retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Macy’s, “faced with too much space and too few shoppers,” plans to “reduce the amount of merchandise and the number of employees at its slower-performing stores - walling off entire sections at some locations and leaving the space empty … The smaller-store footprint, an experiment now under way at four locations, is intended to save money on staffing and inventory, while improving the chain’s sometimes lackluster shopping experience.”

Steve Dennis, a retail consultant who formerly was an executive at Sears and Neiman Marcus, expresses some skepticism about the strategy: “If you’ve got too much space, it means your brand isn’t resonating. It’s not a real estate problem, it’s a brand problem.”


Health.com has a story about how research continues to show that coffee consumption may help stave off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, noting that “phenylindanes - chemical compounds that form during the brewing process - inhibit the growth of proteins associated with degenerative brain diseases. And the darker the roast, they say, the more of these protective compounds there are in every cup.”

The findings “don't necessarily mean that everyone should start drinking espresso or roasting their coffee beans extra dark, however.” Health.com notes that researchers simply believe it is necessary to do greater research; because “drugs for Alzheimer's disease continue to fail in clinical trials,” scientists don’t want to get ahead of themselves.

For the moment, according to the story, “Experts say that the best way to age-proof your brain is to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. And if it turns out that a daily cup of joe fits into that plan, too, we’re definitely all for it.”


• The New York Times reports that “facing mounting government pressure and a public backlash over an epidemic of teenage vaping, Juul Labs announced on Tuesday that it would suspend sales of most of its flavored e-cigarette pods in retail stores and would discontinue its social media promotions.” The move by the market leader, the Times writes, “is the most significant sign of retrenchment by an industry that set out to offer devices to help smokers quit but now shoulders blame for a new public health problem: nicotine addiction among nonsmoking teens.”

The move seems to preempt “the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to unveil a series of measures aimed at curbing teenage vaping. The agency is expected later this week to announce a ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations and strengthen the requirements for age verification of online sales of e-cigarettes.”
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