retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Detroit Free Press reports on the groundbreaking today for a major retail center in Detroit that will feature, among other things, a Meijer supercenter.

As the story notes, "The Gateway center groundbreaking follows by just days this week's groundbreaking in the city's Midtown district of the Whole Foods grocery store scheduled to open in early 2013. The coming of major retailers like these to a city long thought to be short on shopping opportunities marks for many a hopeful sign of redevelopment."

• The Associated Press reports that in a bid to return to turn around its US business, Sears Holdings plans to spin off a stake in its Canadian operations, though it plans to retain a 51 percent interest in the company.

This move seems to be part of a broader strategic direction. As the AP notes, "Earlier this year, Sears also announced that it was spinning off its smaller Hometown and Outlet stores as well as some hardware stores in a deal expected to raise $400 million to $500 million. That transaction is still expected to close in the third quarter."

USA Today reports on a new study conducted by the Rand Corp. and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finding that "a whopping 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

One interesting note from the story: "Family restaurants fared worse than fast-food. Entrees at family-style restaurants on average have more calories, fat and sodium than fast-food restaurants. Entrees at family-style eateries posted 271 more calories, 435 more milligrams of sodium and 16 more grams of fat than fast-food restaurants..."

• The Associated Press reports that members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in Colorado and Wyoming have approved a new two-year contract that covers King Soopers, Safeway, Albertson's, Smith Foods and City Market stores.

• Supervalu announced that it has opened its first save-A-Lot store in Atlantic City, NJ., becoming what it calls "the first full-service grocery store within a 21 mile radius of the city."
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