retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Seattle Times reports that the auction for Haggen's core Pacific Northwest stores, originally scheduled for this Friday, has been delayed a week, to February 11.

The story notes that "when it shed most of the stores it had acquired from Albertsons and Safeway earlier this year, Haggen said it would retreat to a profitable core of Pacific Northwest locations. But an agreement with the company’s lenders requires it to explore any opportunities to raise cash by selling those core stores as well."

• The Associated Press, having been chastened by failed attempts to stop a company called Hampton Creek from making an eggless spread and calling it Just Mayo, Unilever-owned Hellman's now is launching its own version.

According to the story, Hellmann's version "will hit shelves later this month under the label 'Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread'." The story goes on to note that "although Unilever ended up dropping its lawsuit against Hampton Creek, the case made the labeling of 'mayonnaise' and 'mayo' a surprisingly contested affair. Soon after the legal tussle made headlines, it was discovered that Unilever was editing own website so that some references to 'mayonnaise' were changed to 'mayonnaise dressing.' It turns out that some Hellmann's own products wouldn't qualify as mayonnaise either under existing guidelines."

• The Financial Times reports that Tesco plans to offer staffers in its UK stores a 3.1 percent raise, which the company said will give "established colleagues" wages that are "significantly more" than those established by a newly established "National Living Wage" that is the equivalent of $10.37 (US).

The new Tesco minimum will be the equivalent of $10.98 (US).

FT writes that "a minority of staff will still lose out, as the double pay they receive for working on Sundays and bank holidays will go, to be replaced by a flat time-and-a-half rate for all staff. But they will be compensated with a lump sum payment that will account for 18 months’ worth of the shortfall..."

Hate to minimize a raise, but I can't imagine that a 61 cent per hour increase is going to make Tesco staffers feel all warm and valued. Then again, maybe "living wage" means something different in the UK than it means here...
KC's View: