retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Hachette Book Group, which is fighting a battle over prices with Amazon that has led to a kind of virtual boycott of its books by the e-tailer, said yesterday that it is laying off some 30 people, or about three percent of its workforce.

The reason, it said, is a "changing marketplace," and the layoffs are not "directly related" to the Amazon dispute.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Nestlé SA plans to sell off underperforming food brands from its portfolio, as it continues to conduct reviews of its 2,000 business units.

"We will divest certain businesses or subcategories of certain businesses," CEO Paul Bulcke is quoted as saying to an investor conference. "We will not allow problems to drag on." These decisions, he says, free up management time and resources: "We don't have stupid discussions, discussing the same problem five times."
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