retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The BBC reports that McDonald's plans to open its first vegetarian restaurant - "near the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in northern India."

According to the story, "The chain plans to open another vegetarian outlet in north-western India, near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Kashmir, which is a Hindu pilgrimage site that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

"McDonald's has moved to provide more salads and other healthier foods with less sugar, salt and fat in them, in response to public concerns about diet. In India, its menu is typically 50% vegetarian.

"Its signature dish in the country is the McAloo Tikki burger, which uses a spiced potato-based filling. It accounts for 25% of total sales."

I don't know about you, but I'd actually be willing to try that McAloo Tikki burger...

• The Associated Press reports on how "big chains like J.C. Penney and Lowe’s are trying to wean sale-addicted customers off of sales in favor of everyday low pricing. It’s the biggest shift in pricing in decades, but retailers have a long way to go to convince shoppers that predictable pricing is better than the temporary promotions that they’ve grown to love. In fact, early this year, nearly three-quarters of 1,000 shoppers surveyed by consumer research firm America’s Research Group said it would take discounts of at least 50 percent to get them to buy a given item. That’s up from 52 percent in 2005."

I am aware that there is a contradiction in two of the stories I have chosen to run this morning ... that here we have retailers trying to move away from price promotion-focused marketing efforts, while we also have online retailers engaging in dynamic pricing that changes by the moment as a way of finding any advantage. Both can happen at once, as different retailers try to develop strategies that will serve them in a sustainable way. (BTW...check out the report from a JCP shopper in "Your Views," below...)

Reuters reports that Starbucks "is offering consumers a deal this week through daily-deal company LivingSocial, a vote of confidence in Groupon Inc's main rival.
LivingSocial, part owned by Amazon.com Inc, will offer a $10 Starbucks gift card for $5 on Wednesday. Customers have six months to claim the card, which can be used across the United States."
KC's View: