business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

To me, this morning's Eye-Opener lies in the confluence of a bunch of stores today that speak volumes about the changing retail landscape.

Albertsons buys Safeway. Costco looks to expand its traditional appeal. Staples closes 225 stores. Fresh Market closes four units. And meanwhile, consumer attitudes about things like the appeal of the suburbs and the safety of credit card usage continue to undergo significant change, even as bricks-and-mortar stores do more and more business online.

Can you feel the tectonic shifts taking place? (If not, better get a physical, because there's something wrong with your nerve endings.)

The Washington Post this morning has a headline saying that traditional grocery shopping is dead … which I find amusing since I'm not sure what "traditional" means in 2014, and what many people think of as being "traditional" has been dying for years. The problem, I think, is that not enough people have yet figured out what "traditional" should be replaced with.

And I think that's the real point.

Albertsons can acquire Safeway, but the real magic will be in how their banners and stores change to become relevant to a consumer class with fast-changing needs and wants (which are not the same thing). And the same goes for Costco, Staples, Fresh Market and pretty much anybody else in the retail game.

So read these stories, but don;t think of them only in terms of what is happening to those businesses. Think about how the changes in the retail landscape has forced these shifts, and then think about these stories in the context of your business.

Because nobody is immune.
KC's View: