business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Supervalu “has settled with an activist shareholder group as the food distributor prepares to sell itself to a rival later this year. The agreement puts an end to a roughly nine-month campaign by Blackwells Capital LLC, an investment fund, to overhaul the Minneapolis-based company’s operations. It comes about a week after Supervalu agreed to sell itself to wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. for $2.9 billion, including debt.”

• Published reports say that Chipotle is planning to reopen its restaurant in Powell, Ohio, after more than 170 people called local authorities complaining that they got sick after eating there.

According to Business Insider, “People reported symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and fever to the website , which first alerted Business Insider to the issues at the Powell restaurant.

“Three reports were made to the website on July 29 and July 30, indicating that at least nine customers fell sick after eating there. By Tuesday morning, the number of reports to the site grew to 105, citing 170 people sick, according to Patrick Quade, the founder of"

The Chicago Tribune reports that after a voluntary closing and cleaning of the restaurant, Chipotle is planning to reopen the restaurant, and is promising to continue cooperating with local health officials.

Chipotle last week reported that its Q2 same-store sales were up 3.3 percent, higher than the 2.7 percent that Chipotle was predicting, which suggested that the chain finally is coming back after a series of illness outbreaks related to its restaurants and food safety procedures.

I haven’t eaten in a Chipotle since the first round of food safety problems. Don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.

• The Financial Times reports that Procter & Gamble is raising prices for diapers, toilet paper and paper towels, “as the rising cost of commodities, exacerbated by trade tariffs, ripples through the supply chain to the supermarket aisle … The consumer products bellwether said it had begun this week to tell retailers across North America it was planning average increases of 5 per cent on the popular brands Bounty, Charmin and Puffs, and was already implementing a 4 per cent rise on Pampers.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that troubled subscription service MoviePass, which had to temporarily shut down last week when it ran out of money and had to borrow $5 million to restart operations, plans to increase its prices and limit the movies its members can access - all to try to keep the business alive.

According to the story, “The standard subscription price for MoviePass will increase to $14.95 a month from $9.95 within the next 30 days, said MoviePass’s majority owner, New York-based Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc., on Tuesday.
It also said last weekend’s cancellation of service for Mission: Impossible - Fallout during that film’s debut wouldn’t be a one-time event. The company plans to limit the availability of first-run movies opening on more than 1,000 screens during the first two weeks.”

Turn out the lights. The party’s over.

• JLL Retail is out with a consumer study focusing on the back-to-school season, concluding that “Walmart (50%) and Target (47%) came in at the most popular destinations for Back to School shopping, way ahead of number 3 retailer Amazon (16%).”

The study also says that parents are “trying to make Back to School shopping as simple as possible with 51% saying they plan to shop two weeks before school starts and 53.7% planning to get all their Back to School shopping done at 1 or 2 stores.”

• In New York, News 12 reports that federal highway authorities have told state officials that they need to remove more than 500 “I Love New York” signs from the sides of major thoroughfares because “they violate highway signage laws.”

Which sounded like an opportunity to Stew Leonard Jr., who said he’d take them for use in his New York stores, saying that they would “add a bit of flair and nostalgia to its local produce and milk departments.”

Another example of the Deep State messing with American iconography. Dammit!
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