retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that second-round bids for Grocery Outlet Inc., which has more than 200 units, are due next week, "in a sale that could fetch upwards of $1.2 billion for Grocery Outlet’s owners, according to people familiar with the matter. Based on a typical private-equity auction timetable, that could mean this one will be resolved this month or next."

The story says that "private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC, Hellman & Friedman LLC, Advent International Corp. and Roark Capital Group submitted first-round bids in excess of $1.1 billion … There are no corporate bidders involved in the process."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Kroger is saying it plans "to hire an additional 20,000 permanent employees to staff its stores as the nation's largest independent grocery chain accelerates its expansion.

"Kroger didn't give an exact time frame for the hiring, saying only it plans to fill the jobs as soon as possible—part of an expansion strategy announced in 2012. Kroger, which currently has 2,640 grocery stores, has added 40,000 jobs over the past six years."

• The Bergen Record reports that John R. Moritz, the former senior vice president of marketing for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the company of more than $1.2 million, has been sentenced to three years in prison and compelled to make $3.2 million in restitution, of which he already has paid back $1.2 million.

• The BBC reports that the Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to adopt "government recommendations and introduce traffic light nutrition labels on the front of its cans and bottles," an initiative that it previously had rejected.

The story notes that "the colour-coded labels will show nutritional content in each container and percentage guidelines for daily consumption of fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories," that Coke changed its mind after gauging the reactions of shoppers to the program.

Crain's Chicago Business reports that McDonald's is encountering an unexpected problem as it tries to recapture sales momentum that it has lost in recent years - millenniums are shunning its food because they perceive it to be unhealthy, and that distaste is being transferred to their children: "Raised in a country where ethnic food often is commonplace and bombarded with anti-processed-food messages, kids no longer crave McDonald's like they used to."
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