business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The South Bend Tribune< reports that SpartanNash has closed on its acquisition of Martin’s Super Markets, “adding the local business to supermarkets in eight states, distribution centers around the country and business at U.S. military commissaries around the world … the acquisition of 21 Martin’s stores will grow SpartanNash’s total count of supermarkets to 160, in addition to 19 different distribution centers nationwide.”

• Time to stock up on “Forever” stamps, as the US Postal Service (USPS) is raising the per-stamp price for 55 cents, from 50 centers, as of January 27. Other priority shipping rates for boxes and envelopes also will rise as much as 10 percent.

The price increases come as the USPS deals with the reality that it lost close to $4 billion last year, a loss that President Donald Trump has ascribed to sweetheart rates enjoyed by Amazon; however, experts say that it is the decline in first class mail usage that has really hurt the USPS, while e-commerce shipping continues to grow.

Reuters reports that "Chinese coffee startup Luckin is aiming to open 2,500 new stores this year and overtake Starbucks Corp. as the largest coffee chain by number of outlets in the world’s second-biggest economy … The firm, which only officially launched its business at the start of last year, has expanded at breakneck speed, propelled by a focus on technology, delivery, and heavy discounting even at the cost of mounting losses.”

AOL News reports that “Coca-Cola is debuting two new Smartwater products — Smartwater Antioxidant and Smartwater Alkaline — exclusively on online bulk retailer Boxed.”

This decision by Coke comes as “Amazon, which sells a number of Smartwater products, is moving away from selling bulky, inexpensive items like bottled water that ‘Can't Realize a Profit’ — a category of products also known as ‘CRaP’ … Meanwhile, Boxed has become an expert on shipping inexpensive items like snacks and bottled water that Amazon may consider ‘CRaP’ in bulk.”

• In Boston, a culinary landmark originally opened in 1827 is shutting down forever.

The Boston Globe reports that Faneuil Hall landmark and tourist favorite Durgin-Park, known for Yankee pot roast and Boston baked beans, will close on Jan. 12, confirms restaurant manager Kenneth Thimothee. He cited financial reasons, such as increased minimum wage.

I just hope the Union Oyster House is safe.
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