Walmart observations

Predicting the demise of Sears & Kmart since 2017!
jamcool
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by jamcool »

pseudo3d wrote: June 21st, 2022, 1:11 pm
buckguy wrote: June 20th, 2022, 8:46 am
storewanderer wrote: June 15th, 2022, 11:23 pm

Wal Mart does not recruit store managers from schools historically (that is a Target thing). In fact just recently there was some press that they were going to start to do more recruiting from schools to try and beef up their store manager ranks due to the current store manager shortage. Historically, they recruited store managers from within. The vast majority of Wal Mart Store Managers worked their way up in the stores... even the ones at the present time that seem to be sinking pretty fast in the position.

There are limited cases where a store manager from a different retailer can go join Wal Mart and get on a fast track program to store manager but even that usually takes a couple years (or used to, not very long ago).

Also I don't know what you are talking about with Wal Mart's system not rewarding initiative in the context of the store managers as that is simply a flat out lie (that statement would be more true about Target). The Wal Mart Store Managers are heavily graded on sales performance of their store, along with remaining in budget. The store manager has a high degree of latitude in how to merchandise the free spaces/endcaps in the store and pricing as well. They have lost power on ordering over the years, that is pretty top down now, yes. A store manager that generates sales and remains in budget wins in the Wal Mart organization. It used to be pretty easy to do that (yes they worked hard... but they were given the tools- a steady flow of merchandise and the power to price it to sell). The problem is the Wal Mart organization for a number of years now keeps dealing the poor store managers a losing hand, every time. They keep restructuring things, losing middle management in the stores, one new program after another that doesn't stick, and you have the poor store manager trying to implement all of this stuff (in addition to the basic operations to try and drive sales in the store) and half of what is implemented is scrapped right as everyone is getting used to it, so it is a losing battle and this is why the position has become so high turnover.

Target on the other hand, wants a robot manager. They want a manager (I mean "store director") who is completely robotic, following everything Target says to the T. There is no room for your own ideas, your own opinions, or your own anything. Everything is a top down order. Everything is tracked by various metrics and the store manager is basically living or dying based on the metrics (I'm not talking about sales metrics, I'm talking about metrics like how long it takes to stock this shelf, how long it took this cashier to scan items, how long it took this receiver to unload a truck, how many out of stocks the store had, the response time for the store to fill the out of stocks once the system sent an alert to stockroom there was an out of stock, etc.).

Also that Target Store Director gets paid about half what a Wal Mart Store Manager gets paid... and there is a reason for that. All part of that rewarding initiative thing.
There are labor academics like Nelson Lichtenstein, as well as journalists who have been been tracking Walmart's hiring practices for many years. Lichtenstein follows more than Walmart and is writing a book on the recent evolution of retail.

As for initiative, I wouldn't consider "making your numbers" to be a spur to initiative unless you were living in the Stalinist Soviet Union, where "making your numbers" would have led to the same kind of outcome if there had been a decent supply chain. The closest thing to a capitalist would have been Jack Welch's policy's that essentially disabled GE as a functioning manufacturing company. Basically, it leads to gaming the system, at best, and piling up inventory at worst. Walmart has been squeezing store management to a greater and greater degree over the last 20-30 years, so it finally has reached the point where it's not sustainable.

Many aspects of Walmart's business model have been on their way to unsustainability for a long time. Except for a bump after the property bubble burst, they have been largely stagnant for a long time. They have no place to really expand anymore, they have run out of new lines, and lots of people avoid them like the plague. The should have gone all-in on online retail a long time ago---it speaks to their logistics strengths. They've squandered that opportunity and their brand hurt the operations they bought. They will have even more difficulty running their stores in the future.

The irony here is that Walmart's main strength has always been logistics---Sam Walton famously disliked the way inventory was managed by Butler Brothers when they ran Ben Franklin and he was a franchisee and it's easy to characterize Walmart as a logistics operation in the same way that Amazon always has been essentially a software company. The just-in-time model works well when there is steady state to things, but not so much when there are wild shifts in supply and demand.
Most of Walmart's e-commerce ventures have all failed. The problems are in their stores. Even before COVID, Walmart was getting plagued with out-of-stocks. SKUs were constantly getting cut (there was a big cutback around 2010 that was partially reversed) and staffing has plummeted. The continuous pushing of food and the discontinuation of the Supercenter name meant that food was being pushed even in Division I stores, though the perishables at Walmart have been historically abysmal and attempts to expand Neighborhood Market and the short-lived "Walmart Express" have also flopped.

