business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with occasional, brief and sometimes even gratuitous commentary in italics...

• The Wall Street Journal reports on the letter that Target sent to its vendors, asking them for help in preventing “showrooming,” which is when people go into a brick-and-mortar retailer to look at a product and then go online to purchase it, often at a better price.

The Journal notes that Target “suggested that suppliers create special products that would set it apart from competitors and shield it from the price comparisons that have become so easy for shoppers to perform on their computers and smartphones. Where special products aren't possible, Target asked the suppliers to help it match rivals' prices. It also said it might create a subscription service that would give shoppers a discount on regularly purchased merchandise.”

This doesn’t happen very often so I have to point out that MNB had this story - and the complete text of the memo - six days before the WSJ did.

But I believe that Target is doing what is has to do - create and exploit points of differentiation wherever and whenever possible.

• The Washington Post reports that Costco “is making greater inroads into the Washington area with plans for a new store on a 12-acre tract in Alexandria, one of three locations in the works in the region. Costco stands to gain grocery market share, albeit marginal, at a time when traditional players, like Food Lion and Superfresh, struggle to compete in a changing industry.”

• The Los Angeles Times reports that Taco Bell is coming out with a new “First Meal” breakfast menu that “will include Cinnabon Delights, breakfast burritos, Johnsonville sausage and egg wraps, Tropicana orange juice, Seattle’s Best Coffee and more.” This is part of a broader effort to upscale the fast feeder’s menu offerings to better position it against Chipotle.
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