business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Coloradan reports that "Lucky's Market founders Bo and Trish Sharon plan to buy back seven specialty grocer stores, including the Fort Collins and north Boulder locations that remain open following the corporation's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing Monday … The company announced last week it would close many of its stores. On Monday, it voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell six Florida stores to Aldi and five Florida stores to Publix Super Markets." The Sharon, Aldi and Publix transactions support nearly 2,000 jobs.

According to Scott Moses of PJ Solomon, which is acting as M&A investment banking advisor to Lucky’s on the transactions, the Sharon bid is a stalking horse in the Lucky’s Chapter 11 process. There are active discussions taking place with other potential buyers.

• The Washington Post reports that Nordstrom is getting into the business of selling used clothes.

According to the story, "Nordstrom will begin selling secondhand apparel online and in its New York flagship store this week, the latest attempt by the 119-year-old company to appeal to changing consumer tastes and capitalize on one of the few bright spots in retail. It joins Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Madewell, among others, in carving out a place for used clothing, shoes and handbags alongside new ones.

"Resale sites such as ThredUp, Poshmark and the RealReal have become destinations as eco-friendly alternatives to fast fashion. As resale becomes mainstream - the market is expected to triple in three years - department stores are a natural next step."

• Add McDonald's, Ikea, Pizza Hut and Ikea to the list of retailers temporarily closing down stores in China because of the coronavirus outbreak.

USA Today reports that "McDonalds's has closed all of its restaurants in Hubei Province, home to the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. While that represents hundreds of locations, roughly 3,000 McDonald's restaurants throughout China remain open."

And CNN reports that Ikea is "shutting down" all of its 30 stores across China, saying hat it will "pay close attention to the epidemic situation." Ikea's e-commerce operation will remain online.

The CNN story notes that "in China, Ikea is a popular place for shoppers to nap and hang out for long periods of time on the many bed, sofa and furniture displays. Such shopping habits would be counterproductive to containing the coronavirus, as experts and officials advise people to avoid crowded areas."

From the New York Times this morning:

"The World Health Organization is meeting again on Thursday to decide whether to declare the coronavirus epidemic an international public health emergency, as China said that another 38 people had died from the virus.

"The global health agency met twice last week but was split about whether to declare an emergency, saying it did not have enough information to decide. Such rulings can rally a global response, but also put countries at the center of any outbreak under even greater scrutiny.

"China said Thursday that the total number of deaths from the coronavirus had risen to 170, with cases now confirmed in every province and region in the country. More than 7,700 people have been sickened in mainland China, while 68 cases have been reported around the world."
KC's View: