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Nintendo Wii Pricing

Filed under: — 2:00 pm

Nintendo has said that the Wii will launch in the fourth quarter of 2006 and will cost less than $250. Nintendo has recently said it will cost a maximum of 25,000 yen. With taxes figured in and shipping costs, that comes out to about $223.

A very attractive price when compared to the high price of Sony’s Playstation 3 ($499 - $599). And you get an innovative remote with built in motion sensing, and possibly a port on the Wii for an audio device such as a microphone. I wonder if the recently discovered audio-in port in Wii schematics could be used to connect a device such as an iPod. That would definitely put it on-par with other gaming machines. Nintendo innovates and does it at a low price.

Source: VideoGamesBlogger (Via Slashdot), CNET News


Best Buy Purchases Majority Stake in Chinese Retailer

Filed under: — 10:16 pm

Best Buy Co. agreed to purchase a majority stake in China’s fourth-biggest appliance and electronics retailer, Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co., for $180 million, securing a foothold in China’s booming consumer-goods landscape.

Best Buy, the largest consumer-electronics retailer by revenue in North America, will use Five Star as part of a broader expansion into China. The Richfield, Minn., company expects consumer-electronics sales in China to reach nearly $100 billion in 2010. In April Best Buy announced a plan to build a store in Shanghai, to open next year, that, at 86,000 square feet, will be about twice the size of its U.S. stores.

Best Buy is hoping that teaming up with Five Star will help it to compete against the country’s dominant electronics retailers, such as GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. and China Paradise Electronics Retail Ltd.

Source: WSJ


Stocks Slip

Filed under: — 11:30 am

April retail sales rose less than expected, sparking hopes the Fed may pause its tightening cycle. Crude futures surged near $74

Stocks were trading modestly lower early Thursday, as investors weighed a tame retail sales report and surging oil prices. A lower-than-expected increase in April retail sales is being taken as a sign of less pressure for the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates, but concern is growing that the stock market is due for a correction.

Source: BusinessWeek


Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

Filed under: — 12:06 am

I had an opportunity to check out the new documentary. Michael Moore really raised the bar as far as documentary standards are concerned because this one was hardly engaging, barely interesting, and poorly put together.

But, there were plenty of fun facts to share:

  • Wal-Mart has driven down retail wages by $3 billion.
  • Research at Berkeley has shown $86 million has been expensed to California tax payers in the form of health-care and other benefits (ie: welfare, food-stamps that employees are forced to apply for).
  • …and over $1.6 billion nationwide.
  • There are over 26.7 million square feet of empty stores across the country.
  • Denver Public Schools could have kept 3 schools open with the subsidies given to Wal-Mart.
  • Over $1 billion has been given to Wal-Mart in the form of subsidies across the nation.
  • Workers in the Chinese factories bring home less than $3 a day.

See? Weren’t those fun? I’m not sure where the numbers come from, what they are and aren’t comprised of, etc. But I suppose that’s true of all opposition. In any case, the documentary seemed so random, so back and forth between topics. Movie clips and interviews from previous and current employees were haphazardly edited. It was almost hard to sit and endure the film.

Those facts were almost as fun as the part where workers from China, India, etc. started to speak directly to the viewer. They remind us of the pain that they go through to provide us with our inexpensive toys and cheap electronics. It’s those people that gave us the privledge of trampling over our neighbors and community members to grab the last portable DVD player on Friday…

But seriously, I’m really frustrated by the health-care comments presented. People like to constantly argue that Wal-Mart has made its health care unafforadable. I invite anyone to post a list of companies that provide reasonable benefits such as cheap healthcare. Wal-Mart employees aren’t the only ones suffering. A quick search on Google News provided not one, but a number of articles about the high cost of health care to businesses everywhere. One even cites “health benefits” as “the largest business expense after salaries”. You won’t get low prices if Wal-Mart has to provide for all its employees…

That leads me to my next point: playing “This Land is Your Land” while the movie harps on the well-publicized notion that Wal-Mart destroys the smaller stores is annoying. Even the crude animated show South Park nailed it on the head when it said that it’s the people that kill the stores. The masses choose the cheaper alternative. Put simply: competition kills.

As I wrote this I glanced a few pages into the latest Fortune. They have an article entitled “Don’t Blame Wal-Mart” which says, ultimately, the same things. It also suggests that we “blame America’s inability to devise a national health plan that takes the burden off employers”.

One final point made is that although a lot of questional behavior is presented by the documentary (racism and sexism, among other things), the real question is “whether such behavior is systemic”. Michael Moore’s documentaries certainly tried to look a bit deeper then this one did. Point-of-view alone suggests the extreme bias against any and all management in any and all situations. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from the jumble of accounts and tales…

If you already hate Wal-Mart you may enjoy this film (just so you can add more facts to your arsenal) and if you don’t, then don’t bother…

Update: Matt Johnston adds additional points. For instance, “Whenever I see, Chinese factory workers make less than $3 a day, I must ask the question, what are their salary alternatives? ”

There are plenty of great points being made in the comments, thanks for posting, everyone.


Wal-Mart to Introduce Trendy Clothing For Women

Filed under: — 11:13 pm

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is launching its own brand of trendy clothing for women as part of an overall strategy to increase U.S. sales by getting more shopping dollars out of the millions of customers already in its stores. MSNBC

The line, Metro 7, will be found mostly in the urban stores.

This is beyond me though, Wal-Mart of all people should know that nobody will put ‘trendy’, ’style’ or ‘quality’ side-by-side with the giant retailer.

Then again, I live in a somewhat upper-class area and our Wal-Mart is nothing to be ashamed of.

…but the men’s clothing definitely sucks. I suppose that’s the case across all retailers, though.


Amazon Presence at Coinstar Machines

Filed under: — 2:02 pm

From the LA Times:

Hoping to scrounge market share from America’s couch cushions, the world’s biggest online retailer plans to announce today a partnership to offer Amazon gift certificates at thousands of change-counting machines operated by Coinstar Inc.


Wal-Mart’s Impact During Disaster

Filed under: — 2:06 pm

There have been a few articles on Wal-Mart’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Most being quite postive…

On Sunday, before the storm made landfall on the Gulf Coast, Mr. Jackson ordered Wal-Mart warehouses to deliver a variety of emergency supplies, from generators to dry ice to bottled water, to designated staging areas so that company stores would be able to reopen quickly if disaster struck… (more)

The world’s largest retailer has given generously to relief efforts — upward of $20 million — and took action to ship urgently needed goods to the Gulf region. Many in New Orleans said Wal-Mart got aid to the region faster than any local, state or federal government organization… (more)

Their network was built to be redundant. The logistics were hardly a challenge (even with nearly 90 facilities disrupted). Wal-Mart was built to supply, and supply it did…


Microsoft Looking for Retail Space

Filed under: — 12:22 am

We’ve all heard of the Apple stores right? The B2.0 blog has the following:

Microsoft is reportedly looking for retail space in Times Square. The company tried having a showcase store in San Francisco in 1999, but shuttered it a few years later. Since then, Apple has shown what a powerful marketing vehicle retail stores can be for a technology company.

I had read about this a few days ago (but I easily forget to actually blog) and found it quite interesting. Erick Schonfeld’s advice?

Apply your age-old strategy to retail. Don’t just pit Microsoft products against Apple products. Pit the entire PC universe against Apple.

Well put…


Simon Property, Morgan Stanley to build Chinese Malls

Filed under: — 11:19 am

The New York Times is reporting a $700 million real estate venture in China:

The Simon Property Group, one of the biggest real estate and shopping mall developers in the United States, has formed a partnership with Morgan Stanley and a state-owned Chinese company to develop about a dozen shopping centers in China

The two companies are just a couple of the many trying to capitalize on China’s booming growth right now. This deal would be one of the largest foreign real estate investments ever made in China. Here’s some (barely) surprising news: Wal-Mart will be the anchor store for the malls.


Wal-Mart Selling It’s Own Gas In Places

Filed under: — 11:27 am

Reuters: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is quietly testing company-owned gas stations at a handful of its U.S. stores, a move that could stall its partner Murphy Oil Corp.’s fast-growing gas station business.

I live across the street from a Safeway where the gas is already something like 3-cents cheaper… thats enough for me. Going to Wal-Mart for a few more cents less would seem like selling my soul.

PS: Wal-Mart gas stations accounted for nearly 40 percent of Murphy’s total revenue last year… sounds like someone’s about to get hosed.


Gap Announces New Clothes Line

Filed under: — 6:44 pm

Press Release: “Launching the brand Forth & Towne, which focuses on women over age 35, represents an important long-term growth opportunity for Gap Inc.,” said Paul Pressler Gap Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, at the company’s investor update meeting.

Update: Liz has some more interesting Gap-related observations in the comments.


Wal-Mart Criticised in NYT Ad

Filed under: — 5:31 pm

It’s shocking, I know. From Yahoo! (Reuters):

An organization opposed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. took out a full-page newspaper advertisement on Wednesday that accuses the world’s biggest retailer of costing U.S. taxpayers some $1.6 billion a year. The advertisement in The New York Times says Wal-Mart’s low pay and benefits forced tens of thousands of employees to seek government aid in the form of Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance.

Hehe, yeah, but how much have those people saved on a daily basis by shopping at Wal-Mart?

..he says, tongue-in-cheek…


Winn-Dixie Files for Bankruptcy

Filed under: — 7:47 pm

How ironic. The store couldn’t have picked a better time to file for Chapter 11. All the meanwhile children are rushing out to see the new movie with the same name. Seriously, the dictionary probably has this under “ironic”.

..thats what you get for competing with Wal-Mart.


Circuit City Gets Takeover Bid

Filed under: — 12:53 am

Circuit City announced that Highfields Capital Management LP put in a takeover bid at $17 a share:

…it received an unsolicited takeover bid valuing the struggling electronics retailer at $3.25 billion, and its shares rose above the offer price, indicating expectations of a better offer.

Highfields feels that management hasn’t worked aggressively enough to battle its inconsistent sales and earnings.



Wal-Mart Ads A Joke

Filed under: — 2:08 pm

From Business 2.0:

You didn’t expect that Jon Stewart’s Daily Show crew was going to ignore the image ads Wal-Mart has been running, did you?

“On the positive side: three dollars for a refrigerator? That’s awesome!” He points out Wal-Mart considers “full-time” to be 28 hours a week… or about $12,000 a year. Stewart is such a funny guy, you can’t take everything at face value, but check out the video clip.

Stewart Clip | via Business2.0 Blog

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