retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Staples announced yesterday that it is teaming up with Lendio, described as "an innovative financial technology firm and the leading small business-lending marketplace," to offer business loans to small businesses. The programs available include more than 20 different funding options for loans ranging from $2,500 to $1 million, and the ability to see all funding options available with just one application.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that private-equity firm Roark Capital Group is putting its Atkins Nutritionals business on the sales block. It acquired the low-carb diet company in 2010 for an undisclosed sum, and experts say that it currently could fetch more than $1 billion in a sale. According to the story, "It is unclear who might be interested in buying Atkins this time around, but auctions of such companies typically draw private-equity firms and other industry players."

• Sprouts Farmers Market said yesterday that it saw a 110 percent increase in net earnings on a 22 percent increase in sales, and a 9.9 percent increase in same-store sales, during the 2014 fiscal year.

The company also said that it grew its fleet by 23 stores in 2014, with plans to open close to 30 this year, with speculation emerging that it could open units in new markets such as Florida and North Carolina.

Which explains why the folks at Whole Foods recently have been denigrating Sprouts a bit, casting doubt on its credibility as a natural/organic grocer. Nothing like a 110 percent in net earnings to get the competition's attention...
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