business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding Tesco’s plans to make certain changes in its Fresh & Easy US operation, including rolling out a loyalty card based on its successful UK Clubcard, MNB user Kurt Erickson wrote:

One of the most significant obstacles that Tesco has yet to attack is a more thorough understanding of the demographics in the neighborhoods where they have built their Fresh & Easy stores, especially in Southern California. Many of their location choices appear to have been identified at random, lacking proper analysis of income, location and exactly what customer base they are trying to attract. We all realize they (Tesco) have the wherewithal to make significant market penetration, but certainly not with the current retail model.

We had a story last week about a study suggesting that people are using credit cards more these days for purchase of necessities, which does not speak well for the economy. MNB user Bill Jensen wrote:

Kevin, I am not sure if the study Bloomberg cited factored the heavy marketing being done by cc companies to encourage folks to charge for basic necessities. The increased use may be by cash strapped consumers, or it may also be savvy consumers using the 1% cash back/rebates/flight bonuses tied to certain cards when used for a charge. By charging most items instead of using a debit card, you get one month of “float”. May not mean much with interest rates so low, but it is still one month that the money is in my account, and not theirs. With gas prices higher than last year, just the charges for that necessity would be larger.

Bottom line, I am not sure the statistic of increased charges means that much on its own. If the balances on their monthly cc bills that are not paid off each month grew by a significant percentage, that would be a more meaningful number.

MNB user Neil Brown wrote:

In our tiny little corner of the GDP, our switch from using debit cards to credit cards for virtually all transactions was due to pricing changes and a sneering attitude by what had been our main bank.

JPMorganChase eliminated its rebate program for debit card purchases recently, blaming the Dodd-Frank bill instead of its industry's transgressions.  So, we now use our Citi credit card, and enjoy the rebates on all purchases.   Our transactions will not increase or decrease in volume, but a macroeconomist could reasonably look at the stats for the transition month and believe we are spending (borrowing) more as a family.

We don't pretend that we are typical, but there is a lot of room for misinterpretation in any economic statistic.

In closing, please keep up your great work.  Of the 50 or so marketing newsletters I receive daily, yours is the one which I most enjoy reading, and which usually has the most useful information.

Thanks. For the information and the endorsement.

And, on another subject and from another MNB user...

Kevin, I look forward to my daily fix of MNB!

From Friday, 7/22/11, you had a mention about News Corp and Paul Carlucci.  You failed to mention that besides a $29.5 mm settlement with Floorgraphics, Carlucci and Team also lost over $500 mm vs Valassis.

Now their ethics are being questioned and possibly Senate hearings are forthcoming?  Also, this week, they had a page one article in the NY Times business section along with same lines.

These are the same people that own Smart Source coupons with floor advertising and shelf signage consumers see in their grocery/drug stores across America.

As the saying goes, if it smells like a rat...

There would appear be a number of rats running around in the Murdoch/News Corp. universe. (Watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert riff on this stuff has made the summer heat bearable...)

Finally, we had an email last week that identified Feargal Quinn, founder of Superquinn, as an example of the fact that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there indeed are indispensable people. This led MNB user Glenn Cantor to write:

In reading the sentiment written about Feargal Quinn, about how no one man is bigger than the company, I thought back to Jim Donald’s reign as President and CEO of Pathmark.  Jim excited Pathmark’s associates, suppliers, and customers as no one else could. Those would partnered with Pathmark during those days will remember the Turtle Awards, earning for getting ahead by sticking out one’s neck. It was truly magical to see optimism from a chain like Pathmark.  It is a shame that this kind of passion is so fleeting.

You’re right. Absolutely.

Full disclosure: It is one of the great pleasures of my professional and personal life that I am privileged to count both Feargal Quinn and Jim Donald as my friends.
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