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Kroger Announces Changes To Senior Executive Lineup

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain The Kroger Co. said senior vice president of retail divisions, Sukanya Madlinger, plans to retire after 31 years with the company. Also, the retailer announced the promotion of Calvin Kaufman to succeed Madlinger. Kroger also announced the promotion of Ann Reed to president of the company's Louisville division, Kaufman's current position.
"Kroger Announces Retirement of Sukanya Madlinger, Promotes Calvin Kaufman, Ann Reed", Kroger , May 16, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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British Grocery Chain Seeks To “Rescue” Scorned Bananas

May 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sainsbury’s is dismayed that so many of its countrymen, who enjoy bananas fairly often – 30 percent eat at least one a day – nevertheless turn up their noses at – and usually bin – the fruits if they have imperfections like bruises, black marks, or green spots. It’s a serious problem: Britons trash about 1.8 million rejected bananas a day. As part of its £10 million Waste Less, Save More initiative, the company has launched pop-up “Banana Rescue” stations in its 500 stores to offer not only recipes for banana bread, but all of the hardware necessary to make it. That includes mixing bowls, blenders, baking tins and storage solutions. [ Image credit: © Sainsbury's  ]
"Sainsbury’s launches in store ‘Banana Rescue’ stations, giving new a-peel to bin-bound fruit ", News release, Sainsbury’s, May 15, 2017, © J Sainsbury plc
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Consumers Contribute To Extended Economic Recoveries Because Of Buying Habits

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
“Jobless recoveries” from recessions have become the norm. Routine jobs eliminated during downturns never come back, thanks to automation and outsourcing. That makes recovery slow, dampening real wages for longer periods. But business researchers show that companies cutting costs during hard times isn't the only reason for slow recoveries. Consumers contribute by buying cheaper, lower quality goods – usually produced overseas – at discount retailers, a phenomenon called “trading down.” It’s a smart move for consumers, but ultimately the macro economy suffers. Lower quality goods and services don’t require skilled labor, so demand for U.S. labor slides, further crippling the economy. As the trend continues after the recession ends, the job market remains hobbled. [ Image credit: © http://www.ccpixs.com/  ]
Sergio Rebelo, "Recessions Push People to Buy Cheap Things, Which Just Makes Everything Worse", Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Lidl Readies Invasion Of U.S. Retail Market

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount retailer Lidl plans to open its first stores in the US in summer 2017. Earlier in February 2017, the company said it plans to open its first 20 American stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, with 80 more locations to be launched within its first year of US operations. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing pricing strategies in 11 states, seeking to undercut competitors by 15 percent, while German rival Aldi aims to offer prices 21 percent lower than those of its American competitors.
Nandita Bose, "Germany's Lidl prepares to enter U.S. supermarket wars", Reuters, May 12, 2017, © Reuters
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Grocery Discounter Aldi Increases The Pressure On Low-Price Competitors

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German discount grocery chain Aldi is solidifying its gains in the U.S. market by competing even more on price, enhancing its product line, and remodeling stores and adding new ones. Internal research shows that Aldi already undercuts Walmart prices by an average of 21 percent, and it plans to keep the pressure on. The pricing strategy, aimed directly at low-price competitors like Walmart, includes expanding its array of private-label products. The company will spend $1.6 billion to expand and remodel 1,300 of its 1,600 U.S. stores, while opening 400 new stores in Florida, Texas and on the East and West coasts within a year and a half. CEO Jason Hart said all of these moves are designed to convince grocery shoppers to start their shopping trips at Aldi. [ Image credit: © Aldi Corporation  ]
Nandita Bose, "Exclusive: Aldi raises stakes in U.S. price war with Walmart", Reuters, May 11, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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West Virginia Entrepreneur Shapes A Talent For Baking Into A Successful Business

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It all started with a cake made for a friend who loves sushi. Fashioned by Erin Whitcomb to resemble a bento box packed with sushi rolls, the concoction so impressed the friend, who himself had a professional background in baking, that it led eventually to a business partnership and then a bakery in Martinsburg, W.V. Along the way, there was a stint at culinary school where Whitcomb mastered the science behind her baking. Edible Elegance by Erin now supports seven employees who produce breads (including gluten-free varieties), bagels, cakes and pastries with no added preservatives and mostly local ingredients such as fruit. Whitcomb has also stretched her range of unusual shaped cakes to include books, a guitar case, and an elaborate castle with a moat.   [ Image credit: © Edible Elegance by Erin  ]
Jackie Puglisi , "Bakery begins with bento box cake idea", The Winchester Star (Virginia), May 10, 2017, © The Winchester Star
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Whole Foods Market Names Manbeck Chief Financial Officer

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Whole Foods Market, Inc., said it has named Keith Manbeck as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective May 17, 2017. With more than 20 years of experience as financial and operational executive at leading companies, Manbeck joins the retailer's management team implementing an expanded strategy to improve shareholder value. Manbeck was SVP of digital finance, strategy management, and business transformation at Kohl's Corp. since 2014 and, before that, was global VP and CFO for Nike's Direct to Consumer business.
"Whole Foods Market Appoints Keith Manbeck as Chief Financial Officer", Whole Foods Market, May 10, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Whole Foods Market Suffers Another Quarterly Drop In Same-Store Sales

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market posted generally healthy second quarter financials, but endured another quarterly decline in same-store sales. Total sales were up 1.1 percent to a record $3.7 billion for the quarter. Same-store sales, however, slid 2.8 percent, the seventh consecutive quarterly drop. Profit was $99 million (2.6 percent of sales), or an expected $0.37 a share. The company returned $45 million in dividends to shareholders. CEO John Mackey said a key goal is to return to positive same-store sales and earnings growth next year, though the company expects same-store sales to remain depressed this fiscal year. It hopes to trim $300 million in costs this year, and has hired a consulting firm to help it figure out how. Keith Manbeck was named the new chief financial officer. [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market  ]
"Whole Foods Market Provides Shareholder Update on Accelerated Path to Delivering Shareholder Value and Announces Second Quarter 2017 Results", Earnings release, Whole Foods Market , May 10, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Target Tests Next-Day Home Delivery In Minneapolis

May 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though retailer Target offers free in-store pickup for online orders, the store feels it needs to do more to keep up with competitors Amazon and Walmart, so it has begun an experiment with next-day home delivery of household staples. The company is testing the new service among employees in the headquarters city of Minneapolis, and will expand the test there later in the summer to the general public. For the pilot test, employees using a company debit or credit card will be limited to two 45-pound boxes of household goods, including laundry detergent, paper towels, granola bars and coffee. If the test succeeds, customers who use the Target Restock program will be charged “a low, flat fee,” according to the company. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Roger Yu , "Target to launch next-day delivery of household goods", USA Today, May 09, 2017, © USA Today
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Artisanal Small-Batch Pasta Maker Is A Florida Success Story

May 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Sarasota, Fla., family with roots in Italy, Argentina and Maryland – and an old tradition of hand-made pasta – represents a growing trend in artisanal pasta whose motto could be: “Dry pasta is dead.” The family’s small-batch Peperonata Pasta comes in 20 flavors and 44 shapes, all made at their 800-square-foot facility using three machines. The Fochis began selling their products at local farmers’ markets in the Gulf Coast region. The Sarasota Whole Foods Market found them eventually and began stocking the products. They are now available at 20 of the chain’s stores. Three years ago the family opened their own store and café, selling pasta and empanadas. [ Image credit: © Sarasota Farmers Market  ]
Maggie Menderski, "Passion and Fresh Ingredients", Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.), May 08, 2017, © GateHouse Media, LLC
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Food Waste Repurposed Into Edible, Profitable New Products

May 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food waste problem is inspiring a lot of creative new product development these days. Among the ingenious products from socially aware entrepreneurs: Foxhole Gin, made with leftover grape skins, flesh and pips from winemaking; Toast Ale, made from surplus loaves of bread mashed into crumbs and mixed with malted barley, hops and yeast; ChicP hummus in four varieties made from discarded wonky fruit and vegetables; Hellmann's Ketchup, a new product made from imperfect discarded red and green tomatoes; Snacktivism snack bars made from excess fruit gleaned from London’s wholesale food markets; Spare Fruit premium crisps made from rescued wasted fruit; and Rejuce fruit and vegetable juices made from rejected produce that is transformed into flavors like Lime, Cucumber, & Mint, and Lemon, Beetroot & Ginger.  [ Image credit: © ChicP  ]
Megan Tatum, "How food waste is fueling a new wave of NPD", The Grocer, May 06, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Boulanger Eric Kayser Expands Operations In U.S.

