Friday, June 29, 2012

Golden Anniversary For Leading Discount Chains

1962, the year that gave us the Mets, the Rolling Stones, and Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death, also gave America its first Walmart, Target, and Kmart stores. The trio of deep discounters eventually replaced Woolworth’s, perhaps the original big-box discount shop of the nation.

The three chains represent over 11,000 stores, globally, with annual sales of over a half-trillion dollars. Walmart accounts for 1.7% of America’s gross domestic product and is the nation’s largest private employer.

On March 1, 1962, Kmart launched its first store in Michigan. In May of that year, Target opened its doors in Minnesota. On July 2, five decades ago, Walmart debuted in Arkansas. The retail revolution set in motion back then has morphed to the Internet with Amazon, which discounts beyond profitability in hopes of dominating marketshare. Costco, Sam’s Club, and other enormous warehouse bulk-selling retailers also add to the retail mix. Can any of these chains help sell books on a large scale AND keep fair pricing intact?

Perhaps the most logical place to sell books is Starbucks. People already hang out there and they get tons of customer traffic. You could rename stores Starbooks!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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