Conor Sen on the future of physical retail and e-commerce

…the future of the relative cost advantage between e-commerce and physical retail is looking less clear. For much of physical retail, there’s the prospect of falling rents, making running a brick-and-mortar store more viable. For e-commerce, it’s a surge in ad rates, or customer acquisition costs, plus shipping bottlenecks that will make “free shipping” more onerous to offer. And profit margins on an e-commerce sale were lower than the profit margin on an equivalent brick and mortar sale to begin with. All of this is happening when e-commerce is only around 10 percent of total retail sales. Presumably, these challenges will be even greater as that share grows.

In his view, we should look for a renewed focus on bricks and mortar.  Here is the full column.

Comments

Well, relative to current prices that might be true but in absolute terms running an online store is incredibly cheaper. There's really no comparison. Not to mention that physical stores now have to invest in tech as well, and the top notch ones are trying to implement omni channel strategies (which are not cheap!). Physical stores have certain advantages (and it is not like they are going really away) but based on what I see the percentage of sales going online is still going to go up for quite a while.

As if physical stores didn't have shipping costs.

:/

$2/mile for a full 53' trailer is much cheaper (5-10x) per pound than even heavily discounted UPS ground rates

But the final mile(s) 'shipping' from the store to the customer's home isn't free either -- in fact, it's a lot more expensive than UPS once you figure the per-mile cost of driving to the store and, especially, the value of the customer's time. One of the major advantages of online shopping for me is the product shows up right on my porch.

Good, and often missed, point. Add that further saturation will only make UPS cheaper yet.

Where I live, a lot of Amazon orders are delivered directly by company employees/contractors that drive Amazon vans. I wonder how much cheaper that option is for them than going through the other mail companies.

Quite right and so it depends on the product. I'm going to try shoes on before purchase and I'm picking out my own avocados at the supermarket; on the other hand, toilet paper can ride the Brown truck.

There is yet another cost of e-commerce with respect to returns (I don't want to spend weeks mailing 4 rain jackets back before finding one that fits properly).

On your porch? Our supermarket drivers bring it into the house and plonk it on our kitchen table.

Why hasn't Tyler Cowen tweeted or blogged his support for Robin Hanson while Hanson is being faced with a barrage of slanderous attacks on his character? Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan have done so. Why hasn't Cowen? You'd expect a colleague who has known Hanson for years would do so. Is Cowen too much of a coward to do so? Or is it because Cowen believes Hanson deserves the criticism and slanderous attacks?

Why give the whack jobs a bigger stage?

I had no idea that this was going on.

Cowen should stand up for robin, but Cowen has his eye clearly on some position in a future democratic administration, or at least he has thrown his towel in on their side

It's tribal, Tyler knows this, and he has picked his team.

Some comments here are truly hilarious. Not because Prof. Cowen would not accept any position he would consider 'higher status,' but the idea that anyone connected with the Democrats would offer him any position, ever.

DeLong could not pander well enough over 8 years to those who actually consider DeLong to be on the same team, to provide something of an example.

'It's tribal, Tyler knows this, and he has picked his team.'

Yes he did, years ago, and that team has been writing checks ever since. Now, if Donor's Trust (https://www.donorstrust.org/ - "safeguarding the intent of libertarian and conservative donors") decides to support a Democrat, perhaps that Democrat just might find Prof. Cowen the sort of quid pro quo that one makes in politics.

And who would have guessed that reading about Hanson would lead to this - 'The president of George Mason University said Friday that some financial gift agreements accepted by the school “fall short of the standards of academic independence” and raise questions about donor influence at the public institution.

The disclosure by George Mason President Ángel Cabrera came as a student organization sued seeking greater transparency regarding the school’s ties to private donors, including the prominent and controversial financial backer Charles Koch.

In an email sent to faculty, students and staff Friday night, Cabrera said some gift agreements accepted by the public institution in Northern Virginia “raise questions concerning donor influence in academic matters.”' https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/george-mason-president-some-donations-fall-short-of-academic-standards/2018/04/28/bb927576-4af0-11e8-8b5a-3b1697adcc2a_story.html?utm_term=.74b1626f206e&noredirect=on

And as for how quid pro quo works, GMU econ dept style - 'John Hardin, the Koch foundation’s director of university relations, wrote that the agreements have “evolved over time” and that the organization is committed to academic freedom.

