retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Washington Post reports that "Family Dollar Stores, the discount retailer at the center of a takeover battle, posted a 47 percent decline in first-quarter earnings as a new pricing strategy and a shift to lower-margin products took a toll on profits."

The story notes that "even as the retailer struggles to get its business back on track, it has drawn takeover bids from two rivals - Dollar Tree and Dollar General - that want to use Family Dollar’s 8,100 stores to bolster their chains." Family Dollar has said that it prefers the Dollar Tree bid, even though it is lower, because it believes that a Dollar General deal will require too many stores to be divested because of antitrust concerns.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) currently is evaluating both bids.

• The New York Times this morning reports that Coca-Cola is saying that it is "cutting 1,600 to 1,800 jobs globally as part of $3 billion in costs it hopes to pare over the next several years ... The company had 130,600 employees worldwide as of December 2013, the most recent figure available."

According to the story, "Sales of sugary soft drinks continue to decline as more health-conscious consumers adjust their eating and drinking preferences. As the industry leader, Coca-Cola has not made adjustments to its business until now, while PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group started making cuts a few years ago."

Food Business Review reports that "the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has delayed mandatory labelling for mechanically tenderized beef products until about 2018 ... When issued, the regulation will require food manufacturers to display specific cooking instructions on the packaging for meat products.

"The tenderisation process softens the meat with tools and devices that are known to cultivate pathogens that can lead to foodborne illnesses, which can be prevented by cooking meat for long enough."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Keurig Green Mountain Inc. signed a deal with Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. to sell capsules that make its sodas in Keurig’s planned cold-drink machine, giving the maker of coffee and brewing machines two of the top three soda companies on a platform central to its long-term expansion plans." Coca-Cola made a similar deal last year, and also "took a 16% stake in Keurig last year.

"Keurig said the new deal means it will have at least 30 beverage varieties - including multiple brands from the two soda partners - for the new machine, which it expects to come out in September."
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