retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Cincinnati, the Business Courier reports that Kroger's decision in the market "to lower everyday prices and do away with double coupons must be working ... Kroger has decided to do the same thing at the 121 stores in its Mid-Atlantic division.

"Kroger launched the program last week at stores in eastern Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The reduced prices on thousands of items took effect beginning April 28. Kroger said it will stop doubling the value of coupons in Mid-Atlantic stores beginning May 12."

• In Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reports that "Publix has introduced a new coupon savings tool at to help customers save more at its stores. The 'Coupon Savings Helper' automatically matches coupons published in SmartSource and Red Plum circulars that come in the Sunday Sun Sentinel to weekly BOGO sales at the store..."

Advertising Age reports that there is "mounting speculation that Mondelez might join forces with PepsiCo to create a colossus with at least 15 global snack and candy brands each worth more than $1 billion, including Tostitos, Doritos, Lays, Trident, Oreo and Nabisco.

"Although both companies are making strong plays in emerging markets, those businesses 'remain below-scale,' Bernstein Research stated in a recent report speculating on merger possibilities. 'As a result, to the extent that a combination could lead to accelerated growth and/or enhanced scale, it could be highly beneficial to both [companies]'."

It was just year that Mondelez International was spun off from Kraft as a standalone candy and snack-food company.

Neither company has commented on the speculation.

• The Los Angeles Times reports that "proposed legislation to remove junk food and sugar-loaded drinks from vending machines at California state office buildings and on government property is intensifying debate about when the battle against obesity becomes a gateway to 'nanny state' tactics. Backers of the Assembly bill, AB 459, said California shouldn't condone the sale of fatty snacks and sodas in the workplace when taxpayers are already shelling out vast amounts to cover the healthcare costs of overweight government employees."
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