retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Washington Post has a blog posting in which it quotes a study from the University of Iowa, University of Virginia and University of Louisville suggesting that Walmart's growth over the past half-century may be connecting with America's obesity crisis.

Coincidence? Maybe not.

"“We live in an environment with increasingly cheap and readily available junk food,” says Charles Courtemanche, assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University. “We buy in bulk. We tend to have more food around. It takes more and more discipline and self-control to not let that influence your weight.” And the growth of Walmart - as well as all the other big box stores during this time - has made large sizes of inexpensive processed foods available to more people than ever before."

• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its annual NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, revealing that "the U.S. convenience store count increased to 152,794 stores as of December 31, 2014, a nearly 1% increase from the year prior ... Convenience stores account for 33.9% of all retail outlets in the United States, according to Nielsen, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drug stores (41,799 stores), supermarket/supercenter (41,529 stores) and dollar stores (26,572 stores)."
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