retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Wegmans this weekend is scheduled to open its 98th store … in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Supervalu has informed more than 900 employees at its Shop ’n Save chain that they are about to lose their jobs, unless someone comes along to buy the 10 stores in which they work, as well as a distribution center.

The announcement comes the same week as Supervalu sold 19 Shop ’n Save units to Schnucks, which is going to convert the stores to its own banner.

Several stores are not yet included in the layoffs, according to the paper.

The Post-Dispatch writes that “Supervalu, which in July agreed to be acquired by United Natural Foods for $2.9 billion, had been shopping its Shop ‘n Save brand since April as it looked to double-down on its more lucrative wholesale business.”

• The Associated Press reports that Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado, has recalled more that 132,000 pounds of ground beef - all produced, packaged and shipped on June 21 - “after a suspected E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened 17 … The products include 3-, 10- and 20-pound (1.3-, 4.5- and 9-kilogram) packages of ground beef under the Our Certified, Excel, Sterling Silver, Certified and Fire River Farms brands with July 11 use or freeze by dates.”

• About a week ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report saying that teenagers’ use of electronic cigarettes had become “epidemic,” and put various manufacturers on notice that they have 60 days to prove they can keep their products away from minors … or potentially see their products pulled from the marketplace. Of particular note were flavored vaping products, which some believe are designed to appeal to young people.

Now comes a story in the Wall Street Journal saying that a new study reveals that “teen use of e-cigarettes has soared this year,” and that “the number of high-school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days has risen roughly 75% since last year … That would equate to about three million, or about 20% of high-school students, up from 1.73 million, or 11.7% of high-school students in the most recently published federal numbers from 2017.”

According to the story, “Most of the teens who vape said they are doing it for reasons other than to quit smoking, according to the Journal’s survey conducted in 49 states in May. More than half said they do it because they like the flavors that e-cigarette liquids come in and they think vaping is fun. More than two-thirds said they believe vaping can be part of a ‘healthy life’.”

It sounds to me like these manufacturers are well on their way to accomplishing their goal - get people addicted to this crap. A “healthy life?” Really? Sounds a lot like how the tobacco companies used to promote their products back in the day, when they’d even pay doctors to say so. These companies can say what they want about not wanting teen customers … I don’t believe them, and I suspect everything they say and do.
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