retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and The Grocers Supply Company, Inc. said yesterday that "C&S has agreed to acquire the wholesale distribution and supply business of Grocers Supply. The acquisition will include Grocers Supply’s warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas, and Rio Grande Valley areas along with its approximately 1,800 employees, but will not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to close before year-end and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals."

• The Grand Rapids Press reports that SpartanNash's Family Fare concept, which has 60 stores in Michigan, also is working outside the state - the company "has spent $21 million building or remodeling seven Family Fare Supermarkets in Dickinson, in western North Dakota, and in the Fargo Moorhead region that stretches across the North Dakota-Minnesota border."

Meredith Gremel, director of corporate affairs at SpartanNash, says that when Spartan Stores merged with Nash Finch, one of the goals was to analyze the various banners to see what was working and what might work better. Six of the out-of-state stores were former SunMart Foods or Econofood grocery stores that came with Nash Finch, but conversions to Family Fare brand have proven to be successful.

• The Kroger Co. said yesterday that its associates working at Fry's Food Stores and Smith's Food and Drug in Arizona and represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) have ratified a new labor agreement.

• Sears Holdings has announced that its Sears stores will open at 6 pm on Thanksgiving night, while its Kmart stores will continue "a 23-year tradition as a destination for early-bird shopping and last-minute entertaining needs on Thanksgiving, will open for 42 hours straight, from 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving to midnight on Black Friday."

Meanwhile, JC Penney said yesterday that it will open at 5 pm on Thanksgiving, noting that this will be an hour earlier than Macy's, Sears and Kohl's, and three hours earlier than it did last year.

There seems to me that there is little question about where this all is heading - everybody is going to be open all-day on Thanksgiving, continuing the American tradition of commercializing every possible holiday. (And if you didn't see Chris Rock's rant on this subject on last week's "Saturday Night Live," you should check it out.)
KC's View: