retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Computerworld reports that “a federal appeals court has cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit to proceed against grocery chain Hannaford Bros. over a 2007 data breach that exposed millions of customers' credit and debit card numbers.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit last week ruled that consumers who took proactive steps to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft in the wake of the breach may seek compensation for their expenses from Hannaford. The decision overturns an earlier decision by a district court in Maine which had held that consumers could not seek compensation from Hannaford because their alleged injuries stemming from the breach were too speculative and unforeseeable.”

• The Washington Post reports that Wegmans is being hit with “federal workplace safety citations carrying potential fines of nearly $200,000 ... mainly for inadequate safeguards to prevent machinery from starting up unintentionally during maintenance. It says machines must be completely shut down before workers carry out maintenance.

“Wegmans says it immediately tackled most issues raised by inspectors and is reviewing the citations.”

• The LaCrosse Tribune reports that members of the Good Food Co-op in Rochester, Minnesota, have approved a merger with the People’s Food Co-op of LaCrosse, which will now take over management of Good Food.

According to the story, “The official merger should come in early January, after both boards approve final details, People’s Food Co-op General Manager Michelle Schry said. The next step is to work with the Rochester employees as they prepare to double in size and likely staff when the store relocates, Schry said. The Rochester store will be an anchor tenant in a mixed-use downtown Rochester building being developed by La Crosse-based Gerrard Corp.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Coca-Cola plans to introduce a new, limited edition Coke can for the holidays that will be all-white, instead of the iconic red, and that will be “part of a marketing campaign aimed at protecting polar bears and their habitat.”

Coke is not commenting on the plan, but sources tell the that this reflects a longtime use of polar bears in advertising by Coke, and a commitment that Coke has made to support the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts to protect the species.

• Gladson, which provides syndicated consumer packaged goods (CPG) product images and nutritional information, announced that it has become a member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a national, CEO-led coalition of over 180 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, professional sports organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade associations and the U.S. Army dedicated to leading Americans to reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015.
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