retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  ABC News  reports that "dozens of union drivers and mechanics for Shaw's in Maine went on strike Monday morning.

"Teamsters Local 340 represents more than 70 employees who work in Scarborough and Wells. Employees in both locations walked out Monday.

"The union voted in November to authorize a strike after saying contract negotiations with management had broken down following 13 meetings. A federal mediator had been called in to help.  Sticking points in contract talks included health insurance, retirement and sub-contracting."

•  The Wall Street Journal writes about how a surging economy could be stifled by supply chain issues that were created and/or exacerbated by the pandemic.

"Consumers are splurging on cars and furniture - and facing extended waits for delivery," the Journal reports.  "Restaurants and gyms are reopening - and struggling to find workers. Factories and home builders are trying to ramp up - but are short on semiconductors or raw materials.

"Federal Reserve officials and most economists largely play down supply and cost problems as transitory, saying they aren’t widespread enough to threaten corporate profits or the broader U.S. economy for long, especially amid strong sales.  But problems are acute for some individual businesses and even entire industries."

One of the biggest problems seems to be in the supply of labor:  "U.S. job openings have already recovered to pre-pandemic levels, despite some eight million fewer jobs in the economy, and 42% of surveyed companies have told the National Federation of Independent Business, a small business trade group, that they have at least one open position that has proved hard to fill—the highest level ever, noted Sarah House, a senior economist with Wells Fargo’s corporate and investment banking unit."

•  Weis Markets announced a planned investment of $135 million in its growth during 2021, with chairman-president-CEO Jonathan Weis saying that "the company continues to invest in new stores, remodels, fuel centers, information technology upgrades and more than a thousand smaller store improvement projects."

"Already this year, we've opened a new store in Martinsburg, West Virginia and a remodeled store in Gap, Pennsylvania, which was closed for 18 months due to a fire," Weis said. "We are currently finishing up work on two stores in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, which will open later this spring, and have started work on a new store in Warminster, Pennsylvania, our second in Bucks County."

The company plans eight remodels and eight fuel centers in 2021.

•  CNBC reports that "Nestle has bought the main brands of vitamin and supplements maker The Bountiful Company for $5.75 billion … the latest expansion of its health and nutrition business."

“This acquisition complements our existing health and nutrition portfolio in terms of brands and channels,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestle Health Science, in a prepared statement.  "It will establish Nestle Health Science as the industry leader in mass retail, specialty retail, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer in the U.S., while offering significant opportunities for geographic growth."