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Tesco Sells Euphorium Bakery Chain To Soho Coffee, Samworth Brothers

UK retailer Tesco has agreed to sell Euphorium Bakery chain to casual dining operator Soho Coffee. Covered by the purchase deal are the four high-street stores of the bakery chain and its factory in Islington. Soho Coffee plans to continue operating the stores under the Euphorium brand. In another transaction, Tesco sold the bakery chain's Weybridge factory to long-time supplier Samworth Brothers.

"Tesco Sells Euphorium Bakery a Year After Taking Full Ownership", Retail Week, August 26, 2016

Unilever Commits To Equal Pay In White House Pledge

Unilever US announced has signed President Obama’s Equal Pay Pledge, which is a commitment to, among other actions, conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis. The company noted that its Sustainable Living Plan, a strategy for sustainable growth, it had adopted a framework for fair compensation across the organization. The company noted that it is at 49 percent “gender balance for managers and above.” The White House Pledge also includes a commitment to reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers, and embedding equal pay efforts into broader equity initiatives.

"Unilever signs White House Equal Pay Pledge", News release, Unilever, August 26, 2016

UK Retail Market Posts Fastest Growth In August 2016 Quarter

In the UK, the grocery market grew 0.3 percent during the 12-week period ending August 14, 2016, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm's latest report showed the sunny weather drove sales growth for the frozen confectionery segment, with 23 percent, and chilled drinks, 10 percent. Promotional sales dropped to 37.7 percent of total grocery sales from more than 40 percent recorded in 2015. Aldi saw sales rising by 10.4 percent, with its market share also going up 0.6 percentage points to 6.2 percent. Tesco's sales dropped 0.4 percent, the slowest decline rate for the retailer in six months. Co-op's market share expanded to 6.6 percent, driven by the 2.8 percent increase in sales.

"Grocery market heats up while promotions cool", Kantar Worldpanel, August 22, 2016

Strong Technology And Supply Chain Provide Winning Formula For Target

In the year since Mike McNamara took over the CIO job at Target, he realized that prioritizing the company’s 800 IT projects was Job One. He and his team whittled the “to do” list down to a hundred that represented Target’s top business objectives. These included enhancing the company’s online and in-store shopping experience, supporting small-format stores, modernizing the supply chain, and improving in-stocks. The result, according to McNamara, was “nothing short of sensational,” as the company reduced reliance on third party IT consultants from 70 percent to 30 percent, saving hundreds of millions of dollars. Stability and performance of key retail systems – i.e., cash registers and hand-held devices – have improved. McNamara... More

"Target CIO: Prioritizing Stores, Digital, Supply Chain and Hiring Engineers", News release, Target , August 22, 2016

Could This Really Be Col. Sanders’ Secret Fried Chicken Recipe? Nephew Says “Yes”

A nephew of Col. Harland D. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame gave a Chicago Tribune reporter – and the world – what he believes is the original “finger lickin’ good” recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Although KFC officialy denied the recipe is authentic – it’s been a tightly kept secret for many years – 67-year-old Joe Ledington is pretty sure it’s the same ingredients he used to mix up every day for his uncle in Corbin, Ky., back in the 1960s before KFC became a corporate behemoth. Where was the recipe found? On a handwritten note on the back of a page of the Last Will & Testament of Joe’s Aunt Claudia, the Colonel’s second wife, who died in 1996.

"KFC Recipe Revealed? Tribune Shown Family Scrapbook with 11 Herbs and Spices", Chicago Tribune, August 19, 2016

U.K.’s Competition Regulator Says It Will Likely Okay A Hain Celestial Acquisition

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has said it will likely accept a proposal from Hain Celestial that would allay the agency’s concerns regarding the American company’s acquisition of British firm Orchard House Foods. The CMA was worried about the impact of the acquisition on Britain’s fruit juice market. To dispel the concerns, Hain Celestial offered to sell its assets in the manufacture and supply of branded and own-label freshly squeezed fruit juice to retail and foodservice customers, except for one juice brand. The company said it would sell the assets to U.K. food and beverage firm Multiple Marketing Limited.

"Hain Celestial Ends Week with Sign of Optimism Over Orchard House Deal in UK", Just-Food, August 19, 2016

Walmart Reaps Benefits Of Investment In Ecommerce, Store Environment, And Employees

Though some other big retailers – e.g., Target and Macy’s – are slogging their way through a period of sluggish store spending, Walmart is sailing along on prosperous seas. After investing billions of dollars into making its U.S. stores more efficient and pleasant, raising employee wages, and streamlining ecommerce operations, the company reports not only increased online sales but higher store traffic (assisted in part by lower gas prices). Walmart’s online sales rose faster than the previous quarter – the first time this has happened in nine quarters. For the quarter ended July 31, Walmart profits were up 8.6 percent, and revenue crept up by 0.5 percent to $120.85 billion.

"Wal-Mart Store Overhauls Help Boost Sales", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2016

Nestlé SA Goes After International Chocolate Market Through Premiumization

Market researcher Euromonitor expects world chocolate sales, which slumped 1.1 percent last year, will be no better than flat this year. To counter the trend, chocolate companies have begun targeting health-conscious chocoholics with premium products offering complex flavor profiles, organic ingredients and less sugar. Nestlé SA has been paying attention to the trend. It is trying to position some brands as premium offerings in certain markets. In Japan, a limited version of its mass-market KitKat wafers, wrapped in real gold foil, sells for $20. In March the company said it would invest $68 million over three years to make its Italian chocolate brand Baci Perugina fully international. To do that, it will sell six other Italian... More

"Nestlé Seeks Bigger Piece of High-End Chocolate", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2016

Big Food Companies Study The Success Of Food Delivery Start-ups

The success of start-ups in home food kit delivery like Plated and Blue Apron has caught the attention of some big companies that seem a little surprised there is such strong consumer interest in convenience. The big question for ConAgra is not whether to get involved in home delivery of food kits, but how: Partner? Acquire? Analytics chief Bob Nolan says the company needs to “develop a solution for the next ten years” that will be a radical departure from what it’s done for 50 years. Unilever, however, has experience working with partners in ecommerce and is exploring how such deals would work in food delivery. Shopper insights director and busy mother of three Allison Scott admits that “Plated has changed my life.” She is... More

"ConAgra, Unilever Mull Delivering Meals to the Home", CPG Matters, August 15, 2016

Millennial-Driven Recession Threatening Casual Dining Chains?

Odd, one might say, that a generation of young Americans concerned about food quality and healthy eating may be destroying an entire sector of restaurant companies. Handfuls of casual dining eateries – Fox & Hound sports bars, Roadhouse steakhouses, Shake Shack, etc. – are filing for bankruptcy or suffering financial losses, because Millennials are “veering away” from dining out. The trend could become a “restaurant recession” unless chains can convince Millennials that they offer something that is not “tired.”

"The millennial generation could be killing casual dining", The Deal Pipeline, August 12, 2016

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