Shopping News: Haggen, Fresh & Easy, Handmade, and Jet.Com

userpic=outofbusinessContinuing with part 3 of clearing out the links (there’s one more pure news chum stew post): Here are a series of posts related to shopping and stores:

  • Going Down Down Down. Although this is old news by now, Haggen is going under, and a number of their stores will be becoming Gelsons and Smart&Finals. In some ways, this is sad: Haggen bit off more than they could chew, and were doomed from the start (and likely set up by Albersons). It will be nice to have more Gelsons and Smart and Finals, though. Still no word on what will happen to the store at Sepulveda and Palms: I’ve seen that go through so many iterations by now it is silly. In similar news, it looks like Fresh and Easy is filing for bankruptcy again.  I still miss the F&E in Northridge; it was a good store with good selection. But this isn’t a surprise, as I don’t see the stores anymore. Supermarkets, in general, are getting beat by Target and Walmart adding groceries; the landscape will continue to grow as Aldi comes in. As for, we’ll keep shopping at the ethnics, Sprouts, and Trader Joes.
  • War of the Handmade. Amazon is taking on Etsy with their new subcompany: Handmade by Amazon. Will it be a success? I don’t know. Etsy is well known, but Amazon is a 400 lb gorilla. Handmade by Amazon has much tighter rules than Etsy, but people have been complaining that Etsy’s new rules have reduced the handmade aspect of what is sold. Should be interesting to watch — partially because my wife hope to restart the doll business on line. We still have lots of stock from the days working with Karen (Pratt) Holmes.
  • A Costco on the Internet. Recently, Planet Money had a fascinating episode on the Anti-Store: a store that makes it intentionally hard for you to buy things, find things, and pay for things. By doing that, they make oodles of money. The store: Costco. They make you pay for membership. They intentionally don’t sign the aisles so you have to explore the store. They take limited forms of payments and provide no bags. But it works, and people buy buy buy. At the end of the episode, they mentioned an internet variation: a company that was going to charge you to become a member, and would give you extra discounts if you ordered multiple different items from the same warehouse (allowing combined shipping) or decided to waive your ability to return items. The site? Jet.Com. Recent news has brought word that Jet.Com has decided not to charge its membership fee, because the profits from other areas — even with their discounts — make it unnecessary.   Might be worth exploring, for the bargain hunters.