business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Women's Wear Daily reports that "Bloomingdale’s has set Nov. 2 for the opening of Bloomie’s in Seattle and has disclosed the brand lineup for the 19,000-square-foot site.

"Bloomie’s, a scaled-down slice of Bloomingdale’s, focuses on casual and contemporary styles and convenience. There’s flexibility in the store design allowing the company to grow or shrink presentations of brands and trends, depending on sales patterns. Bloomie’s in Seattle, located in University Village, is the third Bloomie’s to open. The other two are in Fairfax, Va., and Skokie, Ill.

Bloomie’s represents the Bloomingdale’s brand’s entry in the Pacific Northwest. The assortment is being curated to local preferences both in brand mix and product categories."

The story notes that for the company, "emerging specialized off-mall formats are apparently a growing part of the … future, either opening a unit in a market where the corporation has no stores, or, to strengthen its presence in a market where it already operates stores."

•  From the New York Times:

"Toys 'R' Us, the once ubiquitous chain that drew generations of children with its signature primary colors and its Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot, will attempt a comeback six years after filing for bankruptcy. It plans to open up to 24 flagship stores across the United States starting next year, WHP Global, its parent company, announced on Friday.

"WHP Global, which acquired a controlling stake of Toys 'R' Us in 2021, said in a statement that in addition to the new brick-and-mortar stores, Toys 'R' Us would also open shops in airports and on cruise ships through a partnership with Go! Retail Group."

The Times notes that "the comeback attempt for Toys “R” Us comes during what has been a difficult time for brick-and-mortar stores, with many closing in the past several years as they have had to contend with the continued growth of e-commerce followed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic … the new flagship Toys 'R' Us stores must contend with the likes of Amazon, which gives consumers the ease of making purchases from their phones. The stores must also compete with big box stores, like Walmart and Target."

•  From Axios:

"California governor Gavin Newsom signed a law on Thursday that will raise fast food workers' pay in the state to $20 an hour starting in April 2024 … The law's passage is a huge win for labor — the campaign around this law was led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — and signals unions' growing power in the U.S.

"$20 an hour is a big raise for a lot of workers. Fast food workers in the state made an average of $16.60 an hour in 2022. The state's minimum wage is $15.50.

"Meanwhile, in another win for workers on Thursday, Uber, DoorDash and Grubhub were blocked in their attempt to keep an $18 minimum wage for NYC delivery workers from moving forward."

•  From CNN:

"Starbucks violated federal labor law when it increased wages and offered new perks and benefits only to non-union employees, a National Labor Relations Board judge found … The decision is the latest in a series of NLRB rulings finding that Starbucks has violated labor law in its efforts to stop unions from forming in its coffee shops."

It was last year that "Starbucks announced that it would raise wages for non-union employees, and offer them other new benefits. When announcing the new wage hike, Howard Schultz, then interim CEO of the company, said that 'we do not have the same freedom to make these improvements at locations that have a union or where union organizing is underway,' because federal law 'prohibits us from promising new wages and benefits at stores involved in union organizing'."

The NLRB now has officially disagreed with that assessment, though Starbucks said it plans to appeal the ruling.