retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Albertsons announced that it has added the option "of online grocery shopping to more customers by accepting SNAP EBT payments for Drive Up & Go orders placed through its websites and apps … The company has rolled out the new payment option at nearly 200 Drive Up & Go locations at select Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Jewel-Osco, and Carrs locations. There is no fee for Drive Up & Go service."

According to the announcement, "The extension of SNAP payments to Drive Up & Go orders is part of Albertsons Companies’ strategic and rapid acceleration of digital and eCommerce offerings. The company … is on track to have 1,400 Drive Up & Go locations by the end of its fiscal year."

•  KCCI-TV News reports that "Hy-Vee announced it will be bringing back special hours for customers who are high-risk as COVID-19 cases rise in Iowa.

"The company took to Facebook to announce that customers over 60 years old, pregnant mothers and those with underlying health conditions are welcome to shop from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday."

Hy-Vee also announced last week that it "is seeking employees to help fill multiple positions in stores across its eight-state region as well as its distribution centers located in Chariton and Cherokee, Iowa."  The openings are said to be for both temporary and permanent positions, "from online personal shoppers and cashiers to food service clerks, stockers and more."

•  The BBC has a story about how the UK is considering legislation that would ban junk food advertising from online sites, an expansion of the original plan, which only would have banned the ads from appearing online (as well as on television) before 9 pm.

According to the story, "The proposal, which is still under consultation, could usher in some of the toughest digital marketing restrictions in the world by the end of 2022.  Firms would not be able to promote foods high in fat, salt or sugar in Facebook ads, paid search results on Google, text promotions and posts on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram."  The goal, proponents say, is to address increasing levels of childhood obesity.

However, the BBC also reports that a letter has been sent to British Prime  Minister Boris Johnson - signed by 800 food and drink manufacturers and 3,000 UK brands - complaining that they "have not been given enough time to submit detailed objections."

•  Bloomberg reports that, as expected, "Guitar Center Inc., the largest U.S. retailer of music instruments and equipment, filed for bankruptcy after the spreading COVID-19 pandemic kept customers at home and job losses made them less able to afford new gear."

The filing allows the company to stay in business while it restructures its debt.