retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Add Kirkland, Washington, to the list of communities having approved a plastic bag reduction law.

According to the Seattle Times, "Kirkland’s new ordinance will require large retailers to stop using single-use plastic bags and to charge customers five cents for each recyclable paper bag they provide in order to encourage use of re-usable bags ... The city will join Seattle, Shoreline, Issaquah, Mercer Island and Bellingham in instituting similar plastic-bag reduction policies."


• Drug store chain Rite Aid has announced its first-ever Innovation Challenge, described as "a nationwide search for original product ideas that will improve the health and wellbeing of Rite Aid customers. Rite Aid’s Innovation Challenge is being conducted in partnership with Edison Nation Medical, a leader in medical and healthcare innovation. Edison Nation Medical will work to design, develop and patent the chosen health and wellness products that will be sold exclusively at Rite Aid stores and www.riteaid.com."

The challenge is open to the general public, and submissions will be accepted until the end of March.


• The Wall Street Journal reports that "a divided Federal Trade Commission sued Thursday to block Sysco Corp. ’s acquisition of rival US Foods Inc., a long-awaited move that sets the stage for a major court battle over a plan to combine the nation’s two largest food distributors.

"The FTC alleged the proposed tie-up would create a dominant national company that could raise prices and reduce service for restaurants, hotels, schools and other institutions that buy food, paper products and a wide range of supplies from Sysco and US Foods."

According to the story, "The case is the most prominent FTC merger challenge since nominees of President Barack Obama took the commission’s helm in 2009. The decision to sue split the panel along partisan lines. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and two other Democratic commissioners voted for the challenge, while the panel’s two Republicans voted against."
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