retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  MLIve reports that "cash temporarily won’t be accepted at Meijer self-checkout lanes due to a national shortage of coins.  Customers who want to pay with bills will have to visit Meijer’s staffed checkout lanes for the time being, according to a company statement. The change is in effect at most of Grand Rapids-based retail giant’s 250 supercenters."

The story says that "the national coin shortage is a side effect of the economic slowdown related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Reduced business activity means smaller amounts of cash, including coins, are circulating through the economy."


•  Los Angeles-based Gelson's yesterday announced a new rewards program that it says will allow customers to "earn points for every dollar they spend. The more you spend, the more you get! With four different tiers (Foodie, Gourmet, Connoisseur, Epicure) come different perks; free items, Gelson’s brand BOGO events, % off whole store events and first to market samplers."

The retailer says that "Instacart is also integrated into the program making it easy for customers to order online, pick up and still earn points."

So now Instacart will know not only who orders what, but who Gelson's best customers are.  Only making it easier for Instacart to go after those customers if it decides such a move in its own best interests.  


•  The Associated Press reports that Elsie the Cow has a new barn to call home, as Borden has been sold for $340 million to Capitol Peak Partners and KKR, the latter serving as a minority investor.

According to the story, "Borden’s 12 U.S. plants - which produce 500 million gallons of milk per year - will remain open and its 3,300 workers will keep their jobs, the company said. Borden CEO Tony Sarsam will step down when the sale is completed."

I wouldn't count on the status quo staying that way for very long.  The story also points out that "Borden, founded in 1857, has been hammered by changing American tastes. Milk consumption is down as U.S. refrigerators are increasingly stocked with juice, soda and milk substitutes made from soy or almonds. Liquid milk consumption in the U.S. has tumbled more than 40% since 1975."  Which doesn't sound like the kind of situation likely to remain in place for very long … especially since Capitol Peak's founder is Gregg Engles, the former chairman-CEO of both Dean Foods and WhiteWave Foods, which makes Horizon organic milk and Silk plant-based milk.  In other words, not someone likely to take a hands-off approach.