business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Ahold Delhaize-owned Giant Food, having already invested in two small-format urban stores - dubbed Giant Heirloom Markets - in Philadelphia, now plans to open “a two-level urban flagship store in downtown Philadelphia,” a 65,000 square foot store in the RiverWalk development.

The store is projected to be open in about a year, and is a response to fast-growing population numbers in the city.

According to the Inquirer, “Giant said the new flagship store will take inspiration from the Heirloom Market model and dedicate shelf space to community vendors. There will also be options for customers to order online and pick up in store or have the groceries delivered. In addition, this store will have Giant’s largest plant-based department … There will be an outdoor terrace at this two-story location, where shoppers will be able to eat their food or drink a glass of wine … There will also be opportunities for a small stage with live music.”

USA Today reports that Hy-Vee “is investigating possible security issues with payment processing systems at Hy-Vee fuel pumps, drive-thru coffee shops, restaurants and store-owned Wahlburgers locations that may have left customer payment data vulnerable … Hy-Vee said it recently detected unauthorized activity on these specific payment processing systems, which triggered the investigation with the help of leading cybersecurity firms.”

Specific dates and locations have not been disclosed, the story says. Hy-Vee says it has “taken the appropriate actions to stop any unauthorized activity on the payment processing systems, have notified federal law enforcement and the payment card networks involved.”

• The Associated Press reports that a trade association representing companies in the vaping industry is suing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), challenging its efforts to regulate the sector, saying that “most companies will not be able to afford to conduct large, expensive studies needed for FDA review. Only products that meet FDA standards would be permitted to be sold.” The suit by the Vapor Technology Association claims that the FDA keeps “moving the goalposts,” making it tough on its members to do business.

The FDA has not commented on the suit.

I’m sure the tobacco business would’ve loved to stop the government from conducting studies into its products, too. I’m no lawyer, but I hope this suit gets dismissed, and quickly. Vaping is a nicotine delivery system, nicotine is addictive, and as far as I’m concerned, this is just one way for companies to do an end run around growing societal disgust with the tobacco habit and business.

• In the UK, the New York Times reports, the Committee of Advertising Practice has banned two specific television commercials, saying that they violate “new rules against harmful gender stereotypes.” In this case, the offending gender stereotypes are dumb fathers and placid women.

A Volkswagen ad, the story says, showed “a series of men ‘engaged in adventurous activities,’ the regulator said, while the only two women depicted were asleep in a tent and sitting by a baby carriage. The main characters of the ad from Mondelez, for the cheese spread Philadelphia, were two distracted young fathers in a restaurant who appeared ‘unable to care for children effectively’.”

The Times writes that “the rulings come at a time when advertisers are facing increasing scrutiny of the images they project and the ways in which they are likely to influence behavior, particularly in children.”

I tend to agree that such stereotypes are offensive, but you’d think that they’d have better things to do, like maybe prevent the collapse of the country?

• The Journal Times reports that Dick’s Sporting Goods has converted three existing stores units into Dick’s Sporting Goods Clearance Outlets, selling only clothing and footwear. The stores do not offer the exercise equipment sold in its traditional units.

The company has not commented on the conversions, and there is no suggestion about whether they might herald a broader strategic move.

USA Today reports on a new study suggesting “the "cancer-linked" presence of PFAS, also called "forever chemicals," in “fiber bowls used at fast casual dining spots and other restaurants including Chipotle, Sweetgreen, Dig Inn and other locations in New York City.

“The chemicals are being investigated by scientists and government officials amid concerns over links to cancer, obesity, reproductive health problems, immunotoxicity and other health problems. PFAS have been used in consumer goods since the 1940s, according to the Food and Drug Administration. They've also been found in water. 

“The methodology used in the report has been questioned by the Foodservice Packaging Institute, a trade group that claims the report's chemical indicators may not always prove accurate. And Chipotle contended its fiber bowls are safe and compliant with Food and Drug Administration rules.”
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