Sunday, December 26, 1999

Federated in spot to buy Nordstrom


        Cincinnati's not the only potential local suitor for Nordstrom. According to one retail analyst, Federated Department Stores could be as well — and not just for one store.

        Analyst Jeffrey Edelman surmised last week for Bloomberg Business News that with retail stocks way undervalued, several desirable chains are in a highly attractive position for takeover. They include Dillard's Inc., J.C. Penney, Saks Inc. and Nordstrom.

        Potential acquirers are limited to Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores. They are the only chains that have the financial wherewithal to make such purchases, he suggests. And why would they? Because the fastest, most effective way to grow in the industry is through acquisition.

        It's a huge if, but consider if any of the scenarios did play out. If Federated owned Dillard's, it would own most of the anchors in most of the area malls — government regulators would not likely allow it. Saks would not present as much of a problem, with just the downtown store and Parisian in Kenwood.

        And if Federated owned Nordstrom, would local developers have as hard a time trying to attract it to Cincinnati? — Lisa Biank Fasig

A trademark year
        Millennium, schlennium.

        Sick of all the “official millennium” propaganda? Apparently, there's good reason for that.

        Thousands of millennium-related trademarks have been applied for, says MicroPatent, a provider of patent and trademark information on the Internet. And their numbers are growing.

        There were only about 250 Y2K-ish trademark filings in 1990, but 1,100 in the first eight months of this year. Y2K-related ideas have appeared in more than 5,000 applications.

        Besides being the “official whatever” of the millennium, trademarked slogans include Y2KAOS, Y2K HAPPENS, Y2KOK and Y2K COMPLACENT.

        Just in case you weren't sure what year it was. — Amy Higgins

Just browsing, thanks
        The Internet's racial chasm is significant and means minorities are less likely to reach for their pocketbooks while surfing the Web, according to Cyber Dialogue, a New York City research group.

        The company this month found that while 37 percent of the adult white population is online, only 31 percent of the adult ethnic minority population is online. Based on interviews with 1,000 Internet users and 1,000 Internet nonusers, the report also determined that African-Americans online are younger, wealthier and more educated than counterparts still offline.

        So doesn't that mean the online minority population is ready to buy-buy-buy over the Internet? Not exactly.

        “The (online minority) group expressed a higher degree of concern for security and privacy than the total online population,” said Idil Cakim, a Cyber Dialogue analyst. “African- Americans making transactions online is behind the total online population.” — John Eckberg

Millstone for a million
        Picture this:

        You're a contestant on a TV quiz show, and the host asks you to answer this question for $1 million: “What brand did Consumer Reports magazine recently rank as the best-tasting dark-roast coffee in head-to-head competition — Starbucks or Procter & Gamble's Millstone?”

        The host also offers this hint: The brew was founded in Seattle.

        Most veterans of the trendy coffee bar scene would probably leap from their seats to spew out the answer as dollar signs began to flash before their eyes. Starbucks, right?


        The magazine's January issue rated Millstone the best-tasting dark roast in taste tests against Starbucks, with a “panel of experts” saying “Millstone's flavors were better balanced.”

        But what about the Seattle connection?

        Millstone was founded in Seattle in 1981 and acquired by the Cincinnati packaged-goods giant in 1995. — Randy Tucker

        Items for Tipsheet are gathered by Enquirer business reporters and compiled by Lisa Biank Fasig of the business staff.


'99 Business: Consumers hang on as economy and technology take rocket ride
Y2K Programmer says he warned us
P&G, Jergens ride wave of growth
- Federated in spot to buy Nordstrom
Drug maker moving to Florence
Bank One looks for steady footing after shaky year