I think another component that Walmart has overlooked is the rise of giant supermarkets. Around here it's H-E-B and Kroger Marketplace, but I imagine the basic food and drug center has also worked against them. While Walmart dominates on non-food, with the corresponding departments often weak or non-existent in other stores (like soft goods), they've picked off enough categories and items that you can avoid Walmart in most cases.

Right now, Walmart seems to be in the phase of business where things are going nominally well...their stores are packed out and the company is profitable, but traditional expansion is sputtering out and enough problems have built up under the hood that a more agile competitor (of which Walmart was once one) can eat their lunch.
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by HCal »

jamcool wrote: June 21st, 2022, 2:33 pm
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
It doesn't necessarily have to be one. Different retailers could start chipping away in different directions. Aldi might capture more of the discount market, regional players like Publix and HEB might take some of the middle class grocery shoppers, and Amazon may take some of their general merchandise sales.

Walmart is doing fine for now, but I don't think their historical growth rates will continue too much longer.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by babs »

HCal wrote: June 21st, 2022, 3:29 pm
jamcool wrote: June 21st, 2022, 2:33 pm
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
It doesn't necessarily have to be one. Different retailers could start chipping away in different directions. Aldi might capture more of the discount market, regional players like Publix and HEB might take some of the middle class grocery shoppers, and Amazon may take some of their general merchandise sales.

Walmart is doing fine for now, but I don't think their historical growth rates will continue too much longer.
When there's a WinCo near a Walmart, WinCo seems to be able to successfully capture some significant market share.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer »

babs wrote: June 21st, 2022, 4:20 pm
HCal wrote: June 21st, 2022, 3:29 pm
jamcool wrote: June 21st, 2022, 2:33 pm
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
It doesn't necessarily have to be one. Different retailers could start chipping away in different directions. Aldi might capture more of the discount market, regional players like Publix and HEB might take some of the middle class grocery shoppers, and Amazon may take some of their general merchandise sales.

Walmart is doing fine for now, but I don't think their historical growth rates will continue too much longer.
When there's a WinCo near a Walmart, WinCo seems to be able to successfully capture some significant market share.
I have yet to see a WinCo put a Wal Mart Supercenter out of business... or even make a Wal Mart Supercenter appear to be struggling long term (there is certainly some grand opening impact). I think there are a few reasons for this: first, both stores tend to open in developing areas rather than mature areas. So even if Wal Mart loses traffic at first, they pick it back up with new development. Second, WinCo's non food offer is very low volume/not priced very well, and I think there are a lot of customers who continue to go to Wal Mart if their list skews heavily toward household/non food items.

What used to happen in the past was WinCo would cause Wal Mart to go down on numerous prices. Now Wal Mart just price shops milk, eggs, bread, and a couple center store items (Kroger price shops these same items) so the Wal Mart near a WinCo that once had lower prices than other Wal Marts on basically the entire grocery department, now has largely the same prices as other Wal Marts except on a few items in a few categories.

What really happens is WinCo plus Wal Mart put a significant stress on whatever conventional grocers are around. Kroger has figured out how to compete with this "duo" pretty well but a lot of other operators (Safeway/Albertsons included) seem to have no clue.

I think WinCo is a much bigger threat to marginal conventional operators who have too high of prices, than it is to Wal Mart.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by pseudo3d »

jamcool wrote: June 21st, 2022, 2:33 pm
pseudo3d wrote: June 21st, 2022, 1:11 pm
buckguy wrote: June 20th, 2022, 8:46 am

There are labor academics like Nelson Lichtenstein, as well as journalists who have been been tracking Walmart's hiring practices for many years. Lichtenstein follows more than Walmart and is writing a book on the recent evolution of retail.

As for initiative, I wouldn't consider "making your numbers" to be a spur to initiative unless you were living in the Stalinist Soviet Union, where "making your numbers" would have led to the same kind of outcome if there had been a decent supply chain. The closest thing to a capitalist would have been Jack Welch's policy's that essentially disabled GE as a functioning manufacturing company. Basically, it leads to gaming the system, at best, and piling up inventory at worst. Walmart has been squeezing store management to a greater and greater degree over the last 20-30 years, so it finally has reached the point where it's not sustainable.

Many aspects of Walmart's business model have been on their way to unsustainability for a long time. Except for a bump after the property bubble burst, they have been largely stagnant for a long time. They have no place to really expand anymore, they have run out of new lines, and lots of people avoid them like the plague. The should have gone all-in on online retail a long time ago---it speaks to their logistics strengths. They've squandered that opportunity and their brand hurt the operations they bought. They will have even more difficulty running their stores in the future.

The irony here is that Walmart's main strength has always been logistics---Sam Walton famously disliked the way inventory was managed by Butler Brothers when they ran Ben Franklin and he was a franchisee and it's easy to characterize Walmart as a logistics operation in the same way that Amazon always has been essentially a software company. The just-in-time model works well when there is steady state to things, but not so much when there are wild shifts in supply and demand.
Most of Walmart's e-commerce ventures have all failed. The problems are in their stores. Even before COVID, Walmart was getting plagued with out-of-stocks. SKUs were constantly getting cut (there was a big cutback around 2010 that was partially reversed) and staffing has plummeted. The continuous pushing of food and the discontinuation of the Supercenter name meant that food was being pushed even in Division I stores, though the perishables at Walmart have been historically abysmal and attempts to expand Neighborhood Market and the short-lived "Walmart Express" have also flopped.

I think another component that Walmart has overlooked is the rise of giant supermarkets. Around here it's H-E-B and Kroger Marketplace, but I imagine the basic food and drug center has also worked against them. While Walmart dominates on non-food, with the corresponding departments often weak or non-existent in other stores (like soft goods), they've picked off enough categories and items that you can avoid Walmart in most cases.

Right now, Walmart seems to be in the phase of business where things are going nominally well...their stores are packed out and the company is profitable, but traditional expansion is sputtering out and enough problems have built up under the hood that a more agile competitor (of which Walmart was once one) can eat their lunch.
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
That's correct, there's no true competitor yet. The barrier to entry is high (Walmart's real estate arm is huge and probably will keep the company prolonged for years) and it may not even be a true 1:1 competitor to Walmart.

For a brief time, Walton saw Phar-Mor as a genuine threat before it became clear that their expansion was unsustainable and built on fraud....but I'm not sure if it was their fast expansion or the price/merchandise mix.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by arizonaguy »

pseudo3d wrote: June 22nd, 2022, 1:08 pm
jamcool wrote: June 21st, 2022, 2:33 pm
pseudo3d wrote: June 21st, 2022, 1:11 pm
Most of Walmart's e-commerce ventures have all failed. The problems are in their stores. Even before COVID, Walmart was getting plagued with out-of-stocks. SKUs were constantly getting cut (there was a big cutback around 2010 that was partially reversed) and staffing has plummeted. The continuous pushing of food and the discontinuation of the Supercenter name meant that food was being pushed even in Division I stores, though the perishables at Walmart have been historically abysmal and attempts to expand Neighborhood Market and the short-lived "Walmart Express" have also flopped.

I think another component that Walmart has overlooked is the rise of giant supermarkets. Around here it's H-E-B and Kroger Marketplace, but I imagine the basic food and drug center has also worked against them. While Walmart dominates on non-food, with the corresponding departments often weak or non-existent in other stores (like soft goods), they've picked off enough categories and items that you can avoid Walmart in most cases.

Right now, Walmart seems to be in the phase of business where things are going nominally well...their stores are packed out and the company is profitable, but traditional expansion is sputtering out and enough problems have built up under the hood that a more agile competitor (of which Walmart was once one) can eat their lunch.
But there isn’t one at this time….Kmart is a zombie retailer, Target has its own inventory and management problems, Amazon’s grocery operation is marginal, Kroger seems to be dropping the Fred Meyer- inspired “Marketplace” concept to emphasize food.
That's correct, there's no true competitor yet. The barrier to entry is high (Walmart's real estate arm is huge and probably will keep the company prolonged for years) and it may not even be a true 1:1 competitor to Walmart.

For a brief time, Walton saw Phar-Mor as a genuine threat before it became clear that their expansion was unsustainable and built on fraud....but I'm not sure if it was their fast expansion or the price/merchandise mix.
Amazon is Walmart's biggest competitor. However, I'm not sure Amazon's business model is sustainable and I can actually see a scenario where Amazon collapses before Walmart does. Amazon today is what Sears was in the 1970s / 1980s and it has the same problems that Sears had at that time. I think the real writing will be on the wall is when (and it's a when, not if) Amazon starts spinning off its various divisions.

The choice for a lot of consumers is whether or not to buy the item on Amazon and wait 24 - 48 hours for it to be delivered (if a Prime member) or 48 - 72 hours (if not a Prime member) or to pay approximately the same price and get to pick up the item the same day at Walmart (either shopping the store or through online pick up). A lot of time, if Walmart is stocked correctly, Walmart will win this battle. Where Walmart loses is when it has stocking issues and the item is consistently out of stock at Walmart.

I was skeptical of Kroger's massive investment in Ocado grocery delivery because I truly believe grocery delivery will remain a niche market (relative to general merchandise delivery). I'd say the ceiling on grocery delivery is probably 25% of all grocery transactions and that's a fairly hard ceiling. Grocery is where Walmart will hold a key advantage over everyone else just based upon its massive scale.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer »

arizonaguy wrote: June 22nd, 2022, 4:36 pm
Amazon is Walmart's biggest competitor. However, I'm not sure Amazon's business model is sustainable and I can actually see a scenario where Amazon collapses before Walmart does. Amazon today is what Sears was in the 1970s / 1980s and it has the same problems that Sears had at that time. I think the real writing will be on the wall is when (and it's a when, not if) Amazon starts spinning off its various divisions.

The choice for a lot of consumers is whether or not to buy the item on Amazon and wait 24 - 48 hours for it to be delivered (if a Prime member) or 48 - 72 hours (if not a Prime member) or to pay approximately the same price and get to pick up the item the same day at Walmart (either shopping the store or through online pick up). A lot of time, if Walmart is stocked correctly, Walmart will win this battle. Where Walmart loses is when it has stocking issues and the item is consistently out of stock at Walmart.

I was skeptical of Kroger's massive investment in Ocado grocery delivery because I truly believe grocery delivery will remain a niche market (relative to general merchandise delivery). I'd say the ceiling on grocery delivery is probably 25% of all grocery transactions and that's a fairly hard ceiling. Grocery is where Walmart will hold a key advantage over everyone else just based upon its massive scale.
Amazon is starting to look like a crash and burn type of operation. I read somewhere in a few years they will be "out of employees" because their turnover is so high, they will have basically cycled through everyone who possibly wanted to work for them.

The thing is Amazon has set a lot of things up really well. Their website is great. Their delivery service in my experience has been superior to the regular commercial carriers. So I have mixed feelings here. In one regard I know what they are doing isn't sustainable without a big price hike, in the other regard there are things they do so well, it would be unfortunate to lose those things.

Many people I know are basically going straight to Amazon for just about any general merchandise purchase. Best Buy could be five minutes away with the item they need right now at the same price and they'd just assume order on Amazon and let it be delivered in a couple days. Wal Mart is not even being considered by this customer segment. For in-person store visits I find this segment loves to go to Costco. Then they shop at whatever grocery store is most convenient for fill in purchases and usually comment negatively regarding that store (doesn't matter if it is a Raleys, a Save Mart, a Smiths, they never seem too happy with the store or its pricing and just say how much better Costco's prices and quality are). This is a big segment of customers.

Another situation I have run into with the above segment is I will find an item cheaper on a different website (let's throw an example - Staples) and this customer will STILL prefer to order it on Amazon.com due to the promised "prime" shipping. Even if I point out the item is not "prime" eligible they just say that is okay I'm more comfortable doing business with Amazon than (insert name of store chain who has stores in town)... and since I have Prime maybe they will ship it faster than they say because they do that sometimes. Many people have had such great experiences with Amazon they are very loyal.

