retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune writes about how more and more food retailers are turning to nonfood items as a way to entice shoppers into their stores: "This week, Aldi reached into Ikea’s bag of tricks and offered an upholstered chair in a box for $70, an ottoman for $40 and leaning bookshelf for $40. Cub Foods is currently selling ­freezers for $199. Hy-Vee’s newest Twin Cities stores entice shoppers with departments devoted to cosmetics, clothing and wellness supplements."

The reason is fairly simple. Supermarkets have discovered that nonfood stores increasingly turning to grocery items as a way of driving traffic and sales, and so they're seeing the advantage of turning the equation around. "That’s causing supermarkets to look for new ways to attract shoppers," the story says. "Retailers such as Aldi have learned if they can get an aggressively good price on a desirable item, consumers will buy it, even if it’s an oddball thrown into the regular mix."

Bloomberg reports that Tesco is close to finalizing a settlement with the UK's Serious Fraud Office over the 2014 overstatement of revenues and understatement of costs that plunged the company into a financial crisis. According to the story, the deal is likely to include a fine that is the equivalent of more than $1 million (US).

According to the story, "The probable deal would take the form of a deferred prosecution agreement, which lets a company avoid prosecution in exchange for terms such as paying a fine and helping with individual prosecutions. It's possible Tesco could be subject to ongoing monitoring. However, that management overhaul and the fundamental change to its processes -- including how it deals with suppliers -- means it may get away with a more or less clean break."

• Sealed Air Corp. has agreed to sell its Diversey Care food safety/hygiene/cleaning business to private equity group Bain Capital for about $3.2 billion.
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