“These old grant agreements at George Mason University did not allow us to cause the university to hire certain professors, nor did they allow us to make decisions regarding the curricula or research that professors pursued,” Hardin said in the letter. “These agreements did allow us to have a say in recommending candidates who were considered for the faculty positions we supported.”'

Links? Explanations? What are you talking about?

https://slate.com/business/2018/04/economist-robin-hanson-might-be-americas-creepiest-professor.html

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/meet-robin-hanson-opponent-of-sex-inequality

https://wonkette.com/633206/the-week-in-garbage-men-incels-sympathizers-make-case-for-redistribution-of-vaginas

Also see Twitter, where Hanson is facing an onslaught of slanderous attacks.

Having done a bit of reading, I can see why you did not actually bother to post what Hanson wrote - http://www.overcomingbias.com/2018/04/two-types-of-envy.html

But considering just how many women comment at MR, the idea that 50% of humanity will make their opinion known here about Hanson's writing is essentially nil.

Somehow, I doubt that Hanson (or Prof. Cowen) would support cash grants to change that imbalance.

So you agree with the slanderous attacks against Hanson?

Slanderous attacks? I read what Hanson wrote, then read your links, which themselves were full of links, including a number to Hanson's earlier writing. I recommend that strategy - reading source material - as being one of the best ways to identify slander (though many commenters here seem to think that reading even 5 or 6 sentences is too much of a burden).

Truth is an absolute defense for those accused of slander, and I found this ending to one of those articles quite apt - 'So is Robin Hanson America’s creepiest economist? I’m not saying he is. But it is certainly a striking question.' - as it quite well captures the sort of cleverness that Hanson likely thought he was engaging in.

Whether Hanson is creepy is a matter of personal opinion, of course, and not open to a charge of slander. I did not find it creepy personally, but then, it was also about par for the course when looking at the output of GMU econ dept faculty members - people being exposed to something from that group for the first time just might not have the tolerance of someone who has been reading (and hearing) this style of thinking for more than 3 decades.

However, I don't really bother with twitter at all, so for all I know, he is being slandered there. And if he is, to the extent it is lies, then I don't agree with lying, and that is properly called slander.

And to the extent it is a matter of opinion, well, so what? Everybody holds different opinions, a reality protected by the 1st Amendment in the U.S. Put out a piece concerning sexual redistribution after a mass murder caused by someone apparently motivated by the unfairness of sexual distribution as it currently exists, it is not a surprise that people will form opinions. The only question being how many people would possibly form a positive opinion, outside of the sorts of places where those so concerned about unfair sexual distribution celebrate thier fellows (and oddly, it always seems to be men) doing their best to change that unfairness.

Keep your thought exercise out of my vagina!

No, it just doesn't work. I can't pretend that was painful to read. It is certainly no less customary than it has ever been, to unify around a particular target of hate, and where that target is a mashup of the group that comes pre-stamped with feminists' and race-baiters' approval to hate, and a group that has been traditionally disdained - "nerds" - [before the culture pretended to love nerds for about five minutes] - it's kinda perfect, and given that the group is small, and not particularly known for achievements that we might wish to encourage, it probably causes the least amount of trouble we can hope for from hate.

But I readily admit my perception may be faulty, because I can see nothing to be gained from ever pretending that one group (i.e. the video game players) has a monopoly of hate over another (i.e. the wonkettes and Slatesters). Or men and women, or whites and blacks, or citizens and immigrants. Yet this is the foundational belief of the media, and of many people I know.

Does it really square with people's personal experience?

I thought Hanson's post actually was pretty creepy...

Really? In a modern industrialized society, to be financially poor is to be wealthy by global and historical standards. Given that, is it worse to live your life poor than to live it completely without sexual/romantic relationships? It seems pretty obvious to me that the latter is worse.

But the left, who worry a lot about income inequality, don't seem to worry about this at all. Worse than that, they tend to treat people (men at least) in this situation with dripping disdain -- as pathetic (probably misogynist) creepy losers with a sense of entitlement who deserve to be mocked.

Scott Alexander has written about this eloquently:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/08/31/radicalizing-the-romanceless/

So why, exactly, was Hanson's post creepy? Did you really think he was advocating violent attacks by the sexually frustrated? Or rape? Or that the government should provide sexual partners to 'Incels' by conscripting women as modern equivalents of 'comfort women'?

'than to live it completely without sexual/romantic relationships'

Well, Hanson thinks a sexbot is just the sort of answer that should satisfy those living in a modern industrialized society. Which certainly solves the problem, though possibly without actually learning to be able to relate enough to another human being to enjoy their companionship.

'don't seem to worry about this at all'

That a certain group of men are unable to actually to have sex? True, but it is not only the left that doesn't care. It is pretty much every woman, and most men, regardless of their politics. Most people seem to figure it out, and the amount of pity they have for those incessantly talking about alpha males is generally miniscule, when not actually full of condescension.

Ah, I see you realize that, though still thinking it is only the left - 'this situation with dripping disdain -- as pathetic (probably misogynist) creepy losers with a sense of entitlement.'

And as for that Scott Alexander piece? - 'The moral of the story is that if you are maximally mean to innocent people, then eventually bad things will happen to you.' Not having sex with someone is not being maximally mean, and never has been. Killing people because they won't have sex with you, however, is barbaric and contemptible. And thinking that mass murder is somehow justifiable for this reason is utterly disgusting.

"Not having sex with someone is not being maximally mean, and never has been."

Of course it isn't. What is 'maximally mean' is having contempt rather than empathy for lonely, loveless people. It is arguably worse than having contempt rather than empathy for the poor. (Or do you disagree? Would you rather be involuntarily lonely and loveless or involuntarily poor?)

"And thinking that mass murder is somehow justifiable for this reason is utterly disgusting."

And can you say that you A) Genuinely, honestly believe that Robin Hanson thinks that mass-murder by 'Incels' is justified? Or do you think B) this is a plausible-enough misinterpretation that it can be useful to destroy the reputation of someone who is not of your political tribe? Perhaps I'm being uncharitable to you, but I'm afraid it looks more like B to me.

' What is 'maximally mean' is having contempt rather than empathy for lonely, loveless people.'

Excellent point, which ties very well to this article - 'Since beginning research into the incel universe, I'd hoped to find the first online incel: Which corner of the manosphere had he hailed from? How had the concept spread? More than once I thought I'd found the source of it all, but the trail kept going cold—until, after four months of looking, I found her.

"I was trying to create a movement that was open to anybody and everybody," says Alana, now a 43-year-old management consultant and artist from Toronto. In 1993, she was finishing an undergraduate degree in statistics at Carleton University in Ottawa, and she'd never had sex or anything close to a boyfriend. Sometimes she blamed her appearance: short, slightly overweight, eczema splotches. Often she felt like she'd passed through adolescence without learning the unspoken rules of a complex game that everyone else understood intuitively.' https://www.elle.com/culture/news/a34512/woman-who-started-incel-movement/

Odd how women don't seem to be a part of today's incel definition, isn't it?

'Would you rather be involuntarily lonely and loveless or involuntarily poor?'

The key word would seem to be 'involuntarily.' And a certain belief that such an involuntary fate is unchangeable.

'A) Genuinely, honestly believe that Robin Hanson thinks that mass-murder by 'Incels' is justified?'

I wasn't talking about Hanson, I was talking about mass murderers.

'B) this is a plausible-enough misinterpretation that it can be useful to destroy the reputation of someone who is not of your political tribe?'

First, absolutely no one belongs to my political tribe, in part because I don't have one, and in part because my politics tend to be extremely wide ranging in a way that seems to encompass no single ideology at all.

'but I'm afraid it looks more like B to me'

Probably not, as my reference to mass murderers was in regards to the Alexander quote. The fact that someone is not having sex currently is not a reason to kill, regardless of how mean someone may view their situation.

This is not about right and left, even if so many believers in the alpha male idiocy (humans are not pack animals is just the starting point) seem to think that a right/left perspective is appropriate.

"Odd how women don't seem to be a part of today's incel definition, isn't it?"

Well, they seem to be left out of the controversy, anyway. They already tend to get empathy rather than abuse. As Scott Alexander points out, nobody in 'polite society' thinks an article that argues 'Why Fat Girls Don't Deserve to Be Loved' is OK. But a lot of people seem unashamed to heap scorn on 'creepy', 'entitled', 'nice guy' losers. As he points out with a number of quotes.

