retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "jobless claims declined to a pandemic low last week, a sign companies are hesitant to lay off employees as the U.S. economy quickly recovers.

"Unemployment claims fell to 376,000 last week from 385,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday, bringing claims to the lowest level since the pandemic hit last spring. Claims remain well above weekly filings of just over 200,000 logged before the pandemic shut down large parts of the economy last March. But they have steadily declined in recent weeks as rising vaccination rates and easing business restrictions spur economic activity."


CNBC reports that "Chipotle Mexican Grill has hiked menu prices by roughly 4% to cover the cost of raising its workers’ wages."

According to the story, "CEO Brian Niccol said the company prefers not to raise its prices but that the move made sense in this scenario.

"The timing of the price hikes coincides with rising ingredient costs across the restaurant industry as suppliers grapple with the return of demand. For now, Chipotle isn’t planning on further price increases."


•. The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Starbucks "is running short in some stores on basics including cups and coffee syrups, baristas said, as the chain grinds back to full operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Cake pops, cup stoppers and mocha flavoring are among the items that have run out in places at times, some baristas said. The company is pausing production on several lower-sales items to focus on higher-selling ones, one person familiar with those plans said.

"A Starbucks spokeswoman said shortages of some items are temporary and vary by store and market. The company has temporarily removed from its app oat milk and beverages made with the dairy substitute until it restocks its inventory, she said."