I know elsewhere in this thread it was commented that Wal Mart basically closed down various e-commerce acquisitions and while that may be true on a few of the fringe acquisitions of upper end softlines or other weird stuff that was not viable on its own and wasn't going to be viable under Wal Mart (like the grocery chains who bought those meal kit companies), it is absolutely not true of Jet.com. While Jet.com may not exist as Jet.com, the product mix and warehouses of Jet.com are heavily used in Wal Mart's e-commerce ecosystem.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by Bakeragr »

A couple of thoughts to reply to various comments on this thread:

-I don't think Kroger is disinterested in the general merchandise "Marketplace" store. I believe they have a few new ones in the works, but they're in their saturated markets like Ohio. I do feel like my regular Gerbes has more general merchandise in it than it used to, they seem to be adding more seasonal and kitchen items. I really think Kroger is in a better place than their competition, just give them a few years. I find myself shopping there more than I used to. Just wish they would invest in some of their stores they let languish.

-I am a Prime customer, but unless I can specifically identify what I want, I dislike shopping with Amazon. If you try to search for something generic (say 36x36 khaki pants) your search results are flooded with a bunch of brands I've never heard of. If I search for a brand name (Chaco sandals, Nike shorts) it brings back a bunch of crap I have no interest in wading through. The brand names are usually made up words that sound like they were picked out by someone who doesn't understand English. It's pretty much a dumping ground for no-name Chinese crap. It's not enjoyable.

-I'm deep in the Midwest, but Dollar General and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree are throwing up stores in every wide spot in the road that has 500+ people. It's insane. Dollar General can sure build stores, but they cannot keep them stocked or staffed. It's shop at your own risk at our local location, because there's boxes and stacks of stuff everywhere. Who knows if you'll find what you need. Walmart really missed the boat with the Walmart Express/Neighborhood Market format. If they threw up stores of the same footprint in rural locations, with a greater emphasis on fresh food (many of these towns are 30+ minutes to a decent grocery store) they would make a killing, grow loyalty AND each location would be a shipping and pickup depot for their Walmart.com orders. I am so befuddled that they didn't get this. What a missed opportunity. No one likes Dollar General, but they shop there because they're in a crunch and they don't have time to drive to a real store.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by arizonaguy »

Bakeragr wrote: June 23rd, 2022, 6:28 am A couple of thoughts to reply to various comments on this thread:

-I don't think Kroger is disinterested in the general merchandise "Marketplace" store. I believe they have a few new ones in the works, but they're in their saturated markets like Ohio. I do feel like my regular Gerbes has more general merchandise in it than it used to, they seem to be adding more seasonal and kitchen items. I really think Kroger is in a better place than their competition, just give them a few years. I find myself shopping there more than I used to. Just wish they would invest in some of their stores they let languish.

-I am a Prime customer, but unless I can specifically identify what I want, I dislike shopping with Amazon. If you try to search for something generic (say 36x36 khaki pants) your search results are flooded with a bunch of brands I've never heard of. If I search for a brand name (Chaco sandals, Nike shorts) it brings back a bunch of crap I have no interest in wading through. The brand names are usually made up words that sound like they were picked out by someone who doesn't understand English. It's pretty much a dumping ground for no-name Chinese crap. It's not enjoyable.

-I'm deep in the Midwest, but Dollar General and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree are throwing up stores in every wide spot in the road that has 500+ people. It's insane. Dollar General can sure build stores, but they cannot keep them stocked or staffed. It's shop at your own risk at our local location, because there's boxes and stacks of stuff everywhere. Who knows if you'll find what you need. Walmart really missed the boat with the Walmart Express/Neighborhood Market format. If they threw up stores of the same footprint in rural locations, with a greater emphasis on fresh food (many of these towns are 30+ minutes to a decent grocery store) they would make a killing, grow loyalty AND each location would be a shipping and pickup depot for their Walmart.com orders. I am so befuddled that they didn't get this. What a missed opportunity. No one likes Dollar General, but they shop there because they're in a crunch and they don't have time to drive to a real store.
The point of the Neighborhood Markets (when Walmart was building them in the early 2000s - early 2010s period) was to increase grocery market share in urban and suburban areas where they couldn't build supercenters. Then again there are several situations where they opened one about a mile or two from a supercenter but they've closed many of those locations. I think it was designed to compete with the conventional grocers in an urban / suburban environment. Would it have made sense in rural areas, absolutely, but I believe Walmart felt that there were less barriers to building supercenters in rural areas and they wanted to go the supercenter route to serve those areas.

