retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Meijer has opened a new convenience store format, a 5,500 square foot unit in Grand Rapids that has both a gas station and a Starbucks, plus grab-and-go meals, fresh produce, sushi and pizza.

The store reportedly is similar to a c-store opened by Meijer in Cascade two years ago; Meijer operates a total of more than 200 c-stores and gas stations in addition to its more than 240 supercenters.


• Darrenkamp’s, a local, family-owned, four-store grocery business established in 1932 and serving central Pennsylvania, announced yesterday day that it is going out of business. The liquidation process will begin immediately, with the official closing of all four Darrenkamp’s locations anticipated for early November.

The company’s Willow Valley Square store has been sold to Giant Food Stores. The others - in Elizabethtown, Etters and Mt. Joy - will close in a phased approach.


Reuters reports that 30 more people “have reported sick after eating Kellogg Co’s Honey Smacks cereal contaminated with Salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, bringing the total to 130 cases in 36 states … So far 34 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported, CDC said on Tuesday, adding that three more states - Delaware, Maine and Minnesota - have reported cases of illnesses … Kellogg had in June decided to recall an estimated 1.3 million cases of its Honey Smacks cereal from more than 30 U.S. states due to the potential for Salmonella contamination.”


CNN reports that “Starbucks is testing a program that will allow some employees to spend half of their workweek at a local nonprofit. With the help of Points of Light, a nonprofit volunteering group, Starbucks picked 36 Starbucks Service Fellows in 13 cities for the pilot program. For six months, the fellows will spend at least 20 hours per week working for Starbucks, and up to 20 hours per week at a local organization.”

The story says that “Virginia Tenpenny, vice president of Global Social Impact at Starbucks and executive director of The Starbucks Foundation, said that Starbucks (SBUX) sees the program as a way to keep employees happy. The fellows are spread across stores, and Tenpenny hopes they will talk up the program to their colleagues.”


• The BBC reports that Tesco in the UK has annoyed customers there by changing the way it charges for bananas at its urban stores - moving from charging by weight to charging by the piece. The result is that “the cost of each yellow fruit has more than doubled at its Tesco Metro and Express stores.”

Customer outrage has been voiced via social media. Tesco has responded by saying that it had to increase prices because “our convenience stores are in prime, central locations where leases are more expensive.”
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