business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Retail property owners are shedding the discounts and other concessions they offered struggling tenants during the depths of the pandemic, the latest sign that competition for retail real estate is intensifying.

"Many landlords slashed rent prices as they struggled to fill empty storefronts during the first year of the pandemic. Some felt compelled to accept a portion of monthly sales instead of a fixed rent amount from tenants whose businesses collapsed because of government-mandated closures and social distancing. 

These arrangements helped retailers stay afloat, and prevented landlords from losing valued tenants.

"Now, landlords are having a much easier time filling prime retail space and are far less likely to agree to these concessions, said Ed Coury, senior managing director at retail-brokerage firm RCS Real Estate Advisors."

The Journal writes that "landlords’ increasing leverage is another sign of retail real estate’s recent strength. Store openings outpaced closures for the second straight year in 2023 after years of net closures, according to research firm Coresight Research."


•  Starbucks reportedly will make its olive oil-infused coffee line available in all its US stores starting today.

CNBC writes that "the beverages, named Oleato, debuted in Italy in February 2023 after former CEO Howard Schultz visited the country and noticed locals drinking olive oil daily. The line of olive oil-infused coffee drinks launched the next month in select U.S. Starbucks stores and met negative early reviews, with The New Yorker saying the drink 'tasted like a large spoonful of olive oil in coffee.'

"Oleato means 'with oil' in Italian, according to Starbucks. The line includes a latte and an iced espresso drink."

Me, I like my olive oil in spaghetti aglio e olio.  Not in my coffee.  I could be wrong about this, but I have a feeling that within a couple of years, the Oleato line will fade away, and be known more as Schultz's last bit of Starbucks-related hubris rather than as any sort of culinary innovation.