Walmart did pull the plug on Walmart Express too early but it was around the time that they had to unload some international operations that dragged on their profits and Wall Street was pushing them hard to invest in the online space. The express stores weren't instantly profitable and needed more attention than Walmart was able to give them. While Walmart initially grew from dominating rural areas I believe that the company feels that their urban and suburban stores (especially suburban) are where the profits are. Therefore, they're willing to cede some of the smaller ticket rural sales to Dollar General / Family Dollar.

Amazon is a great logistics technology company. I agree with you that Amazon's store is fairly frustrating (and I'm a prime member). On Amazon you do have to spend a decent amount of time sorting through pure crap unless you know the exact item you need.. The best online retailer (in terms of results and customer service and website and just overall experience) is Chewy. Those people know how to build an easy to use functional website that is better in every way than Amazon yet they've kept their product mix specific to pet supplies.

I do think Amazon is set for a massive crash in the near future (probably after they temporarily gain the world's largest retailer crown). They seem to be viewed more and more negatively by the public (I've seen a lot of parallels to how Walmart was / is viewed). They are too diversified to really focus on one thing and do it well (except for logistics although I believe that their current delivery model is very unsustainable - in order to be profitable they need to create a system where they batch orders in specific geographic areas with designated routes that run maybe 1 - 3 times a day. Right now I constantly see multiple delivery vans in and out of my neighborhood at all times of the day in a system that seems incredibly inefficient.
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by veteran+ »

Bakeragr wrote: June 23rd, 2022, 6:28 am A couple of thoughts to reply to various comments on this thread:

-I don't think Kroger is disinterested in the general merchandise "Marketplace" store. I believe they have a few new ones in the works, but they're in their saturated markets like Ohio. I do feel like my regular Gerbes has more general merchandise in it than it used to, they seem to be adding more seasonal and kitchen items. I really think Kroger is in a better place than their competition, just give them a few years. I find myself shopping there more than I used to. Just wish they would invest in some of their stores they let languish.

-I am a Prime customer, but unless I can specifically identify what I want, I dislike shopping with Amazon. If you try to search for something generic (say 36x36 khaki pants) your search results are flooded with a bunch of brands I've never heard of. If I search for a brand name (Chaco sandals, Nike shorts) it brings back a bunch of crap I have no interest in wading through. The brand names are usually made up words that sound like they were picked out by someone who doesn't understand English. It's pretty much a dumping ground for no-name Chinese crap. It's not enjoyable.

-I'm deep in the Midwest, but Dollar General and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree are throwing up stores in every wide spot in the road that has 500+ people. It's insane. Dollar General can sure build stores, but they cannot keep them stocked or staffed. It's shop at your own risk at our local location, because there's boxes and stacks of stuff everywhere. Who knows if you'll find what you need. Walmart really missed the boat with the Walmart Express/Neighborhood Market format. If they threw up stores of the same footprint in rural locations, with a greater emphasis on fresh food (many of these towns are 30+ minutes to a decent grocery store) they would make a killing, grow loyalty AND each location would be a shipping and pickup depot for their Walmart.com orders. I am so befuddled that they didn't get this. What a missed opportunity. No one likes Dollar General, but they shop there because they're in a crunch and they don't have time to drive to a real store.
Notable observation about Kroger. Here in Los Angeles I notice the same issue with Ralphs where NO monies are allocated for upkeep, update and maintenance. This is true regardless of the age of the store or the last remodel.

Even newer stores or recently remodeled stores look very worn and torn and dirty. From the parking lot to the elevator/escalator to the shelving to the floor and checkout.
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