retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Harmons Grocery Stores there is celebrating its 80th anniversary, having "grown from a fruit stand in West Valley City to a few supermarkets in the Salt Lake Valley to a 16-store, statewide chain with an emphasis on fresh foods.

One interesting thing about the company, according to the story, is its willingness to try new things, like building "different types of stores to suit various communities. In Salt Lake City, its Emigration Market is a small neighborhood store and at City Creek Center downtown there’s a teeming new urban store. In suburban Farmington, there’s an expansive supermarket at the sprawling Station Park shopping center at the intersection of Interstate 15, U.S. 89, Legacy Parkway and FrontRunner commuter rail line. All have opened within the past year."

• Dean Foods announced yesterday that it plans to spin off its business unit that sells Horizon Organic dairy products and Silk soy milk.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Dallas-based Dean Foods, the largest distributor of dairy products in the U.S. by sales, seeks to raise up to $300 million through an initial public offering of up to 20% of the WhiteWave Foods Co.

"Dean will own at least 80% of the new company's stock, and intends to distribute its remaining interest in the company to Dean shareholders after the IPO closes. The company expects the transaction to occur in the fourth quarter. Analysts have long considered the WhiteWave-Alpro division to be more valuable than other parts of Dean Foods, whose standard dairy products and vast private-label business are more vulnerable to volatility in commodity prices and a long-running slowdown in consumers' appetites for dairy products."

• The Denver Business Journal reports that "the astronomical growth of craft beer continued in the first half of 2012, when sales rose 14 percent over the same period in 2011 and production rose by 12 percent, according to statistics released Monday by the Boulder-based Brewers Association (BA)."

Wait until they get second half sales numbers in, which will coincide with my monthlong stay in Portland....
KC's View: