retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

•  From Engadget:

"Blue Apron has been struggling in recent years, and that's leading the company to consider some extreme options. The online meal kit service has revealed that it's looking at "strategic alternatives" that include a merger, raising funds, offloading assets or selling the company outright. It warned that there was no guarantee anything would happen, but this is the kind of language companies frequently use when they're running out of options … Recent subscriber data explains just why Blue Apron is exploring mergers and sales. The company's customers dropped from about 557,000 at the end of 2018 to 351,000 a year later -- that's a drop of nearly 37 percent in the space of a year. Orders dropped by nearly a third, too."

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•  White Castle announced yesterday that it will add a new menu item - a dairy-free alternative to cheddar cheese - that now can be aded to any slider, including the plant-based, meatless Impossible Slider that it introduced in 2018.

Dairy-free, meat-free, and taste-free.  Sounds like the beginning of a new ad campaign … though not necessarily one that would send me scurrying over to White Castle.  I learned this the hard way - eating a White Castle Impossible Slider that was as tasteless as its regular sliders, and that still managed to have the unfortunate impact on my digestive system.  Maybe they can market the thing as a cleanse…

•  Fortune is out with its annual "Best Companies To Work For" list, and Wegmans - as always - is near the top of the list, ranked third.

Hilton has been named number one this year, and Ultimate Software is number two;  the rest of the top 10 is rounded out, in order, by Cisco, Workday, Salesforce, Edward Jones, Stryker, American Express, and Kimpton.

Other retailers on the list include  Publix (#39), REI (#60), Nuggett Market (#79), and Sheetz (#80).