retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that “Starbucks Corp CEO Howard Schultz, decrying a lack of leadership in Washington, said his chain of coffee shops is helping to launch a nationwide fund designed to stimulate U.S. job creation.

“Starbucks introduced on Monday the ‘Create Jobs for USA’ fund in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a group of private financial institutions that provide affordable loans to low-income people and communities.”

"Businesses and business leaders need to do more; we can't wait for Washington," Schultz told Reuters.

This is just the latest of Schultz’s semi-political forays; several months ago, he called on US CEOs to stop all political donations until elected officials in Washington started acting responsibly, engaging in meaningful debate, and making the kind of compromises that could lead to action rather than gridlock.

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Mariano's Fresh Market is slated to open its first downtown location today, in Lakeshore East.

The story notes: “This is the chain's fourth store in the Chicagoland area, but the first one downtown. Parent Roundy's Supermarkets plans to open as many as 18 stores within five years, with Palatine, Forest Glen and Loop locations expected to break ground soon.”

• Albertsons LLC has launched a new “A Taste of Albertsons” program, designed to “drive shopper awareness and interest through events tied to sampling, product launches, holiday promotions, meal-solutions and more. Knowledgeable, dedicated sales personnel will engage shoppers and personalize their shopping experiences while building consumer loyalty.” The program is a partnership with Daymon Interactions, the consumer event marketing company.
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