retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Sprouts Farmers Market said last week that it plans to slow down its growth trajectory next year, reducing the number of new stores that it opens to 20, from the 28 it is opening this year.

CEO Jack Sinclair said last week that this is just a temporary slowdown, and that a faster growth rate is likely in 2021. However, Sinclair also said that the company is focusing on how to build smaller stores than it traditionally has operated, believing that such stores can be more productive.

Sinclair also said the company will continue to grow its e-commerce business, which saw delivery sales up 200 percent in Q3 compared to Q2; while Sprouts also has been launching a click-and-collect service, home delivery to this point has proven to be more successful.

• The Associated Press reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has disclosed yet another E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce. However, the story says that "by the time it identified romaine as the likely source, it says the tainted produce was no longer on shelves. It says 23 people were sickened between July 12 and Sept. 8. No deaths were reported."

The FDA does not know how the romaine became contaminated.

• The BBC reports that "Unilever, which owns household names such as Marmite and PG Tips, has vowed to stop its brands running adverts on porn sites. The move comes after its men's grooming range Dollar Shave Club ran a campaign on the controversial website Pornhub."

While Unilever said that Dollar Shave Club has "operational independence" over its marketing activities, in the future that will not extend to porn sites.

However - apparently enamored with the fact that Pornhub "has 110 million daily visits and 71% of its audience are male" - Dollar Shave Club's creative director Matt Knapp has been quoted as saying that the decision to advertise there was "strategic," saying, "It's not expensive. But interestingly, the exposure that you can get and the impressions are huge." "Exposure you can get?" Maybe a different choice of words would've been appropriate. And maybe, in an era when such attitudes can create pariahs out of executives, a different choice of creative directors?
KC's View: