retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is accusing Walgreens of continuing "to deceive customers in Missouri with expired or incorrect price tags on store shelves." The AG, the story says, "has asked a court to hold the nation’s largest drugstore chain in contempt for not fixing problems uncovered in a previous investigation by his office. In a 2013 lawsuit, Koster accused Deerfield-based Walgreens of charging more than the advertised price on some items.

"The company settled the complaint last year by promising to remove tags within 12 hours of their expiration. But Koster’s office found more than 1,300 expired tags in 49 of 50 stores during recent inspections. Koster said hundreds of the tags were weeks past their expiration date."

Walgreens did not deny the charges, but rather said that it plans to continue working with Koster's office to resolve the pricing issues.

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Lund Food Holdings " has purchased Glen Lake’s Market in Minnetonka, a grocery store that’s been in the thick of a union dispute over allegedly unpaid benefits. The purchase, announced Monday, should calm that quarrel somewhat since Lunds is a unionized grocery chain. The sale also marks a continuation of Lunds & Byerlys expansion over the past five years, a time in which the company has already added six properties in the Twin Cities ... Glen Lake’s will become Lunds & Byerlys’ 27th supermarket, and will fill a gap in the chain’s geographic coverage."

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Safeway has gone to court "to dramatically reduce the $8.9 million awarded to Michael Jordan by a federal jury last month for using his likeness without permission in a 2009 ad." The company calls "the $8.9 million verdict 'grossly excessive,' saying the jury 'improperly considered Mr. Jordan's multi-year, multi-million-dollar endorsement contracts, his subjective unwillingness to agree to deals less than $10 million, and speculative promotional value'."

Jordan has said that the trial was never about the money, but rather about preserving his brand equity ... and has pledged to donate the money to Chicago-area charities.

Hard to imagine that this is anything more than a Hail Mary shot from the wrong end of the court ... since the company already has been found guilty of using his image without permission, and it was pretty well established what it would cost companies to actually get permission.

• Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canada-based convenience store owner, has announced that it is calling "the creation of a new, global convenience brand, 'Circle K'. The new Circle K brand will replace Couche-Tard's existing Circle K, Statoil, Mac's, and Kangaroo Express branding on stores and service stations across Canada, the USA, Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern Europe. The new Circle K brand will also appear on licensed stores across Asia and will be a fundamental part of Couche-Tard's future growth," the company says.
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