May 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
French baker Eric Kayser, who opened his first boulangerie in Paris in 1996 and now operates in Africa, South America, and Japan – is expanding his presence in New York City. The planned Maison Kayser café/restaurant – the latest of the 14 in the city – will open this spring near the Empire State Building. The ambitious boulanger is also planning to open stores in Washington, D.C. The stores serve more expensive versions of his Paris fare, including baguettes, viennoiseries, tartines, tarts, all made with local ingredients, except for the butter, which is imported from France. [ Image credit: © Maison Kayser  ]
"French Boulanger Kayser Finds a Niche in US", The Express Tribune, May 06, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Sally Beauty President Sharon Leite Leaves Company

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sally Beauty Holdings announced Sharon Leite's resignation as president of the company's Sally Beauty chain of beauty and personal care stores effective May 1, 2017. According to the company, it has tasked an executive search firm to find Leite's successor and that, for the meantime, CEO Chris Brickman will act as the business unit's president.
Maria Halkias, "Sally Beauty Looking for a New President after Sharon Leite Resigns", The Dallas Morning News, May 05, 2017, © The Dallas Morning News Inc.
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Einstein Bros. Unveils High Octane Bagel For That Added AM Jolt

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Einstein Bros. bagel chain has debuted limited-availability bagel packed with caffeine and protein. Espresso Buzz Bagel contains 32mg of caffeine – about half the caffeine in a six-ounce cup of coffee – sourced from both espresso and coffee-cherry flour. Company is also offering a 600-calorie breakfast sandwich based on the Buzz Bagel that features bacon and eggs. New line of innovative Boosted Bagels also includes a sweet, oat-topped Cherry Chia Bagel and Savory Parm Bagel. [ Image credit: © Einstein Bros.  ]
Julie Pennell, "These Caffeinated Bagels Let You Have Your Coffee and Eat It Too", Today, May 05, 2017, © NBCUniversal Media, LLC
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Minnesota Shop Offers Some Bonkers Donut Variations

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Glam Doll Donuts shop in Minneapolis is stretching the concept of “doughnuts” to the nth degree, and succeeding admirably. The shop’s ring-shaped concoctions – sweet traditional, breaded and fried mac and cheese (at $8 a pop), alcohol-infused, egg and bacon (sandwiches), sriracha and peanut butter, etc. – are especially popular on social media. Traditional treats include the glazed Sugar Kane, the salted caramel and chocolate Calendar Girl, and the tres leches (sponge cake) Peek-a-Boo. That’s just for starters. Everything gets great reviews online, including the mac and cheese, which one reviewer described as: “Warm, gooey, and crunchy with a side of chili. A belly bomb for sure, and worth it.”  [ Image credit: © Glam Doll Donuts  ]
Carly Stern, "Best of Both Worlds! A Minneapolis Bakery is Serving Savory Donuts Filled with MAC AND CHEESE, Pepperoni and Mozzarella, and Beer and Bacon", Mail Online, May 04, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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China's FMCG Market Grew Slowly In 1Q 2017, Report Says

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, spending on fast moving consumer goods grew slightly by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Compared with the previous year, the country's GDP grew 6.9 percent, boosted by a government infrastructure focus and a hot housing market. Of the country's top 5 retailers, Sun Art, Vanguard, and Walmart were able to maintain their market ranking during the year. While Carrefour saw its market share drop by 0.1 point, local retailer Yonghui's share grew from 2.6 percent to 3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
outpaced the market by opening more stores Jason Yu, "FMCG growth remained challenging in the first quarter, while local retailers outpaced the market by opening more stores", Kantar Worldpanel, May 04, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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UK's Grocery Market Expands In April 2017 Quarter

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, the grocery market grew 3.7 percent during the 12-week period ending April 23, 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Marking the fastest growth rate since September 2013, the growth is worth almost ₤1 billion in additional sales for the sector. Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said all of the country's 10 leading retailers posted growth. Strong sales during Easter also helped the market grow, with shoppers spending ₤325 million on Easter eggs, McKevitt added.
"Britain’s Sweet Tooth Helps Grocery Sales Rise", Kantar Worldpanel, May 03, 2017, © TNS UK Limited
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Subway U.K.’s New Low-Sugar Drink Options Lower Calorie Intake By 3.7 Billion

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Subway in the U.K. has forged a new beverage contract with Britvic and PepsiCo that means a wider selection of drinks for consumers and a lower overall calorie and sugar intake – as much as 3.7 billion calories by July 2017. Redesigned drinks fountains and refrigerators emphasize the low/no sugar beverage arrays. The changes have already led to significant changes in consumer purchases. Options include no-sugar Pepsi Max or Diet Pepsi, 7Up Free, and Britvic’s lower sugar Orange Tango. Subway says the changes have led to a 30 percent reduction in calorie consumption, or early two million calories per store a year. [ Image credit: © Subway.co.UK  ]
"Subway to Cut Almost Four Billion Calories from UK Diets", Food Ingredients 1st, May 03, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Digital media and survey research firm Morning Consult says the two “most loved” consumer brands in the U.S. are Amazon and Google, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey Company, UPS, FedEx, Sony, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Google unit YouTube. The rankings are based on 200,000 interviews that covered 27 consumer brand sectors. In the food and beverage category, beer is led by Heineken, followed by Budweiser and Samuel Adams. Among restaurants, Baskin Robbins is the leader, followed by Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. And Kroger edges out Whole Foods in the grocery category. [ Image credit: © Daniel Iversen ]
Tanya Gazdik, "Amazon, Google 'Most Loved' Brands", MediaPost, May 03, 2017, © MediaPost Communications
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Ulta Beauty Sees Better Stock Market Performance Following Surge In Estee Lauder's 3Q Profits

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Shares of cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty rose 0.6 percent to 290.36 on the stock market. Beauty conglomerate Estee Lauder's profit performance in the third quarter helped boost the retailer's stock. Also, specialty beauty retailers, including Ulta and Sephora, are popular among younger consumers.
Elaine Low, "Ulta Beauty Shares Break Out As Estee Lauder Pops On Earnings", Investor's Business Daily, May 03, 2017, © Investor's Business Daily, Inc.
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Get Revenge On Internet Trollers With A Cake

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People victimized by Internet trolls and their hateful online comments can repay the perps with a cake, as long as they know the troller’s actual physical address. For a fee of $35, Brooklyn’s Troll Cakes Bakery and Detective Agency will bake a cake, decorate it with the troll’s hateful words, and then deliver it right to their door. Even if they don’t know the address – this is where the “detective agency” takes over – for $60 the service will research an unknown address and take it from there. The company even has a service for Donald Trump haters: it will decorate a cake with a customer’s favorite Trump tweet (or nasty comment) and send it to the White House. It’s called the “Tiny Hands Special.”  [ Image credit: © TrollCakes.com  ]
Ben Hooper, "Bakery Returns Online Trolls' Comments to them in Cake Form", United Press International, May 01, 2017, © United Press International, Inc.
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Chinese Restaurant Chain Sees Big Opportunity In U.S., U.K.

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A spicy soup chain based in Beijing plans to open 80 new restaurants this year, at least 10 of which will be outside China. Sichuan HaiDiLao, which offers free massages and manicures to customers waiting for service, already has an outlet in Los Angeles. It hopes to acquaint American and British diners with its specialty hotpots featuring steaming broths flavored with meat, vegetables and noodles. The idea is to introduce the world to genuine Chinese cuisine in much the same way U.S. food companies spread American eating styles. Because of prohibitive labor and other costs in the U.S., however, duplicating the company’s successful business model won’t be a simple task. But, says company chairman Zhang Yong, “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.”  [ Image credit: © Yitch, Wikimedia Commons  ]
"This Restaurant Chain Wants to Bring Chinese Hotpot to the World", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 27, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Amazon.com Posts Strong Sales Numbers In 1Q 2017

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., reported operating cash flow jumped 53 percent to $17.6 billion for the trailing 12 months ending March 31, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Free cash flow grew to $10.2 billion, compared with $6.7 billion in the previous year. In the first quarter of 2017, net sales grew 23 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Operating income dropped 6 percent to $1.0 billion in the first quarter, compared with $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
"Amazon.com Announces First Quarter Sales up 23% to $35.7 Billion", Amazon, April 27, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Fast-Growing U.K. Beauty Services Venture Gets Cash Infusion From Unilever

