retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has recognized Tom Zaucha, president/CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA) with a lifetime achievement award for “more than 40 years of stellar service to the food industry, including 27 years at the helm of NGA.”  FMI president/CEO Leslie G. Sarasin presented the award to Zaucha at an FMI board of directors meeting in Toronto, Canada.

Zaucha is scheduled to retire from NGA early next year.

• The Grand Rapids Press reports that Meijer “has dropped prices up to 30 percent on more than 400 popular toys from Barbie to Star Wars Legos” in an effort “to hold its own against the country's biggest retailers, Walmart and Target, in a holiday price war.”

• The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks is expected to open the first of 100 “individualized” stores in the UK today, with a cafe in Central London that recalls some of the more community-oriented units recently opened in Seattle - part of a broader effort to recapture the company’s mojo after a period of time during which the combination of over-expansion and the recession seemed to sap Starbucks of its momentum.

"We are not trying to disguise that it's Starbucks," Tim McCoy, head of communications for Starbucks in the UK, tells the Times. "It still says Starbucks on the door, but we needed something different. There are a lot of copycat chains around and we thought people would feel better disposed to us if they felt the store was part of their community and knew the people there."
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