retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Tampa Bay Times reports that Publix has decided to launch “a pilot program to allow beards in select locations. The trial is restricted to only 10 stores in South Carolina.”

MNB reported earlier this week that Publix had agreed to review its dress code policy, with a possible eye toward allowing employees to have beards, after years of enduring entreaties from employees and an online petition signed by more than 17,800 people and posted on

This is one of those places where I think Publix can be a little bolder. A 10-store test? Really? It’s 2018, and maybe Publix could let in a little fresh air … and enjoy the benefits that come when employees get to breathe it.

Bloomberg has a story about how one significant operating difference between Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks - “Dunkin’ relies on franchisee-owned locations, so fluctuating rents don’t show up in its bottom line,” while Starbucks rents and runs its own stores - could turn out to be a bottom-line advantage for Starbucks.

According to the story, Starbucks “sees landlords being forced to reduce rents sooner rather than later. This may dovetail with the Seattle-based company’s push since 2012 both to add locations and to increase the percentage of leased stores. Starbucks now rents 51 percent of its coffee shops, up from 43 percent in 2007 and 10 percent in 1998, as minimum rent on operating leases retreated to about 6.7 percent of revenue from about 8.4 percent in 2009.”
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