retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Boston Business Journal reports that Starbucks shift supervisors in Massachusetts are getting a starting wage increase from $11 to $13.89 an hour, as well as a one-time bonus of $350.

The increase and bonus are designed to compensate for a compensation hit that the shift supervisors took when state courts ruled last November that they could not participate in money left by shoppers in store tip jars.

BurgerBusiness.com reports that bison may be poised "to succeed lamb as the next hip, hot burger protein."

According to the story, "Bison appears to be taking the same top-down menu path to popularity that lamb burgers followed: appearing on higher-end burger bar menus before trickling down to fast-casual and even a few quick-service concepts. Obviously, bison was the star from the 2002 start of the 40-plus-unit Ted’s Montana Grill chain, where most burgers are available with beef or bison patty. Now the 33-unit The Counter chain says bison’s popularity justifies its becoming a year-round option on its build-your-own-burger menu."

How did I not end up working for BurgerBusiness at some point during my career? Sounds like a great gig ... especially if one could combine it with a career at BeerBiz...

• The Houston Chronicle reports that Sprouts Farmers Market plans to open its first Houston-area store in late March, and has four more planned for the market.

• In Washington State, the Olympian reports that Haggen Inc.plans to close its Top Food & Drug store in Lacey sometime in the next two months, noting that this is "the second major retailer to close in the area since October."

The company did not address the specific reasons for the decision. "As a company, we continually evaluate our stores and identify opportunities to strengthen our overall business,” says John Turley, co-president and senior vice president of operations at Haggen.

One probable reason cited in the story: WinCo, which opened nearby in 2010 and, in my experience, ends up being a formidable competitor in virtually every place in operates. I've been told that there are two companies that keep Walmart execs awake at night - Amazon and WinCo.
KC's View: