retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that"McDonald’s restaurants in Japan are rationing french fries after a labor dispute at U.S. ports crimped supplies of potatoes." The story says that for the time being, Japan's McDonald's stores "will only offer small fries to customers as it copes with the shortage."

According to the story, "For the Japanese operations of McDonald’s, the fry shortage deals another blow to a business already suffering from a vendor scandal. The company, Japan’s biggest restaurant chain, had to remove chicken products that used meat from China from its menus in July after Shanghai Husi Food Co. acknowledged that it had changed sell-by dates. The fallout continued to be felt last month, when McDonald’s same-store sales in Japan fell 12 percent."

• The New York Times reports that "the list of companies working with Apple Pay continues to grow.

"On Tuesday, Apple announced that in recent weeks the company had signed up dozens more banks, retail stores and start-ups to adopt Apple Pay, the company’s new e-commerce product, which allows customers to buy things with little more than a wave of their iPhone … With the new additions, Apple says it supports the cards that represent about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States.

"Staples, the big-box office supplies retailer, now accepts Apple Pay at its 1,400 United States locations. Chain grocers like Winn-Dixie and Albertsons take it, too. And on Friday, Amway Center, the home to the Orlando Magic basketball team, will accept Apple Pay at many of its retail and food and beverage stands during games."

• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its monthly Consumer Fuels Survey, concluding that "the recent decline in fuel prices has resonated with consumers, 80% of whom report that gas prices are lower than they were 30 days ago and, for the first time in two years, more consumers think that gas prices will be lower in the next 30 days (30%) rather than higher (27%)."

The report goes on: "The lower prices have not had an appreciable effect on consumers’ feelings about the economy in general, however. Consistent with the prior three months, 47% of consumers are 'somewhat' or 'very' optimistic about the economy. Meanwhile, 77% of consumers said that gas prices are having a 'great' or 'some' impact on their feelings about the economy, which is the lowest percentage recorded in two years."
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