retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Sun Times reports that the "Walgreens store set to open in south Evanston later this year is aiming to become the nation’s first 'net-zero' energy retail store, which company engineers predict will produce energy equal to or greater than what it consumes."


USA Today reports that "the national obsession with fitness, healthy eating and battling obesity is altering the retail landscape of neighborhood shopping centers and strip malls: They are becoming suburban havens of healthy living.

"Health clubs are increasingly anchoring outdoor shopping centers. Yoga studios, yogurt shops, vitamin and workout apparel stores, organic food markets and health foods restaurants quickly follow."


• The Wall Street Journal reports that there is more evidence of an improving economy - "US households ramped up their borrowing at an annualized rate of 2.4% in the final three months of 2012, the biggest jump since the beginning of 2008, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday. Mortgage borrowings outstanding dropped only 0.8%—the lowest percentage drop since early 2009. Meantime, other kinds of consumer borrowing expanded at the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2007."

According to the story, "The central bank's borrowing data Thursday are the latest sign that the mind-set of the American consumer appears to be shifting from earlier in the recovery, thanks partly to a rebound in the stock market and rising home prices that are making many households feel wealthier."


NBC News reports that hundreds of consumers in Newark, Ohio, "are rallying support around what they call an institution in their community; their local grocery store that is set to close." The store in question is a Meijer that opened in 1981 that the company says is no longer economically feasible.

More than 1,300 residents have gone on Facebook to protest the planned May 24 closing.


Business Insider reports that JC Penney, reeling from sales numbers going in the wrong direction, is eliminating 2,200 positions, and has warned store managers that they must "work harder with less." The story says that "'Service Leaders,' 'administrative assistants,' and 'office/cash room associates' are being cut" from the payroll.


• Two North Carolina food bloggers have launched a new Change.org petition with more than 50,000 signatures in under 48 hours calling on Kraft Foods to remove controversial artificial dyes Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 from its Macaroni and Cheese products.

The bloggers say that they "grew concerned about the popular Kraft product after discovering that many countries ban the Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 artificial dyes and that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has linked the artificial colors to hyperactivity in children, migraines, and asthma."
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