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Ventures is putting $4.5 million into rapidly expanding London-based on-demand beauty services provider Blow Ltd. to facilitate the company’s expansion to other U.K. cities and to the Continent. Blow, which has been expanding at a rate of 20 percent a month, is based on an advanced technology platform that allows customers to book time-saving, at-home beauty appointments using its website or smartphone app. The company calls it a reinvention of the service experience that also creates a new product distribution channel. Three-fourths of the app users are busy women looking to save time by having beauticians, manicurists, etc., come to the home. [ Image credit: © Blow Ltd  ]
Natalie Theodosi, "Britain’s Blow Secures Unilever Ventures Investment, Plans Expansion", Women’s Wear Daily, April 27, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Misconceptions Swirl Around Lidl As U.S. Debut Approaches

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Kantar retail industry analyst reports that attenders at a recent chain drug store meeting had one topic on their mind: the pending arrival of the first 20 U.S. stores of the German small-format discount chain Lidl.  He was amazed at “the level of misinformation swirling around the retailer.” Potential competitors believe, for example, that Lidl operates down-market stores, targets low-income shoppers from poor areas, and competes mostly with other discounters of its ilk, such as Aldi. In fact, however, Lidl is a mid-market retailer; its stores are austere but pleasant and attractive; shoppers represent all income levels; it underprices competition by double-digit percentages on branded items and sells high-quality private label products; and competes successfully with supermarkets and supercenters. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Mike Paglia, "It's Time to Get Real About Lidl", News release, Kantar US, April 26, 2017, © Kantar, a WPP Plc company
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The Meal Kit Phenomenon Takes The World’s Kitchens By Storm

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An alternative to fast food and traditional cooking has captured the attention of home cooks looking to serve fresh, nutritious meals that require little or no planning and very little preparation. For the past five years, meal kits have been purchased in grocery stores or delivered straight to the front door, globally or anywhere in the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon include Germany’s Hello Fresh, which delivers to 48 states and eight countries, and Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide. Locally produced kits, available at grocery stores and supermarkets, share one trait with those of the national companies: ingredients are fresh, take little time to cook – 25 to 40 minutes – and are convenient for weeknights or special occasions.  [  Image credit: © Blue Apron  ]
Anne Kniggendorf, "What’s for Dinner? How About One of those New Grocery Store Meal Kits?", The Kansas City Star, April 25, 2017, © The Kansas City Star
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Lidl Slovenia Receives Top Credit Rating From Bisnode

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Lidl has received the AAA Gold Certificate of Excellence award from Bisnode, credit risk company Dun & Bradstreet's local partner in Slovenia. Awarded to companies that receive an above-average credit rating for three consecutive years, the recognition is based on results of analysis of the company's financial statements for the previous financial year.
"Lidl Slovenia Awarded 'AAA' Gold Certificate of Excellence", European Supermarket Magazine, April 25, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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McDonald’s Continues To Ride The All-Day-Breakfast Wave To Profitability

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite warnings that the all-day-breakfast fad would peter out soon, McDonald’s continues to ride a wave of earnings prosperity thanks to the menu ploy. The fast-food giant reported a surprising global same-store sales hike of four percent during Q1 of fiscal 2017, and a 1.7 percent hike in U.S. same-store sales. McDonald's pointed to continued success of its all-day breakfast menu, as well as Big Mac and drink deals, as reasons for the better-than-expected gains. And, although top-line sales slid four percent during the quarter, profit grew eight percent to $1.2 billion. Earnings per share hit $1.47, easily beating the Wall Street consensus of $1.33. [ Image credit: © McDonald's  ]
Maggie McGrath, "The McBreakfast Bump Continues: All-Day McMuffins Boost McDonald's Q1 Sales", Forbes, April 25, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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Tesco Bengaluru Names BT India Manager New CEO

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco's technology and retail operations unit Tesco Bengaluru said it has appointed Sumit Mitra as its chief executive officer. Mitra will succeed current CEO Glen Attewell later in 2017. At present, Mitra is India country manager and managing director of central business services at BT.
Brinda Dasgupta, "Tesco Bengaluru brings on board Sumit Mitra as CEO", Economic Times, April 25, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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JCPenney And Sephora Plan To Open More Sephora Inside JCPenney Locations

