The Gourmet C-Store Meets the Quick-and-Easy Supercenter…

The European company Tesco introduced the new concept here in (surprise!) California last week. Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy thinks his company’s new Fresh & Easy Markets fill a gap in the types of stores available to southern California shoppers. But, they already have a lot of choices with the three big grocery chains, Costco, Whole Foods and Mexican grocer Gigante. Can Tesco do what even Wal-Mart couldn’t? CNNMoney.com (Nov 9, 2007)

Tesco Impresses at Last Week’s CA Store Openings

The UK-based chain’s mix of smaller, 10,000 foot stores, environmentally-themed advertising, appealing design and large offerings of prepared foods won over six reviewers the Los Angeles Times sent out on inspection. Shoppers gave high marks for wide aisles and surprisingly competitive prices, such as Total Advance Clean Colgate toothpaste selling for $2.47 and private label wine — a la Two Buck Chuck’s — selling for $1.99. The high concentration of Tesco executives mingling about at the store openings went over less well. One customer said, “When the suits go away, it’ll be a nice place to shop.” Los Angeles Times Free registration required (Nov. 9, 2007)

Ingram & Gopher Join MagNet

Gopher News Company and Ingram Periodicals have signed on as clients of the Magaizne Information Network, or MagNet.  John Harrington estimates that MagNet now represents more than 75% of magazine sales.

The New Single Copy  (Nov. 12, 2007)  Subscription required; unavailable online.

Source Looking to Buy AMI, Covets DSI

Ron Burkle, founder of Yucaipa Companies, which has controlling ownership of Source Interlink Companies, is said to be meeting David Packer of American Media Inc. WWD.com says Burkle is interested in AMI mainly for its DSI distribution business, and that he is likley to reshuffle managers among the AMI and Primedia magazines, after an AMI purchase.   Women’s Wear Daily (Nov. 8, 2007)

Not a Boom, but RFID Use is Growing and the Technology is Improving

Wal-Mart may have quietly rescinded its mandate for all suppliers to use RFID, but the chain’s ambitious plans generated all kinds of awareness, and helped make the technolog a venture capital darling.  From 2002 to 2005, venture capitalists invested 658 million in 70 RFID deals.  Widespread adoption of the technogy in supply chains hasn’t taken place, but it is increasingly being used to track valuable equipment, such as hospital beds, within large organizations.  The RFID market, which totaled $2.5 Billion in 2006, won’t reach the $7.25 Billion level next year — as one 2002 prediction had it — but it may grow as much as 15% a year.

The Wall Street Journal  (Nov. 7, 2007)  Subscription required.

Dan Capell Reviews 3Q ABC Audit Reports

Among the findings: wild newsstand sales swings make it difficult for circulators to meet rate base on every issue.  Capell’s list of magazines whose newsstand sales roughly doubled or halved over the course of a year included Cottage Living, Fitness, Health, Ladies Home Journal, Marie Claire, NewsWeek, Seventeen and Time, in addition to Sports Illustrated, whose results are skewed by the swimsuit issue.  Also noted: only 9% of reporting titles that made a rate base claim missed it – one of the best success rates Capell has recorded.  In addition, the percentage of titles making no rate base claim increased from 47% to 54% over the past year.  And public place circulation is on the rise; more than 20 titles now report a figure of 20,000 in the category.

Capell’s Circulation Report (Oct., 29, 2007)  Subscription required; unavailable online.