retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that as Amazon continues to reshape the Seattle skyline with new buildings, one of them will include a permanent homeless shelter run by local charity Marty's Place. The "47,000-square-foot shelter will have 65 rooms and will house more than 200 homeless women, children and families," the story says.

“Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a news release. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters.”

Good for Amazon, which often has been criticized for a lack of charitable giving in Seattle. This is a great way to address that issue and the larger issue of homelessness.

• The Boston Globe reports that LL Bean has signed a deal to open a 8600-square foot small-format store in Boston's Seaport District, which "will be the company’s first full store in an urban setting," and a test to see if the format could be opened elsewhere.

Ken Kacere, the company’s vice president of retail, tells the Globe that the new store will "present a 'really curated supply of our products' ... with a focus on attire that will appeal to a more urban crowd. As an example, he cited the company’s Traverse line of clothing, which is designed to be worn both in the office and on the trails."

This is what smart companies do. Focus the value proposition, and test new ways to bring it to shoppers.

• The Associated Press reports that some Massachusetts lawmakers "are joining activists in other states pushing for taxes on sodas that they say will ease the rise in obesity-related diseases and bring in money for programs aimed at improving the health of children in Massachusetts ... The bill would set up a tiered tax rate based on the amount of added sugar per 12 fluid ounces of a drink over 5 grams. Beverages with between 5 and 19 grams of sugar per 12 fluid ounces would be taxed at one cent per ounce. Beverages with 20 or more grams per 12 fluid ounces would be taxed at 2 cents per ounce."

However, even if the bill gets through the legislature, GOP Gov. Charlie Baker has said that he will not sign it ... so prospects for a soda tax in Massachusetts in the short term are not good.
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