retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Reuters reports that "retail sales rose 0.3% last month, the smallest gain since the recovery started in May, after increasing 1.6% in September, the Commerce Department said. They account for the goods component of consumer spending, with services such as healthcare and hotel accommodation making up the other portion."

The story suggests that retail sales could "slow further, restrained by spiraling new COVID-19 infections and declining household income as millions of unemployed Americans lose government financial support."

•  The New York Times reports that candy company Mars is acquiring Kind North America, which makes snacks that "celebrate their lack of artificial flavors and preservatives," three years after it took a minority stake in the company.

While terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, the Times writes that it values Kind North America at about $5 billion.

•  The Financial Times reports that Unilever is aiming to increase its annual sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives" to the equivalent of $1.1 billion (US), or roughly five times the sales it expects to generate from the category this year.  

The expectation, and the strategies behind it, are seen as "intensifying the battle for the plates of climate-conscious consumers."

•  USA Today reports that Pepsi has launched a new apple pie-flavored cola, but said that for the moment it will be available only via sweepstakes:  "The product is not yet available in stores, but Pepsi fans can get a free two liter bottle by submitting a photo or video of their failed attempt to bake on Twitter or TikTok and using the hashtag #PepsiApplePieChallenge."

•  Gourmet ice cream purveyor Graeter's announced that for the first time it will bring its french pot manufacturing process to a line of vegan animal free and lactose free dairy frozen desserts it is calling Graeter’s Perfect Indulgence, and that it says "is virtually indiscernible from Graeter’s regular super-premium ice cream line."

•  The Associated Press reports that "Britain will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, a decade earlier than its previous commitment, the prime minister said Tuesday.

"Boris Johnson made the pledge as part of plans for a 'green industrial revolution' that he claims could create up to 250,000 jobs in energy, transport and technology … The environmental push is part of Johnson’s efforts to move beyond the tremors of the coronavirus pandemic and Britain’s divisive exit from the European Union, and to bring new jobs to struggling former industrial regions of central and northern England."