retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Kraft Foods has "lowered the price on its flagship coffee brand Maxwell House and some other brews by 5 percent to 6 percent, following a similar move by the maker of Folgers ... Kraft reduced its Maxwell House and Yuban roast and ground coffees by approximately 6 percent, and its Instant Maxwell House and soluble Sanka decaffeinated coffees by roughly 5 percent."

• The Los Angeles Times reports that US wine exports grew to a record $1.4 billion in 2012, up 2.6 percent, the third straight year that vino exports have been up.

"Of the exports," the Times writes, "90% originated in California, home to well-known growing regions such as Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Temecula.

"The European Union remains the top market for Golden State wines, with exports up 1.7% last year to $485 million. Sales to Canada, the runner-up consumer, boomed 14% to $434 million."

Sales to China were up 18% to $74 million, while exports to South Korea were up 26 percent to $16 million.

• Kroger said yesterday that unionized employees working at Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Oregon and Washington State have ratified new labor agreements that provide our associates with additional compensation, affordable health care and pension for retirement."
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