retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Bristol Farms opened its newest and 13th store yesterday, on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, California, offering local shoppers what CEO Kevin Davis says is "all the bells and whistles of a regular Bristol Farms with an expanded everyday grocery section that allows for all of your every day shopping needs."

I love watching Bristol Farms grow ... terrific company, smart management, and now, freed from the shackles of Albertsons ownership, able to chart its own course.

• In Indiana, the Star Press reports that Kroger plans to open one of its discount-driven, limited assortment Ruler Foods formats in Muncie by the end of September. The story notes that Kroger has not had a store in Muncie since it closed its unit there in 1973.

The store is the 22nd Ruler Foods to be opened by Kroger.

• The New York Times has a piece about how a California company, Revolution Foods, is creating a line of Meal Kits designed to challenge the Lunchables brand, but to do so with healthier items that will satisfy consumer nutrition concerns.

It is a significant business. Despite complaints that Lunchables have too much fat, sugar and preservatives, the line generates more than a billion dollars a year in sales.

• New York-based Fairway Markets said yesterday that customers with hearing loss now can place orders at the Broadway store's deli counter with greater ease, thanks to the installation of a hearing loop." The hearing loop, the company says, "works with an individual's telecoil-equipped hearing instrument or cochlear implant. The person behind the deli counter will speak into a microphone that is connected to the hearing loop, which transmits the signal (speech) wirelessly to the T coil. The system blocks out ambient background noise and amplifies the clerk's voice, making everything clearer."

Fairway said that it is the first supermarket in New York City to install this technology.

• The United Family announced "the launch of a texting program designed to enhance shopping experiences" at its United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos supermarkets. "Guests who opt-in to the texting program will receive product information and savings opportunities they can use instantly."
“Our new mobile alert program will provide guests with special offers and product information while at home, on-the-go or even inside our stores,” says Jennifer Nanz, digital media manager for The United Family. “As our guests turn to their mobile phones for relevant news and deals, we want to be sure they receive value-added offers that enhance their shopping experience at our stores.”
KC's View: