business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  CNBC reports that Target "hopes to build on recent growth by investing about $4 billion annually over the next few years to speed along new stores, remodel existing ones and increase its ability to quickly fulfill online orders.

"That represents a step up for the retailer, which invested about $2.65 billion in 2020."

CNBC writes that "Target CEO Brian Cornell made the case that the retailer’s recent results aren’t a pandemic-related blip but the payoff of its long-term business strategy. He pointed to investments and decisions it has made over the past five years such as its growing collection of private-label brands, its partnerships with popular national brands and using its stores as hubs to fulfill online orders."

•  Bloomberg reports that "the contemporary convenience store chain Foxtrot - known for 60-minute delivery guarantee of organic wine, hard seltzer, and locally made ice cream - has raised $42 million in Series B funding … The new investment round is led by the food-tech venture capital firm Almanac Insights, whose founder is David Barber, co-owner of the celebrated restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Tarrytown, N.Y. (His brother, Dan, is the chef.) Other investors include chef David Chang, founder of Momofuku, and Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen Inc.’s co-founder and co-chief executive officer. Monogram Capital Partners and former Whole Foods Market Inc. CEO Walter Robb have also contributed funds. The company has raised $65 million to date."

I'd love it if these same investors would train their eye on Green Zebra in Portland, Oregon, which strikes me as the kind of venture that might fit nicely into their vision of food retailing (though it may have a somewhat more eclectic vibe than Foxtrot seems to).

•  Apollo Global Management is acquiring arts-and-crafts retailer Michael's in a deal that values the 1,200-unit chain at $5 billion.  The move is a bet, the New York Times writes, "that Michaels can continue to ride the wave of enthusiasm for crafting spurred by Americans stuck at home during the pandemic."

•  The Associated Press reports that "Bed Bath & Beyond will launch a slew of new store brands to lure younger customers in a bid to energize sales at the home retail chain.  The chain will begin selling eight new store brands this year, six of them in the first half of 2021 … Store brands are expected to increase from roughly 10% of the retailer's overall sales to approximately 30% within the first three years."

In addition, Bed Bath & Beyond plans to "begin selling thousands of exclusive products as it seeks a bigger share of the $180 billion home market."

Now, if they can just get people to shop at its stores without grasping one of those blue-and-white discount coupons in their fingers…