retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The National Retail Federation has urged the House to approve legislation that would establish a new unit at the Department of Justice focused on investigating and prosecuting organized retail crime.

“This bill is one of the keys to protecting both retailers and consumers against the massive economic costs and very real public health and safety risks posed by organized retail crime,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said. “Establishing a team of law enforcement professionals dedicated to fighting these crimes and working in close consultation with retailers shows the importance of the issue to industry, consumers and law enforcement, and serves as an important deterrent to perpetrators.”

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages is changing Sierra Mist, its lemon-lime soda, into ‘Sierra Mist Natural,’ which the company says will be made with real sugar. The drink will have no preservatives, no artificial flavors and no caffeine.

Dow Jones reports that General Mills “aims to source 100% of the palm oil it uses from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015, becoming the latest in a long list of major food companies, including fast food chain Burger King Holdings Inc., Nestle SA and Unilever NV to say it will source only eco- friendly palm oil--as opposed to palm oil linked to deforestation.”

• The New York Times reports this morning that Nestlé plans to “open a research and development center in India, where it would use local ingredients and spices, as well as low-cost Indian research and engineering, to make products for India as well as other countries. The center will be built in Manesar, a town south of Delhi, and should be open in 2012.

“Like many other Western companies, Nestlé is ramping up in emerging markets where fast-growing economies and young populations mean an increasing number of consumers can afford nonessential goods. Nestlé predicts that 45 percent of its sales will come in emerging markets by 2020.”

• As expected, Blockbuster Inc. yesterday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Reuters writes that the company is “weighed by more than $900 million in debt and hurt by competitors who use mailboxes or instant streaming.”
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