retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted, evidence that layoffs are declining as companies hold onto workers.

"Unemployment claims dropped 6,000 to 290,000 last week, the third straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the fewest people to apply for benefits since March 14, 2020, when the pandemic intensified. Applications for jobless aid, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily from about 900,000 in January."

Kroger announced that its retail media business, Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM) powered by 84.51°, is launching what id described as "a new private programmatic advertising marketplace. The Kroger Private Marketplace allows agencies and brands to reach consumers by applying Kroger audience data to programmatic campaigns within their preferred ad-buying platform … The Kroger Private Marketplace makes buying easier while providing advertisers unmatched flexibility, speed, and control of their campaigns. For the first time, brands can now reach the most relevant consumers across the web, using their own DSP of choice, and then optimize performance against actual retail sales.

"Advertisers tailor their audiences to match campaign objectives using targeting science exclusively available through Kroger Precision Marketing. The platform pre-optimizes audiences to achieve business outcomes. For example, when aiming for conversions, the targeting science will enable brands to reach relevant households that will deliver the strongest sales impact. These activations have resulted in household penetration gains from new and lapsed households – with at least 3x more sales than the average consumer (84.51° internal 2021)."

•  Newsday reports that The NPD Group, a prominent market research firm, has been acquired by San Francisco-based private equity group Hellman & Friedman.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The story notes that NPD "uses point-of-sale data and consumer surveys to underpin research on apparel, appliances, automotive, food, electronics, retail, sports, video games and other consumer segments."

•  Bloomberg reports that "consumers around the world are about to get socked with even higher prices on everyday items, companies from food giant Unilever Plc to lubricant maker WD-40 Co. warned this week as they grapple with supply difficulties … Companies are facing a dire mix of supply-chain challenges, as well as higher costs for energy, raw materials, packaging and shipping. While most consumer-goods makers reporting results this week expressed confidence that they’ll be able to limit the long-term hit to profitability, that means the pain passes to consumers, upping the squeeze on pockets as Christmas approaches."

In the case of Unilever, the story says, "The maker of Dove soap and Magnum ice-cream bars jacked up prices by more than 4% on average last quarter, the biggest jump since 2012, and signaled elevated pricing will continue into next year. A similar refrain came from Nestle SA, Procter & Gamble Co. and Danone SA, whose products dominate supermarket aisles and kitchen cupboards.  'We’re in for at least another 12 months of inflationary pressures,' Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a Bloomberg Television interview. 'We are in a once-in-two-decades inflationary environment'."