retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports that Starbucks is testing a more petite version of its Frappuccino, a 10-ounce version of the sugary drink that also has fewer calories than the larger versions.

The story notes that "Starbucks isn't the only chain trying to tempt people with more modest serving sizes. Sonic offers ice cream shakes in a 'mini' size and recently ran a limited-time offer for mini hot dogs and mini fried chicken sandwiches. Coke has also been playing up its mini cans, which are 7.5 ounces, compared with 12 ounces for a regular can."

For the moment, the mini Frappuccino only will be available until July 6.


• The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports that "Supervalu Inc. says it's been lowering prices at its Cub Foods stores over the past year and will continue to do so as Hy-Vee Inc. prepares to move into the Twin Cities ... Supervalu Inc. says it's been lowering prices at its Cub Foods stores over the past year and will continue to do so as Hy-Vee Inc. prepares to move into the Twin Cities."
KC's View:
In the case of this latter story, I have to wonder if just cutting prices is the best way to compete with Hy-Vee, which is a lot more than a value-driven retailer. Lowering prices often is seen as the first, best strategy ... but I tend to believe that it is just as important to define differentiated advantages that go beyond price.