business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Up in Massachusetts, the Republican writes about a new concept store being built by Big Y – Fresh Acres, described as a smaller market half the size of the company’s usual stores, “filled with fresh, natural and easily-prepared foods for shoppers on the go.” Organic foods will be a part of the offering, as well as an in-store chef creating meals on location.

While Big Y traditionally is a value/price-oriented retailer, this new format is designed to compete on a different level, appealing to a different kind of shopper.

• Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy said yesterday that he can’t comment on persistent reports that the company was planning to expand to Australia. “What I can tell you is that we wear out a lot of shoe leather looking at opportunities for growth and some come to fruition and many others don't", he told the Financial Times.

• The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that some devotees of Trader Joe’s are so passionate about the company that they have created a series of online communities in which they can discuss the privately held and very private company. This cult-like affection for the company actually fills in blanks that Trader Joe’s won’t fill in itself; the company doesn’t even have an email address that customers can use to send messages to management. Instead, it suggests that people either correspond via snail mail or stop by the store.

BrandWeek reports that the hot new craze among marketers is to create bottled waters that will appeal to kids, hoping that they will influence their parents’ buying decisions.

Much of the activity stems from all the bad press that carbonated soft drinks have been getting because of nutrition issues. Marketers will be using a variety of bottle shapes and sizes, as well as animated and movie characters, to boost interest, sales and brand equity.
KC's View: