retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

USA Today reports that “Costco membership cards have gone digital. 
Instead of flashing a plastic membership card when entering the wholesale club and at checkout, members can now pull up a digital membership card on the Costco app.”

The app is available for both Apple and Android users.

However, Costco has encountered some criticism on social media for not going far enough - the ability does not yet exist to load the membership card into the Apple wallet, which would make it even more accessible.

“Make it happen; it’s not that difficult,” wrote one critic on social media.

The digital card also is not yet accepted at Costco gas stations.

I’m with the social media critics on this … it cannot be all that hard to allow people to put the digital card in the Apple wallet, where it will be a lot more accessible.

• The Lincoln Journal Star reports that that Hy-Vee is changing vendors for its clothing boutiques, ending its relationship with F&F, which was originally developed by British retailer Tesco, and going into business with Joe Fresh, which was originally developed for Canadian retailer Loblaws.

Joe Fresh merchandise will begin being sold in Hy-Vee stores with clothing boutiques as soon as next month, the story says.

The Journal Star describes Joe Fresh as “an affordable line of clothing that is sold in nearly 1,500 Canadian retail locations, including Loblaws, a top Canadian grocery retailer, and Shoppers Drug Mart, a leading Canadian drug store retailer.” The brand made an effort to break into the US market through a deal with JC Penney, but that didn’t work out. It also had a store on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, but that was closed several years ago.

• Hy-Vee has announced its desire to open a freestanding pickup kiosk in a parking lot adjacent to its store in New Hope, Minnesota. The facility would have three lanes enabling people who placed online orders to easily pickup their merchandise; the goal is to cut down on traffic congestion in the front of the store.

USA Today reports on a new Consumer Reports study saying that “major grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Acme, Costco and Hannaford have been selling some greens carrying listeria. The study they conducted, prompted by recent romaine outbreaks, included 284 samples of varying greens including kale, spinach, lettuce and others. In that selection, six samples were tainted with Listeria monocytogenes.”

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn't seem concerned. "It's always concerning to find a bacteria that can make people sick in foods that won't be cooked," Brittany Behm, spokesperson at CDC told USA Today, but added, "It's important to remember that most of the time healthy people aren't going to get sick from Listeria.”

The story notes that “the populations more likely to be infected are the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, young children and people with poor immune systems.”

Oh. Only them. I feel so much better now.
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