retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Belle Foods - the supermarket chain created earlier this year when a new company acquired all 57 grocery store locations of the Southern Family Markets grocery chain operating under banners such as Food World, Piggly Wiggly, Bruno’s, and Southern Family Markets - announced that it will reopen a new store in Hoover, Alabama, tomorrow.

The store has undergone a major renovation and will feature a fresh salad bar, Panini grill, sub station, in-store marinated and seasoned meats, along with Alabama caught shrimp and seafood. it also is said to be the first grocery store in the south to feature a childcare center. Belle Jr. will be a place where children ages 3-10 years of age will be able to enjoy educational games, toys, and crafts all while their parents are shopping within the store. Belle Jr. will be staffed by employees who have undergone a comprehensive background check and are CPR certified.

Bill White, the CFO of Big Y Foods and a 30-year industry veteran, formed Belle Foods and serves as the President and CEO. His son, Jeff White, serves as the Chief Administrative Officer.

Good for them. I wish them all the best of luck, and may years of prosperity. And next time I am in their neck of the woods, I'll plan to stop by...

Reuters reports this morning that JC Penney's Q2 sales were down 22.6 percent, same-store sales were down 21.7 percent, and that the company had a net loss of $147 million - all seen by analysts as a result of the company's decision to move from ubiquitous coupons, sales and promotions to more of an EDLP approach and an in-store model that depends on boutiques and lifestyle marketing.

Despite the numbers, CEO Ron Johnson pledged to "stay the course."

• The Wall Street Journal reports on how a "rash of bad weather - from a drought in the U.S. to a hot summer in Russia to excessive rain in Brazil - is straining the global food chain and pushing up prices around the world.

"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday said its index of global food prices rose 6% in July, the biggest increase since November 2009. The index, which measures the export prices of food, is 10% below its February 2011 record."
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