business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Axios reports that "Retailers are preparing for the first holiday season in years where inflation collides with slowing consumer spending … 41% of Americans are planning to spend less this holiday season compared to 2021, according to a recent survey by Trustpilot, a consumer reviews platform."  And, "20% plan to reduce spending by more than 50%."

The story notes that "Deloitte estimates that overall holiday sales will grow by 4%–6% — less than the current annual inflation rate of 8.5%."

•  The BBC reports that "Aldi has overtaken Morrisons to become the fourth-largest UK supermarket for the first time, according to data from research firm Kantar."

The story notes that "discounters are grabbing more market share as shoppers take steps to manage their budgets, Kantar said."

•  Wine Spectator reports that "Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE) has acquired Oregon's fast-growing A to Z Wineworks brand, as well as its sister label, Rex Hill … Already the largest producer in Washington state, Ste. Michelle now has a dominant footprint in Oregon as well. The purchase, when combined with SMWE's existing Oregon winery, Erath, brings the company's total annual production in Oregon to approximately 700,000 cases."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The story notes that "this is the first acquisition for SMWE under the new ownership of New York–based private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which purchased the company for $1.2 billion in late 2021."

The betting here is that this is just one of a number of acquisitions planned by SMWE, which is likely to try to put together an even larger portfolio of brands before selling them off - at a profit, it hopes - to a major conglomerate in the space.  And, as this happens, I suspect there could be other players making similar moves, which could drive up prices considerably.