retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Costco said last Friday that it will resume carrying Coca-Cola products, resolving a pricing dispute that began last month.

However, the retailer offered no details about the argument.

• There was a story from the Associated Press over the weekend that appeared in a number of media outlets charging that Monsanto Co. has been engaging in anti-competitive behavior in the genetic engineering business, which could increase the price of food since Monsanto’s patented genes are “inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S.”

The story suggested that Monsanto is using its dominance and influence to control the access its competitors have to the marketplace - practices that are at the heart not just of civil suits filed against the company, but also of both federal and state investigations into the company.

Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant has been quoted as saying that the investigation and attention are “the result of the fact that we have grown quickly and have been very successful."

• Procter & Gamble (P&G) has reached an agreement to acquire Sara Lee’s European air freshener business for $470 million (US). The deal is expected to close during the current fiscal year.

• The New Jersey State Senate last week approved a bill that would require restaurant chains with 20 or more units in the state to post calorie counts on their menus and menu boards - a bill that is similar to laws that currently exist in New York City and Philadelphia.

The bill now goes to the General Assembly for further consideration.
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