retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Los Angeles Times reports that Apple will look to expand its retail footprint by opening “mini Apple Store displays inside select Target locations later this year ... As many as 25 locations in smaller metro areas not large enough for Apple Stores of their own could end up with the in-Target Apple Store set-ups.”

The setup will be similar to one that Apple uses with Best Buy, creating “store-within-a-store” sections devoted to Apple products.

According to the story, “there are 1,752 Target locations and 245 Apple Stores in the U.S.” and “there are also more than 600 BestBuy locations with mini Apple Store displays inside.”

It always has been the argument here that progressive retailers find unorthodox places from which to reach out to shoppers. It is smart for Apple to think this way...

• The Wall Street Journal reports that PepsiCo “is weighing thousands of job cuts as part of a broader review of its beverage and snack businesses, according to people familiar with the matter.” According to the story, the company has confirmed that “it is studying possible payroll cuts but declined to say how many jobs are in jeopardy. The company has about 300,000 employees globally.”

The Journal notes that some critics believe that Pepsi should break itself up into two companies - beverages and snacks - and others say that CEO Indra Nooyi has focused too much on healthier products and not enough on the core soft drink business. But management has rejected both suggestions.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Walgreen is preparing new open a new flagship store in the city’s Loop district that amounts to an aggressive “brand reinvention.”

According to the story, “The new Walgreens will include a sleek cosmetics area that looks like a mini-Sephora and offers $15 manicures and eyebrow-shaping. There also will be a barista, made-to-order sushi, a juice and smoothie bar, self-serve frozen yogurt, upscale wine and spirits and a wide cheese selection—even a humidor. On the pharmacy side, the store will staff a full-time ‘health guide’ to act as a concierge, helping customers navigate health care options. Self-serve kiosks will allow customers to grab prescription refills quickly and there will be private consultation rooms where they can get flu shots, blood-pressure screenings and blood-glucose tests.”
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