Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back in the saddle

I'm finally back, after a full dance card of work and family commitments.

Let's catch up:

Home Depot's Bob Nardelli suddenly resigned yesterday, throwing retail watchers and analysts into a tizzy. HD isn't doing too poorly, and the reasons for Nardelli's departure are unclear, although it's hard to feel too bad for a guy getting a US$210 million severance package.

Pioneering canadian retailer John Forzani has retired as chairman of the $1.3 billion dollar sporting goods empire that he created. He is 59. Through agressive expansion and aquisition, Forzani created a retail giant, with 14 banners and ubiquitous market presence. Now that, like Alexander, there is nothing left to conquor, he appears to be giving up the reins, and there is idle gossip that Forzani Group Ltd is a potential takeover target for either a large american retailer, or an agressive Private Equity group.

A disturbing trend I noticed in Christmas advertising was starting Boxing Day sales the week before Christmas. Chief amongst the offenders where struggling retailers like HBC, whose pre-Christmas Boxing Day ads whiffed of desperation, but even strong performers like Best Buy/Future Shop got in the game also. If we push the official start of the holiday shopping season back from Hallowe'en to Labour Day, then we can start the Boxing Week sales right after Canadian Thanksgiving!

Always contrarian in their outlook, Long or Short's analysts have determined that nerdiness in a CEO has serious downside. This comes at a time when nerds are enjoying greater public popularity than ever.

There's been an amazing amount of whining and hand wringing in the Old Media about wealth: from executive compensation to Wall Street bonuses, and so on. Most of it reeks of jealosy, so I'll offer journalists and aldermen a helpful tip: if you want to make more money, do something that generates more revenue and profit than you already do.

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