Shoplifter of the Month, again
Good news for the Southwestern retail industry: A prolific shoplifter has been arrested.
Albuquerque, N.M., police have arrested a man accused of shoplifting tools from a Lowe’s store on Jan. 20 and then trying to sell them to undercover officers 15 minutes later, according to an article in the Albuquerque Journal.
Oliver Martinez, 39, is a chronic shoplifter who has been arrested 45 times, according to police. He allegedly approached two undercover police detectives on the street and asked if they would like to buy some tools. The officers, who suspected the goods were stolen property, later confirmed that the tools had been shoplifted from a nearby Lowe’s store just 15 minutes prior, authorities said.
A police sergeant told a reporter for KOAT-TV that Martinez had 45 previous shoplifting arrests: 25 in Albuquerque and 20 outside the city’s jurisdiction.
D.C. Hotline: Pushing back
With the elections over and the Republicans having gained the majority in the House and having made significant gains in the Senate, many in Washington have witnessed a change in the tone of legislative activity.
In the spirit of the times and with what appears to be a more favorable Congress, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) recently urged members of Congress to conduct investigations of the most onerous existing and proposed federal regulations that are hurting job creation and economic growth. The EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule — with its poor consumer awareness and inadequate test kits — is a main target.
The rule continues to create turmoil in the installed sales business and with many dealers’ customers.
The NLBMDA also intends to combat three OSHA proposals that may negatively impact dealers: 1.) OSHA’s initial efforts to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry; 2.) OSHA’s recent proposal that would mandate a standard for employers’ safety and health programs, referred to as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program; and 3.) OSHA’s recent effort to revise its noise reduction requirements.
All represent costly and excessive policies with little or no benefits.
Jeremy Stine is manager of government and public affairs for the NLBMDA (dealer.org).
HD in China: Fewer cities, tighter focus
Home Depot’s collection of Chinese stores has dwindled to seven, with the closing of a store in Beijing in January — the fifth closing in a little more than two years.
The moves reflect the retailer’s strategy to adjust its focus on key markets, rather than scatter its attention around the country. The Atlanta-based retail giant operates seven stores in three Chinese cities — four in Tianjin, two in Xi’an and a smaller, 50,000-sq.-ft. format pilot store in Zheng Zhou.
“After four years of experience and learning, our plan in China is to focus on the high growth cities,” said Ron DeFeo, a spokesman for The Home Depot, referring especially to Tianjin and Xi’an. “This is where we intend to concentrate our focus, establish a presence and gain scale and momentum.”
Tianjin alone has 12 million people, and Xi’an isn’t far behind, with about 8 million. The growing population of both cities represents a sales opportunity for the retailer. But cultural differences — for instance, the resistance to western-style do-it-yourself habits — present challenges to expansion.
In addition to Beijing, the company has closed stores in Xi Si Huan, Fengzhongsi, Dong Li, Qingdao and Shenyang.
Home Depot continues to appear content to take its time in China. In the company’s annual investors and analyst meeting on Dec. 13, 2010, CEO Frank Blake described the company’s Chinese retail business as a journey.
“I don’t think we’re alone in having it take some time to figure out how to build a profitable business model,” Blake said. “We’ve said from the start that we’re not there to drive square-footage growth. We’re there to figure out a profitable business model and then move.”