retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker tells the State-Journal Register that the chain, which currently operates 238 grocery stores and 120 convenience stores with fuel, plans to open 16 new c-stores and four new grocery stores, in addition the remodeling of 10 supermarkets and relocation of two more. This plan is scheduled to be completed by the end of the company's fiscal year, September 30.


• The Associated Press reports that Procter & Gamble has enraged anger among some Germans "after unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on promotional packages for Ariel washing powder." Those boxes showed a white soccer jersey with the number 88, which, as it happens, is the code used by neo-Nazis to represent the phrase 'Heil Hitler," because "H" is the eighth letter in the alphabet.

The use of actual Nazi phrases is illegal in Germany.

P&G said the use of the number was "unintentionally ambiguous," and has stopped shipping the offending product.


• The Seattle Times reports that it is looking good for Costco's first-even Spanish store, scheduled to open in Seville on Thursday. According to the story, the 145,000 square foot store "is already making ripples in Spain’s fourth-largest city. It has suddenly created hundreds of relatively well-paid jobs in one of the areas worst hit by the eurozone’s downturn, with a jobless rate of 34 percent.

"By March more than 148,000 people had applied for the Seville warehouse’s 250 jobs, said Diane Tucci, who leads the company’s operations in Spain."

Costco currently operates stores in a number of countries outside the US, including the UK, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, but Europe is seen as a big opportunity for a company that has as its goal expanding from 652 club stores to 1,000. And Spain is seen as a major test for the company, which plans to open half its new stores this year outside the US.


• Hillshire Brands yesterday said that it will acquire Pinnacle Foods for about $6.6 billion, which, as Reuters writes, adds "products such as Duncan Hines baking mixes to its portfolio that includes Jimmy Dean sausages and Hillshire Farm luncheon meats."
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