Russia’s retail business likely to see a boom with increased tourism

Hard times in Russia do teach happy economic lessons in sometimes-painful ways. Not very long ago in Russia the towns with populations of over one million were the regional equivalent of Home Depot, Tedesco, Walmart and IKEA all rolled into one. People would takes days off to travel from the outlying towns and villages to shop in the cities for just about everything that was simply unavailable to them locally. This of course changed, and over time and throughout the first decade of this millennium the construction of hypermarkets and planned retail trade centers spread like a wildfire throughout the country. In most cases, the result was “cookie-cutter” retail. A hypermarket in Vladivostok, Ekaterinburg St. Petersburg, or Moscow contained pretty much the same retailers and stocks with prices varying to reflect shipping costs to deliver the goods to shelves. This replication, or standardization, was seen not only cross-country, but also increasingly cross-town. Sameness and standardization allowed for reduced overheads on the one hand, but played into the strongest aspects and capabilities of e-commerce on the other hand – a conflict conundrum. Hypermarkets and malls became boring in the eyes of many Russian consumers, and increasingly seen as inconvenient.

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David Hogg bullied Publix into submission. Now the free market has responded in a powerful way.

David Hogg announced last week he was initiating a boycott of Publix over the grocery chain’s monetary support of a pro-NRA Republican who is running for Florida governor.

Publix caved to Hogg’s demands and stopped all political donations on Friday. But the decision has ushered in a response from the free market.

What are the details?

Publix spokesman Dwaine Steven told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday his employer never meant to upset its customer base with its political donations — which crossed party lines — so Publix executives decided to stop all political donations.

“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,” he said. “As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.”

For many Americans, Publix’s decision was another slap in the face, just one more entity caving to the liberal outrage mob. So they decided to hit back.

What happened in response?

Thousands of Americans have voiced their displeasure over Publix’s lack of backbone and have decided to take their grocery needs to other stores. It’s a counter-boycott of sorts, but really it’s just a free-market reaction to Publix’s decision.

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Latin/South America Retail POS Terminal Study 2015-2017 & 2022

The “2017 Latin/South America Retail POS Terminal Study” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. Walmart and the 2016 Summer Olympics helped to drive POS adoption throughout Latin/South America. The market for POS in LATAM continues to …

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2017 Latin/South America Retail POS Terminal Study – ResearchAndMarkets.com

The “2017 Latin/South America Retail POS Terminal Study” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. Walmart and the 2016 Summer Olympics helped to drive POS adoption throughout Latin/South America. The market for POS in LATAM continues to …

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Only 54 US companies have been on the Fortune 500 since 1955, thanks to the creative destruction that fuels economic prosperity – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

What do the companies in these three groups have in common?

Group A: American Motors, Brown Shoe, Studebaker, Collins Radio, Detroit Steel, Zenith Electronics and National Sugar Refining.

Group B: Boeing, Campbell Soup Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Deere & Company, General Motors, IBM, Kellogg Company, Procter and Gamble Company, and Whirlpool Corporation.

Group C: Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Home Depot, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Office Depot and Target.

All of the companies in Group A were in the Fortune 500 in 1955, but not in 2018.

All of the companies in Group B were in the Fortune 500 in both 1955 and 2018 (and have remained on the list every year since it started in 1955).

All of the companies in Group C were in the Fortune 500 in 2018, but not in 1955.

The list of Fortune 500 companies in 1955 is available here and for 2018 here (based on sales for the fiscal year ended on or before Jan. 31, 2018). Comparing the 1955 Fortune 500 companies to the 2018 Fortune 500, there are only 54 companies that appear in both lists and have remained on the list since it started (see graphic above). In other words, fewer than 11% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 have remained on the list during the 63 years since in 2018, and more than 89% of the companies from 1955 have either gone bankrupt, merged with (or were acquired by) another firm, or they still exist but have fallen from the top Fortune 500 companies (ranked by total revenues) in one year or more. For example, Ashland Global Holdings was in the Fortune 500 last year, but its sales have been flat and it dropped to No. 705 this year — the cutoff to make the Fortune 500 this year was $5.4 billion in sales, and Ashland’s sales were $3.2 billion. Many of the companies on the list in 1955 are unrecognizable, forgotten companies today (e.g., Armstrong Rubber, Cone Mills, Hines Lumber, Pacific Vegetable Oil, and Riegel Textile).

Economic Lessons: The fact that nearly nine of every 10 Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are gone, merged, or  contracted demonstrates that there’s been a lot of market disruption, churning, and Schumpeterian creative destruction over the last six decades. It’s reasonable to assume that when the Fortune 500 list is released 60 years from now in 2078, almost all of today’s Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist as currently configured, having been replaced by new companies in new, emerging industries, and for that we should be extremely thankful. The constant turnover in the Fortune 500 is a positive sign of the dynamism and innovation that characterizes a vibrant consumer-oriented market economy, and that dynamic turnover is speeding up in today’s hyper-competitive global economy.

