business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Advertising Age reports that Pizza Hut "is going for less flash and more flavor," and responding to research showing that customers - especially millennials - "are increasingly seeking food perceived as higher quality and more gourmet with unconventional flavor combinations … including garlic-parmesan pizzas (a five-cheese and a chicken-bacon-tomato variety) and three barbecue pizzas promoted by country singer and TV personality Blake Shelton."

Pizza Hut also is upping its investment in digital advertising, believing that this is the best way to reach desired customers.

Gee. Quality and flavor as a differentiating sales proposition. What a concept.

Bloomberg reports that Royal Ahold, coming off a recent quarter in which operating income was down more than four percent, is responding by "putting more focus on its online businesses as consumers around the world seek out value and ease of purchasing…"


Reuters reports that German labor unions are once again threatening a strike against Amazon, complaining that the company's "refusal to speak about a wage agreement shows a lack of respect and that it doesn't value the performance of its employees."

The debate is an ongoing one - the unions want Amazon employees to be paid in accordance with national collective bargaining agreements covering retail employees, while Amazon maintains the warehouse employees and logistical workers and are being paid "above average" salaries for that sector.

• In Washington State, the Herald Business Journal reports that "the Haggen Food & Pharmacy in Arlington and the TOP Food & Drug store in Edmonds will be shut down within the next two months … the closure of the stores came after the chain was unsuccessful in negotiating a lease renewal with the property owner, the company said in a statement."

Over the past 18 months, Haggen has closed eight stores as part of what it calls "a long-term plan to improve competitiveness."

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Tyson Foods has "offered about $6.2 billion for Hillshire Brands Co., topping the bid a major rival made just two days earlier for the Chicago-based maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs." The bidding is expected to go higher, with rival suitor Pilgrim's Pride expected to come in with an even higher number.
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