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 – Target making inroads into Walmart’s base, survey finds

Wal-Mart location in Moncton
Image via Wikipedia

Everyone loves to hate Walmart, and yet the Goliath has always been the undisputed retail leader with unbeatable prices and customer base. But could that be changing?

The other area where Target is scoring is store locations, said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College.

“Walmart wants to be in the outskirts, where there’s not a huge population density,” Testa said in a phone interview. “Target is going where Walmart isn’t — more dense and urban locations.”

But Target still has a long way to go before it can surpass its towering opponent that offers eye-popping deals. For now it seems to be putting up a good fight.

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/05/05/target-making-inroads-into-walmarts-base-survey-finds/

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Quoted – Point of Sale – Portfolio.com

NEW YORK - MAY 20:  In this photo illustration...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Many a retailer offer their own credit cards, hoping to lure in shoppers who may not be able to purchase in cash. But do the benefits of offering a dedicated line of credit outweigh the risks?

Go into the fitting room at a major retailer and you’ll see an ad for its own branded credit card touting benefits from cardholder special-savings days (like Tuesdays at the Gap)—promises of exclusive sales and discounts.

But with so many credit delinquencies and defaults hitting lenders, why would retailers want to expose themselves to that kind of risk? “Credit is a source of revenue,” says Scott Testa, a retail consultant and Professor of Business Administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “And most chains outsource the actual processing to larger banks. Home Depot’s consumer card, for example, is managed by Citibank. In terms of exposure, depending on how the retailer structures the deal with the bank, the stores can be minimally exposed to risk.”

“If they’re outsourcing the operation to a bank, the costs are relatively low because a major lending facility will already have financing on a major scale in place,” Testa says. “If they decide to keep it in-house, companies need to account for computers, credit processing, customer-service professionals, mailings, and other miscellaneous office supplies.”

“Since banks have been dealing with so many losses on consumer cards, they might hold stores partially responsible for costs associated with loss, especially in the case of stolen and unauthorized credit use,” says Testa referring to what’s known as “charge backs” in the industry. If a store accepted a stolen card and has a signature on file for the transactions, the credit issuer can—and usually does—share the burden with the retailer.

The other elusive element is customer service. “Since this is a service that has to be managed, it’s important that the retailer aligns with a bank or credit agency that it trusts to accurately portray the store and its values in a positive way,” Testa adds. Agents must be knowledgeable about the products sold, reflect the service standard of the company they represent, and embody its core culture, experts say.

http://www.portfolio.com/resources/2010/04/08/the-value-of-store-branded-credit-cards

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