retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "egg-laying hens raised cage-free exhibit a wider range of natural behaviors than more-confined birds, but cage-free facilities have higher hen-mortality rates and lower air quality, according to food-industry-backed research published on Wednesday.

"Cage-free hens can perch, nest and forage more than chickens reared in the two other major U.S. commercial hen-housing systems, both of which use cages ... The study found little difference in egg quality among the three systems, and no indication that hens in any of them experienced acute or chronic stress."


• The Herald Tribune reports that "Publix Super Markets went on a buying spree over the past year, bagging six shopping centers in Southwest Florida for $86 million ... But the state's largest grocery-store chain is hardly finished — it has earmarked $1.3 billion this year to buy more centers, build new stores and remodel others.

"The cash-rich company has become a major player in shopping center acquisitions, betting on the revival of the commercial real estate market here and across Florida."
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