retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The New York Times had a piece in its Sunday Business section about how Kellogg’s, unhappy with declining sales for some of its mainstay cereal product lines, is “cooking up new products at a frenetic pace — new cereals as well as new categories of food and flavors for what everyone here calls ‘snacking occasions’.”

The lead dog in this race is Pringles, which Kellogg’s is buying from Procter & Gamble is a $2.7 billion deal. “What the company is buying with Pringles is not just a line of products that is already huge internationally, but a group of Procter & Gamble merchandisers with what (CEO John) Bryant calls ;the snack mind-set.’ Their job will be to bolster the company’s foreign snack divisions, and to step on it.”

• The Los Angeles Times reports that “long portrayed as a key contributor to childhood obesity, fast-food kids meals may be losing their appeal to youngsters — and, more importantly, their parents. The emergence of dollar menus among restaurants has given price-conscious parents a powerful incentive to choose an a la carte burger or fries rather than ponying up nearly $4 for a kids meal.

“Industry observers also say the toys served up with every meal aren't capturing older kids' attention, while others add that children are simply aging out of the meals earlier as they're becoming more technologically savvy.

“According to the research firm NPD Group Inc., visits to fast-food restaurants in which kids meals were purchased have declined every year since 2007, falling 5% in 2011 from 2010.”

• The Chicago Sun Times reports that “Walgreen Co. will pay $7.9 million to resolve allegations it illegally tried to get federal health-care beneficiaries to switch their prescriptions to Walgreen pharmacies, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday. The Justice Department says the company offered inducements to people who get their health care from government programs. Walgreen offered $25 gift cards to people who transferred their prescriptions to Walgreen pharmacies.”

ABC News reports that “an Illinois man who claims tainted dog treats killed his Pomeranian has sued Nestle Purina and Wal-Mart for $5 million in federal court, becoming the latest dog owner to allege publicly that treats made out of chicken jerky from China have caused sickness or death.”

According to the story, “Nestle Purina has declined to comment on the litigation, but spokesperson Keith Schopp has previously told ABC News that the safety of pets is the company's utmost priority and that production of the treats in China is held to the highest quality and safety standards.”

And Walmart thought it had its hands full with the whole mexican bribery allegations. Once pet owners begin marshaling their forces, the folks in Bentonville may have to erect barricades and install gun turrets...
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