business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Fox Business reports that "Wegmans announced on Thursday it will completely eliminate the use of plastic bags at all of its groceries stores by the end of 2022, hoping to combat pollution caused by plastic waste … The grocery chain will incentivize customers to use reusable bags by charging 5 cents per paper bag, 'an approach that has proven successful in New York and other markets'."

•  The New York Times reports that "retail sales rose 0.5 percent in March, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday, climbing for the third consecutive month as prices continued to increase across the country.

"The uptick followed spending increases of 0.8 percent in February and 3.8 percent in January. Higher prices for goods were probably inflating the sales data, according to economists, with the latest Consumer Price Index showing prices rose 8.5 percent in March from a year earlier."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week, but remained near historically low levels as employers held on to workers in a tight labor market.

"Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose to 185,000 during the week that ended on April 9, compared with a revised 167,000 the week prior, the Labor Department said Thursday. New claims had fallen to the lowest point since 1968 in early April."

•  Eater New York reports that Asian grocery chain 99 Ranch Market has opened its first New York store, at the Samanea New York mall in Westbury, Long Island.  The 45,000 square foot store is said to include "thousands of Asian grocery staples and a food court."

99 Ranch Market operates 56 stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.