retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Los Angeles Times reports this morning on a new City Target store that opened over the weekend in downtown Los Angeles, "a fraction the size of a SuperTarget and carries goods geared for city dwellers. Think more air mattresses, less patio furniture." At least at first blush, the store seems to have a target shopper base - there were a hundred or so people lined up to enter when the store first opened, though the story notes that at least some of them were out early anyway to watch the Endeavour space shuttle get hauled through town on its way to its new permanent home in Exposition Park.

• The Chicago Tribune reports that as the impact of the summer's drought is seen in the cost of commodity items, "food rivals labor as the top expense for most restaurants. Restaurateurs are revamping menus, reducing portion sizes and even considering staff cuts. In the months to come, they say, watch for smaller steaks, fewer tortillas per entree and maybe even menu-wide price increases ... Analysts expect overall food costs to rise 5% to 20% by the end of the year - a painful squeeze for businesses that, even in the most prosperous times, operate on tight margins with little room to maneuver."

• The Kroger Co. said that associates working at Kroger stores in Central Ohio have ratified a new labor agreement with UFCW Local 1059. The contract covers more than 11,000 associates working in 85 stores in the Columbus and Central Ohio area.
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