retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports this morning that Target Corp. no longer will offer health care insurance coverage to its part-time employees, saying that by doing so it could prevent these employees from qualifying for government subsidies that they could use to purchase coverage under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

The move is similar to those made by Home Depot and Walgreen.

Target said it would pay employees losing their corporate health care coverage $500, and that the affected group represented less than 10 percent of its 361,000 employees.


• The Fresno Bee reports that Grocery Outlet plans to take over a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market location in downtown Fresno, with plans to open the unit in June 2014.

According to the story, the downtown store will be a little smaller than Grocery Outlet's traditional units (15,000 sq. ft. vs. 20,000 sq. ft.), but also will face the challenge of catering both to urban employees who work near the store as well as local residents who may have different needs.


• The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Heinen’s Fine Foods "is opening a store in downtown Cleveland, betting that a grocery store is one of those key elements that will help the city tip the balance and grow a significant residential population." The story says that the "location they chose promises to make the grocery store something of a destination in itself. Because the store is being built in an enormous rotunda, shelves, displays and the entire flow of the store will have to be built to suit the continual curves of the dramatic space."

While the economics of operating a downtown store mean that it may take longer than usual for the store to be profitable, the story suggests that Heinen's will benefit from the fact that "there are no true grocery stores in the center of Cleveland other than Constantino’s, a smaller specialty market in the Warehouse District."
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