retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Los Angeles Times reports that "McDonald's has signed up with the Marine Stewardship Council to verify all of its fish that gets breaded, fried and sold as 'Filet-O-Fish' sandwiches are sustainably certified Alaskan pollock. In exchange for audits of its massive supply chain, McDonald's each year can sell hundreds of millions of fish sandwiches, and soon-to-be sold Fish McBites, in boxes with the council's trademarked blue Eco-label."

Sustainable? Certified Alaskan pollock? I'm actually shocked to find out there is any actual fish in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches...

• The Associated Press reports that as a "voluntary and precautionary measure," Burger King restaurants in Ireland and the UK "has stopped buying beef from an Irish meat processor whose patties were found to contain traces of horsemeat."

There have been several cases of horsemeat being found in s-called beef burgers coming from a number of distributors, which has raised questions about food safety and labeling accuracy in the UK. According to the story, "Irish food officials say an ingredient imported from an unspecified European country and used as filler in cheap burgers is the likely source of the horsemeat contamination."

Of course, of course. But I'd still like to hear an explanation that doesn't use words like "unspecified" and "likely."

Bloomberg reports that while Starbucks first quarter profit was up 13 percent, "sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa declined for the second straight quarter."

According to the story, "Chief Executive Howard Schultz is closing stores in Europe, mostly in Britain, as the chain attempts to turn around the business there. Last year, Starbucks revamped its lattes with more espresso and began running television ads in Britain to attract more customers. Sales at stores open at least 13 months in Europe, the Middle East and Africa fell 1 percent in the quarter."

Wait a minute. I thought that Starbucks' big growth area was stores outside the US. Now it is the non-US stores that are a drag on the company? I'm confused.
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