business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Associated Press reports that "more Americans applied for jobless aid last week, but the total number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits is at a 53-year low.

"Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 21,000 to 218,000 for the week ending May 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally track the number of layoffs.

"The four-week average for claims, which smooths out some of the weekly volatility, rose 8,250 from the previous week to 199,500."

•  FMI–The Food Industry Association yesterday announced what it called "a new general merchandise & health and beauty care (GM & HBC) initiative that extends its total store collaboration concept in grocery. This new portfolio will be led by consumer goods and retail industry veteran Tom Duffy and embraces a community of professionals – from grocery retailers to suppliers – for high-impact industry dialog and best-in-class capabilities … To lay the groundwork for this venture, FMI will organize an advisory group; identify priority areas; explore and exchange opportunities for best demonstrated practices; and analyze the changing economics that support investments in these categories."

“Since the FMI brand represents everything in the food, beverage and consumer goods retail basket, and embraces all categories in the marketplace, FMI is poised to further its stock in what’s sold at grocery,” said Mark Baum, FMI’s chief collaboration officer & senior vice president, industry relations, who will oversee this new initiative. 

“As a senior advisor to FMI on this initiative, I will support and provide grocery retailers with knowledge and insights that drive new ideas, products and solutions to grow their business across the GM & HBC,” Duffy, former vice president of member development at GMDC/Retail Tomorrow, said. “In turn, FMI will enhance trading partner collaboration to address challenges, opportunity gaps and innovations designed to drive profitable growth in GM & HBC categories and to better serve consumers.” 

•  Weis Market said yesterday that "it is making a multi-million-dollar investment to reduce prices on hundreds of its best-selling frozen products as part of its Low, Low Price (LLP) program.  This lower pricing includes brand-name and Weis Quality products. These price reductions are an expansion of Weis Markets’ Low, Low Price program, which launched in 2019 and includes more than 7,000 grocery products and nearly 80 produce items."

Expect to see a lot of these announcements going forward.