Sunday, June 20, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The retailer aims to take over U.S. transportation services from suppliers in an effort to reduce the cost of hauling goods. Wal-Mart is contacting all manufacturers that provide products to its more than 4,000 U.S. stores and Sam's Club membership warehouse clubs, says Kelly Abney, Wal-Mart's vice-president of corporate transportation.
The goal: to handle suppliers' deliveries in instances where Wal-Mart can do the same job for less, then use those savings to reduce prices in stores, Abney says. Wal-Mart believes it has the scale to allow it to ship everything from dog food to lawn chairs more efficiently than the companies that produce the goods. "It has allowed our suppliers to focus on what they do best, manufacturing products for us," he says. "With lower costs usually comes increased sales."
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
If anyone needs some extra summer reading, below is a little bit of the introduction to Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings & Loans, written by Stephen Pizzo, Mary Fricker, and Paul Muolo. Their research into the now extinct Centennial Savings & Loan is a fantastic look at the dangerous mix of brokered deposits and the riskier loan portfolios they necessitate.
Coauthors Steve Pizzo and Mary Fricker were jarred to attention by thrift deregulation's fallout when tiny, conservative Centennial Savings and Loan in their rural Northern California hometown of Guerneville began acting strangely in December 1982 (two months after the signing of the Garn-St Germain Act) and announced it was going to pay $ 1 3 million cash for a construction company. Pizzo was editor of the Guerneville weekly, the Russian River News, and Fricker was news editor. Pizzo wrote a news analysis highly critical of Centennial's plan to spend seven times its net worth' on a construction company, and he began aggressive coverage of a succession of strange happenings at Centennial Savings and Loan. Centennial officers suddenly were awash with money. Their names popped up in complex real estate transactions documented at the county recorder's office. Out-of-town visitors from places like Holland, Las Vegas, and Boston mysteri- ously came and went, taking money with them. Still the thrift's financial state- ments recorded phenomenal growth. And the small-town rumor mill geared up to churn out dozens of explanations for this bizarre behavior. In the Russian River News, Pizzo began asking some fairly obvious questions of the Centennial officers: "Where is all this money coming from? " "Who are you lending it to, and why?" "How can you justify these extravagant salaries, benefits, perks, planes, luxury cars, boats, and trips?" Was this, Pizzo asked, the proper role for a savings and loan, heretofore the most conservative, predictable, and reliable of all American financial institutions?