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  • Screen Shot 2019 05 21 at 2.25.45 PMEtailers escape
    from reality...

    Casual customer dating
    does not sustain growth

    Five years ago, we reported that the rapid OP etailer expansion was peaking, as a result of Amazon's aggression and the incidence of high customer churn from its disloyal 'casual dating' model. Progressive resellers exercising a deep customer intimacy model have achieved sustained success as etailers escape the market...

    Read More
  • Screen Shot 2019 05 21 at 10.44.17 AMStanley's Smart
    factory project

    New Craftsman tools plant
    opening in Summer 2020

    Stanley Black & Decker
    , the $14Bn tools, storage & OP maker plans to open a new Craftsman manufacturing plant in North Texas. This follows the launch of its Manufacturing 4.0 Centre of Excellence centre in Connecticut last month

    Read More
  • Screen Shot 2019 05 21 at 9.51.36 AMExertis Plugs
    bold progress

    International expansion
    drive v top broadliners

    UK Based tech reseller Exertis held its annual 'Plug In' partner event last week, in the illustrious surrounds of Silverstone race track. New group MD Tim Griffin outlined his differentiation plans v international powerhouses Ingram & TechData....


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  • menear craig.HDHome Depot's
    growth sliding

    PRO wholesaler model
    outpaces slow DIY sales

    Home Depot
    the $108Bn+ home & business improvement supplier again reported slower growth in direct sales. In contrast its $3Bn PRO (ex Supply Works) wholesale division is gaining strength with business service providers....

    Read More
  • HP death of the printerPrinters plunge
    in Europe Q1'19 

    Context research confirms
    brand leaders sales trends

    Sales of printer hardware through distributors in West Europe (WE) were sharply down by 4.2% in Q1 2019, according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT.

    Read More
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Borders closing

UK bookstores suffer compared
with US models and Amazon effect



27 Nov 09

Borders UK, the bookshop chain, went into administration last night, putting 1,150 jobs at risk and raising the prospect of a firesale before Christmas.

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How far can your brand stretch?

26 Nov 09

O2, the major UK telecoms company, is stretching its brand into healthcare, education and financial services as it seeks to bring great customer experiences to new sectors,

How far should OP resellers consider a similar strategy?

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lucy-montage2009 Office Buyer Survey Results

What do women want in business?

How have frugal times affected females? Do catalogues reach the right decision makers?

13 Aug 09 (Updated 1500 UK time; 1000ET)

Our latest 2009 Proficiency Index survey of UK women office buyers, primarily user choosers with executive power and influence, is more comprehensive than previous edtions. It provides tremendous insight into latest trends and how business has adapted to tough economic times.

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Lucy-Dealer-splitProficiency Index US/UK dealer and user study

Disconnected… dealer priorities and user wants

Mind the gap! .................... Match the market needs.

13 Aug 09 (Completed 1300 UK time; 0800 ET)
We have just completed the annual Proficiency Index survey of ‘What do women want in business’ (9 Aug‘09). During the course of the survey our research team thought it would interesting to discuss dealers current top priorities and see how they matched up with businesswomen’s main concerns.

We also asked them what was important to them; their favourite stores and their awareness of local suppliers. We publish the fascinating results here.

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Recession - hit resellers target women

Mind you, many campaigns are clumsy, inappropriate and disrespectful…too pink!

By Marti Barletta, Trendsight Research (Author of Marketing to Women)
12 Aug 09

NEVER mind the fight to get people to open their wallets in the recession—some companies are taking a different tack, and trying to get customers to open their purses instead.


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Are dealer groups an endangered species?

Where’s the beef?
Where’s the difference?
The death of me-too, mickey-mouse mailings?
Can manufacturers afford to sustain support?

8 Aug 09 (Updated 0900 CT; 1500 UK time)
We’ve been alerted in the last 2/3 weeks by news emanating from dealer groups, that have simply served to raise questions about the real value of dealer groups themselves.

