Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Selling to Walmart is no pot-o-gold

An owner of a large metals company in Albany, Oregon told me once to just forget about selling anything to Walmart. They squeeze your bottom line so thin it looks like it got run over by a steam roller.

Walmart Super Stores sure won't have a knowledgeable fish monger like this one at Pike Place Market.

Ever wonder why everything in a Walmart is made in China? Because nobody in this country can afford to sell goods to them cheap enough. It's not that they are outsourcing. They are just trying to get the cheapest in the world and pass on the savings. Great for the consumer, bad for the supplier.

Now they come along and say they want to buy wild caught seafood products. Alaska has a lot of them. Nobody is saying they have contracts to buy X amount of Alaska seafood yet. But why all the fuss as in this article? I think the AP reporter just bumped into one fisherman who just happened to be caught off guard by the question about Alaska selling seafood to Walmart.

Selling Alaska seafood to Walmart would be about the worst thing that could ever happen to the Alaska fishing industry, maybe not the Alaska processing industry. An independent marketer sure wouldn't sell to them. A large processor might, since they never had any qualms about just ratcheting down the ex-vessel price before. They would get their processing profit margin no matter who they sold to.

But you are probably talking about two cent a pound humpies if they are headed for Walmart. Good way to thin out the fleet anyway. You sure won't find $30 a pound troll king salmon or Alaska red king crab there like you would in that grocery store I went to in Beverly Hills.

Why all the excitement about selling to those cheap-skates at Walmart anyway? I suspect that there isn't any excitement, except in the ranks of the media. It's a slow news day and nobody has peppered anyone with birdshot in a week or so.