business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its annual c-store count, saying that as of the end of 2016, there were a record 154,535 stores, a 0.2% increase (340 stores) from the year prior.

The report goes on: "The industry store count has increased by 63% over the last three decades. At year-end 1986, the convenience store count was 95,000 stores; at year-end 1996, the store count was 104,600 stores; and at year-end 2006, the store count was 145,119 stores. Over that timeframe, there have only been five times when the store count did not set a record; the latest being year-end 2008 and 2009 during the Great Recession."

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to expand its iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York City - more than doubling its size from 32,000 square feet to 77,000 square feet.

Apple already has moved into the space in the General Motors Building that used to be occupied by FAO Schwarz, where it will remain until the expansion of its regular store is completed.

The irony of the decision is that GM Building is just blocks from Trump Tower, a neighborhood where a number of retailers have experienced traffic issues because of increased security provided both by the NYPD and the Secret Service, not to mention protests for and against the administration.

Apple either is betting on a on-term Trump presidency, or a belief that the Apple brand is strong enough to supersede the Trump brand.

• When MNB reviewed the original Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, one of the things we noted - with great pleasure - was the presence of a Serious Pie pizza restaurant inside. We've always been enormous fans of the Tom Douglas format, and finding it inside the Roastery was a terrific bonus.

But now, Serious Pie is being evicted (willingly) from the Roastery "to make room for a high-end Italian bakery and café (called Princi) Starbucks invested in last summer in an effort to appeal to customers with a more refined palate."

Tom Douglas Restaurants CEO Pamela Hinkley called it "a good outcome for both of our companies ... We enjoyed watching the Roastery come to life but it became evident to both of us that we each need our own dedicated space."
KC's View: