Home sweet Depot: So, yesterday Cramer attempts to
nail me (couldn't resist!) on
for wondering whether Home Depot is cannibalizing itself by opening stores so close to each other.
"Herb," he writes, "Home Depot puts up stores all over the place because Home Depot customers' biggest complaint is having to wait in long lines." Great point. It just becomes less great if all of those new stores don't generate enough new traffic to compensate for the way they surely eat into sales at existing stores with any frequency, especially when they open a new box
big every 40 minutes!
After peaking at 11% in the quarter that ended last August, same-store sales growth has slipped every quarter since to 10%, 9% and 7%. (And this hurts me to say because I
Home Depot ... as a place to shop! Can't help but love
retailer that can offer something that resembles customer service in my neckadawoods.)
Heard back from the Big Board yesterday after the Hotline
questioned whether it was a conflict of interest for
New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso
to sit on the board of
, which he has done since 1994. A spokesman says, at the time, the NYSE made sure certain firewalls were in place that barred him from getting involved in
discussion involving CA. "It was addressed to the board's satisfaction," the spokesman says.
That still doesn't make it right!
Toys for tots:
gets a new CEO from
. ... Actually, that ain't bad. The problem at Mattel wasn't Mattel, it was management (and that stupid acquisition of
The Learning Company
). Now The Learning Company is on the block, the bad management is gone and Mattel remains a great brand. And the Food Guy has credibility and apparently a not-so-bad track record. ... Speaking of food: Another example of the wilting wisdom of roll-ups is
( OATS), that health-food chain created by the takeovers of lots of mom-and-pop stores, which preannounced yet
last night by guiding analysts to lower their growth estimates. Nothing like a blowup that comes two weeks after an earlier blowup, at which time the company didn't say
about slowing growth for the rest of the year. (Now that's how to build credibility!)
Reader revolt: The
actually broke from spinning around so much from hostilities hoisted by the
Cyber-nuts. Hasn't spun this much since I first mentioned
(and the Iridiots) or, better yet,
( CORL) and the Corelians (in a not-so-flattering light). Seen Corel lately? Seems its deal with
went kaput because Inprise found too many squirrels in the rafters.
And don't go assailing me for calling them "nuts." Trust me ... they really
nuts based on the steady barrage of notes that usually start with the usual allegation that I'm short the stock, even though I can't short or go long individual stocks, per
( TSCM) ethics policy. Then they usually go on to say something like this (without the censorship), "
Bleep You, you
bleep. And while you're at it, seen da price of yur own
bleep stock lately, you idiot?" Now
But as brilliant as yours truly isn't: In this
morning's col on
, as an aside, I mentioned
and his use of the term "knot minus knot equals knot." It was, as plenty of readers have let me know, Jethro
. (Sor-ry! Haven't seen the show in at least 35 years!!) As for the knots: I always thought it was "knot" as in a knot of wood ... a knot that is
, like a zero! Perfect for a guy like Jethro when he did his "cypherin." The guy, after all, was a
That prompted an avalanche of "it's naught you fool" emails. "Zero is naught, alternatively nought," writes John Kindrick from Tennessee. (He should know!) "A knot is what Granny gave Jethro on his head for misspelling words." Of course (according to a Beverly Hillbillies
Web site dredged up by my editor) he also wanted to grow up to be a double knot as in
. Either way: Naught. Knot. Double knot. (And how do we know it wasn't aught?) That's it for another edition of ... The Hotline.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.