retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Charlotte Observer weighs in on Food Lion’s moves to “repair its reputation with shoppers by sprucing up its local stores,” noting that “in a test that has started in the Triangle and Chattanooga, Tenn., the Salisbury-based grocer is cutting prices on 6,000 items, reorganizing shelves, adding shopping carts, increasing staffing and trying to improve customer service.

“If successful, Food Lion plans to expand the pilot program to nearly all its 1,200 stores by the end of 2012.”

The paper notes that one of the challenges to Food Lion is that “shoppers have grown fickle and hard to impress after years of price wars and heavy advertising. Food Lion will need to prove the improvements aren't just cosmetic.”

• The Sacramento Business Journal reports that state statisticians say that Californians recycle 82 percent of their containers - all time state high.

According to the story, “CalRecycle said recycling rates were strong for the three material types included in CRV recycling. Aluminum rose to 94 percent from 91 percent the previous year, but plastic recycling declined to 68 percent from 73 percent. Glass recycling rose to 85 percent from 80 percent. Other types of plastic, including bimetal cans, combined make up less than three percent of CRV beverage containers.”

• The Associated Press reports that a new book called “American Wasteland,” by Jonathan Bloom, maintains that “Americans waste an estimated 14 percent to 40 percent of the food produced for their consumption. It happens in fields, in stores and in your kitchen. That’s bad for the environment and it can be very bad for your wallet.”

The story continues: “Farmers toss imperfect heads of lettuce, grocers chuck bruised tomatoes and, by best estimates, consumers waste about 25 percent of the food they buy — throwing out browned bananas, outdated cheese and unused leftovers.

“This has all sorts of environmental, social and ethical ramifications. But if you look just at the financial impact on the consumer, that is the equivalent of a family of four tossing $1,500 to $4,000 in the garbage each year. That’s a lot of dough.”
KC's View: