retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Business Insider reports that "an environmental nonprofit has sued Kroger over claims that several of the grocery chain's private-label products — including a spinach-and-bacon salad kit, frozen fruit, and pre-sliced bagels — contain high lead levels. The legal spat is just the latest clash between retailers and environmental activists and attorneys over lead levels in products found in stores across the country.

"Environmental attorney Vineet Dubey filed the suit against the grocery giant on Monday in Los Angeles County's Superior Court on behalf of the Ecological Alliance. Kroger did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, and has not yet filed a response to the Ecological Alliance's claims."

•  In Virginia, WAVY-TV News reports that Publix Super Markets "is planning to open up stores in two of Hampton Roads’ seven cities.

"While the Florida-based chain has yet to make the official store announcements themselves, both the City of Suffolk and Norfolk have approved plans for the stores, both roughly 50,000 square feet, and confirmed Publix is the occupant."

The story notes that "Publix has had a presence in the region since 2018, with the opening of stores in Williamsburg and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina."  No timetable for construction has been announced.

I've been intrigued by the Publix march northward, especially because it is happening at the same time as Wegmans' march southward.  In this case, the Publix store will be less than a dozen miles from a Virginia Beach Wegmans store.

•  CNBC reports that "Kohl’s, facing activist pressure to consider a sale, wants investors to realize the progress it is making on its own terms to refresh its brick-and-mortar stores and to find ways to lure new and younger shoppers to the business."

Kohl's says that it is planning to open more than 100 small-store units of roughly 35,000 square feet - a typical Kohl's is about 80,000 square feet - "in a bid to attract new customers."  And, the story says, "Kohl’s also announced that it aims to grow its Sephora business to more than $2 billion in annual sales. Kohl’s has opened about 200 of the Sephora shop-in-shops inside its brick-and-mortar locations, so far, and is on track to hit 850 by next year."

•  The Specialty Food Association announced that the 2023 Winter Fancy Food Show will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center, from January 15-17.

The show was moved from its longtime venue in San Francisco this year, at least in part because there were fewer pandemic-related restrictions in Las Vegas;  urban strife that has made life in San Francisco problematic over the past year almost certainly also played a role in the decision.

The 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show will take place as planned  June 12-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.