Waffle House gets my respect for their natural-disaster preparedness training and logistics protocols -- they're often the first to get lights on and food ready in local communities once the storm has passed, and their data backbone is strong enough to relay real-time information to where it's needed.
Building resiliency and recovery ability into local communities should be a core function of many front-line businesses such as convenience stores and fast food. It's an investment in the public good that also makes sound business sense.
Millennials are the generation least-likely to have a drivers' license or own/lease a car and the most likely to want to live in a walkable urban neighborhood. Any venue dependent on acres of free parking and a long walk just to get to the front door really should reexamine their expectations. At the least, malls that are also transit hubs have a leg up. On the other end of the age spectrum, Southdale is planting senior housing towers in its parking lots — if you can't have your customers drive to you, let them walk to you!
My wife and I walked through the Rosedale Mall (Minnesota) location this Saturday, and the points fellow commenters have made all resonate. Our observations of the merchandise and department layouts further underscore this concern: the mix looks like someone in Manhattan's stereotypical idea of what Twin Citians want - but bears little resemblance to the people walking through the store. Our market - and this store's trade area in particular - is increasingly diverse, with East African, Indian, Hmong, and East Asian populations booming, and these populations are either aspiring to better fashion or already have the income to buy it. Where are the colors and fabrics and garment types that these audiences would respond favorably to? And the mix of sizes on the racks and tables likewise did not match the body sizes of shoppers walking through (seriously, half the selection in men's dress shirts is sport/athletic cut - have they *looked* at us up here?) - which may explain why shoppers were walking through and not stopping to buy...
Meanwhile, my wife (a teacher) reviewed her district's updated shooter training and lockdown procedures for the new school year with me last night. If chain stores don't already have well-documented and well-practiced anti-terror measures, then incidents like these should never go viral - police should have been called at once, lockdown implemented, perpetrator arrested and prosecuted. Until guns aren't a problem, you have to assume the next time it WILL be someone with a gun.
For the lightweight printed products my company produces, Amazon's packaging requirements in some cases would force us to ADD extra corrugate and labor - more than doubling the cost of those items. From here it looks more like a labor-reduction and inventory-consolidation move; housing specialized/lower-turn stock at a reduced number of distribution centers which will net out in more small-package shipments and more fuel burned. I'm not seeing the "sustainability" here.
Let's be clear, the manufacturers are not getting "100 percent of the sales" - there will be fees: a per-transaction fee, slotting fees, and store overhead fees. How will those charges compare to a Hasbro or Mattel just deciding to put up their own showroom and have total control of the experience (as Disney and Lego do in these kinds of malls)? Without new Toys "R" Us taking inventory risk, they won't be motivated to train staff and promote to get traffic in the door - as they're pitching it, the manufacturers take all the risk but they still get paid regardless of how well they bring feet into the space.
From Minnesota, the quality of food at Culver's is outstanding, the service is friendly, and the locations get great traffic at all parts of the day. Lots of variety on the menu and lots of customization for both food and dessert - which goes against some of the advice here. The wait can get long, despite being well-staffed - they'll have between four and eight cars stacked up past the drive-thru window at lunch and dinner time and you should expect a 10-minute wait. Yet customers keep showing up despite that also being a customer service sin...
B&N is already a massive specialty toy merchant on its own, with a well-regarded selection and reputation (coupled with a strong affinity program) -- I don't see anything that the ghost of TRU could bring that would make them more effective.
If a six-store chain starting from scratch with no actual sales history expects vendors to hold all the inventory risk with consignment, then what's going to stop a struggling mom-and-pop single store from demanding the same? Consignment has all sorts of pitfalls and only works when the retailer is healthy and growing with hundreds of locations and has robust, reliable forecasting capability.
This is what 3rd-party wholesalers are for -- try a little, sell a little, buy a little more. Aggregate that over hundreds of small stores and then a manufacturer can achieve economies of scale shipping truckloads.
As a midsize toy and game manufacturer, I could never get on board with this TRU concept. If you don't have the volume and capability of a Target, then don't expect to get treated like a Target.
Scan-based-trading aka "Consignment Inventory" only works in very high volume situations where the manufacturer has literally hands-on control in the storefront (such as a Coca-Cola line driver) and truly collaborative marketing planning with the retailer. Our experience as a small-to-midsize manufacturer in the several retail channels is that the retailer's forecasting and inventory-management function is, if anything, less rigorous than for inventory they own themselves, since it's "someone else's problem" that sell-through did not match their own forecast, high or low. We don't have control or even consultation over pricing, promotion, or placement -- yet we still own the inventory.
Strategies like this only encourage SMEs to work harder on developing direct-to-consumer efforts.
On the supplier-side, the fallout from the Vendor Central/Seller Central actions at the top of this year are still compounding, and the ground rules for the new paradigm still haven't been documented. Interaction with Amazon for small-to-midsize companies like mine is all automated - when we have questions or when a process doesn't work, we don't have anyone to turn to: we're not sure a human ever looks at our communications. As the Washington State Attorney General's spokesperson said in the tainted children's products settlement, "it's all a black box."
When there's no transparency, who knows what is going on. As a supplier, I just can't get enthusiastic about giving so much control to something like that.
Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows corrugated shipping-box costs have increased 44 percent over the last 10 years, with a noticeable spike from 2017 onward. This adds margin pressure not just for retailers but for everyone all the way up the production chain!
They're putting one of these at the Ridgedale Mall on the west side of Minneapolis because it has plenty of space available, but not the traffic-leading Rosedale and/or Mall of America locations? If you want to make a splash, you use the Mall of America!