WIKY Morning Show August 16, 2011

WIKY Morning Show August 16, 2011

**Shopping for groceries is something just about all of us have in common.  Something else we have in common is that we just about all agree that food prices are going up –

 According to a new survey by Rasmussen Reports, 93% of Americans say that they're paying MORE for groceries now than they did one year ago.  And no one really thinks things are going to get better . . . only 3% think that, one year from now, groceries will be the same price or cheaper than they are today.

In a related story, Walmart is having a tough time turning around slumping sales.  Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal –

Walmart is in the midst of its worst U.S. sales slump ever.

When it reports earnings on Tuesday, the retailer is widely expected to post its second straight year of declining domestic same-store sales.

Wal-Mart's struggles are the result of a misstep: To jump-start lethargic growth and counter the rise of competitors such as cheap-chic rival Target executives veered away from the winning formula of late founder Sam Walton to provide "everyday low prices" to the American working class. Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer by sales, instead raised prices on some items while promoting deals on others.

Company executives acknowledge having miscalculated and are adjusting their strategy again. The big question is how quickly the mammoth chain can turn itself around.

Wal-Mart's shift from its traditional core customer manifested itself in numerous ways. A foray into organic foods didn't catch on with discount shoppers. A push to sell trendy fashions like skinny jeans bombed. And an attempt to cut clutter in stores to attract higher-income customers wound up undermining Wal-Mart's appeal to its traditional audience.

The Bentonville, Ark., chain's up-market push, which began before the recession, succeeded in attracting some well-heeled customers, but at great cost. Wal-Mart lost its iron grip on U.S. households earning less than $70,000 a year—which made up 68% of its domestic business—to other discounters.

"The basic Wal-Mart customer didn't leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer," said former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright, who supervised the company's distribution networks from 1992 to 1998 before leaving to co-found consulting firm Diversified Retail Solutions.

Wal-Mart has shuffled top U.S. executives in the past nine months and is going back to basics—eschewing fashionable clothes in favor of socks and sweat pants, for example—it an effort to recover market share.

The company remains an unequaled force in retailing, and can't be counted out. Its overall sales continue to expand, largely thanks to a fast-growing international division that generates roughly a quarter of revenue.

Wal-Mart also continues to post stable earnings despite its domestic troubles and enjoys huge economies of scale that could help it bounce back at home faster than its critics anticipate.

**Cell phones are making us rude and stupid:  A recent survey by Pew Research found that one in eight cell phone users admit that they sometimes pretend to use their phone to avoid interacting with people around them.

And while smartphones are great sources of information, many people now rely so heavily on them that when they have to rely on their own personal knowledge to do something, they're virtually helpless.

 More than one in four cell phone owners say they've experienced a situation in the past month where they had trouble doing something because they didn't have their phone with them.   

(--The survey didn't say what, but I'm betting most of the problems were with driving directions and knowing people's phone numbers.)  

 And even though we're useless without our phones, a lot of people complain about them too. 

 One in five cell phone users are frustrated with how long it takes to download information.  Another 16% have trouble reading their phone because the screen is too small.  And one in 10 people have trouble when they have to enter a lot of text.

What's the best reason to have a phone?  42% of us say that we use our phones to entertain us when we're bored.  That's two percent more than people who say they have a cell phone in case of an emergency.

**Zoofari is coming to Mesker Park Zoo Saturday for kids and adults!  It’s a fun and challanging Amazing Race style scavenger hunt! 

Get details and buy tickets here


**Culture Quiz, brought to you by Subway – For 1 in 10 Americans, it’s the most frustrating part of eating out.  Figuring out the tip!