It will go soon enough. Sold to the car dealer. Announced in the paper. Woodman is offering $1 off $5 purchase coupons again. You don't really need the coupons, just type in the code on the coupon and just keep reusing them. That way if they have a product thats slightly higher than our sales prices, you just punch in that code at the end and it takes a dollar off your purchase, so you basically get the sale price. Kind of on the honor system. I hate all our limit one deals. The cashier will let it slide but you have to make them separate purchases.
Is Chik fil A still nuts? Long lines? If you want to see a really bad Walmart NM, go to Waukesha. Totally dead al the time. Across from Woodmans, just down the the Moreland Pick thats closing. Last night 2 cars in the lot at 9pm, probably 200 at Woodmans. The more WMNM they open the worse they do. But also the worse we do. Saw a market study done by XXXXXX and they had the Capitol Pick doing $750k, is that right? I think it used to be over a million 12 years ago.
It would only be logical to want to be where you are most comfortable and accepted. Different courses for different horses and Chicago is his course. Marketing to people in Wisconsin, when it might as well been in China. Sure I want to demise in WI to accelerate for selfish reasons. I haven't gotten much in consulting fees in Wisconsin for the past year or two. For about 4-5 years there was one acquisition study after another and now the looking is over. Those who are prospects to buy already have what they need to know if they want to pull the trigger. For years this was the present that kept on giving the whole year long. Maybe there will be one last hurrah for work like when Eagle, Big Bear, Farmer Jack, Carter's IGA, various Safeway divisions,and Winn Dixie went under.
I realize that expenses were cut back. Any time you raise prices, cut labor, you will lose business. What matters is the bottom line can look better after losing that business because you might be paying $2 to get that extra dollar in sales. There is a loyal base of shoppers we call Laverne and Shirley moms, who will shop us no matter what. They are into coupons, games and gimmicks. They will complain about the prices but will pay them anyway. The price shopper is gone, and the quality and service shopper is gone. At first when Walmart opened, no big deal. Sentry, Jewel, Kohls - they all threw in the towel and we got the business back. In 2007 I had to educate potential buyers that this scenario had run its course and now its our turn to lose market share. Once we start losing, there is nothing we can do. We don't have the wherewithal to compete on price. Private label, games, coupons, cards, gimmicks - the customer soon sees through all of that. I think they tried upping service but soon pulled the plug. Some shoppers will love us unconditionally so that is what we will count on for now. We can have empty shelves, one checkout open, and they will still love us. They will be the ones crying on TV just like when Domimicks went under. Suggesting adding labor, opening checkouts, just to gain a small amount of sales that will just be stolen once Meijer opens, well why bother?
You do have a good point about the bags but that ship has sailed. Its like putting groceries in a Chicago Bears bag. We don't dislike people from Chicago. We loathe them. Not personally, its just a Bears thing. But like an old feud the ill feelings are there even though we don't always rememberwhy. IMO, WI is hopeless and not worth fixing. They know they have issues with out of stock, labor shortages, etc. But they also know dollars used to fix those problems could be dollars used to build a war chest for a more important war in Chicago. Throwing money at WI will only slow the sinking. BTW, what the heck are Bonus Bucks? I challenge a customer to explain it to me. I did read about it. IMO, dumb. Pay 20% more for something and get a little cash back in November. Gimmicks and games don't work. Otherwise, Walmart would be doing it.
That trend will probably continue. There are some negative articles coming out. However, the trigger to sell assets can be pulled any time now. Some stretched out, others all at once. Maybe time to go peak at the sign in book at the front desk. Normally anything big they don't like to meet at corporate to keep rumors from floating. The bar at Hotel Metro was a good place to ease drop. No one is paying for extra credit work so why should I? I'm pretty sure we won't see attractive figures from Chicago. Maybe they can spin it good but won't be easy. I'm trusting Darin's good judgment on where things are going. He should know if anybody does. He's the numbers guy and he's brilliant. So it appears the best place to watch what happens is from Harrisburg.
What if we got a new CEO like Fairway? Guide the company through the sale of assets and a gentle bankruptcy? Let BM concentrate on Chicago full time. I think he is anyway. Talking with vendors it appears product is being diverted to Chicago to favor those stores. And it should be. I'd rather keep a Chicago customer and employee satisfied before I would Milwaukee. Some might think focusing all the money on Chicago is selfish and arrogant. Yes it is, but thats why you bought the stock in the first place. No one bought this stock because they thought WI was going to grow and make money. We all knew that lamb would be sacrificed. If it were me, I'd stop all hiring, no raises, and no cap ex in WI. Shorewood is a good idea, so keep that going. If they can't get sales up in Chicago, it could be fatal quickly. We also need a CEO who can sell the deal to Wall Street. BM is good at a lot of things but can't get employees, customers, and investors to like him like Artie D at Market Basket, Danny Wegman, or John Mackey. Investor presentations are backfiring badly. They are turning into the Gong Show. A new CEO will continue to give Chicago whatever it needs and business will go on as planned. But a new CEO might be able to open more doors and do a better job sweetalking and gladhanding investors.
