business news in context, analysis with attitude

One MNB user wrote:

Regarding the new Walmart detergent to combat Tide, this will be interesting to watch as, in the recent past, the consumer (our target for all products) shopped the category in this fashion:  I  am either a Tide consumer (65-70% of the consumers) or I am an “anything else” consumer.  This meant that most quality products that were close to Tide lost out and became price focused brands because of how the consumer shopped.  Walmart has tried this several times in the past – and the consumer shopping behavior mentioned above meant that their products were in the “everything else” category and eventually had to compete on price.

Now, consumer shopping habits may have changed (but I am not so sure in this case) as I think this is a mid-directed attempt by Walmart – regardless of the reasoning behind it.  If I was in charge of Walmart (or this portion), I would embrace the “everything else” and replace every other brand with my private brand – solving for all of the other needs and staying focused on my core competency – price.  That would make both a great negotiating position with P&G (they will want to protect Tide’s share and it will be an efficient play meaning more funds can be brought to bear) and they will make a very efficient play on the all other – removing senseless competition in the aisle and creating a destination brand based on price and consumer need.  Long term, this may weaken Tide’s position – but will create a position against all other retailers who still carry “everything else”.

Regarding Dollar General's decision to increase employee pay not by giving raises but by offering more hours, one MNB user wrote:

You and I had the same experience lately, driving through small towns and seeing so many Dollar General stores. In most of those towns, living costs are lower than in metro areas where Walmart operates, so getting to $9 an hour after 5 months’ employment would be a very competitive wage in those towns, I suspect.

I think that's true.

But one MNB user thought that more hours would not be enough for Dollar General employees:

The employees will just try to get on with a store that pays more money like Walmart, Gap, IKEA, etc. I bet Dollar General management gave themselves raises and bonuses.

I think that bet is a good one.

Regarding all of the changes taking place in how people buy and consume entertainment, one MNB user wrote:
I been following this for some time now and researching options.  I have some unique challenges since I live in a rural area where the only broadband is satellite and I am limited to 10 gig a month. Can't stream much HD with that, but I still am skeptical about the savings idea.
While my satellite service certainly bundles a lot of stuff that I will never watch. If individual services, like HBO cost $14.99, and you start subscribing to 8 to 10 of your favorites, looks like the savings could get eaten up fairly quickly. You might eliminate the crap but eventually pay more for the few. Just saying!

I think that's probably true. But I also think that where this will make a lot of difference to some people will be in making things available across all the devices they own.

I also think all the competition may force some of the cable companies to adjust their near-monopolistic pricing structures, which could drive down prices overall.

We can hope.
KC's View: