Chick-fil-A outsells KFC and proves that there is no such thing as Monopolies in Free Markets

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2014

Week in Review

A lot of people fear big corporations.  And fight hard against them.  Especially the big ones that provide a wide variety of goods and/or services at lower prices than the competition.  The kind that put Mom and Pop stores out of business.  Opponents of these big corporations say those low prices are only a dirty trick to put the competition out of business.  To make themselves a monopoly.  And once they get rid of all competition with their unfair low prices there will be nothing to stop them from raising their prices.  Higher than even the Mom and Pop stores they put out of business.  Of course, if that were true then you wouldn’t read stories like this (see Chick-fil-A Stole KFC’s Chicken Crown With a Fraction of the Stores by Venessa Wong posted 3/28/2014 on BloombergBusinessweek).

The days when fried chicken was synonymous with a certain white-haired southern gentleman are over, at least in the U.S. A new champion has claimed KFC’s long-held chicken crown: Chick-fil-A…

Anyone in the northern half of the U.S. is likely scratching her head and wondering why she hasn’t seen Chick-fil-A outlets opening in the neighborhood. Last year Chick-fil-A only had about 1,775 U.S. stores to KFC’s 4,491, and most are in the South. Yet in dollar terms the Colonel is coming up short even with that much larger footprint: Chick-fil-A’s 2013 sales passed $5 billion, while all of KFC’s U.S. restaurants rang up about $4.22 billion, according to Technomic. And that’s with zero dollars coming in to Chick-fil-A on Sundays, when every restaurant is closed.

Chick-fil-A has fewer outlets than KFC.  Yet they have a greater sales volume.  Why?  Because they sell at higher prices than KFC.  According to those who fear big corporations this is not supposed to happen.  KFC should be able to sell at lower prices than the smaller Chick-fil-A.  So low that Chick-fil-A should go bankrupt trying to match the unfair lower prices of KFC.  But that isn’t happening.  Because there is no way any corporation can monopolize any industry without the government first creating a monopoly for them.  As Chick-fil-A has proven.  They thought they could offer food people would prefer over KFC.  And did.  Despite KFC dominating the industry.  And the people liked the food so much that they were willing to pay more to eat Chick-fil-A over the less expensive KFC.

The only way you can shut someone out of an industry is by raising the barriers to enter that industry.  Such as with costly licensing, permitting, fees, restrictive regulatory policies, etc.  Things only the government can force on the competition wishing to enter a market.  Thus limiting competition in that market to protect their crony friends.  But if there is no government protection of established businesses that are monopolies or quasi monopolies anyone can enter the market and compete against them.  As Chick-fil-A proves.

People shouldn’t fear big corporations.  They should fear government.  The only entity that can create and enforce a monopoly.  For it is only with the government’s help that a monopoly can gouge customers with their high prices.  Because in a free market with low barriers to enter it will be impossible to gouge customers as the competition will keep all pricing competitive.  Because if some try to gouge their customers those customers will just go to the lower-priced competition.


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The Left hates Wal-Mart but they’re OK with destroying Jobs and Industries to enjoy the things they Like

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

The left wants to raise the minimum wage.  They want to make companies pay salaried people overtime.  And they want to block Wal-Mart from entering their communities.  Because their many jobs destroy a few jobs.  And their lower prices and wider selection of goods makes it difficult for Mom and Pop stores to sell a more limited selection of goods at higher prices.

Yes, they care about the little guy.  And want the little guy to pay more for less at the local Mom and Pop stores the much richer more elite left can more easily afford.  Which they like to frequent because those higher prices, of course, keep out the riffraff.  For when it comes down to it the left likes to enjoy the things they like no matter how many jobs they destroy.  Such as in the music industry.  That went from the phonograph to the gramophone to vinyl to 8-track to compact cassette to CD to MP3 to subscription to download to streaming (see The times they are a-changin’ for the music business posted 3/21/2014 on The Economist).  And every step along the way entire industries were destroyed along with the jobs in that industry.

But this is okay.  This is creative destruction.  Where something new and better replaces something older and not as good.  A march of technology that makes our lives better.  As in the music industry.  As well as how cell phones destroyed the paid public phone industry.  How email and texting is destroying the United States Postal Service.  How digital cameras destroyed the film development industry.  How wireless internet and tablet computers have destroyed the news paper industry.  How smartphones destroyed the telephone book industry.  Etc.

Things are better with these new technologies.  And liberals love to use all of this technology as they sit sipping their espresso in their quaint coffee shops.  Having no problem with all the creative destruction that allows them to do so.  But let a Wal-Mart open up somewhere where people can hardly scrape by in life and they have a problem with that.  Because they don’t want a Wal-Mart in their neighborhood.  They want to keep it chic and unique and a little pricy.  So the elitists can enjoy their time without having to be around people they deem less desirable.  Like the shoppers at Wal-Mart.


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The Creative Destruction of the Internet may put Best Buy Stores out of Business

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 11th, 2012

Week in Review

Best Buy and Circuit City were once fierce competitors in retail electronics.  Big box stores that carried an amazing range of consumer goods from televisions to car stereos to cameras to computers to refrigerators.  Their marketing plan?  Trade volume for margin.  They sold at low prices with low profit margins that mom and pop stores could not match and remain profitable.  But because of their high volume Best Buy and Circuit City could make a profit with those small margins.  Which they padded with those extended warranties.  It was a successful business model.  For awhile.  Circuit City is no longer with us.  And now Best Buy is struggling (see Best Buy founder proposes taking retailer private by Dhanya Skariachan and Nadia Damouni posted 8/6/2012 on Reuters).

Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) founder Richard Schulze on Monday made a bid to take the struggling U.S. electronics retailer private just months after being forced out as chairman.

If Schulze succeeds, it could result in the world’s biggest leveraged buyout of the year. But early reaction suggests he faces an uphill battle in taking his once wildly successful company in a new direction…

Best Buy has been closing stores, cutting jobs and trying out a new store format to improve business. It has faced criticism for being too slow to react to a changing retail world, where many use Best Buy as a “showroom” to try out gadgets and then buy them online or elsewhere for less.

It takes money to maintain inventory.  And every Best Buy store has inventory.  It’s a huge cost.  But it also gives them purchasing power.  This is why the mom and pop stores went bye-bye.  With their low sales volume they had small purchasing power.  So the little they bought came at higher unit costs than Best Buy’s.  Which meant they had to charge higher prices to cover those costs.  And now it’s happening again.  Only it’s online sales that are squeezing the profits out of Best Buy.  From suppliers that have no retail stores.  And a more consolidated inventory.  With no sales force or cashiers to pay.  They have high sales volume and low operating costs.  So now Best Buy is getting a taste of what it was like for the mom and pop stores.

We call this creative destruction.  And it’s a good thing in capitalism.  Everyone agrees.  Having a cell phone is better than having a pager that displays a phone number to call.  Then finding a public telephone to make that call from.  Cell phones have hurt the pager industry.  Just as digital cameras have hurt the instant camera industry.  Just like the MP3 player has hurt the compact disc industry.  Which hurt the cassette tape business.  Which hurt the 8-track tape business.  And now the Internet is hurting the big box retail industry.  We call this progress.  And it’s what the people want.  Because it’s the people driving this change.  They’re the ones buying the cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, compact discs and cassette tapes.  And it’s the people who are now shopping online.

New technology is always replacing old technology.  When it does it destroys a lot of jobs.  But it also creates a lot of new jobs.  Yes, it’s sad to see some of our favorite businesses go out of business.  But they only go out of business because there is something better out there attracting our business away from those old businesses.  And the day we stop wanting this is the day we give up our smartphones.  Or whatever will have replaced our smartphones in the future.


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