Quoted – Fresh & Easy stores could pull out of Valley – Businessweek

Fresh & Easy‘s parent company is considering selling its stores and pulling out of the U.S., leaving the fate of the eight stores in the central San Joaquin Valley up in the air.

But at least one retail expert said the end is near for Fresh & Easy.

“I think eventually they’ll pull out,” said Philadelphia-based independent retail expert Scott Testa. “They’ll probably find a buyer.”

But the stores didn’t make the kind of money its parent company wanted to see. Fresh & Easy entered an incredibly competitive environment, Testa said.

“This grocery business is a tough, tough business,” he said. “Margins are small.”

Signs of the retailer’s struggle were evident in the Valley.

The company closed the Fresh & Easy at Cedar and Shields avenues in January, part of at least two rounds of store closures companywide.

Read more here: Businessweek
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Quoted – Black Friday walkout: why Wal-Mart is focus of labor’s struggle – Christian Science Monitor

walmart beijing

walmart beijing (Photo credit: galaygobi)

Wal-Mart‘s low-cost recipe for success is under attack from the threatened Black Friday walkout as workers protest low wages and benefit cuts. The retailer is fighting back, accusing organized labor of making trouble.

As the hottest shopping day of the retail calendar looms, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is embroiled in a battle to defend its image, even its formula for success. A growing number of employees, protesting low wages and benefit cuts, is vowing to walk out on Black Friday.

“Wal-Mart has become the poster child for all the issues surrounding labor right now,” says Scott Testa, a Philadelphia-based business consultant and blogger who has studied Wal-Mart’s business practices extensively. The company has implemented aggressive anti-union measures, he notes, closing a store inCanada rather than negotiate.

The issues at stake are not peripheral, says Mr. Testa, adding that they go to the very soul of Wal-Mart’s business model. The Arkansas-based company, founded a half-century ago by Sam Walton, lives and dies by its ability to cut costs, he says.

Testa notes that Wal-Mart has evolved over the years by dwelling on the fringes of urban areas.

“Many of the municipalities where Wal-Mart has thrived were happy to give the company big open spaces of under-used land, where there was no development,” he says, adding that employees in hard-hit regions have been grateful for the jobs.

But now that the company is expanding into major urban areas such as Los AngelesChicago, andBoston, “they are experiencing a kind of worker pushback that they have largely been able to avoid,” adds Testa.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2012/1121/Black-Friday-walkout-why-Wal-Mart-is-focus-of-labor-s-struggle

Black Friday gobbles up Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It might be more than just a matter of consumer gluttony.

“There are reasons why we are the last superpower left,” said Scott Testa, a marketing consultant and former marketing professor from the Philadelphia area. “It’s because we are a democracy and because of our economic strength. It’s part of our DNA as Americans. Your typical American loves to shop.”

Power of conformity

“Retail Creep” is not a new phenomenon.

Blue laws prevented stores from opening Sundays for religious reasons. Most of the laws have been repealed, yet the sale of alcohol is still prohibited on Sundays in many places.

A fundamental cultural shift may facilitate the creeping consumerism.

“There are no barriers,” Testa said. “I am absolutely convinced you will see retailers in the future that simply require less people, less cashiers. Technology will do a couple of things; e-commerce will continue to grow, and physical retailers through technology will be able to operate with less people today. I would not be shocked if you see the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world open all day Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121121/NEWS/211210310/-1/NEWS01

 

Quoted – 7 ways to score discounted gift cards

Assortment of gift cards
Image via Wikipedia

According to the National Retail Federation, restaurant cards are one of the most popular gift card choices — coming in second only to department stores. Consumers can save big on these cards by visiting websites such as Restaurant.com that offer them for prices lower than face value.

Buyers can browse by location, cuisine and average entree price. The choices vary widely, from local mom-and-pops to major chains. There are also multiple discount levels, with purchase prices that represent a 50 percent savings or more.

While it’s possible to score some good deals with Restaurant.com, be sure to read the fine print, says Scott Testa, a retail consultant and assistant professor of business administration at Cabrini College near Philadelphia.

Read more: 7 ways to score discounted gift cards http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/7-ways-to-score-discounted-gift-cards-1.aspx#ixzz15YG1YOoN

 

 

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/7-ways-to-score-discounted-gift-cards-3.aspx

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Quoted – Sears/Kmart offers to rent Valley stores

This is a row of Cash Registers at a Target st...
Image via Wikipedia

n an unusual move, the owner of Sears and Kmart is publicly seeking out additional businesses to operate in its stores, including several Valley locations.

Sears Holdings Corp. launched a website earlier this year detailing information about store locations available to rent — in both closed stores and ones still open.

Five Valley stores show up on http://www.shcrealty.com as places the company would welcome new businesses operating within the existing stores. They include Kmart stores in Clovis, Coalinga and Kingsburg, and Sears stores and their auto centers in Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis and Manchester Center in Fresno.

“Traditionally when retailers look to do things like this, they usually do it quietly,” said Scott Testa, a professor who follows the retail business at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “The idea that they would do this in a public forum … is in some ways very unique.”

New tenants could locate within a current store — either a cart or a shop — or in another empty space in a Sears Holdings-owned shopping center.

“It’s basically letting people know that in these locations we have some extra space,” said Sears Holdings spokeswoman Kim Freely. “If the partnership makes sense, we could make some additional retail space available for other vendors.”

Freely used the example of Edwin Watts Golf Shops, which is opening 12 shops inside Sears stores around the country.

It’s not unusual for stores to open within larger stores — think Starbucks inside Target or Sephora’s recent appearance inside J.C. Penney stores.

Although not typical, Sears’ real-estate website is just another form of marketing, said Walter Smith, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis/ Pearson Commercial realty firm in Fresno.

“They’re just helping to make sure they get as much exposure as possible,” he said.

Sears owns many of the properties its stores are in, Smith said.

When billionaire investor and Kmart chairman Edward Lampert bought Sears and merged the two companies in 2005, Wall Street analysts expected the new company to make money selling valuable locations.

The real estate crash prevented that, however, and Sears Holdings was stuck with 3,900 full-line and specialty stores. The company closed 60 underperforming stores in 2009, but remains a company “that is struggling to find its way,” competing against heavy hitters like Target and Walmart, Testa said.

Testa said the website could be a way for the company to find out if it can make more money leasing to another retailer instead of operating a Sears or Kmart, but Freely from Sears Holdings said that is not the intent.

Smith and representatives from Sierra Vista and Sears Holdings all said no deals for new stores inside Sears or Kmart stores in the Valley had been finalized.

But, said Smith, “it could be happening in our market, and that’s OK.”

http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/kmrt_shld_sears/kmart-offers-to-rent-valley-stores-980973.html

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