retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that “Canada's two largest grocery chains, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Sobeys, are putting a lid on the use of plastic shopping bags.

“Loblaw said Thursday it will no longer provide free bags at checkout counters of its corporate locations and participating franchise stores across the country as of next April. The plastic bags will be available only on request, and will cost five cents each. Sobeys said it will charge five cents per bag, but only in the Toronto area, in response to the city's proposed waste reduction bylaw. It said its program will be in place by June 1, expected to be the first day of Toronto's waste diversion charge.”

USA Today reports this morning that the likelihood that the UK’s Woolworths will go into bankruptcy is considering so strong that “Prime Minister Gordon Brown stepped in and vowed the British government would do everything possible to ensure that Woolworths' 815 stores would stay open, and its 30,000 employees would have jobs through Christmas.”

Critics say that while at some level Woolworths is a victim of economic hard times, it also has not kept pace with evolving consumer needs and is not the kind of state-of-the-art retailing entity able to survive.

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