business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Albertsons yesterday reported $46.3 million in net income for the just-completed fiscal year, a big turnaround from the $373.3 million loss reported a year ago and the $502 million loss two years ago. (That doesn’t even count the combined $1.2 billion loss that Albertsons and Safeway had the year before that, before Albertsons acquired Safeway.)

Sales for the year were $59.9 billion, up from $59.7 billion a year earlier.

“Our future has never been brighter,” says president/COO Jim Donald.

The Idaho Statesman writes that “executives say the consistent improvement reflects their focus on wringing out inefficiencies, improved marketing and attention to customer desires and service. And they expect the upward trend to continue.”

• White Castle has announced that it will sell the “Impossible Slider” - a veggie burger that is said to sizzle on the grill, smell like a real hamburger, and bleed like a real burger when you eat it - in 140 of its stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The retailer is selling the burger on a brioche bun and topping it with smoked cheddar cheese, pickles, and onions. It costs $1.99.

Fast Company writes that “around 1,300 other restaurants, including Fatburger and Umami Burger, also now sell the Impossible Burger, though White Castle will be the first to offer it at a large scale. In March, the burger launched at the Oakland Coliseum, where it’s sold at concession stands during baseball games.”

It has got to be better than its regular burgers. Michael Sansolo and I were on a road trip a couple of years ago, and decided, on a whim, to order a sack of burgers from a White Castle that we were passing. It sounded like fun, and a reminder of our youths. Unfortunately, it only took a few burgers for the two of us to feel sick to our stomaches, and we quickly pulled off the road to a rest stop to dump the rest of the sack. In fact, I feel queasy just remembering it … so I hope the veggie burger is better.
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