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Old 05-31-2018, 07:40 AM   #1
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West Marine good read

I thought this was a good read into what is going on over at West Marine....


https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/post-...at-west-marine
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:57 AM   #2
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I thought this was a good read into what is going on over at West Marine....


https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/post-...at-west-marine
Good news! Thanks.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:26 AM   #3
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Very interesting, thanks!

The new CEO is certainly saying the right things, and the overall direction seems positive.

The part about inventory, supplier terms and cost-sharing with suppliers was an interesting insight into the supply chain that customers like me don't usually think about. We just complain that there's nothing in stock when we need it. Sounds like changes are in the works for that issue, which I hope is a good thing.

The admission that a top-heavy, and top-down management structure was a failure is a breath of fresh air in the corporate world today. More responsibility (and accountability) at the store level is probably a very good thing for customers.

Finally, and most importantly, they seem to "get it" that they need to focus on price and product line. Get away from the high-margin "lifestyle" crap and return to selling boat stuff.

Probably the only negative is the implicit admission that this is all very short-term. The comment about the private equity firm sometimes holding brands for as long as five years speaks volumes. Seems like it won't be long before we're back here discussing the "new" West Marine once again.

I wish them well. A good local chandler is always welcome.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:45 AM   #4
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I thought this was a good read into what is going on over at West Marine....


https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/post-...at-west-marine



Indeed, thanks for sharing .............


A lot of corporate mumbo jumbo about executive layering, restructuring, decision making etc. etc. let's see what happens to their pricing

I have never been of a fan of WM and because of their pricing ....... fb
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:03 AM   #5
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Promising? Sure. But you will excuse me while I am very skeptical of the whole thing. I have said for years, on every customer satisfaction survey I have gotten from them, that in today’s market and with today’s online competition, WM is completely missing the boat and are more of the last resort for shoppers of marine supplies. It even nears joke status. And the fact that they stayed with this business model for so long just served to give me even more reason to dislike them. But, as is the irony here, I am often cornered into shopping there due to the lack of brick-and-mortar competition in our area.

Moreover, as we discussed before on the price match thread, the “new” price matching policy is the most disingenuous thing any business can do. On one hand, they will give you a better price just for the asking, but on the other hand, they will continue to leave the item on the shelf at full retail (or more). Passing the buck to you... not them... as the mechanism to prevent you from getting ripped off. Just put the stuff on the shelf at competitive prices and be done with it!

We will see. I am certainly the first one to hope that I am wrong.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:32 AM   #6
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Interesting read. We've noticed changes both good and bad. The staff seems to have a much stronger presence (at least in our area). Sometimes acting like personal shoppers. 10 years ago, you'd find staff only at the registers and one or two stocking shelves if you were lucky. Now I get asked at least three times if I'm finding everything ok. (Maybe I'm starting to get that 'confused guy' look as I get older).

What we haven't appreciated is the move from boat parts to merchandise. Half the store is clothing now. While the selection of items dwindles. You have to ask yourself why the shoe section is larger than the plumbing or electrical sections.

Years ago when I used to climb and backpack, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) was a climbing and hiking store. It too moved over to clothing. Now EMS is closing more stores than opening them. I hope WM is waking up.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:32 AM   #7
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I have said for years.......

We will see. I am certainly the first one to hope that I am wrong.
You have said for years.....this is a new thing. Give them a chance. They will likely get pricing more in line. Our WM in our area, one of the biggest ones in the country, actually has very knowledgeable people working there so it is not just a bunch of retail pushers. Most are experienced boater that I know outside of their retail job. SO there is a local feel. It will be good to see them the tighten the focus on boating related things instead of that lifestyle crap.

