retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

•  The New York Times this morning reports that "four years after Chile embraced the world’s most sweeping measures to combat mounting obesity, a partial verdict on their effectiveness is in: Chileans are drinking a lot fewer sugar-laden beverages, according to study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine.

"Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks dropped nearly 25 percent in the 18 months after Chile adopted a raft of regulations that included advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods, bold front-of-package warning labels and a ban on junk food in schools. During the same period, researchers recorded a five percent increase in purchases of bottled water, diet soft drinks and fruit juices without added sugar."

The Chilean initiatives, adopted four years ago, are described by the Times as "a bold gambit by the government of a country with some of the world’s highest obesity rates. Three-quarters of Chilean adults and more than half of children are overweight or obese, and health officials warned that the medical costs of obesity could consume 4 percent of the nation’s health care spending by 2030, up from 2.4 percent in 2016."

The Chilean approach appears to have some imitators:  "Peru, Uruguay, Israel have adopted Chilean-style front-of-package labels; Brazil and Mexico are expected to finalize similar labels in the coming months, and a dozen other countries are considering them as well."

•  Good piece in the Wall Street Journal about the new headquarters that Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is building in Bellevue, Washington, just miles from Seattle, where once it opens "workers will be able to walk from one room to the next through outdoor staircases and bridges. They can hold group meetings on rooftop terraces, or around a fire pit in a courtyard full of native plants. Skylights and oversize sliding doors will bring in sunshine and air … The main office building, a 380,000-square-foot structure around two courtyards, is oriented from east to west to maximize the amount of sunlight it gets. Next to it will be an indoor marketplace that will be open to the public and powered in part by rooftop solar panels."

The story points out that "REI is one of a growing number of companies building unique headquarters meant to attract employees and market their brand. In 2017, Apple opened a massive, donut-shaped office in Cupertino, Calif., whose futuristic design earned it the nickname spaceship. Consumer-goods company Unilever PLC renovated its U.S. headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., to re-create the feeling of a New York City loft and appeal to younger workers."

Sounds just like MNB world headquarters.  I have walls.  Windows.  I can see my yard from my desk.  A kitchen with a coffee pot.  I can walk the dogs frequently during the day.  We even have a couple of skylights and one sliding door.  Yup.  REI's and MNB's headquarters have a lot in common.