"The key word would seem to be 'involuntarily.' And a certain belief that such an involuntary fate is unchangeable."

Would you use scare quotes around 'involuntary' if you were talking about poverty rather than loneliness?

"I wasn't talking about Hanson, I was talking about mass murderers."

Hmmm. So in a thread about Robin Hanson you were merely making the brave, controversial argument that people (not Robin Hanson!) who think mass murder is justified are bad? Well, OK. I guess not many people are going to argue with that, and I certainly won't either.

'Well, they seem to be left out of the controversy, anyway.'

Along with not being notable for killing others because they feel entitled to sex.

''Why Fat Girls Don't Deserve to Be Loved' is OK'

Strangely, though, there is a group who feels that sort of thing is a completely acceptable framing in their discussions. Even more strangely, that is the same group that thinks fat girls are generally unacceptable for someone to accept to satisfy their need for sex.

'to heap scorn on 'creepy', 'entitled', 'nice guy' losers'

Yes, people are mean. See the point about fat girls. Yet strangely, it does not seem to drive them to become mass murderers.

'scare quotes'

Those weren't scare quotes, but sure, if you prefer them gone, no problem. The point was about involuntary in both cases, not just one. Basically anything that is unpleasant is made much worse when it is involuntary.

'you were merely making the brave, controversial argument'

For the second time, the point about mass murderers being somehow understandable because meanies were mean to them is in response to the Alexander quote from your link, and has nothing to do with Hanson. You brought up the link, not me - I just read it, and that really stood out.

"Strangely, though, there is a group who feels that sort of thing is a completely acceptable framing in their discussions. "

There is. But it is a non-respectable fringe group. Whereas general pointing and laughing at 'pathetic, creepy internet nerds who can't get laid' is pretty mainstream (as, again, Alexander showed in all of the quotes in his post).

"Yes, people are mean. See the point about fat girls. Yet strangely, it does not seem to drive them to become mass murderers."

We're up to -- what -- two mass-murdering incels now (the guy in California now and the one in Toronto)? That makes roughly 99.99...9% of male incels non-violent, right? How much sympathy should those 99.99... percent forfeit because of the two nutcases?

Hanson's comparative advantage is in following a logical chain of thought past the point where others would have fled due to creepiness. It good that someone like this exists. It's also good that there are not too many people like this.

'Hanson is being faced with a barrage of slanderous attacks on his character'

Thanks for letting me know about something I had not known about it, and will now become more informed about. Sounds like the best way to defend someone is to let the facts speak for themselves, and this looks like another chance to put that perspective to use.

Another take would be those same factors on online side make Amazon (and maybe Walmart?) dominance all the more assured.

As ad rates increase, being the default online-everything-store becomes ever more valuable--if people just assume Amazon stock widget x and go directly to the site, Amazon isn't paying any CAC on that particular transaction.

If shipping bottlenecks start increasing costs, then the relative advantage of companies with the best logistics and/or their own logistics infrastructure becomes ever greater--Amazon wins here again.

If that were true then Amazon would focus on high margin/low shipping cost products and print money. But it doesn't. Instead it charges customers a membership fee and ships low margin/high shipping cost products and loses money. That is a strategy completely at odds with your explanation. My guess is that Amazon faces brutal price competition in most product categories outside books and in order to keep customers it has to offer Prime, which is a much riskier strategy.

Pneumatic tubes. Deliver a capsule the size of a shopping bag, swoosh, store to kitchen.

I think by ad spend they are referring to on-platform ad spend by vendors and 3rd party sellers. There are so many sellers and products, that you must spend a lot on advertising to get the top position. That's great for Amazon, but prices also go up to cover the PPC

I don't see where the bottleneck in shipping is. There are lots of economies of scale in logistics.

I had the same thought. What are these bottlenecks he speaks of?

Over time, retail properties will simply change to residential / commercial properties, rather than necessarily attracting retailers again.

They'll turn into charter schools, fitness centers and dance studios, as they are doing now.

At current growth rates e-commerce will be 10 percent of retail sales in 2018, and 15 percent by the middle of next decade.

That means that in the year 2144 all retail transactions will be made through e-commerce.

There is very animated discussion on this topic on investor sites, with respect to malls and strip shopping center. And the industrial properties that support distribution.

One interesting claim is that e-commerce requires 3x the distribution warehouse sq feet as traditional retail.

Industrial property is pretty hot these days, retail not so much. The retail guys make a point of trying to show how internet resistant their properties are.

"One interesting claim is that e-commerce requires 3x the distribution warehouse sq feet as traditional retail."

That claim is not just "interesting" to me...it's incomprehensible. I go to a brick-and-mortar store and I see:

1) Wide aisles,
2) Merchandise at heights that can be reached by customers,
3) Display items galore (couches, office chairs, TVs, bicycles, etc.)
4) Many, many checkout lanes...and typically less than 1/3 of them are *open*,
4) Grocery frozen food displays that are lighted and with doors that open outward.

Etc. Etc.

It seems to me that a warehouse that has merchandise stacked floor-to-ceiling in shelves accessed by robots that bring the merchandise to the front of the store for loading into trucks could *easily* fit 5x as much merchandise per unit of store area...and that doesn't include the parking lot, which typically has an even bigger area than the store.

I can't even imagine how that claim is true.

Fulfillment operations take up more warehouse space than pallets. Prologis, the largest industrial REIT, did the analysis. Here's their CEO in the WSJ:

"Products sold online can take up about three times as much space as products waiting to be shipped to and sold in stores, Mr. Moghadam said, mainly because online orders require individual packaging and shipping boxes, rather than being stored in pallets or large batches. "

https://www.wsj.com/articles/prologis-says-e-commerce-drives-surge-in-warehouse-demand-1453843264

Its also changed optimum warehouse configuration:

"Much of that increase is due to a proliferation of megawarehouses of 1 million sq. ft. (93,000 sq. m.) or more. These “big bombers” often are constructed past the edge of major metropolitan areas, putting them within a one-day drive of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in multiple markets. Hotbeds for construction of these megawarehouses include eastern Pennsylvania, California’s Inland Empire and the Dallas-Fort Worth market in Texas.

U.S. warehouses have gotten taller, too. Newly constructed warehouses now have clear heights of 32.3 feet on average, up from 28.6 feet in the early 2000s. What’s more, the bigger the building’s footprint, the higher its ceiling is likely to be. To wit, CBRE analysis found that, of the 50 largest warehouse leases signed in the U.S. last year, the average clear height was 35.4 feet.

Why the soaring ceilings? The added cubic footage allows users to install mezzanine levels to hold additional racks of merchandise."

http://www.propertychronicle.com/positive-impact-e-commerce-warehouses/

I believe the claim was more along the lines that a retail store also has a warehouse operation behind it, and considering the amount of space used for the retail operation stores plus its warehouse space, the claim is not all that straightforward.

Admittedly, that is how I read it, but it may not be what the commenter was trying to say. Basically, making a comparison of space where merchandise is stored would mean that the retail space plus its associated warehouse space total would need to be compared to the total space used by the online retailer.

"I believe the claim was more along the lines that a retail store also has a warehouse operation behind it, and considering the amount of space used for the retail operation stores plus its warehouse space, the claim is not all that straightforward.

Admittedly, that is how I read it, but it may not be what the commenter was trying to say."

Yes, I was trying to make an "apples-to-apples" comparison. I'm particularly making the point that consumer retail use of space is obviously not space-efficient. What portion of even a big-box retailer like a Walmart is stacked floor-to-ceiling with goods? Obviously, virtually none of it. And typically aisles are wide enough to fit at least two shopping carts, plus an additional bit of space.

http://www.deadanddyingretail.com/2014/10/the-story-of-wal-mart-inside-kmart-in.html

Finally, as I wrote previously--and which bugs me tremendously, as an engineer--there are the many checkout lanes...most of which aren't even staffed! (So there needs to be space for the lines in front of the checkout counter.)

Once computer-driven delivery vehicles are fully developed, e-commerce will crush brick-and-mortar. The efficiencies of e-commerce are tremendous compared to brick-and-mortar:

1) No driving to and from the store,
2) No need for parking or parking lots,
3) No need for shopping...and especially the waiting in line after shopping is completed,
4) Many, many vehicles taken off the road around stores,
5) No need for stores to be in convenient locations for consumers,
6) Space- and energy-inefficient retail stores are eliminated,
7) Packaging can be reduced, since packaging is often much bigger than it needs to be in order to catch the consumers' eyes.

