business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Dow Jones reports that a federal mediator says that Colorado's three largest grocery chains – Albertsons, Safeway, and Kroger’s King Soopers – have agreed to return to the bargaining table with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.

    The unionized grocery workers have been working without a contract for a month. The international UFCW leadership actually stopped local workers from voting on a contract proposal that it believed was inadequate. And the chains have been steadfast in saying that they have no intention of raising their offer to employees.

  • In France, the wine industry is castigating the government there for adopting what it says is a “quasi-scientific and alarmist advertising campaign” that demonizes wine consumption.

    The campaign is designed to raise awareness of alcoholism as a national issue, but the wine industry is concerned that it will lead to the nation losing the wine culture that has, to a great extent, defined it for centuries.

  • Published reports say that despite the fact that Martha Stewart is serving a jail term for lying to investigators about a stock trade, readers seem to be extending their subscriptions. Seven out of ten subscribers have been renewing, according to the publishers, and the ones that are not are blaming their own financial straits for the decision, not Stewart’s legal problems.

KC's View:
While we certainly have been caustic in our comments about Martha Stewart, we want to use this opportunity to say something nice about her company. Martha Stewart Omnimedia recently hired former ABC executive Susan Lyne to be its CEO…which was one of the smartest moves it could have made. We met Lyne once through a mutual friend, and were extraordinarily impressed by her intelligence, her savvy, and what seemed to be a lack of pretension. She’s a great choice…and one, by the way, that Stewart herself had to approve. Chalk one up for Martha.