retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Orange County Register reports that Fresh & Easy plans to close 14 stores in markets that include San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Arizona and Las Vegas.

“Fresh & Easy is closing a small number of underperforming locations,” spokesman Brendan Wonnacott tells the paper. “While recent initiatives have helped drive additional sales across the Fresh & Easy business, in the case of these locations the progress was not enough to bring their performance in line with the rest of the business.”

What do you think the odds are that Haggen decides to buy these units? I mean, based on recent history, anything is possible...

Business Insider reports that "IBM and pharmacy chain CVS Health have announced a first-of-its-kind new partnership to put IBM's supercomputer Watson to work for millions of Americans with chronic health conditions."

The story goes on: "Watson will watch data from what IBM describes as an "unprecedented mix of health information sources" including a person's medical health records, prescriptions, environment, even fitness devices. It will then spit out suggestions on how to improve that person's health care to save the person money and help the person feel better.

"But the ultimate goal of this partnership is really pretty astounding: IBM and CVS hope to find people at risk for illnesses before they've gotten sick and create custom programs to help them avoid the illness."

Beats the hell out of playing Kern Jennings at Jeopardy...

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "to stop a precipitous sales decline, McDonald’s Japan is inviting 100 mothers to tour its facilities ... Women living in Japan who have at least one child are eligible to enter a competition for the facility tours."

The fast feeder's problems in Japan began when "Chinese media reported that one of the fast-food chain’s suppliers allegedly sold expired chicken nuggets," and now the company is hoping to rebuild trust.
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