retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced its Creative Choice Awards "Best of Show" winners in the Marketing and Merchandising categories at a special reception, held during the 2014 NGA Show. 

The Best of Show in Marketing was awarded to K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. for a marketing campaign, titled "Salute," is a 60 second video/television commercial created to honor and show respect for our armed forces. 

The Best of Show in Merchandising was awarded to B. Green & Company, Inc. of Baltimore, MD, submitted by SUPERVALU, Inc. The marketing campaign, titled "Food Depot and Eat Right, Live Well," sought to encourage low-income shoppers to buy more healthy items in-store. 
Over 350 entries were judged based on the criteria of creativity, clarity and effectiveness by a panel of industry experts.

• Sears announced that it "has combined mobile shopping with local store convenience to introduce In-Vehicle Pickup. The new service, powered by the Shop Your Way mobile app, enables customers to pick up their online purchases at any Sears store within five minutes of arrival, without ever leaving the car … To take advantage of the new convenience, Shop Your Way members shop online, completing their purchase via computer or tablet. At check-out, they choose In-Vehicle Pickup and input details of the vehicle they'll arrive in, then sign in to their Shop Your Way mobile app and enable location services before leaving for the store."

I do love how Sears, in its press release, describes itself as "a leading integrated retailer." I guess it all depends on how you define "leading"…

Law360 reports that a proposed class action suit has been filed against Whole Foods, charging that "the form Whole Foods uses as part of its online application to get permission from applicants to carry out consumer reports, including criminal background checks, credit checks and other similar reports" is legally invalid.

• The New York Times reports this morning that "L’Oréal, the world’s largest maker of cosmetics, will pay about $8.2 billion to buy back 8 percent of its shares from Nestlé … in a complex transaction that marks a major step toward unwinding a long alliance between the French cosmetics maker and the Swiss food giant."

The story notes that while "Nestlé has profited handsomely on its investment, the Swiss company has in recent years been focusing on expanding its health and nutrition businesses and dropping what it considers to be noncore activities. Selling the L’Oréal stake also frees up a significant amount of capital in case Nestlé identifies acquisition targets."

• The Associated Press reports that "two retailers in Southern California have reached a $55 million deal to buy Phoenix-based Pro's Ranch Markets, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May … The group is comprised of Cardenas Markets and Northgate Gonzalez Market.

"Cardenas Markets currently owns 26 stores in California and three in Nevada whole Northgate Gonzalez Markets operates 38 California locations."
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