I grew up in surf shops and it was the same struggle. Do you stick to the hard core surfing gear or do you go to the high yield "lifestyle" things like shirts and shoes and flip flops. I watched many surf shops die a slow death that way.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:36 AM   #8
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..... Just put the stuff on the shelf at competitive prices and be done with it!.......
But how would they know what a competitive price is ?? They set their price to meet their overhead and required profit. If a customer finds a better price...they'll use that. It would take an army of people to stay on top of what every seller charges for every product....and that would add a tremendous expense. Plus....if they sold every item at an internet price, they would go out of business, due to the higher overhead of a brick and mortar operation.

Everyone seems to agree that its great to have a WM when you need something today...but no one wants to pay for that service and convenience.
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Old 05-31-2018, 02:19 PM   #9
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While I can appreciate a clothing selection, Allowing clothing to take over close to half the store may not be wise. BUT, I guess there are only so many different boat parts in the world. Let's be honest, WM offers a WIDE selection of 'supporting' parts. If you want a new engine, new masts, new sails, you gotta go some to a place that specializes in those things.
IMO WM is a pretty good store to visit and buy those miscellaneous parts. WM is always happy to ship parts in from other stores or their warehouse.
The world would be sad place without WM.
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Old 05-31-2018, 02:37 PM   #10
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I've seen very few as detailed and transparent business statements post-acquisition as that one. Many acquire companies and think somehow all they need is a little tweak. They recognized some fundamental things wrong with how they were running the company. Pricing will continue to be an issue but allowing more decisions at the store or regional level will be a big help. They recognized the need for more inventory and for more staffing of the stores.

One of the hardest things in an acquisition is those who don't want to change. People don't understand that the reason they were sold is that they were a broken company. I'm sure their corporate office is filled with anxiety. However, his point about sacrificing some jobs there to try to save jobs throughout the company was very valid. I'm glad to see someone interested in the hundreds working in the stores vs the few in the corporate office.

One of the few times I've seen private equity/venture capital companies be honest with their plan. It is scary knowing your employer is going to be resold and just wondering when and to whom. However, having owners who want to improve the company to be able to sell it for more than they paid is good. I always worked for a buy and hold type company so operating a business like that is a bit foreign to me. In big business, it's often very negative and selling off pieces and stripping it down and other things. However, in smaller businesses (and West Marine is smaller compared to some of the huge acquisitions) it often saves the company. I think Platinum did a good job with their marine group. All survived and well. I look at Versa's acquisition of Hatteras. Hatteras has prospered under them and a far healthier company than what Brunswick sold them. Unfortunately Cabo was killed.

I'm hopeful for West Marine. No guarantees but I strongly believe it's possible to have a successful West Marine in the Amazon World. I've never been a Walmart fan but see some of their moves and they're thriving as a result.

Maybe Monomoy should buy Sears and JC Penney. Clearly they don't know how to build anything, just survive another day.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:44 PM   #11
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But how would they know what a competitive price is ?? They set their price to meet their overhead and required profit. If a customer finds a better price...they'll use that. It would take an army of people to stay on top of what every seller charges for every product....and that would add a tremendous expense. Plus....if they sold every item at an internet price, they would go out of business, due to the higher overhead of a brick and mortar operation.

Everyone seems to agree that its great to have a WM when you need something today...but no one wants to pay for that service and convenience.

I don't at all believe they price items to cover their overhead. Not even a little. They price at MSRP and sometimes more. As a retailer, the wholesale cost to competitors is pretty much known. Yes, there some discounts to some retailers based on quantity ordered or terms to retailers, but generally speaking, West Marine probably pays the same wholesale price as Defender or Fisheries Supply from distributors. From there, it is a simple computation to figure out what percentage you need to survive.

We can all agree that WM is probably more expensive of a business to run than, say, Defender, but I contend that most people would be willing to pay SLIGHTLY higher prices to WM knowing that and for local convenience. What I don't like is that they put everything out a full price and don't even TRY to be competitive. Then, push the responsibility onto us to force them into a discount.

My hope is that, based on the article, West Marine may be moving away from that model.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:35 PM   #12
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But how would they know what a competitive price is ??
The same way other retailers of product do - research

Not hard to get on a website, look at competitors catalogues and sales and walk through their store.
Big stores over here can " mostly" manage to do it
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:40 PM   #13
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Any business model that uses the word "transparency" does not rank high on my list.
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:45 PM   #14
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I thought this was a good read into what is going on over at West Marine....


https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/post-...at-west-marine

I've shopped at West Marine more in the last month than I have in the last three years. They are price matching online sites that I normally buy from like Wholesale Marine. All you have to do is show them the product on your phone and they change the price, no questions asked. It's been GREAT getting supplies locally at great prices.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:07 PM   #15
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I have never had an issues with WM. Many of the people in our local store have been there for years and are helpful. Hopefully there is a place for brick and on line retailers in the future.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:14 PM   #16
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I have never had an issues with WM. Many of the people in our local store have been there for years and are helpful. Hopefully there is a place for brick and on line retailers in the future.
I agree.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:45 PM   #17
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I have said for years, on every customer satisfaction survey I have gotten from them, that in today’s market and with today’s online competition, WM is completely missing the boat and are more of the last resort for shoppers of marine supplies. It even nears joke status. And the fact that they stayed with this business model for so long just served to give me even more reason to dislike them. But, as is the irony here, I am often cornered into shopping there due to the lack of brick-and-mortar competition in our area.

You don’t like their pricing but say that you are “cornered” into buying from them due to lack of competition. West Marine doesn’t owe me anything. They can price as they like and stock as they like. I can then choose to either shop there or not. I don’t “dislike” the company and certainly don’t feel wronged by them pricing things relatively high. I am happy to pay for the privilege of being able to walk into my local WM and walk out the item that I need right now.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:23 PM   #18
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The WM store I frequent most has just remodeled. They have reduced the "boat parts" section by quite a bit and expanded the other stuff like diving equipment, SUPs, clothing, fishing gear, etc. The clothing and shoe dept. takes up about 1/4 of the store.

All the "other" stuff is the majority of the store now.

As previously pointed out, there is only so much "boat stuff" on the market. In the area of the WM store I frequent most, there are 3 marine supply stores almost within sight of each other that sell pretty much identical items. The distinguishing feature of WM is that they sell all the other stuff (clothes, fishing gear, SUPs). If I want Seadog parts, West products, or Garmin electronics, I've got 3 stores selling identical stuff. The only difference is the price (and that difference is getting smaller).

In some cases, WM was like McDonalds (or Best Buy). No matter what store you went into, you found exactly the same stuff (granted some WM stores are bigger than others). This has some advantages in that no matter what store you went to you found the same stuff, but it limited what each store could do to tailor itself to the local market needs. Not everybody wants Filet o'Fish.

Perhaps WM has seen the light.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:28 PM   #19
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I've been a port supply customer (now West Marine Pro) for many years. Maybe because of that, I've never had the issues with West that many others seem to have. The service in all 3 of the stores I typically frequent is mostly good, I would say that the on the floor staff (maybe not the teen girls who run the register) are very knowledgeable. Much more knowledgeable than the typical customer who comes in.

Heck, I wish West would start stocking Yanmar parts. Talk about a racket. I know yanmar isn't the only engine manufacturer to do it, but the way they restrict parts sales by geographic area does not serve the consumer's interest. Far worse than anything West Marine has ever done in my opinion.
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Old 06-01-2018, 05:22 AM   #20
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"More responsibility (and accountability) at the store level is probably a very good thing for customers."

Depends on the knowledge level / experience of the staff,

"I would say that the on the floor staff (maybe not the teen girls who run the register) are very knowledgeable.

Much more knowledgeable than the typical customer who comes in."

This is what Home Depot attempted with plumbers in the plumbing area and electricians in electrical ,

I hope WM can find enough help that actually worked on boats of the size / style we prefer .

A 20 ft fish boat and a 40ft cruiser don't have much in common.
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