger (Millennial) customer, which will hinge on the ability to transition from cable TV to the phone and tablet.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Will Panera Bread be more successful as a private company?

    Seems like to be able to answer this question we first need to know -- how much debt are they assuming and what will that do to their cash flow?
  • Posted on: 02/02/2017

    Will retailers beat back the border adjustable tax?

    Right, so have Mexico build a wall on its southern border ... be a lot smaller and cheaper (tongue in cheek).
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    Publix's market share is certainly vulnerable. Yes, they have a good format and solid merchandising. However, most customers I've spoken with still complain about their pricing and would easily shop a lower-price alternative -- assuming a similar quality store and product -- if they had a chance. Perhaps Albertsons/Safeway can find a way to do this, or maybe Kroger finally makes a move.
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