retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Fortune reports that Crate & Barrel plans to expand its test of full-service in-store restaurants, from one that has been operating in Oak Brook, Illinois, to 15 locations around the country.

The story says that the restaurant, called The Table at the Crate, is designed “to show off its dining, kitchen, and design products. Almost all of the items in the restaurant are available for purchase on the storefront side of business.”

A timeline for the expansion has not been disclosed.

I’ve always loved the notion of selling products by placing them in context. It works so much better than just putting them on display in a vacuum, and certainly gains in relevance when a bricks-and-mortar store is trying to compete against e-commerce companies.

• The Los Angeles Times reports that Halo Top ice cream, known for being a high protein, low sugar, low calorie dessert, is being acquired by Wells Enterprises Inc., which makes Blue Bunny ice cream. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that New York State’s Public Health and Health Planning Council has approved “an emergency regulation temporarily banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids,” attributing the decision to the “rash of pulmonary illnesses and several deaths in the U.S. linked to vaping and e-cigarette usage.”

According to the story, “The ban went into effect immediately and is expected to last 90 days, with the expectation that it will be renewed absent a permanent legislative ban … Retailers will have until Oct. 4 before the state begins enforcing the new regulation. Retailers who violate the ban on sales will face fines of up to $2,000 per violation.”

Michigan has also banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, and the Trump administration has made some noise about some sort of federal action.

The move is seen by some as controversial, since there are some people who believe that vaping helps some people quit smoking. In addition, it could put some vaping stores out of business.

• Today Is National Cheeseburger Day.

Time to celebrate. I’m thinking a double-double, animal style. Be still, my heart.
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