retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Bloomberg reports that "Nestle SA is exploring ways to reduce its $30 billion stake in L’Oreal SA and has signaled its intentions to the management of the world’s largest cosmetics maker …
Any move to gradually reduce the 29 percent stake could take years, several of the people said, citing the size of the holding and the close, complex nature of the relationship between the companies and the Bettencourt family behind L’Oreal."

Executives for both companies are not commenting on the report.

Reuters reports that "online shopping and a lucrative deal with online retail giant Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays in some U.S. cities" seems to have been an enormous help to the US Postal Service (USPS), which said that it lost $354 million in its fiscal first quarter. That sounds awful, except when you compare it to the same period a year ago - when the USPS lost $1.3 billion.

While the improvement was notable, officials at the USPS said that it cannot achieve long-term stability until the US Congress reduces the onerous payments that it must make for its future retirees' health benefits.

That's been the longtime argument around here - that for the USPS to be effective, it had to expand into relevant services, not try to cut its way to prosperity.

• The Chicago Sun Times reports that "shoppers from New York to Seattle have witnessed a reboot of the food court experience, as sumptuous farmers markets-slash-gourmet eateries become increasingly common."

Some examples:

"In Washington, D.C., retail developer Edens revived a vintage venue to create Union Market, a 40-artisan food hall that is just over a year old. In Seattle, a high-end 'shellfish deli' and other local vendors reside in Melrose Market, a four-year-old project housed in a renovated auto garage that smacks of cool. In Chicago, the French Market brings together more than 30 vendors, from a crepe shop to a kosher deli and a bakery from Top Chef veteran Stephanie Izard."

It always is a positive development when people and places focus to a greater extent on good food, rather than settling for the lowest common denominator.
KC's View: