Award Season is nearly upon us and as I look into my crystal ball, I would like to announce the Last Man Standing Awards for 2011.  The beautiful award, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is a golden man holding a buggy whip and looking very confused as a car drives past him.  On to the award:

    For Last Man Standing in the Brick and Mortar Bookstore category, the award goes to: Barnes and Noble.  With Borders bankrupt and bDalton a memory, Barnes and Noble will continue to battle against the ropes with Amazon.  The nook will give B&N legs for a time and the stores continue to be the most compelling bookstores/coffeehouse in America’s rapidly emptying malls.  By all rights, they are already the Last Man Standing…..

    For Last Man Standing in the Brick and Mortar Consumer Electronics category, the award goes to: Best Buy.  Circuit City is gone, hhGregg and Frys remain regional players.  But if you want to see a Best Buy big store, better hurry.  Target, WalMart, and Costco will soon dominate that space while Amazon,, netflix and other online retailers will steal tremendous market share.  Best Buy will be remembered like VCR’s: we liked them when we had them, but something better came along.   We wish them well and hope they transform into a relevant retailer.  But, for CE – they are theLast Man Standing.

    For Last Man Standing in the Brick and Mortar Pet Store Category, the award goes to: PetSmart.  With Petco private and Pet Supplies Plus still a weak competitor, PetSmart has dominated with a remodeled store that incorporates grooming, kennel and vet stop in one.  Their focus on cats and dogs (having jettisoned an equine department a few years ago) and other household pets has improved their relevance with their target market.  They will continue to battle Target and Walmart, but their services offerings will continue to make them the Last Man Standing.

    Finally, in the Last Man Standing in the Brick and Mortar Office Supply Category, the award goes to: Staples.  While Office Max is making a valiant effort with its remodeled format (although it is still one half the revenues of Staples)  and Office Depot is a far distant third, Staples continues to extend its command with a deep assortment of private label, a Corporate Express merger and a strong internet presence to keep it relevant.  While it has been opening smaller stores, I expect it will clobber one more competitor and then truly be the Last Man Standing.

    Any other predictions from readers?