According to a 2016 report by Innosight (“Corporate Longevity: Turbulence Ahead for Large Organizations“) corporations in the S&P 500 Index in 1965 stayed in the index for an average of 33 years. By 1990, average tenure in the S&P 500 had narrowed to 20 years and is now forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026. At the current churn rate, about half of today’s S&P 500 firms will be replaced over the next 10 years as “we enter a period of heightened volatility for leading companies across a range of industries, with the next ten years shaping up to be the most potentially turbulent in modern history” according to Innosight.

Another economic lesson to be learned from the creative destruction that results in the constant churning of Fortune 500 (and S&P 500) companies over time is that the process of market disruption is being driven by the endless pursuit of sales and profits that can only come from serving customers with low prices, high-quality products and services, and great customer service. If we think of a company’s annual sales revenues as the number of “dollar votes” it gets every year from providing goods and services to consumers, we can then appreciate the fact that the Fortune 500 companies represent the 500 companies that have generated the greatest number dollar votes of confidence from us as consumers – like Walmart (No. 1 this year for the sixth straight year with more than $500 billion in “dollar votes” for 2018 – the first time the sales of any Fortune 500 company has exceeded the $500 billion mark), Exxon Mobil (No. 2 at $244 billion), Apple (No. 3 at $229 billion), CVS (No. 7 at $185 billion), Amazon (No. 8 at $178 billion) and General Motors (No. 10 at $157 billion).

As consumers, we should appreciate the fact that we are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Schumpeterian creative destruction that drives the dynamism of the market economy and results in a constant churning of the firms who are ultimately fighting to attract as many of our dollar votes as possible. The 500 top winners of that competitive battle in any given year are the firms in the Fortune 500, ranked not by their profits, assets or number of employees, but by what is ultimately most important in a market economy: their dollar votes (sales revenues).

Bonus Video (below), “Introducing the 2018 Fortune 500 .”

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A New Lawsuit Has Customers Of This Brand Of Tuna Outraged

A tuna fish conspiracy has customers of Bumble Bee tuna completely outraged, after the CEO of Bumble Foods, Christopher Lischewski, was charged with fixing the price of canned tuna. The price fixing resulted in a higher cost for consumers, who are understandably upset by his shady business practices. Lischewski was indicted by a grand jury on one count of price fixing.

Prosecutors allege that between November 2010 and December 2013, Lischewski conspired with two rival companies to keep the prices high. Three more executives, two from Bumble Food and one from StarKist have all pleaded guilty to price fixing.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim remarked: “American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today’s indictment.”

Lischewski’s attorney, John Keker, however, maintains that his client is innocent, noting: “When the facts are known and the truth emerges, Mr. Lischewski will be found not guilty, and that vindication will rightfully restore his good name.”

The US government began investigating possible price fixing between StarKist, Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea more than two years ago, with the companies accused of agreeing on a price to sell their product to suppliers.

These three companies account for around 74% of the US canned tuna market and supply retailers like Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, who sued the three firms for fixing prices in 2016. Former senior vice president for sales at StarKist, Stephen Hodge, pleaded guilty last year to price-fixing and two other Bumble Bee Foods executives pleaded guilty to the scheme, with the company agreeing to pay a $25 million fine.

Many people have weighed in with comments on the Daily Mail’s coverage of the criminal business practices, with one commenter noting: “Totally believe this. I remember tuna was really expensive a couple years ago” and another saying, “I won’t buy Bumble Bee any more.”

Others discussed the quality of tuna and believe that consumers should be looking to other brands for better quality, as one person remarked: “Bumble Bee tuna is the worst canned tuna one can buy. As another reader mentioned, it’s like liquid fish. It’s more than 50% water. Kirkland albacore or Chicken of the Sea albacore are among the best canned tunas, in both flavor and volume.”

Some commenters made light of the situation, with one person joking: “well, at least they did not flounder about the indictment” and another person believing “Charlie Tuna must be in on this.”

One commenter discussed the economy, in general, stating: “Every time the price of gas goes up, everything at the store becomes more expensive to compensate transportation costs. When oil goes down, the cost of goods doesn’t. The cost of all the other canned tuna is the same where I am. They’re all profiting from it in some way.”

Another commenter agreed, responding: “You are dead on. When gas hit nearly $5 a gallon several years ago, groceries went through the roof, then gas went back down to nearly $2 a gallon and grocery prices stayed high. Who pocketed the extra profits? Kroger, Wally and all grocers?”

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The Hutch closes in on a cancer cure

THE MAGIC MICROSCOPIC particles that might change the world — and in the process, permanently burnish Seattle’s spot on the big, ascent-of-man scientific map — are, at this very moment, being carted about on a medical campus one short traffic jam away from the shores of Lake Union. Their mode of transport: a thermo-molded plastic lunch cooler, of the sort one might nab at Walmart to carry a baloney sandwich and some freshly cured herring out for a day of salmon fishing on Puget Sound. The little coolers are ubiquitous at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which four decades…

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Free Lunch: Walmart’s Digital Growth, Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Stocks

Later in the show, Ryan talks to Zacks Strategist Dave Bartosiak about investing in cryptocurrency proxy stocks and blockchain … creating millionaires and reshaping geo-politics. Soon electric vehicles (EVs) may be cheaper than gas guzzlers.

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