retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Target said yesterday that its Q1 revenue was up five percent to $17.63 billion, and that its e-commerce sales were up a whopping 42 percent.

Same store sales were up 4.8 percent.

Net earnings rose 10.8% to $795 million.

CNBC analyst Jim Cramer called the results “nothing short of astounding,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said, adding that Target has figured out to beat all their opponents, from Walmart to Amazon to everyone inside and outside the mall.”

While I think that Cramer ought to switch to decaf - his analysis strikes me as a little hyperbolic, in that this quarter’s competitive solutions aren’t always successful in the next quarter - I do think that Target is showing unexpected strength, and is clearly in a growth mode. The question for me is, what’s next? I’m guessing some sort of merger or acquisition, which will look like a strategic move rather than an act of desperation under the current circumstances.

• Albertsons has announced the “amping up” of the presence of its Signature Select private label brand “with the addition of more than 300 new products and updated branding in 2019.”

According to the company, “The redesigned products are long-time favorites from the Signature Kitchens, Signature Home, refreshe, and The Snack Artist brands … The new branding includes a refreshed rendition of Signature SELECT’s trademark tag. The overall design allows for flexibility in the packaging architecture in each category, so the products can stand out and compete effectively wherever they’re found throughout the store.”

“Our Signature family of brands aren’t like your parents’ store brands anymore,” says Geoff White, President of Albertsons Companies Own Brands. “We are laser focused on innovation and staying at the forefront of culinary trends. Customers should expect to see trends first at our stores. With the expansion of Signature SELECT, customers will find even more surprises, from seasonal and holiday items to ethnic and even plant-based offerings.”

• Mario Batali, the celebrity chef who has lost his restaurant and CPG licensing businesses because of multiple charges of sexual harassment, “is now facing criminal charges for allegedly kissing and groping a woman against her will in a Back Bay restaurant in 2017.”

The story says that Batali “is charged with indecent assault and battery in what appears to be the first criminal charge to arise from a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Friday morning.”

The Globe goes on: “If convicted, Batali could face 2½ years in jail and would have to register as a sex offender.

“Like some of the other powerful men who have been accused of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement, Batali had faced civil litigation but until now had avoided criminal charges.”
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