Thanks. did 3 radio shows today. Would have done more if I had a land line. Those Market Basket stores - 71 of them sincerely do over a million per week. Quite a few north of $1.4 million with one in Chelsea around $3 million per week. Price competitive, high volume. Very likeable CEO who gets off on making people like him via good pay, benefits, low prices. Similar CEO issue like us with ours is more getting attention with good stores and political connections. Will give Market Basket's CEO a high grade as he was able to get employees and customers have a cult like following. Our CEO come up short in that area and a resulting $800k per week stores. I just don't think he will ever get to the Artie T. level of admiration. Not saying thats really important because whether you are us or Market Basket, I'm not convince either model is sustainable long term.
Maybe they will relocate their Oconomowoc and Harland stores into the stores we close in those markets.
Meijer now owns the Brewers outfield at Miller Park with large advertising banners. We have been demoted to one small banner that is difficult to see. Probably a good idea to preserve funds.
I was in Hartford CT working in a similar area to Brown Deer. Walmart just shut down the store due to shrink. She waited years to reopened East New Orleans due to theft. Shutting supercenters down to 8am to 10pm helps along with no self checkouts.
How are going to recruit store managers? With the stock crashed all the way into the $3s, mounting losses, who will we convince a top store manager to quit his job at Wegmans, Publix, HEB etc and come work for us?
Could they sell of the Mariano's to a private equity group for pennies on the dollar? Then the PE group would do an IMP recouping their investment and still hold a big piece. The only part of the company with any sizzle is Mariano's. The would separate the Chicago from Wisconsin. We basically have two groups running from the bear (Meijer). We leave the Picks behind to be devoured by Meijer while making an escape to Illinois, yelling "SUCKER!!!" out the window while crossing the state line. While Meijer and Walmart gnaw on Pick carcasses we can build a nice castle in Chicago. I do think one of the reasons we have ignored Wisconsin is we want it to appear vulnerable and low hanging fruit for Meijer and others, so competitors concentrate their resources on expanding in Wisconsin and not Chicago. I have to give management credit for this brilliant strategy.
We understand the Titanic comparison. The difference is off in the horizon is a yacht ready to sail after the ship since. All those worthy will be on board. The captain jump ship a long time ago. IMO, don't add more shares. There appears to be no corporate interest in seeing the stock price raise. There are all kinds of tricks for the company to do that and they arn't doing any of them. So IMO, they have check out and ready to accept the losses. There is a bright future. After a bankruptcy, many will still have their jobs, many will retire, Chicago will be in good financial shape, Wisconsin will be gone, and Meijer will assume the role of selling groceries. It will all work out well. My advice, dont' buy the stock, just wait and see if there is an opportunity to invest post bankruptcy. At that point, serious private equity might take a position.
$10,000 donors to Gov Walker: Supermarket chain Meijer, with headquarters in Michigan, is connected to Walker mega-donors Doug and Hendrik Meijer, Mark Murray and James Symancyk. The chain is expanding rapidly in Wisconsin and is adding a distribution center in Pleasant Prairie to fuel its growth.
The hype is not over. The stock, well thats done. But the growth plans are still on. The stock my go to zero but I believe they will get to 35-40 stores and the bankruptcy will only be a hiccup.
Look for Meijer to impact Pick N Save 20% if its within a mile of the store. Pretty much the same impact as Walmart does to us. I asked a Dominicks exec and he confirmed Meijer hits conventional stores harder than they impact Walmart. Meijer is somewhat of a hybrid conventional store with a supercenter aspect.
Mariano's does have a lot of cool stuff, signature items and such. If the company does file for BK, it will be a real #$%$ moment for customers. If I lived in Chicago, did not have access to a Woodmans, I'd be shopping here. Like Woodmans, or Whole Foods, there is a learning curve to shopping the store. Once you get it down, you really appreciate what they have to offer. Walmart you go in, by your junk food and leave. Marianos, you really need to study and try some new things. You have to take it slow because it can be overwhelming. Like getting your seafood steamed in the store, then take it to the deli, get a side dish or two, a drink and your got a Red Lobster dinner for 25% less, and you don't have to leave a tip. Want to go out for Pizza, go here. Beats anything you get at other places for about the same price. And you don't have to wait and no tipping. They have a Muffalatta for 6.99 that will feed 4 people.
According the sales report, the #1 Meijer in the summer is in Traverse City, MI. It gives up the title in the winter to a store near Michigan State U. So Meijer know how to cater to seasonal areas. We never really have - Eagle River, Shawano, Antigo, Hurley -always rough for us. Would be nice if Meijer would demolish us and the Kmart and open a new store there.
If they would get rid of this one scary cashier in SB, it would probably improve sales $15k a week. Since Walmart opened in Door County, its been hard. Target hasn't even done a Pfresh there yet. I would think Aldi will open at some point.
Had dinner at Arlington Hgts after the Arlington Million. Good muffalatta. Busy store. Still a nice place. Lots of signs up saying NO, like no motorized carts in the bathroom. Men's room was filthy - I mean worse than at Walmart. Also got stomach issues later but cannot say for sure if it was from the store. For a consumer, nice concept. I like the artisan breads that they will slice for you. Nice homemade pizza in the deli. Hot foods/salad bar/sandwiches/pizza open til 9pm and its a busy place for dinner. They have some good things going for them. If you really take time to see what Mariano's has to offer its quite impressive.
Pick today - White Tuna 78 cent with coupon -- out at the first two stores I checked. Convinced an employee to let me have the Roundys brand for the same price. He did, thanks. I hardly ever get in a Pick any more unless someone pays me to. Floral dept at the newer Sunset store appeared to be non functioning - mostly empty. Decent people working the stores - step up from Walmart for sure. No muffalatta in the deli in Waukesha. Just person working the entire deli and doubt he has ever heard of a muffalatta.
We are looking for a good investment. Tired of market fluctuations? How would you like to invest in the fastest growing supermarket chain in world? Get in on the ground floor? Each store does over a million per week and the group has a run rate average of $2 billion per year. The CEO has been called the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the grocery industry. What would you expect to pay for such a stock? $99 a share? Well you won't have to pay $99, your won't have to pay $49 and you won't have to pay $29. For just $9.99 a share you can buy this stock. WAIT THATS NOT ALL!!! And if you buy 1000 shares at $9.99, we will thrown in another 1000 shares for free. And to the first 100 institutional buyers that buy 5% ownership, we will throw in a free shopping bag.
One problem we have is sometimes our talented execs and consultants don't want to tell the king he has no clothes. Maybe if a former high level colleague from Dominicks were to tell him straight he might get it. I know that process has worked in the past on other issues. Most CEOs are not good pitchmen. We need a good spokesperson that can communicated the value of the brand and then highlight with "But wait, there's more". Then really drive it home.
This would make the perfect boiler room stock. First its something you see and shop - the sizzle sells the steak and these stores are sizzle. BM is somewhat well known. You get a room full of brokers calling old ladies out in Barrington or some old money guys in Glencoe. Maybe some young hipsters in the loop. Get on those phones and talk about a million per week stores, traffic jams, #$%$ Butkus shops there, Mr T shops there, Michael Jordon, Jim McMahon, and Mike Dika. Don't talk about EBITDA, Karst, or EPS. Don't talk about debt. Talk about Breakout Year!!! Talk about exceeding expectations. Hold an investment seminar at the store on Saturday and have it catered. There is no reason this stock could not be pumped up to $10. I don't know exactly what BM is doing wrong in these investment conferences. My judgment is probably biased because I'm looking to pick apart that statements. He's trying to sell the sizzling steak to a vegetarian. Bottom line is he is a good merchandiser but not a good salesman. Not all good leaders are good communicators. Get someone who looks out to people and no down their nose at them. Has a sense of humor and friendly face. Pres. Reagan was good at this. Thats the kind of face we need to put on the company. We tried the conceited CEO approach and its not working and a lot of people don't get it.
IMO I don't think the stores can do very well at any volume. The grosses are too low, labor is too high, shrink is too high. IMO for them to stay open they will need to be subsidized by selling assets, cutting expenses in Wisconsin, and eliminating debt liabilities. Not so sure lenders would allow the sale of Marianos unless it is such a drain on the company it would be better off on its own. Perhaps the best route it to make Mariano's such a money loser, the company looks better without it. Smart money has stopped investing and BM is not the Wolf of Wall Street. He just can't seem to sell the deal. Just not a good salesman I suppose. Investors want to see real numbers, not coded messages and innuendo. Maybe if he got Jordan Belfort to pitch the stock from a LaSalle St boiler room to the Barrington country club crowd would buy in. Those exaggerated sales estimates don't fly with those who see the actual sales. So why not a reverse strategy and claim the stores are doing poorly? This would justify selling them off cheap to a new holding company with minimal debt. I used to get a steady stream of jobs helping investors look at the company. The phone calls have slowed to a trickle. Those that say they do want me to do work, often cancel before anything gets started. A drop in stock price, release of actual sales by store, or all the new competitor news in the paper are IMO what is making the back out.
I don't think BM is a greedy person. Fame, recognition, attention, are more important, so if his investment is lost now, I'm sure he doesn't mind and won't even miss it. If the stock goes to zero, does it change his lifestyle? No. Nor probably any of the rest of us. I think only a fool has poured their life savings into this. Plus the investment has been paid back already in dividends. Preferred holdings guarantees a spot post BK. These stores are considered a piece of art rather than a business. Almost like a monument or shrine. The cost to maintain should be shared by everyone. Customers, employees, landlords, vendors and stockholders. If someone loses money, consider it a tax to pay for the shrine. Its the liberal Democrat way of thinking. The move to Chicago was never about greed or making money. It was about building shrines. Getting the attention. Attracting large crowds. Making the papers, TV and trade publications. Making competitors mad. Making customers happy. Getting a pat on the back. Does money factor in? Sure it does. But its not the most important thing with the expansion.