business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Virginia Mercury:

"The Supreme Court of Virginia turned down a request by Wegmans to reconsider a February decision that found neighbors had a right to challenge local approvals of the grocery giant’s plans to build a massive distribution center in Hanover County. 

"The denial, issued May 11, was terse and offered no explanation of the reasoning of the judges, whose earlier decision in Morgan v. Board of Supervisors of Hanover County was unanimously in favor of the neighbors. 

"'We are gratified that once again the Court has unanimously declared that Wegmans is wrong,' Brian Buniva, the attorney for Roderick Morgan and four other Hanover residents, said in a text message.

"What practical implications the ruling will have for the Hanover project are unclear. The distribution center is nearly complete and expected to begin operations this summer, even as the Supreme Court of Virginia decision sends the case back to a lower court for further review."

•  From CNBC:

"Shoppers are hungry for deals as they pay more for food and necessities. People are looking for clothes and accessories as they juggle parties, vacations and days at the office again.

"But that has not helped Nordstrom’s off-price chain, Nordstrom Rack. The brand remains a weak spot in the overall Nordstrom portfolio, with sales totaling $4.81 billion in the most recent fiscal year, below pre-pandemic levels.

"In the holiday quarter, Nordstrom Rack’s net sales dropped about 8%, underperforming the roughly 2% decline of the company’s namesake banner.

"Despite Rack’s struggles, the Seattle-based department store operator is betting it can turn the lagging chain into a growth driver. It plans to open 20 stores this year with more coming after that.

"Nordstrom Rack has formed a dedicated leadership team, which includes some off-price veterans. It sharpened its focus on the well-liked brands that sell well.

"The success or failure of the Nordstrom Rack turnaround effort could shape the company’s future. Nordstrom’s overall sales were stagnant even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, discretionary merchandise is under pressure because of inflation and higher costs for essentials have nudged consumers toward off-price names."

•  From Bloomberg:

"The global cost-of-living crunch has pushed coffee drinkers to get their fix from cheaper brews. But a shortage of robusta beans is making it increasingly difficult to find a budget-friendly cup.

"While many coffee lovers prefer the high-quality arabica beans sold in cafes, robusta is normally less expensive because the tree is hardier and requires less care, making it easier to produce in large quantities. The variety is often used in instant coffee, espressos and ground blends sold at supermarkets, which have experienced a comeback as cash-strapped consumers seek alternatives.

"Key growers, however, are finding it difficult to keep up with the surge in demand, with wholesale prices this week hitting the highest level in nearly twelve years."