‘Creative Destruction’ in 2018

By Ed Yardeni – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The Great Disruption. The end of one year and start of the next is the perfect time to reflect and resolve to change for the better.

At the start of this year, the most popular resolutions involved the typical fare: the desire to get healthy, get organized, live life to the fullest, learn a new hobby, spend less or save more, travel and read more.

Philosophers like to wax poetic about change. Nuggets of wisdom include: “The only thing that is constant is change.” There’s also: “The more things change the more they stay the same.” And for the deep thinkers in the crowd: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Thank you, Heraclitus.

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Stores Try to Survive ‘Retail Apocalypse’

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Stores are trying to step up their game online and in person for the critical holiday season, from dangling more discounts to livening up their stores. And Amazon, which is expanding into more areas, has opened its online store of Black Friday discounts.

Department store chain Kohl’s is hoping to woo new customers by emphasizing the exact amount people can save by stacking coupons and other deals. It’s also opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than last year. “Retail is changing. And there is market share to gain,” said CEO-elect Michelle Gass.

Wal-Mart’s New Robots Scan Shelves to Restock Items Faster

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is rolling out shelf-scanning robots in more than 50 U.S. stores to replenish inventory faster and save employees time when products run out.

The approximately 2-foot (0.61-meter) robots come with a tower that is fitted with cameras that scan aisles to check stock and identify missing and misplaced items, incorrect prices and mislabeling. The robots pass that data to store employees, who then stock the shelves and fix errors.

Image: Wal-Mart's New Robots Scan Shelves to Restock Items Faster
Gary-Arbach/Dreamstime

Stores Struggle to Find Workers Amid Retail ‘Armageddon’

By Thomson/Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

U.S. retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire employees for stores and for middle and higher management as low pay and a feeling of uncertainty clouds the industry following a spate of bankruptcies and store closures.

Retailers including Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney have said they will hire the same or fewer seasonal workers for the holidays this year than last, while some, like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., have chosen not to hire temporary workers at all.

Image: Help Wanted: Stores Struggle to Find Workers Amid Retail 'Armageddon'
(Ronfromyork/Dreamstime)

I Know What the Economy Did Last Summer Part 2: The Real Estate Rollover

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

In fact, I knew what the economy did last summer before summer even began. Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing that it appeared housing was reaching a new bubblicious peak and that the real estate market was getting ready to roll over. Just before the start of the summer, I confirmed that prediction by saying that it looked like that process had begun. I anticipate it will be a slow turnover at first, just as it was in 2007, which did not reach free fall until late in 2008. Likewise, I anticipate the present decline will not reach free fall until 2018.

While housing played out about as I expected this summer (see below), the more obvious collapse right now is developing in metropolitan commercial real estate, particularly in retail space due to the retail apocalypse. Even longtime commercial real-estate mogul Sam Zell warned last week that he would not consider investing any capital in retail real estate. In Zell’s words, the real estate landscape looks “like a falling knife.”

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Amazon to Test Own Delivery Service to Rival FedEx, UPS

By Spencer Soper (at Bloomberg) _ Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Amazon.com Inc. is experimenting with a new delivery service intended to make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses, according to two people familiar with the plan, which will push the online retailer deeper into functions handled by longtime partners United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.

The service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to U.S. merchants in preparation for a national expansion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the U.S. pilot project is confidential. Amazon is calling the project Seller Flex, one person said. The service began on a trial basis this year in West Coast states with a broader rollout planned in 2018, the people said. Amazon declined to comment.

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Amazon Is Subduing Inflation

By Edward Yardeni – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

“World’s Greatest Price Wrecker” is a moniker that seems appropriate for Amazon, especially after the price cuts it announced earlier this week at its new subsidiary, Whole Foods.

However, the phrase actually dates back to the 1930s.

It was used in ads by Michael J. Cullen, who’s widely credited with having had the idea for supermarkets. During an era of mom-and-pop enterprises, the suggestion of “monstrous” stores, with plenty of parking, separate departments, self-service, discount pricing, and high-volume sales was revolutionary.

When Cullen’s idea was ignored by his then-employer Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., he struck out and opened King Kullen on Long Island. Ads for the new enterprise cried out: “King Kullen: World’s Greatest Price Wrecker.” King Kullen continues today as a family-controlled operation on Long Island with 32 locations.

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