retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The New York Times has a story about a company called Beyond Meat that says it has come up with a robust plant-based alternative to the hamburger - and that will go on sale this week in a Colorado Whole Foods, where it will be sold out of the same case that has beef, poultry, lamb and pork. According to the story, the manufacturer was focused on several specific issues - "it had to ensure that the middle of its burger would stay moist, pink and juicy as the exterior cooked to that distinct dark brown of a traditional hamburger," and the burger had to "bleed," something that was accomplished through the use of pulverized beets. And, the burger "had to emit the same smell as cooked beef."

I'm not saying it is impossible, but it is hard for me to reconcile in my mind the notion of a burger made from veggies - including beets, which I hate - that also smells like cooked hamburger. It just doesn't sound natural. I guess I might try it at some point ... but I'm not exactly champing at the bit.

• The Boston Herald reports that Staples is considering the sale of its European business as it strategizes for survival after its planned acquisition of Office Depot was blocked by regulators because of concerns about competition. The story says that "Staples plans to increase its focus on mid-market business customers with 10 to 200 employees, adding 1,000 sales reps and pursuing acquisitions of business-to-business companies specializing in products beyond office supplies."

Last week, Office Depot said that it is ""considering selling some of its European operations" to generate cash, as well as looking at "various capital structure and shareholder return alternatives."

• The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that "Kroger Co. union workers at 41 stores in the Roanoke, Va., area have voted to authorize a strike. The roughly 1,100 United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 members unanimously voted Wednesday to reject Cincinnati-based Kroger’s offer and authorized a strike. The union represents about 3,000 employees."

The two sides continue to negotiate, and a contract extension through June 4 has been signed.
KC's View: