retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times reports that "Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS have moved to stop selling the heartburn medicine Zantac and its generic versions after the Food and Drug Administration warned this month that it had detected low levels of a cancer-causing chemical in samples of the drug," with the moves affecting both branded and private label versions.

There has been no official recall of the drug. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that "it is investigating the source of the contamination as well as the risk to patients, recommending that they talk to their doctors and that those who take over-the-counter versions consider switching to a different medication."

• National Public Radio (NPR) reports that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 has reached a tentative deal with grocers in the Pacific Northwest, ending a weeklong boycott of Kroger-owned Fred Meyer.

According to the story, "While details of the contract remain unclear, the dispute centered in part on wages. The union also said it had discovered a gender pay gap at Portland-area Fred Meyer stores that should be addressed.

"In a statement, Fred Meyer director of corporate affairs Jeffery Temple said the business was glad to have a tentative agreement that 'secures increased wages, continued premium health care coverage and pension stability'."

• Kroger has announced that it soon will open a new Kitchen 1883 restaurant across from its store in Anderson Township, Ohio. It will be the company's third.

The first was in in Union, Kentucky, and opened in 2017; the second was in Kroger's new food hall, just opened recently in Cincinnati.

• The News & Observer reports that when Wegmans opened its first North Carolina store - and its 100th store overall - on Sunday, some 3,000 people waited on line for the doors to be unlocked, further cementing the retailer's reputation for having a cult-like following obsessed with its approach to food retailing.

According to the report, Wegmans "said the line broke the company's store-opening record. The Raleigh store is the first of five that are expected in the Triangle, with two also coming to Cary, one to Wake Forest and one to Chapel Hill."
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