retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• A New York State judge has ruled that Martha Stewart Omnimedia did not violate any confidentiality agreements when it showed its contracts with Macy's to JC Penney when it was negotiating a contract with that company.

The decision resolves just one part of a dispute involving the three companies. Still at issue, and still being argued in the courts, is whether the judge should block JCP from selling items designed by Stewart's company in categories where Macy's maintains it has exclusivity.

• The US Senate has voted 87-11 to approve the nomination of Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoors equipment retailer REI, to be the new Secretary of the Interior. Jewell, who worked in the oil industry and as a banker before taming the helm at REI, enjoyed largely bipartisan support. She succeeds Secretary Ken Salazar, the former US senator from Colorado.

USA Today reports that Taco Bell has "announced new nutritional plans to have 20% of its combo meals (a main item, a side dish and a beverage) meet one-third of the federal government's recommended dietary guidelines by 2020. One-third was chosen because the guidelines are based on an average three meals consumed daily.

"The move comes at a time legislators, activists and parents are pushing the fast food giants to offer more better-for-you choices. At the same time more Millennials, Taco Bell's key target, also are choosing better-for-you options sold at places like Chipotle and Panera Bread."

• "The convenience store industry had record sales of $700.3 billion in 2012, with in-store sales increasing 2.2% to reach a record $199.3 billion and motor fuels sales increasing 2.9% to a record $501.0 billion," NACS said yesterday during its NACS State of the Industry Summit.

According to the report, "In-store sales growth was driven by double-digit sales gains in several subcategories: alternative snacks, which include meat snacks and health, energy and protein bars (12.2%), liquor, a relatively small subcategory (11.6%), cold dispensed beverages (11.3%) and sweet snacks (10.3%)."
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