business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes utterly gratuitous commentary…

• The Associated Press reports that the National Retail Federation (NRF) is working with chains that include Walmart, Home Depot and the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to launch "a program to help people develop the skills to land entry-level jobs and advance in a retail career." According to the story, more than 20 retailers "have pledged general support for the Rise Up program being launched Sunday. It's part of a broader credential plan that would help workers move up that may include training for store supervisors and in specific areas like retail analytics."

The story goes on to report that "the program offers 30 to 40 hours of classroom training or 15 hours of online training, and will be administered through nonprofit groups and public education partners. The overall cost is $50, but many students will be able to get subsidies. The retailers involved are encouraging local nonprofits or high schools to start using it. Some might fund groups in areas where they're having a hard time hiring skilled workers. Some may use it to replace or supplement their own training."

Columbia Business First reports that Ohio-based retailer The Andersons Inc. has announced the closing of its four retail stores, ending a 65-year run and resulting in the layoff of more than 1,000 people.

According to the story, "The company said its retail division has lost more than $20 million over the past eight years, including write-downs on the value of the business. It's closed three stores in that time."

I am unfamiliar with this company, but the closing were brought to my attention by an MNB reader, who told me that "the privately owned Anderson stores were interesting.  Hardware, appliances, home improvement, garden center, gourmet food (cheese, deli etc.), butcher shop/seafood, baked goods, produce, huge wine and beer selections and many things I probably overlooked mentioning.  They had many items you could not find anywhere else ... As they say, just a sign of the times.  This retail business was just a small part of the Anderson's operations, but it did not appear to me that they neglected it.

• The Houston Business Journal has a story about how that city is seeing enormous retail development, with "4.98 million square feet of retail space built and opened in 2017," including 21 new grocery stores.

Among the expected openings: six new Kroger Marketplace stores, three new H-E-B stores and one more of its Joe V's Smart Shop units, 10 new Aldi stores, one new Walmart Neighborhood Market and three new Walmart supercenters, two new Super Targets, one new Costco and six new Total Wine units.

Yikes. It is a good thing, with all this physical retail development, that Houston has been walled off from the e-commerce revolution. Oh. Wait a minute...
KC's View: