business news in context, analysis with attitude

Commenting on the possibility that Blockbuster could go out of business, and the competition that has driven the video rental giant to this point, MNB user Jerome Schindler wrote:

Our public library - free, and you can keep the DVD for 5 days, and renew on-line for another 5 days. There may be a waiting list for recent releases but otherwise the selection is very good and you can't beat the price. As pay back I often donate DVD’s I have purchased, viewed, and really don't have any good reason to keep. If for some reason I want to see that movie again I can "borrow" it back for 5 days.

And MNB user Garry E. Adams wrote:

I agree with your recent comments on Blockbuster. Mainly, because of my decades of experience with many national /successful retailers in several areas… There are 2 types of retailers:

1) The quick, and
2) The dead.

If you can’t adapt to today’s customers/demands… you die.

MNB took note of a Connecticut physician who is handing out chicken soup packets to patients, and I suggested that in-store health clinics should be doing the same, which prompted one MNB user to write:

Give a patient a pack of soup and sustain them for a day.

Teach them to make their own chicken soup without all of the salt and processed ingredients and you are sustaining them for a lifetime.

(Does not hurt that the basket size will go up as well…)

We had a piece about Brazilian retailer Pao de Acucar last week, which led MNB user Jim Lukens to write:

I did some consulting with (at that time family owned) Pao de Acucar in 2000 and during my visit to Sao Paulo the concern was centered around companies, like Walmart, coming to South America and changing the dynamics of the South American food industry. Although the Sam Walton story and his company's rise to dominate in the US is pretty incredible, Pao de Acucar has a story that is equally amazing. They started from a tiny store in Sao Paulo and continued their growth at a similar pace to Walmart.

They are humble people - their new stores 10 years ago were as good as most US progressive supermarkets and better than most of the national supermarket chains in America.

Pao de Acucar was already competing with other Hypermarkets favorably with their own Hypermarket format but also had a solid family of other format offerings. Carrefour was gaining traction in South America with their hypermarkets, following their introduction of new stores in the US in 1998.

Aside from the logistics of getting deliveries "just in time" in areas that the infrastructure wasn't ideal (traffic jams in most areas), Pao de Acucar was well positioned to compete with Carrefour with their formats and technology and I expect they will continue to do well with Casino's backing going forward.

I've been in the supermarket business for 40 years and seen many cycles of success and failures in the US. The Pao de Acucar story and progression in South America is truly amazing and I hope it continues.

Writing about Diageo’s desire to put walk-in beer coolers in retail locations, one MNB user wrote:

While the beer coolers are neat, they are also a neat place to hide and shop lift! Retailer’s nightmare.

Last week, I referred to the North West Company has being located in northwestern Canada, which led MNB user Brian Fox to write:

Northwestern Canada? Better get the ole Google map app fired up, Kev…. Last time I checked we are located at The Forks in Winnipeg, which is almost the exact geographic center of North America…. Or at least according to all the road signs!

You are bang on about the cold though, however personally having lived in northwest Canada (Whitehorse Yukon to be precise) COOL (pun intended) may be a better description!

Point taken. Though to be honest, since I live in Connecticut, you might as well have been above the Arctic Circle.

KC's View: