business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the New York Times:

"For more than a year now, the U.S. economy has faced two fundamental, interwoven challenges: Consumers wouldn’t stop spending, and prices wouldn’t stop rising.

Both trends are now showing early signs of reversing.

"Consumer spending fell in both November and December, the Commerce Department said on Friday, as shoppers pulled back amid rising prices, dwindling savings and warnings of a looming recession.

"Inflation is also easing: Consumer prices rose 5 percent in the year through December, according to the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure. While still much more rapid than normal, that was the slowest pace in more than a year.

"Taken together, the figures paint a picture of an economy that is, at long last, coming off the boil. From the Fed’s perspective, that is good news: The central bank has spent the past year aggressively raising interest rates in an effort to force consumers and businesses alike to pull back their spending, which should result in slower price increases. Now there is mounting evidence those efforts are bearing fruit."

•  Good Food Holdings-owned Metropolitan Market said last week that it is partnering with Focal Systems, deploying its operating system "to digitize and automate the Pacific Northwest grocery chain through optimized ordering, inventory management, merchandising, and in-store labor to completely transform the overall customer experience … This pilot will involve deploying hundreds of tiny, inexpensive shelf cameras that digitize shelves hourly with the most accurate computer vision on the market. Then, FocalOS will use that data to automate many in-store processes, enabling accurate just-in-time ordering, replacing the manual daily out-of-stock scan with automated hourly scans, improving product availability for customers by increasing the productivity of replenishment staff, reducing food waste with better produce ordering, and more."