Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mickey Kaus Is Right!

Mickey Kaus's claims that high numbers for "Brokeback Mountain" in Plano, TX did not tell us that Texans in general were broadminded because Plano was an oasis of liberal yuppiedom find strong support from... Wal-Mart! - To Boost Sales, Wal-Mart Drops One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Thinking Local To Boost Sales, Wal-Mart Drops One-Size-Fits-All Approach World's Largest Retailer Will Target Six Groups in U.S.; Changing Product Mix Guns Out, Home-Fitness In. By ANN ZIMMERMAN. September 7, 2006; Page A1: To appeal to affluent shoppers in Plano, Texas, Wal-Mart staffed the new store there with consumer-electronics specialists called "know-it-alls." And it geared the sporting-goods section toward children, on the theory that well-heeled adults tend to buy their tennis and golf gear at country clubs, not discount stores....

Enter Mr. Castro-Wright. The 51-year-old native of Ecuador had conducted a test run of his localization theories during his stint running Wal-Mart's Mexican division from 2000 to 2005, first as chief operating officer, then as chief executive. Wal-Mart's Mexican stores had six different formats before he arrived. Mr. Castro-Wright refined their merchandise mix to better target different income levels.... While the Mexican localization was based purely on shoppers' incomes, Mr. Castro-Wright concluded the U.S. was a more complex market and segmentation would involve ethnicity and lifestyle as well....

The Plano store has about 3,000 different items -- or about 3% of the total -- targeting the well-heeled. It has twice the number of organic products and a wine section with 1,000 bottles, at prices ranging from $4 to $500. Wal-Mart removed the gun department and expanded the home-fitness equipment area. "I normally do not shop at Wal-Mart, but I really like this store, because it is much nicer than the typical Wal-Mart," said Charlotte Ackley, an employee-benefits specialist, on a recent visit to the Plano store. "It is clean, has a good selection of wines, and the service is fast"...

Yes, in Plano, TX, it is a selling point that the local Wal-Mart has "a good selection of wines."

Game to Mickey Kaus!

Now--for the set--does Mickey Kaus read past the jump in the Wall Street Journal news pages? Does he read Wall Street Journal stories about retail at all--even if they are on page A1? Does he read page A1 at all?

How long will it take Mickey Kaus to discover this strong support for his Plano hypothesis? And how will he discover it?

Place your bets ladies and gentlemen...


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