retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting that end-of-year holiday spending this year, propelled by “strong momentum and customers wanting to spend” because of low unemployment and consumer confidence, will hit $1.1 trillion.

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that retailers that include Best Buy and Target - especially those that “have figured out the balance of in-store and online sales and the complexity of distribution channels to compete with Amazon” - feel that they are well positioned for the moment.

There also is generally felt that Sears’ bankruptcy raises the bar for what competitive retailers are going to be able to achieve this year.


USA Today reports on how “millions of pounds of ready-to-eat salads and premade food items including entrees, burritos, wraps and pizzas at several big name retailers such as Harris Teeter, Kroger, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Trader Joe's and Walmart have been recalled due to the potential risk of listeria and salmonella contamination.

“The recalls stem from those issued by a dozen food manufacturers including Bakkavor Foods, Envolve Foods and Ruiz Food Products. The food makers notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture about products they shipped that could include ingredients such as corn, diced onions and other vegetables possibly tainted with bacteria – all provided from a single company, McCain Foods, the USDA says.”


• The Los Angeles Times reports that “a Northern California judge on Monday upheld a jury's verdict that found Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed the amount of money to be paid to $78 million from $289 million.

“In denying Monsanto's request for a new trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos cut the jury's punitive damage award from to $39 million from $250 million. The judge had earlier said she had strong doubts about the jury's entire punitive damage award.”

Neither side has yet indicated that they will appeal the decision, though they also haven’t said they won’t.


• The Star Tribune reports that “United Natural Foods Inc. closed its $2.9 billion purchase of Supervalu Inc. on Monday, with Supervalu shares disappearing from the New York Stock Exchange as the first sign of the completed takeover.

"In coming months, United Natural aims to sell Supervalu's grocery store chains, including Cub Foods, and narrow its business to wholesale distribution similar to its own.”
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