I have to concur with the Western store. They just beat the pants off of Jewel here. As a Dominicks this store did poorly. Then it got gentrified and we came in at the right time. This one is very well run and a good manager.
There are so many rumors coming in about the sale of more stores, some of them are bound to be positive. Still as time goes on we are looking more and more like Fairway out in NYC. One analyst told me as Whole Foods gets their Chicago stores open in 2015 and Meijer kicks in Milwaukee in 2015, plus all those others onezy twozies, with HyVee, Festival, Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, Sendiks and Woodmans, its going to speed up the inevitable. Well we could have laid back and done nothing, we know how it will turn out. Or we can go full speed into Chicago, close our eyes and think of Christmas.
Called up a xxxxxxxxxx employee. Said Darin left because he disagreed to the rapid expansion in Chicago, thought it was too much. Said BM said it was now or never. Both have a good point. Whole Foods is targeting the more successful M stores. Also Tony's and others are intrigued by units doing excess. The Dominick conversions - sales are up but there are no million dollar per week stores in that group. Walmart has now paid off the right people in Chicago so protection has been reduced. Target date of July 1, 2015 - you probably don't want to be a common stockholder after that date. Lenders have factored in the inevitable charging double digit interest rates and hope to get a piece of the new company. So the lenders will probably break even. The rent increases after three years - landlords probably won't realize them and will need to renegotiate. Some are getting annoyed hearing "I didn't see that coming" and then looking for scapegoats. Overall, it appears things are on track for a successful comeback after bk.
The last two years we have put all the news on FaceBook. Suppose to get training this week to get it all back on the website. I'm cutting out petty news article and going to just put larger media links on it - TV, WJS, etc. Doesn't have near as often those waste of time newspaper stores.
And it happened. They cut back on the number of existing stores closing or selling all in MN and now some in WI with more come. This brings in cash to continue to subsidize Chicago. As long as there is a way to pay to keep the lights on, then all is good.
I noticed when there is panic, rumors, and trouble, employees will gather in the office of a departed employee and whisper with the lights out. Whats up with that? Yea turn the lights out so we can't hear you. My advice is when having a secret meeting on Sunday, make sure the speaker phone in the conference room is turned off. Someone might be on the other extension.
I agree with some of that. However if the stores are losing as much money as they seem to be, the competitors can just sit back and watch. Right now I don't see any stores closing. A couple of them should but they won't. Ego will keep them open. Everything will be tossed overboard to keep the stores afloat. You are correct that they are unsustainable. There is so much talk of selling stores with so many multiple buyers, along with the warehouse, that the cash will just keep coming in. Eventually all the safety nets will be depleted. Then we can always files bankruptcy which can keep the stores open indefinitely. So for now or in the near future, I don't see Chicago going away.
I think many believe that now that Albertsons has Jewel back, they will just milk and starve the stores like before. Albertsons also bought United in TX recently. So far they are keeping it in top shape. Walmart announced 3 Neighborhood Markets in Amarillo because they believe Albertsons will starve and milk the stores, lowering them to Walmart standards and easier to compete with. I'm not so sure. Albertsons seems a bit more serious this time around. If they put the same kind of effort in Chicago, it could be fatal for us. While we have excellent stores, we are losing money in order to keep them excellent. Albertsons knows we are cash strapped, a $3 penny stock, and there is a mass exodus of good managers. Maybe Albertsons is the best company to buy out the WI stores, AWG can buy the warehouse and supply them. With the Stevens Point warehouse forced to shut down, Oconomowoc should be busy and a good buy for AWG. Selling WI to Albertsons and AWG would provide cash to make the debt manageable. Perhaps they would pay us a little extra if we promise not to build any more stores in Chicago. Sure we can still take walks with dunce aldermen through the blighted areas but we don't have to tell them we aren't building more stores.
I'm sure they are more experienced now with terminations. Funny about 4 years ago I was drug into court. The lawyer questioning me asked me if I was fired for incompetence. I was never told that but he showed me a year end employee review that was prepared after I was gone. Of course it wasnt good like previous years. In previous years Roger just told us to write up our own reviews, don't make it too perfect, and then he'd sign it and give us a nice raise. . This one was a bit negative. But I think I got a $500 raise after I was gone. Never understood why I would get a year end review and raise if I wasn't there. Well I just compared it to Brett Favre being traded from the Falcons to the Packers because he wasn't good enough. 10 yeas later who cares what happen at the Falcons. BTW, my client won in court.