retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Reuters reports that the National Cancer Institute has conducted a 10-year study concluding that "people who drank coffee regularly were less likely to die of many causes ... than those who didn't drink coffee at all. The more coffee study participants consumed, the lower their risk of dying, and decaf drinkers showed a similar pattern ... Coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, pneumonia and influenza and suicide, but not cancer, the researchers found."

Yippee. Based on how much coffee I consume each morning, this is very, very good news.

• Canada food retailer Sobeys has unveiled what it calls a "new convenience and fuel store format" in Atlantic Canada, describing it as a "fresh take on the traditional convenience offer."

The announcement says that "the Sobeys express store, inspired by Sobeys Inc.'s IGA express banner in Quebec, offers customers fresh, healthy alternatives to traditional convenience store snacks and meal ideas. With a selection of 14 signature and all-butter croissant sandwiches, Sensations by Compliments hot soups in three different sizes, and cookies and baguettes baked fresh daily in-store, customers will taste the same quality and freshness they experience at their local Sobeys and Foodland stores."

"As we continue on our journey to help Canadians eat better, feel better and do better, we understand how important it is to offer a better-for-you option for our convenience customers," Peter Doucette, general manager, Sobeys Atlantic, said in a prepared statement. "They want better food choices when they are on the go and Sobeys express will provide them with exactly that."

• In the UK, the Guardian reports that "Morrisons has returned to the convenience store market just three months after selling its struggling chain of M Local shops.

"The grocer has opened a new convenience store called Morrisons Daily at a petrol station in Crewe, and will open four more shops as part of a trial. The Morrisons Daily stores will sell fresh and chilled food, including sandwiches, fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, ready meals and other groceries.

The company's CEO had previously described the c-store business as a "distraction."

Eater reports that Career Education Corporation has announced that it is closing all of its 16 Le Cordon Bleu cooking schools in the US. The story says that the last day for enrollment is January 4; students will be allowed to finish their courses of study, but no new ones will be accepted after that date.

According to the story, the US schools are run separately from the London and Paris locations, which will not be affected.

Eater writes that "the company cited 'the impact of the federal government's new regulations on career colleges' for its decision, referring to 'the Obama administration's gainful employment rule, which cuts off federal financial aid to schools where graduates borrow money at high rates to pay for school but earn little after graduation' ... Le Cordon Bleu and other culinary institutes in the U.S. have come under increasing scrutiny for their outrageous tuition costs, high drop-out rates, and dismal job prospects."

Eater also notes that "when reached by phone for further information or comment, a representative for the school hung up."

• Koninklijke Ahold N.V. and Delhaize Group this morning announced their intention to combine their businesses through a merger of equals, assuming they get all the regulatory approvals. Subsequently, they said, the combined entity will be named Ahold Delhaize, and "upon completion of the merger, Delhaize Group will be dissolved without going into liquidation and shall cease to exist."

• The New York Times reports this morning that "Hampton Creek, a food company that makes plant-based egg substitutes, said on Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had reversed course and would allow it to continue using the name Just Mayo for an eggless spread that has come under attack from large food companies and the trade association for egg producers ... The company will use bigger type on the front of the label for the list of product attributes like 'egg-free.' And, the label will define the word 'just' in the brand name to mean 'guided by reason, justice and fairness' instead of suggesting that it was an exact replica of mayonnaise."
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