Randall Rothenberg's recent column "Fear, mania, winners, losers: It's my year 2000 forecasts (Viewpoint, AA, Jan. 3) was absolutely super.
Most of the things he said have already happened via AOL/Time Warner, which has set other dynamics in motion. I just wanted to tell you how much we think of the magazine and Mr. Rothenberg's writing in particular.
Thomas J. Dorsey
Dorsey, Wright & Associates
Wal-Mart and A&P
The editorial "Watch out, Wal-Mart" (Viewpoint, AA, Dec. 6), about Wal-Mart Stores and its plans to increase the presence of Sam's and other in-house brands, made reference to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P). While the reference was correct, did anyone check the tremendous case study book on A&P written in the late 1940s? . . .
A&P did achieve competitive economies of scale in its in-house manufacturing of such store brands as Jane Parker, Ann Page, Eight O'Clock (still popular today and distributed nationwide by the A&P subsidiary Compass Foods), Bokar, Red Circle, Penquin, Sunnybrook, Sail, White House, Wildmere, Crestview, Super Right, Capt'n John, Yukon Club . . . and on and on. And, true, by the mid-'60s the chain was scrambling because it could no longer compete price-wise with national brands even with its heavy emphasis on house brands . . .
True, Wal-Mart may wield the same market force A&P did before WW II [and] Wal-Mart needs to be reminded of the consequences [that A&P encountered], but I think the circumstances are different.
Wal-Mart is both the No. 1 seller of groceries as well as the No. 1 retailer. It is the mass merchandiser of choice right now. Its downfall may be when customers can no longer conveniently reach their distant outlying stores when another gasoline shortage occurs. That will be the true test of its vulnerability.
Silver Spring, Md.
I imagine many readers were concerned that Ad Age, in its Jan. 10 "Let's Compare" editorial, attributed the political anti-advertising statement to Bill Bradley, when it was Al Gore who made the suggestion that they both abandon campaign ads in favor of debates.
Cadillac's Peter Levin
It was with a great deal of sadness that I read of the passing of Peter Levin [director of strategic planning for General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac division] (AA, Jan. 3).
In my dealings with Peter over the years, two things were clearly evident. First, Peter was a true gentleman whose word was his bond, whether dealing with a rather inconsequential matter or negotiating a multimillion dollar deal. Second, people like Peter Levin are far too uncommon in this business.
He shall be missed.