retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Associated Press reports that "Dunkin’ Donuts has been quietly building up its presence in Europe and now has 120 outlets, mostly in Germany but also in Russia, Spain, Bulgaria and most recently, Britain." This marks a return to Europe, where Dunkin' Donuts tried to establish a presence back in the nineties, but withdrew when things didn't go so well.

The story notes that while Dunkin' Donuts features its mainstay menu of coffee and doughnuts, it also features some local products … such as, in London, "a savory snack called ‘'Bacon Buttie,' as well as porridge."


• Coca-Cola said yesterday that in addition to removing brominated vegetable oil from its Powerade sports drinks, a move similar to that made by PepsiCo's Gatorade brand, it also will remove it from all its drinks that contain it - a list that includes Fanta and Fresca.

According to the Associated Press story, Coca-Cola said that "it would phase out the ingredient to be consistent with the ingredients it uses around the world. It said it would instead use sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which Coca-Cola said has been used in drinks for more than 14 years, and glycerol ester of rosin, which it said is commonly found in chewing gum and drinks."


• The Financial Times reports that "Germany's Bayer has agreed to buy Merck's consumer healthcare business for $14.2 billion, ending an auction for a business that makes Coppertone suntan lotion and tempted suitors including Britain's Reckitt Benckiser.

"The acquisition is a significant bet for Bayer on the US, where the consumer healthcare division, whose products also include the anti-allergy medicine Claritin, generates about 70 per cent of its revenue."


• The Detroit Free Press reports that Kroger has decided to end the practice of double couponing in its Michigan stores, the company has announced. Kroger said that it instead will focus on across-the-board price cuts on thousands of items within its grocery, health, beauty and other departments." The practice is in keeping with what Kroger has been doing in other divisions.

Interesting note: Kroger says that less than one percent of its shoppers are "traditional coupon users."
KC's View: