retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that "Schnuck Markets will close its only store in Iowa this summer, the grocer said.  The 61,000-square-foot store in Bettendorf, one of the Quad Cities that straddle Illinois and Iowa roughly 250 miles north of St. Louis, opened in 2005."  The reason is simple:  Todd Schnuck, chairman-CEO, said that the store was not profitable.

•  Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets, a subsidiary of Albertsons, announced this week that it will be converting four Albertsons stores in the region to the United banner, saying that the move will take advantage of the brand's strong image and footprint there.

Albertsons acquired United in 2013.  

•  Kroger's Louisville Division announced that it  is "making a $1.5 million pledge to the University of Louisville as part of a broad-ranging effort to reduce hunger and waste in the local community.

"The gift will create the Kroger Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Fund at UofL. The fund will provide support in three main areas: diversity and inclusion, food security and sustainability, and leadership development."

•  The Wall Street Journal  reports that McDonald's yesterday said that May same-store US sales were down five percent - which was seen as something of a victory after the double-digit decline of the previous month, which was attributed to a severe reduction in store services related to the pandemic.

According to the story, " McDonald’s is preparing for the virus to impact consumer habits for some time. McDonald’s executives are also deciding which changes made during the pandemic to keep, including a more-limited menu that has improved restaurant efficiency. Average drive-through wait times have fallen by 25 seconds in the U.S., in part, because the menu has been stripped of all-day breakfast and some slower-selling items, executives said."

•  There were reports earlier this week that three New York City police officers had been poisoned at a Manhattan Shake Shack, which prompted some to suggest that they had been deliberately targeted by anti-police activists.  (One of those making thr claim was the Police Benevolent Association.)

However, a police investigation into the incident reveals that, in fact, it appears that there was no criminality involved - that, in fact, the officers got sick because of cleaning solution that had not been completely washed out of the milkshake machine, which contaminated their drinks.

USA Today reports that Frito-Lay-owned Doritos is introducing pickled-flavored chips this week, but that they only will be available at Dollar General and Circle K stores.

Sounds ready-made for an SNL skit.

•  The New York Times  reports that  Christopher Lischewski, the former president-CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, "was sentenced to 40 months in jail and a $100,000 fine on Tuesday for his role in a yearslong conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna," which " affected over $600 million worth of canned tuna sales, according to prosecutors."

Lischewski was said to have been the scheme's mastermind.  There were three other company executives involved, each of whom pleaded guilty and turned state's evidence against their former boss.

It could've been worse.  At least he didn't end up sleeping with the fishes.