retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “ the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday upheld sales of beer at Wegmans stores across the state, potentially opening the door for beer sales at other supermarkets and big retailers.

“In a unanimous decision, the seven justices found that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board properly granted licenses to Wegmans Food Market Inc. to sell beer at eating areas in its supermarkets.

“The stores have eat-in cafes that meet the liquor-code requirements to get restaurant licenses and sell beer to be consumed on the premises as well as to sell six-packs to go, the court ruled. The justices noted that their decision ‘may foreshadow the expansion of the practice of large businesses opening restaurants within their facilities’.”

• The Hartford Courant reports that Supervalu’s discount format, Save-A-Lot, is expanding in Connecticut.

“A 16,500 square foot portion of the former Shaw's supermarket, located at 425 Broad St. in Manchester, will become a Save-A-Lot grocery store,” the paper writes, and will open on January 20. At the same time, “a Waterbury Save-A-Lot store, located at 205 Union St. is also scheduled to open that same day. The grocery retail chain currently has seven outlets in Connecticut, including stores in Hartford, East Hartford, Bloomfield, New Britain, Meriden and Hamden.”

• The Los Angeles Times reports that all but one HOWS Markets stores are shutting down, apparently the victim of a tough economy that was not kind of stores positioned as upmarket, and of a competitive offering that was not nearly differentiated enough.

The company is closing down stores in Granada Hills, Malibu, Torrance, North Hollywood and Canyon Country, and keeping open only a Pasadena location.
KC's View: