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By Mike Lauber - March 3, 2017

You know the story, right? Chicken Little gets bopped on the noggin by an acorn and wrongly assumes that the sky is falling. He runs hither and yon telling Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Turkey Lurkey and others that the sky is falling. They all buy into the pending tragedy. The hysterical group eventually encounters Foxey Loxey who first tricks and eventually eats the various characters. The moral of the story: Don’t overreact or it may cost you.

We see such henny-pennyism happening among observers of the retail world. “The sky is falling!” has been replaced by “Amazon is coming!” and “Retail is dying!” The latest cry from last week was the announced closure of 140 JCP ...

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By Mike Lauber - February 27, 2017

On Aug 4, 1930, a new concept in grocery shopping opened in Queens, NYC. King Kullen featured low prices and self-service, a concept that rapidly swept the nation.

From the end of WWII to the end of the 20th century, the primary way grocery stores changed was simply by square feet. I remember growing up in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s and saw our local McArdle’s IGA go from perhaps 12,000sf to maybe 40,000sf in three successive buildings over the span of only a decade. That same scenario played out across the nation as Baby Boomers wanted fed and brand marketers grew to meet the demand. Grocers became supermarkets which led to supercenters and warehouse stores in the bigger-is-better r...

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Ask fictional Don Draper of Mad Men fame what it takes to inform consumers and ultimately move them to action and he’d instantly spout the golden formula of advertising: Reach + Frequency.


This marketing truism has been captivating customers since the days of Henry Ford and has carried its weight through every technology advance, product launch and celebrity endorsement over the last 100 years.

Decoding this recipe, Reach refers to accessing the right audience with the right message at the right time. This is how most people think of marketing. But equally important is Frequency. If you saw the classic "Teach the World to Sing" ad from Coca-Cola – featured in the final episode of Mad Men – only once, it might make you s...

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I both love and despise Walmart. Fortune magazine just listed them as the largest American corporation by sales in their annual Fortune 500. I love that they are a great American success story, ruthlessly driving cost and inefficiency out of the retail supply chain, growing into a globe-straddling behemoth with $486 billion in sales in 2014 and clobbering their competitors. I hate them for the same reasons.

Walmart epitomizes American consumerism – for good or ill. They cater to consumer tastes for inexpensive products. We love big and cheap. They have singlehandedly reduced the cost of living for many shoppers by importing massive amounts of goods, especially from Asia, and driving every last dollar out of the margins of companies...

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According to US Census data, there are ~80,000 fewer small retailers today than in 1999. In food retailing, the top 20 firms accounted for about 40% of sales in 1987; today, they command over 60% of the market. The big have gotten bigger. From stationers to indie drugstores, hardware stores to grocers, bookstores to convenience stores, we have seen a growing concentration of retail power among fewer, bigger stores. This consolidation has been driven by the pursuit of lower costs, improved bargaining power with product makers, greater operating efficiencies and global supply access, all funded by capital markets. You may lament the loss of the corner gift shop but we the shoppers have created this concentration of power by rewarding chain...

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The commercial real estate bust of the past decade and the growing volume of online buying have some pundits predicting the failure of malls. The numbers tell another story. Though some malls struggle and others have closed, most are doing rather well. Even little New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia OH finds double-digit sales and traffic growth over 2014, according to their general manager. People are shopping.

The world’s largest mall – Mall of America – hosts over 40 million visitors annually and finds rents growing as demand for retail space remains strong. According to research by JC Decaux, 75% of Americans visit a mall at least once a month. Eighty-one percent of shoppers prefer to shop with others – it&rsqu...

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Tusco Display announces the addition of two staff members to their engineering department. Aaron Galigher and Gabe Pringle.

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Getting feedback is important. It doesn't matter if it is goods or services we all want to know how we are doing. Packed inside every custom point of purchase display we manufacture and ship from our facility is a yellow survey card. To the installer or assembler who completes it and sends it back it can become a "golden ticket" to a $500.00 prepaid gift card. Our point of purchase display survey cards are valuable, not just to us but also to those who put our finished point of purchase displays and custom store fixtures into the retail environments.

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Every year at our annual holiday dinner, we draw out a single completed survey card and then send our company president out to deliver that gift card. This year we sent Mr. Reiser to Long Beach, CA to present Francisco Flores with his reward for giving us his feedback.

Mr. Flores assembled a Tones Dec-A-Cake unit last November in a California chain and returned our satisfaction survey card. He has worked for Advantage Sales & Marketing for three years covering Southern California.

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Have you noticed? Though many stores seem monolithic and slow to change, in fact they are evolving more rapidly than ever before. From new technology, e.g., iBeacons, interactive kiosks, touchscreens, personalized messaging on mobile devices, self-serve checkout, to new formats, stores keep changing right before our eyes.

One such environment is the US automotive retailer. Car sales have been robust as have dealership earnings. Many independent dealers are being snapped up by larger companies, like Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway that just bought the 81-store Van Tuyl Group last month. According to The Banks Report, 324 dealers changed hands in 2014, up 60% from 2013. Since 2009, the number of retail outlets has fallen 13...

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No matter how you spell it out micro markets are a combination convenience store and vending machine solution. They offer a vast product selection and direct browsing for the customer.

Most micro markets operate as unstaffed retail food and beverage stores. They feature a wide variety of products not available in traditional vending. They provide self-shopping and unattended self-checkout through use of a payment kiosk.

Operators enjoy the versatile nature of Micro Markets.

Full access to products before a sale.

• Multiple items in a single transaction.

• Increased sales volume over traditional vending route.

• More promotional opportunity from suppliers.

• Wider product line.

• Flexible product pricing.

• A...

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