retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Fast Company has a piece reporting that Chipotle, for the first time in its two decades of doing business, is adding an entirely new item to its menu - Sofritas, described as "shredded organic tofu braised with roasted poblanos, chipotle chiles, and spices." (The story notes that Chipotle has tweaked its menu, adding brown rice and burrito bowls, for example. But this is the first entirely new menu item.)

According to the piece, the product was ingredient driven. But, "beyond its tastiness factor, the inclusion of soy also fits in neatly with Chipotle's branding strategy. The chain's last few marketing pushes have highlighted its commitment to sustainable farming. Which is great, despite the unfortunate reality that Chipotle can't always get the ingredients it wants and often serves commodity meat. Adding tofu to the menu might reduce that problem." Chipotle execs say that in tests, even non-vegans and non-vegetarians seem to like the item, either on its own or mixed with chicken.

Reuters reports that Belgium-based Delhaize has sold its Bulgarian business - consisting of 54 stores - to AP Mart. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The story notes that Delhaize "has said in the past that it wanted to focus its resources on areas where it has leadership positions and has also sold its operations in Albania and Montenegro."

Not to mention certain sections of the US South….

• Call it yet another retail casualty of the digital economy…

ZDNet reports that Sony is closing 20 stores around the country, laying off 1,000 people, a move that will leave it with just 11 units "scattered across California, Florida, New York and Texas."

The story says that "Sony's retail presence has been dwindling like a slow bleed over the last few years as many consumers have moved online for tech purchases -- not to mention other brands dominating the mobile world for personal gadgetry."
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