retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The National Grocers Association (NGA) has released a statement applauding "remarks made by Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya during a speech in Minneapolis today recommending that the agency resurrect the Robinson-Patman Act.

"The Robinson-Patman Act was passed in 1936 to protect small businesses from price discrimination in the marketplace. Despite the law’s intention, the FTC has not brought a case under the Robinson-Patman Act in more than 20 years. Nor has the FTC brought an enforcement action against economic discrimination using the other antitrust laws."

“Unfortunately, this is not a new reality faced by independent community grocers across the country, where the playing field on which they are operating is not level and dominant firms exercise their power to demand special treatment from suppliers without an economic justification. Independent grocers and the wholesalers that serve them provide critical competition on price, quality, service and convenience,” said NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “A spotlight has been shone on these anticompetitive, harmful tactics and we look forward to working with the FTC and other policymakers to restore a competitive, robust marketplace that benefits local economies, independent grocers and their shoppers alike.”



•  Bloomberg reports that while Costco decided not to raise its membership fees in its fourth quarter - it usually raises them every five to six years, and hasn't done so since June 2017 - CFO Richard Galanti said “it’s a question of when, not if.”

Analysts expect it could happen in Q1 next year.   Bloomberg notes that Costco has been seeing "record renewal rates" during the fourth quarter.



•  WinCo Foods announced that it has struck a deal with EVgo Inc., which describes itself as "the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs)," to open public. charging stations in the parking lots of its stores.

According to the announcement, the first at a WinCo stores has opened in Las Vegas, and "EVgo will add fast charging stalls to WinCo Foods locations in California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Utah. Since the Las Vegas station opening, EVgo has added fast charging stations to two additional WinCo Food locations in California. By adding EVgo fast chargers to its properties, WinCo Foods pairs its renowned shopper experience with EVgo’s first-class customer service to extend hospitality from inside the store to the parking lot. EVgo’s current footprint in the Las Vegas market spans 18 locations."



•  Meal solutions provider Home Chef announced that both online and in stores (Home Chef is available at, and owned by, Kroger), it will be partnering with TV chef Rachael Ray, "rolling out exclusive … recipes on a weekly basis for six months … The collaboration makes it easier than ever to cook Rachael's recipes at home, combining her simple, delicious meals with Home Chef's convenient service that sets home cooks up for success from the prep to the plate."