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There are 14 comments on POV: Market Basket “Victory” May Be an Illusion

  1. I find it interesting that so many media consumers who go out of their way to see most stories as complicated and multidimensional, bought into the black and white way this story was told by the local media. Noble Arthur beat wicked Arthur, hurray. Many of the people around these parts who parrot this version of the story would otherwise be trumpeting their sophisticated resistance to such simple story-telling. To begin to get a little more nuanced view of events, readers can Google the two articles written by Holman-Jenkins for the Wall Street Journal. Obviously Arthur S. was incredibly clumsy from a public relations point of view. But from a business point of view . . . well, let’s see where the company is in five years.

  2. The Arthur S faction appeared to be well on it’s way to a pyrrhic victory while destroying a company. The fact that the Arthur T faction may not be able to run as profitably for a few years is arguably a worthwhile sacrifice to achieve a trusting, more harmonious culture in management and stockholders. – The price of correcting the cultural schism enumerated in the article.

  3. You guys have been in Acadamia too long. If Arthur T. Handles this well with his employees Market Basket will come out of this bigger and stronger than ever.

  4. I am ever hopeful that we all learn 2 lessons:

    1) While passion about your position is important, compromise is the grease of agreement and forward motion.

    2) We make more progress when we talk TO each other instead of ABOUT each other.

  5. Pretty superficial analysis, I’m afraid – especially when parroting the conventional wisdom that MB is in serious trouble due to its new debt without making any attempt whatsoever to examine how that debt relates to its annual profit ($217 million as last reported in 2012) and hence its ability to pay the debt down not only easily but even relatively quickly without any change whatsoever to its ‘traditional success formula’.

    That does assume that the reduced set of shareholders is willing to forgo most cash distributions for that period, but since plowing as much profit back into the company as it can use has been the Demoulas approach for generations (save for the Arthur S. side of the family) that’s a pretty good bet.

    Thus Artie T.’s statements that MB will continue in the manner to which so many of us are happy to have become accustomed – save possibly for throttling back its aggressive growth a bit – are entirely credible. When a company and a CEO have the kind of record that DSM/MB has, it seems kind of arrogant for those with no similar level of experience to question them.

  6. I agree with Bill Todd–this is a superficial analysis that gave the reader absolutely no new information or original analysis on the Market Basket situation. In fact, the author used a lot words and comparisons to Shakespeare to say basically nothing save for rehash the history and timeline of the dispute, which has already been written about several times over.

    Newly freed from the cash-hungry shareholders, and with an invigorated and more fiercely loyal than ever workforce, I predict that Market Basket will be back on its feet in much shorter order than the naysayers are suggesting. All anecdotal evidence (and that’s all we have at the moment) shows that customers are flocking back to the stores. By the time the busy holiday season rolls around, I believe MB will have all of its customers back and will have gained some as well.

    There is an effort by those who would defend the traditional business practices of shareholders above all others to poke holes in Arthur T. Demoulas’ management and business philosophy, and this article appears to be one of them, despite having no empirical evidence to back its claims. I wish I could say I expected more from a Professor Emeritus of Management, but I’m afraid that this article gives me some insight as to why its author is a professor and Arthur T. is the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

  7. This story is far from over. If nothing else, this summer, we learned that #marketbasket core values not only hold us together as a community; they sustain us in the hard times. Rather than look at it as a Greek tragedy, can we view it as a victory for the power of values over profits? #Marketbasket values, “the way we live, day by day, and what we stand for as people. They are the bedrock of our culture and the way we raise our children and grandchildren.” It’s about the power of values, family and community. Let’s hope #marketbasket will take their message virtual, translate and amplify it across social media. A Kickstarter campaign raised funds for the drivers. Is a Gofundme in Marketbasket’s future? As a loyal and valued customer I’m in.

  8. I think some people are underestimating the growth potential of Market Basket. People who don’t have a Market Basket in their town or region now know what Market Basket is all about. Good food, fair pay, great service, at the lowest price. I’d be willing to bet Marty Walsh will try and find a way to get a Market Basket in Boston. The Worcester market is wide open as well.
    I once witnessed a well dressed 30 something year old woman at the Woburn MB run into an old male friend in the parking lot. It went something like this:
    Woman:”Hey! How are you! How have you been?
    Male: Good! Long time no see. How are you?
    Woman: Great, I usually don’t shop at MB…

    I remembered thinking, what a weird thing to say to someone you haven’t seen in a long time. It seemed like she was embarrassed to shop there.

    That conversation would NOT happen now.

    If the shareholders can stomach the short term pain of paying back the loans for long term growth, watch out Stop & Shop, Shaws, Price Chopper etc.

  9. I have lived in several states and have shopped at multiple supermarkets. The current Market Basket business model is outstanding. All of the others are simply out to maximize profits and are non-competitive. Hopefully Artie T has a successor in mind with the same values. As for this authored commentary, I was expecting much more and was disappointed in regards to additional insight to what was already published by numerous sources.

  10. Prof. Post’s desire to throw a bucket of cold water on the enthusiasm generated by the success of this unprecedented alliance between workers and consumers to affect corporate policy is unfortunate. Clearly this type of action has made many leaders in the corporate world very nervous. It would appear that Prof. Post’s piece is designed to help forestall alliances of this sort in the future.

  11. After reading Professor Post’s article, I realize how useless business education is. This was written by an emeritus professor? The Market Basket story didn’t align with his pet business theories so he came down from on high to enlighten us. I am so impressed that he has read Shakespeare. What a smart guy. The people stocking the shelves at MB have more business sense than this guy.

  12. Prof. Post, Thank you for an insightful analysis. However, as a loyal customer for 20+ years, I fought alongside associates and managers. As a financial professional I find that your analysis does not adequately incorporate the family aspect of the fight we all just went through. It also does not address the level of expertise within the organization. When ATD is gone, there are plenty of well-mentored supermarket employees (at all levels) within MB who can successfully take the reins and continue the success of this business in a marketplace where competition drives other supermarket chains to equity bailouts and low margins, hiring parttime workers without benefits and compensating them with measly paychecks. Why would we support a man who has billions when many of us live paycheck to paycheck? Why would we care? And why do we love our MB stores so much? You do not need a business degree to understand the human attributes of morals, ethics, trust, commitment, family. We were all equal in this fight for what is right and the bottom line was not the consideration. Sam Walton put it well when he said that the only boss is the customer. This was certainly proven in this case. The customer can fire everyone in the company from the CEO down simply shopping somewhere else. We did, we suffered tremendously. We took collections at closed stores for associates who had no paycheck coming in during the boycott. Customers, including me fixed lunches and dinners for those boycotting, we blogged, facebooked and used social media in all its glory and ultimately we won. No business school degree can teach us the human component of what happened here. A business model has been re-birthed. Old schoolers who started a business without any degrees and succeeded can attest to the importance of leadership at all levels. Workers are not commodities, customers are not commodities, we are people in a community working for the success of the whole.

  13. I don’t know Artie T. personally but I used to work as a nanny for Arthur S. and his wife in the 90’s. Here’s the dirt on them…there is none! Artie S. Is a great guy! He’s friendly and hard-working. He donates a lot of money to charity and was a great father ans husband! IMHO the press has done a number on this guy. I’m glad they were able to work out a deal because Market Basket is a great store and the DeMoulas family legacy is a classical American success story. I wish the entire family good health and happiness in 2015!

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