retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Associated Press has an interview with Starbucks president/CEO Kevin Johnson in which they ask him how his background in technology - he was a longtime executive at Microsoft - informed his work at Starbucks. His answer:

“I learned about how to how to unify people around a common mission and pursue that particular mission. In addition to that, I spent years understanding how technology is reshaping the consumer. Starbucks has over 16 million active Rewards members and a total of 30 million digitally connected customers. We're bringing in technology in a way that complements the human connection and the in-store experience. And that is a big part of what we believe is essential for every retailer. Every brick and mortar retailer must create an experience in their store that becomes a destination, and they must extend that experience to a digital, mobile relationship.”


• Published reports say that Dollar General has decided to accelerate its move into self-distributing produce, as the company believes that an improved fruits and vegetables selection has resulted in higher traffic. Self-distribution, the company reasons, only can help margins and reduce out-of-stocks.

Interesting, since there have been a couple of recent studies suggesting that dollar stores - in general - have drawn equal with supermarkets - in general - in terms of fresh produce. Which, if I were a supermarket retailer, would concern me.


• The Denver Post reports that members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) employed Kroger-owned King Soopers and City Market “ave voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.”

According to the story, “The UFCW Local 7 represents 12,000 of King Soopers’ and City Market’s 23,000 employees. The union has bashed the company and its contract proposals since members voted to opt out of a temporary contract extension with the company last month. The existing contract between the two sides ran out in January. Issues raised by the UFCW since have included a lack of across-the-board pay raises included in company proposals and alleged increases to employee health care costs.”
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