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
JCPenney and Sephora expanded their partnership to open 70 new Sephora inside JCPenney stores and 32 expansions starting on May 5, 2017. First launched in 2006, Sephora inside JCPenney is a beauty retail concept that features carefully selected cosmetics and personal care brands available in JCPenney branches. In 2017, almost 650 JCPenney stores feature the retail concept.
"JCPenney Partners with Sephora to Expand Beauty Retail Offerings with 70 New Locations and 32 Expansions Nationwide", J.C. Penney, April 24, 2017, © J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc.
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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Albertsons Says Interested In Buying Whole Foods

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket owner Albertsons, owned by investment firm Cerberus Capital Management, is reportedly looking at the possibility of buying Whole Foods Market. According to sources, the buyout group has held exploratory talks with bankers regarding a possible bid for Whole Foods; however, no formal bid has been submitted yet. Albertsons' move came two weeks after activist investor Jana Partners said it has acquired a 9-percent stake in Whole Foods and is interested in seeing the grocer, which has a market value of $11.4 billion, a possible takeover target.
James Fontanella-Khan, "Albertsons explores bid for high-end grocer Whole Foods", Financial Times, April 24, 2017, © The Financial Times Limited
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Lidl Launches Brand Awareness Campaign In Germany

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Lidl said it plans to launch a brand awareness campaign in Germany. Featuring an image of a receipt, the campaign aims to highlight the company’s main focus – selling goods at discounted prices. To be launched on April 23, 2017, the campaign will feature a new brand design, as well as a new “sound logo.”
"Lidl Germany Launches New Brand Awareness Campaign", European Supermarket Magazine, April 21, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Smart Lock Technology May Solve Major E-Commerce Problem

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One of the biggest worries of online buyers is the fate of a delivered product when the buyer isn’t at home. It can be stolen, rained on, or simply returned to the seller if too many delivery notices are ignored. This “cognitive load” dampens online sales – it's the number one problem inhibiting e-commerce – according to the founder of August Smart Lock. His technology automatically unlocks the door when the correct codes are presented, giving delivery companies one-time, specific-time, or anytime access to the house. A camera monitors the whole process. A pilot test showed that lock owners, though nervous at first, were extremely happy with the process. Bottom line: “This is how I want everything delivered to my house.” [ Image credit: © August Smart Lock  ]
Daniel Terdiman, "How In-Home Package Delivery Could Save E-Commerce", Fast Company, April 21, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Walmart Says Consolidated Net Sales Up In FY 2017

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart said consolidated net sales rose 0.6 percent ($2.7 billion) in fiscal 2017, but declined 0.7 percent in fiscal year 2016. According to the retailer, positive comparable sales, e-commerce sales, and a 1.3 percent year-on-year growth in retail space, boosted net sales in fisca; 2017. However, currency fluctuations and a $0.4 billion drop in fuel sales, due to lower prices at Sam’s Club, partially offset the positive effect. Comparable store and club sales in the U.S. rose 1.4 percent and 0.3 percent in fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, compared with the previous year.
"Walmart 2017 Annual Report", Walmart, April 20, 2017, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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British Retailer Begins Revamping, Closing Stores

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British department store chain Marks & Spencer is closing six stores as part of its planned operational overhaul, but vows to find jobs for all 380 employees affected by the move. The company said last year that closings and store conversions were in the offing to trim the amount of floor space devoted to faltering clothing lines. Thirty full-line U.K. stores – they sell homeware, clothing, and food – will be closed, while 45 will become food-only shops. The company has had to face the reality that customer shopping habits are changing: people don’t do “one big shop” anymore, and they often buy online and pick up in store. Even with the closings, the company is launching new stores, with 34 food and two full-line shops employing 1,400 staff coming online in the next six months. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Zoe Wood, "M&S to Close Six Stores as it tries to 'Stay in Tune' with Shoppers", The Guardian, April 20, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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For Now, Aldi Is Top Dog In The Discount Retail Grocery Biz

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery analyst Planet Retail expects German food discounter Lidl to grow more robustly than competitor Aldi in the coming years, but it will not unseat Aldi as the global number one in discount food sales. Aldi’s sales in 2017 – including Aldi Nord and Süd – will total €83.3 billion ($89 billion), compared to Lidl’s €76 billion. But Lidl will catch up over the next five years. By 2022, both chains will be doing about €105 billion. The leveling out will take longer, Planet Retail says, because of Aldi’s strong, and growing, presence in the U.S., where Lidle is also beginning to establish roots. [ Image credit: © Aldi  ]
"Aldi remains the number one worldwide discount store", FreshPlaza, April 20, 2017, © FreshPlaza
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Year-Old Chain Of Quick Food Stores Succeeds With Healthful Meals

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Convenience and nutrition are the watchwords of a rapidly-expanding chain of grab-and-go stores founded in Omaha, Neb., with outlets in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, South Dakota, and Iowa. Eat Fit Go stores are based on a simple, but compelling, concept: fast packaged meals that are healthful. That means fresh, pre-portioned foods high in protein, low in sodium, mostly gluten-free and preservative-free, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The owners plan to open 100 more stores in 2017 – in Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota and Oklahoma – while introducing an e-commerce platform for home delivery. [ Image credit: © Eat Fit Go  ]
Rachel Cernansky, "Grab-And-Go Model Fuels Fast Growth for Omaha-Based Health Food Store", New Hope Network, April 19, 2017, © Penton
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Febreze Launches Walmart Campaign Featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez And Mom

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble's odor-control brand Febreze launched a campaign at Walmart featuring Olympic gold medalist and Dancing with the Stars champion Laurie Hernandez and her mother, Wanda. Marking the first time the brand's Walmart campaign has featured a Latina mother-and-daughter team, Febreze's marketing efforts aim to promote the new Febreze with OdorClear odor-eliminating technology. Also, Hernandez and her mother appear in an Odor Ode video campaign introduced in April 2017.
"Olympian, Dancing with the Stars Champion Laurie Hernandez Shares the Spotlight with Her Mom in New Campaign for Febreze at Walmart", Business Wire, April 19, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance Elects Baxter International CEO To Board Of Directors

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., said Baxter International Inc. chairman and CEO Jose E. Almeida has been elected to the retail and pharmacy chain's board of directors. Effective immediately, Almeida's appointment sees him join the board as an independent director and makes him its 11th member. Almeida has more than 25 years of experience in the health care market, including consumer health products, surgical instruments, and biopharmaceuticals.
"José E. Almeida, Chairman and CEO of Baxter International, Elected to Walgreens Boots Alliance Board of Directors", Walgreens Boots Alliance, April 19, 2017, © Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
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Kroger Appoints Angel Colon Senior Diversity Director

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Kroger Co. said it has appointed Angel Colon as senior director of diversity. Kroger's director of multicultural development for merchandising since 2008, Colon succeeds Rueben Shaffer who retired in March 2017. Colon has 27 years of experience in the grocery industry, holding various management roles including product management, category management, and promotions.
"Kroger Names Angel Colón Senior Director of Diversity", Kroger, April 18, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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Sephora Buys Turkey's Cosmetics Retailer Tekin Acar

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty company Sephora has acquired Turkey-based cosmetics retailer Tekin Acar. Subject to approval by the country's Competition Board, the sale came several months after Tekin Acar chief executive Tekin Acar revealed his company and the market were “facing difficulties.” According to the executive, a growing number of local retailers are having financial difficulties.
"France’s Sephora acquires Turkey’s Tekin Acar Cosmetics", Hurriyet Daily News, April 18, 2017, © Hurriyet Daily News
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E2open Picked To Manage Walgreens Boots’ Supply Chain

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance has selected E2open, a provider of a cloud-based supply chain operating network, to manage its Global Brands supply chain. Products in the cross-divisional portfolio of Global Brands include Boots Soltan, No7, Well at Walgreens, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle and Boots Pharmaceuticals. The E2open sales & operations planning (S&OP) solutions include demand planning, supply planning, inventory optimization, supplier collaboration, and sales and operations planning. Walgreens Boots Alliance spokesmen said E2open’s solutions will be critical to a transformation to “a seamlessly integrated organization that’s well positioned for further growth.”  [ E2open logo, image credit: © E2open  ]
"Walgreens Boots Alliance Selects E2open to Support its Global Supply Chain", News release, Walgreens Boots Alliance, April 18, 2017, © Walgreens Boots Alliance
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Whole Foods Streamlines Operations, But At What Price?

