Readers Respond: The right man for the job?
Home Channel News asked readers if they agreed with the selection of Jeffrey Immelt to lead the President’s Council on Jobs and Effectiveness. Here’s what we heard.
"I think Jeff Immelt is a terrible choice to head Obama’s jobs council He has been an outspoken advocate for a new ‘partnership’ between the U.S. government and industry. As the Wall Street Journal said in a recent editorial on this subject, ‘he is promoting policies and subsidies in green energy in which GE is heavily invested.’ This is not my vision of the ‘American way.’ United States business has always been the innovator instead of our government picking winners and losers with ‘partnerships’ using taxpayer dollars."
— Buddy Klumb
Klumb Lumber Co.
"Mr. Immelt represents everything that is wrong with our current economy and governmental train of thought toward business. His presence merely reinforces the pay-for-play system inside the beltway. What is needed is someone who understands the current predicament of our country, not someone who reinforces it."
— Richard Freund
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.
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.”