retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has affirmed a lower court ruling that “Sears Holdings Corp. is not liable to former Kmart Holding Corp. shareholders who accused that retailer of trying to drive down Kmart's stock price to let executives buy shares cheaply ... In the class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that Kmart deliberately understated the value of its real estate assets by several billion dollars, to give (Sears Chairman Edward) Lampert and (onetime Kmart CEO Julian) Day a chance to acquire Kmart shares at less than their true worth.”

• Brookshire Grocery Co. announced that its manufacturing team won the Quality Assurance-Best Ice Cream Plant and Quality Assurance-Best Yogurt Plant awards from the All Star Dairy Association (ASDA). According to the announcement, “ASDA reviewed some 250 dairy and ice cream plants in 45 states, as well as in Canada and Puerto Rico. BGC manufacturing excelled in the association’s plant inspections, sensory evaluation of products and laboratory tests.”

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Sara Lee “is launching a line of single-cup coffee capsules in France this week aimed at stealing sales from Nestlé PLC. Sara Lee is the first rival to sell single-serve capsules compatible with Nestlé's proprietary Nespresso machines ... Sara Lee's new L'Or coffee capsules for Nespresso machines will sell for 10% to 20% less than Nestlé's and will be available at grocers such as Carrefour, while Nestlé sells most of its capsules through mail order.”

The story notes that CEO Brenda Barnes is depending on wins in the coffee category to power company growth at a time when she is divesting Sara Lee’s household and personal care operations, which have been profitable though not in synch with her definition of core business.
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