retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that "a 'limited number' of turkeys at Butterball contract farms in Missouri and Arkansas have been diagnosed with H5N2 avian influenza."

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that "while this strain is highly contagious and potentially fatal to birds, the risk to humans from infected birds is low," and to this point, "there have been no reports of humans infected with the virus."


• The Wall Street Journal reports that the British Parliament has voted "to ban branding on cigarette packs as of 2016, drawing promises of a legal challenge from the tobacco industry and raising the prospect of similar legislation in countries across Europe."

The story says that "under the 'plain packaging' law, cigarettes will be sold in uniform packs stripped of distinctive logos and colors - and adorned with graphic health warnings. That would mean packs of Marlboro cigarettes without their signature red trim and Lucky Strike packs absent their target logo.

"The world’s biggest tobacco companies said they would challenge the decision in the courts."

A similar law has been implemented in Australia; it is considered unlikely that any such legislation would get serious consideration in the US.


• The Wall Street Journal reports that the Canadian company that owns Minnesota's Mall of America wants to build an even bigger mall in Miami, which it wants to call American Dream Miami. It would have, in addition to stores, "a ski slope, a water park, a sea-lion show, miniature golf, bowling, a submarine ride, restaurants, a performing-arts theater, a cinema, a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and a roller-coaster ride as well as hotels and condominiums."

However, the story says that the project is hardly a sure thing at this point, with the owners having to jump through financial, regulatory and environmental hoops before a shovel can ever hit the ground.


Retailing Today reports that "Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreilling said the company will add to its 2014 year end store total of 11,789 units in 2015 by opening 730 new stores and remodeling 875 others ... The company did not provide a specific 2016 new store or remodeling target, but a few simple calculation based on the company’s average store size and 2014 year end square footage total indicated the company is poised to open more than 800 units annually."
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