Etc...there are probably hundreds more ways e-commerce with computer-driven delivery vehicles is more efficient.

Hi,

It's more work than I'm willing to put out right now, but I tried to compare total revenue per unit of area for Walmart Supercenters versus Amazon fulfillment centers.

For Walmart Supercenters -->https://247wallst.com/retail/2014/03/22/walmart-now-has-six-types-of-stores

- 3,288 Supercenters in the U.S
- average size of a Supercenter is 179,000 square feet
- total area of Supercenters = 589 million square feet

For Amazon fulfillment centers --> http://www.mwpvl.com/html/amazon_com.html

Total facilities = 122
Total area = 93 million square feet.

So Walmart Supercenters have 589/93 = 6.3 times the area.

I couldn't find the revenue specifically for all Walmart Supercenters (only all Walmart stores)...but my guess for all Walmart Supercenters would be between 1.5 and 3 times the revenue for all Amazon fulfillment centers.

So the area per unit revenue of a Walmart Supercenter would be somewhere between 2.1 times and 4.2 times that of an Amazon fulfillment center. That's just spitball, but I think the numbers are reasonable. And it makes sense to me, because of all the reasons why retail stores need to be larger per unit revenue, in order to accommodate customers (wide aisles, checkout lanes, merchandise not stacked to the ceiling, etc.).

He makes no mention of the minimum wage, or the fact that blue state politicians are falling all over each other to hop on the fightfor15 bandwagon. The superior profit margin enjoyed by bricks and mortar may not last.

+15, a substantial increase in minimum wage will tend to benefit E-commerce companies.

Maybe I’m biased, but I find this unconvincing. The FB/Google duopoly will soon break given the hundreds of billions motivating competition, and sooner or later drones and self-driving cars will make delivery drastically cheaper. There may be a five year hiccup, but in the long run I think ecommerce should easily get to 30-50% of the retail market.

"There may be a five year hiccup, but in the long run I think ecommerce should easily get to 30-50% of the retail market."

Yes, I think it will be even more lopsided than that. I have already predicted that, in 30 years or less, 90 percent of all brick-and-mortar stores will be shut down or re-purposed to warehouses (with no customers coming to the store).

Computer-driven delivery vehicles will obliterate brick-and-mortar, by turning retail on its head. (Goods will come to customers, rather than customers going stores to buy goods.) And computer-driven vehicles will allow much more automation in getting goods from manufacturers to customers. Warehouses in which all goods are accessed by computer-controlled machines will be much, much less expensive than stores that must be made appealing to consumers.

Sorry -- this is totally wrong.

Before dismissing brick & mortar stores, think about why Apple stores exist.

Apple stores: 10% of iPhone and 20% of Mac global sales.

I don't think Sen really understands what's happening

He says:
For much of physical retail, there's the prospect of falling rents

Yes but the rents are falling because the demand curve has shifted to the left. If physical retail makes a comeback then . . . the demand curve will shift back to the right which leads to . . . rising rents.

Sen also comments about the rising costs of Facebook ads. Yes, price per impression has gone up but at the same time ads can now be more tightly targeted. I haven't seen how this nets out for the average retailer. Facebook's ad revenue has increased overall but is the cost per conversion for a retail sale going up? I don't know, but probably not as much as Sen seems to think.

With respect to delivery costs, Amazon is widely rumored to be working on being able to provide delivery and is expected to sell this service. Only time will tell how the price of delivery by Amazon will compare with UPS but history in other services suggests that Amazon's price will be lower than the existing options.

Cowen's being contrarian on bricks and mortar. Clearly they are mostly dying. As for George Mason's scandal? Plus ca spare change, man. Private universities are mostly country clubs, but with government loans bankrolling the poorer new members - it's an AMAZING scam, and my hat is off to the usufructs who've embedded themselves into the money stream. System don't work? Don't tell that to Tyler. He's got it wired. In the modern university, the professors are the senior golf pros, and the administration creams off the big profits. Again, it's an AMAZING scam. Mason's only mistake is to take right wing, rather than left wing, money. That's a tactical mistake in the moral universe of the university. They'll figure it out and they'll find a new Dean with a good scramble for new money - look for that leadership change next year. And they probably need a new bag man.

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