retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Plum Market, the Michigan-based food retailer, is opening its first store outside Michigan with a new unit in Chicago that offers "concierge service, a profusion of organic produce and a broad selection of competitively priced wine and beer," as well as "an Intelligentsia cafe, wine bar, frozen yogurt stand and sushi made by Michelin-rated chef Takashi Yagahashi."

It is the company's fourth location overall, and ownership seems to feel that a downtown location could help it generate enough buzz - and sales - to justify expansion there.

• The Associated Press reports that "the 7-Eleven convenience store chain filed a lawsuit Friday against the franchisee of five Long Island stores, claiming he siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars for at least four years. The complaint, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, alleges Tariq Khan, his wife, son and others have for years operated a 'business within a business"' at each of the five stores, diverting cash to buy merchandise inventory from suppliers and never reporting the invoices to 7-Eleven."

The company has ended its franchise agreement with Khan and is seeking $1 million in damages.
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