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BullSchmidt’s blame game backfires

Fired California salesman’s attorney fires back at Depot’s false accusations

8 Aug 09
Steve Schmidt the increasingly paranoid president of Office Depot’s BS division last week accused the fired  ex-salesman Earl Ante of managing the overcharging process of City of Berkeley.

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ODgate Scandal Exclusive

Depot’s dirty denials drag on

BullSchmidt gets FAQ’s wrong again, attacks fired salesman over “false lawsuit allegations”

6  Aug 09
You couldn’t make this up! Office Depot has once again posted misleading information on its investors website, this time attacking a  fired employee who refused to take part in their systematic overcharging of government accounts.

This is yet another act of desperation by Steve Schmidt, the increasingly paranoid president of Depot’s Business Solutions Division.

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California creaming with Depot kickbacks?

Nonprofit US Communities under heavy suspicion for collusion, conspiracy and fraudulent practices

5 Aug 09
Recently, on the state level, the National Office Products Alliance (NOPA), the US trade association, issued a press release urging the the California Attorney General to look specifically at Office Depot's Walnut Creek-based US Communities contracts. Regular readers will remember that Proficiency Post broke this story exclusively back in July 2008 covering what we headlined at the time as ‘Nonprofit or Con-Profit?’

The story is about to go mainstream….  

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Bigbox stock less

Depot and Max turn to

wholesalers to aid liquidity crunch

4 Aug 09
Last week the #2 Office Depot and #3 OfficeMax bigbox players reported cash inflows during Q2’09 fuelled by working capital reductions.

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ODgate Scandal - Breaking News

Ex-Depot rep fired for refusing to falsify facts?

Suing Depot for wrongful dismissal re City of Berkeley fraudulent overcharging investigation

29 Jul 09 (Updated 1500 UK time; 1100 ET)
News came through yesterday which threatens to reopen the City of Berkeley overcharging episode where Office Depot paid $289,000 compensation earlier this year  

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columian-envsMWV Back to
School sales on target

Transformational moves yield positive results

29 Jul 09

MeadWestVaco, the leading packaging and brand stationery manufacturer today reported encouraging Q2’09 financial results.

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Ten Up for Depot

Fraud investigations by Attorney Generals and Feds outstripping

Enron, Madoff and Capone scandals

26 Jul 09
We have chronicled weekly since May 2007, or “prolifically” as Steve Odland remarked in his recent interview with OPI, about the fraudulent overcharging and bait n’ switch methods deployed by Office Depot.

Last week we reached a tipping point in the tailspinning tales of self destruction when Odland exposed himself as a hands-off, soulless but charming fraud…

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Brand storytelling

How to connect with your user

BY Melinda Partin, co-founder of Worktank

25 July 09

At its very core, marketing is storytelling. The best advertising campaigns take us on an emotional journey--appealing to our wants, needs and desires--while at the same time telling us about a product or service.

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OPI Interview – Office Depot CEO – Part 3

Values based destruction

Accuses whistleblower of misinformation? Allied a positive decision? Liking Viking again?
More desperate denials
unchallenged by OPI

23 Jul 09 (Updated and finalised 2000UK time; 1500 ET)

Our opinion on the shocking and unchallenged 8 page
OPI interview with Steve Odland continues here with the final 7 points of big issue

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OPI Interview – Office Depot CEO - Part 2
BullSchmidt’s Brainwash

Odland: “He doesn’t care about telling truth…that’s ethically wrong,
I think its legally wrong”

23 Jul 09

We’ve decided to make a special feature of Office Depot CEO Steve Odland’s accusations about the "prolific blogger" in his interview with OPI’s Steve Hilleard this month.

It is buried away on page 7 of an 8 page report and we didn’t want readers to be misinformed because Odland was not in attendance at my meeting with his BSD president Steve Schmidt and his legal representative on 27 May at their Global HQ in Boca Raton (FL).

Here is another example of his hands-off, detached and deluded executive methods

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not yesterday's news tomorrow."

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Latest Frost Bites

Etailers escape from market reality

Screen Shot 2019 05 21 at 2.25.45 PMEtailers escape
from reality...