April 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market needs to make some changes in how it operates to reverse same-store sales declines and keep investors happy. Specifically, says Jana Partners LLC, it needs to boost profit by switching to a centralized food distribution system and national buyers, like the big-box retailers. Innovations – data analytics, centralized purchasing, strict shelf management – implemented by a former Target exec are designed to streamline operations enough to cut costs, lower prices, and make it competitive with other retailers. But the company’s smaller suppliers, along with some industry consultants, argue that a change like that would compromise the company’s ability to quickly stock foodie trends and popular local brands. The changes may reduce costs, says one consultant, “but at what price to the soul of the banner?”  [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market  ]
Annie Gasparro et al., "Whole Foods Aims to Cut Prices but Keep Its Cachet", The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tesco Poland Plans To Scale Down Operations After Profits Decline

April 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco plans to downsize its retail operations in Poland in 2017, following a 3.6-percent drop in year-on-year profits in 2016. According to the retailer, its profit dropped to PLN 10.8 billion in fiscal 2016/17, compared with PLN 11.2 billion in the previous year. Tesco plans to close some stores in the country, reducing its retail space by about 33,000 square meters, according to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
"Tesco Poland profits slide, store closures expected: report", thenews.pl , April 13, 2017, © Polskie Radio S.A
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Tesco Reports Strong Sales Growth In 2016/2017

April 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco reported group sales rose 4.3 percent to ₤49.9 billion for fiscal year 2016-2017. According to the company, like-for-like sales in the UK grew 0.9 percent, its first reported full-year growth since FY 2009/2010, and 1 percent across the group. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 30 percent to ₤1.28 billion. Group operating margin improved from 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent.
"Tesco Preliminary Results 2016/17", Tesco, April 12, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Sephora Names TEC Events Manager For Middle East Market

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora appointed TEC to manage its marketing and other events across the Middle East. TEC's first assignment was the Middle East Sales, Marketing and Operating Conference held in March 2017 at Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah, UAE.
Charlotte Flach, "Sephora appoints TEC", Conference & Incentive Travel, April 11, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Kiko Milano Launches Brazil Business; Opens Two Stores In Sao Paulo

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Italian cosmetics brand and retailer Kiko Milano launched its business in Brazil by opening two stores in Sao Paulo. According to the company, it plans to open five more new stores in the country’s capital by the end of 2017. Kiko Milano plans to invest €5 million in the opening of the seven stores in the city, according to Isabel de Almeida, the company’s brand director in Brazil. Legal problems related to importation process forced the company to delay its launch in Brazil, which was previously planned for 2016.
Amanda Veloso, "Kiko Milano Celebrates 20 Years and Adds Brazil to its Global Expansion Strategy", Premium Beauty News, April 11, 2017, © Premium Beauty News
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Jana Partners Acquires Almost 9-Percent Stake In Whole Foods; Wants Retailer To Speed Up Turnaround

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Activist investor Jana Partners LLC has acquired an 8.8-percent stake in specialty retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. Apparently not satisfied with the retailer's current directions, Jana Partners wants Whole Foods to speed up its turnaround efforts and to consider the likelihood of being acquired by another company. Whole Foods has so far failed to transform itself from being a popular niche player into a large, national retail chain. Since peaking in 2013, the retailer's stock has lost almost half of its market value.
David Benoit et al., "Activist Investor Jana Partners Takes Nearly 9% Stake in Whole Foods", The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One hundred Starbucks stores in Chicago are testing the new Mercato lunch menu targeted at diners looking for a vegetarian, protein-based lunch. The new menu items include salads, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit. Salad options, available at $8 or $9, include za'atar (Mediterranean spice blend) chicken and lemon tahini, green goddess avocado, seared steak and mango, and turkey and fire-roasted corn. Sandwiches ($5 to $8) include a Cuban, a burrata and basil pesto, and an almond butter with strawberries and jam. If the new lunch items are successful, the menu will roll out nationally. [ Seared steak, mango salad, image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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