retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Triad Business Journal reports that "the real estate arm of International grocery chain Lidl has acquired significant office space in the D.C.-area to host its corporate offices as it prepares a major U.S. rollout ... Lidl had planned to enter the U.S. market with 100 stores, primarily along the East Coast, by 2015, but a year ago said it would be 2018 before it opened its first stores."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), acknowledging that "merchants won’t be ready to meet an October deadline that will shift liability for fraudulent transactions from card-issuing banks to merchants," has asked "the payment-card industry to delay an October plan that puts merchants on the hook for fraudulent transactions if they don’t have equipment in place to accept more secure credit and debit cards."

"Regardless of how strong the commitment or how many dollars invested, the reality is that the system will not be ready to meet the card networks’ arbitrarily-set mandate for the liability shift in October 2015,” FMI CEO Leslie Sarasin says in a letter that asks the deadline to be pushed back to 2016.

• The Wall Street Journal reports on how a "number of organic-food purveyors (are) taking steps to tackle supply constraints that are hampering the growth of one of the hottest categories of the U.S. food industry. Companies including soup maker Pacific Foods of Oregon Inc. and publicly traded burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. are digging deeper into the supply chain with such moves as financing farmers, offering technical training and hiring full-time headhunters to recruit organic growers.

"The efforts are aimed at ramping up organic-food output that has failed to keep pace with surging consumer demand, due in part to the significant costs and risks that U.S. farmers face in converting from conventional to organic farming. Longer-term, the steps could help bring down organic-food prices that have been bolstered by tight supplies, companies say."
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