retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Ad Week reports on a new study from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) suggests that “while other segments have struggled, the recession has not played a huge a role in baby-boomer food-purchasing decisions. More than three-quarters of the group, born between 1946-64, maintained their spending on necessity items, and 85 percent continued to make unplanned purchases. This makes the group, which represents half of all total U.S. spending, a $50 billion growth opportunity for consumer packaged-goods companies, per the report.”

• The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Kroger’s Columbus, Ohio, division is funding a food safety hotline, partnering with Ohio State University and the Center for Innovative Food Technology, students of which will answer the phones.

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Costco is on schedule to open its first Australian store, in Melbourne, on August 17, with a $60 membership fee. A second store is on the drawing board for Sydney, and then Costco says it will decide whether to expand further.

The climate is not expected to be especially friendly to Costco, since, as the paper writes, “The Washington-based retailer enters a market where Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles unit control almost three-quarters of retail grocery sales.”

• Target announced that it will open 23 stores simultaneously this Sunday – four general merchandise stores, 17 stores with an expanded food selection, and two SuperTarget units.
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