business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story the other day about Rite Aid grappling with severe shoplifting issues in its New York City stores, prompting MNB reader Rich Heiland to write:

Interesting note about Rite-Aid. There is a Rite-Aid a block or so from our apartment in downtown West Chester, PA we use. Last summer they posted signs on the doors reading "No more than three minors in the store at one time. All backpacks and bags must be left at the front counter." I asked one employee what was up and he said groups of teens had been coming in, distracting employees and their shoplifting losses were soaring dramatically.

I don't know if this makes me feel better, that West Chester - population 20,033 - has the same issues as New York City, population 8.38 million.

We also had a story about how there apparently are fewer discounts being offered by supermarkets at the moment, and MNB reader Howard Schneider observed:

I think many discounts are less visible to the broad market because the major supermarket chains use their loyalty card programs to target discounts to members. Good deal for the member, the store gets permissioned, SKU-level data, and enjoys tighter control compared with broad-market discounts, mass coupons, BOGOs, etc.

Howard knows a lot. more about this stuff than I do, so I bow to his guidance.

We had a story yesterday noting that the National Retail Federation (NRF) is out with its assessment of August spending, concluding that while "consumers remain worried about high inflation and Federal Reserve interest rate hikes intended to bring inflation under control," they are not so worried that they've stopped spending.

But a number of people made an observation like this one:

Is the increase due to inflationary price increases vs.spending increases? 

Excellent point.

As I said yesterday, we have to be careful about false optimism.  We've been drinking the kool-aid for so long, thinking that the good times will go on forever and that the bill would never come due.  I'm old enough to know/remember that the bill always has to get paid at some point.