Casual customer dating
does not sustain growth

Five years ago, we reported that the rapid OP etailer expansion was peaking, as a result of Amazon's aggression and the incidence of high customer churn from its disloyal 'casual dating' model. Progressive resellers exercising a deep customer intimacy model have achieved sustained success as etailers escape the market...


Etailers maul Mall retailers

Bezos godzillaEtailers maul
mall retailers

Death by 1000 cuts
for department stores

Seeking Alpha analyst Wolf Richter reports on the rise and rise of ecommerce at the expense of retail stores especially, the mall locations. We discuss and analyse his findings... Later today


Is it all clicking for Wayfair?

Screen Shot 2019 02 22 at 9.25.47 AMIs it all clicking
for Wayfair?

Skyrocketing sales. What
about service & profits?

, the #1 US furniture reseller is a newly minted Fortune 500 entrant. It has two visionary founders, 2,300 data geeks, and skyrocketing sales. Now it just needs to turn a profit" writes contributgor Jeffrey O'Brien. We discuss his article plus its growing delivery service issues weighing on the brand


Amazon v Walmart War - Who's winning?

Amazon v walmart sumoAMZN v Walmart
War. Who wins?

US #1 retailer online sales
tiny compared w/Godzilla

 steady growth trend has attracted praise from financial press. However, its important to get real when comparing progress v #1 Amazon. Godzilla's US sales online are 6X v Walmart from faster webstore experience & delivery service. We compare the key metrics.....Updated


Will tariffs trump private label lemmings?

Screen Shot 2019 05 14 at 8.35.32 AMWill Tariffs trump
PLabel lemmings?

China Trade War threatens
price hikes for bigboxes

The huge hike in tariff rate to 25% proposed on Chinese imports will almost certainly be passed on where possible to consumers. However, will businesses resist particularly on paper-related private label products? Updated



Disconnected dealers - 2019 Update

disconnected dealer2Disconnected
dealers act now!

Old motive: High GP's;
New: User productivity

Late last century, normal OP dealer motivation was maximising margins and maintaining relationships with stationery buyers. Enter the digital 2000's, Amazon has led the market with personalised service beyond the buyer to Lucy, the typical user chooser, with faster delivery service across a broader business supplies selection. Time to go beyond the buyer! Complete



Will Bain expand hygiene further or flip?

Screen Shot 2019 05 02 at 6.13.13 PMWill Bain expand
hygiene interests
further or flip? 

Bought & IPO'd HDSupply;
Next: Diversey & Imperial?

VC Bain Capital an original investor in Staples has invested in the FM/Hygiene supply market in recent years. In 2017, it bought a top hygiene brand Diversey from Sealed Air and last week took a majority stake in Eastern US jansan reseller Imperial Dade. What's the plan? We look at the options to invest further or flip? Complete


Alibaba to grab Office Depot?

Screen Shot 2019 04 29 at 1.05.04 PMWill A l i b a b a
grab  D e p o t?

China partner to rescue
desperate one cheaply?

, the Chinese based global ecommerce marketplace giant, formed a 'collaborative partnership' with Office Depot last month. What is Alibaba's intent given that it has yet to penetrate the US market successfully? Complete



Fastest delivery speed winner? WMT, TGT or AMZN?

amazon prime deliveryFastest delivery 
speed winner?

Analyst: "WMT & TGT
steps ahead of Amazon"

"Traditional  retailers "Walmart and Target are a step ahead of Amazon in delivery moving to same-day" according to retail equity analyst John Zolidis. Keep up, Amazon have been delivering same day to the world's major cities progressively since 2014.


Will Amazon's CRaP strategy crater?

Bezos unhappy stretchedWill AMZN's CRaP
strategy crater?

Do private label ex-China &
split delivery plans bode ill?

etail growth rate has slowed dramatically over recent quarters. Meanwhile, it's cutting its 'CRaP' defined products; shifting to imported private label; cutting back on small vendors; and splitting deliveries into multiple drops. We discuss the consequences...Updated


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