retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  MarketWatch reports that Costco has posted Q4 earnings of $1.39 billion on sales of $53.4 billion, up 12.5 percent from $47.5 billion a year ago.  Same-store sales were up 11.4 percent.

For the full year, Costco's revenue grew 9.3 percent to $163.2 billion from $152.7 billion, while net income also grew 9.3 percent to $4 billion from $3.66 billion - the story notes that this is the first year that Costco's annual profit hit the $4 billion mark.  Full year same-store sales grew 9.2 percent.

•  Forbes reports that B&G has decided to rebrand its Cream of Wheat brand, removing the image of the black chef that long has adorned the packaging.

"While research indicates the image may be based upon an actual Chicago chef named Frank White, it reminds some consumers of earlier depictions they find offensive,” the company said in a statement.

The announcement came the same day as Mars Inc. said that Uncle Ben's rice will be rebranded as Ben's Original because of concerns about racial stereotyping.