Sep 14, 2007

A Moment of Truth in Retail Prices and Distribution

A large-scale consumer educational campaign is unfolding as retail shoppers are taught more than they ever wanted to know about the trade-offs of juggling low prices with quality, safety and other retail total experience attributes.

A combination of reputation-saving market forces along with increased regulatory oversight will soon drive home to wary shoppers the inherent strategic realities of an intensely competitive global marketing and distribution environment.

An associated Press article today indicated that "....shoppers can expect price increases up to 10 percent next year to pay for increased vigilance by toymakers and stores after more than 3 million lead-tainted toys from China were recalled worldwide since June. That means a $6.99 Barbie doll could go up to about $7.70, or a $70 child-friendly digital camera could retail next year for almost $80. Consumers could also see higher prices on other Chinese imports such as fish and children's apparel, but the big price gains in toys could be more jolting. Shoppers have become accustomed to cheap playthings from China because Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other discounters have waged cost-cutting campaigns. Critics say real safeguards were sacrificed to keep prices low, however."

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