business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The Los Angeles Times reports that the LA City Council is moving forward with a proposal “to end the use of paper and plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, saying such a move would spur consumers to switch to more environmentally friendly reusable ones.”

The bill passed the Energy and Environment Committee last week, and now goes to the full council for a vote.

Under the proposal, if it passes, “the council would still need to draft an ordinance and initiate an environmental review of the bag phaseout. Once the ordinance is in effect, city officials would provide six months' warning to stores - including supermarkets and other retailers that sell food - that plastic bags would no longer be permitted, city officials said.

“Once the plastic bag ban is in place, supermarkets would be required to charge 10 cents for each paper bag. Six months later, paper bags would be prohibited as well,” the Times writes.

• The Associated Press reports that “a San Francisco judge has dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit that sought to stop McDonald’s Corp. from using toys to market its meals to children in the Golden State ... The suit had claimed that the world’s biggest hamburger chain was violating consumer protection laws and exploiting children’s vulnerability by using toys to lure them to eat nutritionally unbalanced meals that can lead to obesity.”

Listen, I think that Happy Meals are a pretty sad commentary on what people eat in this country. But I also think that parents need to have enough gumption - to use an old-fashioned word - to limit how many their kids eat, and to expose them to better food whenever possible.

• JC Penney may be reinventing itself in the marketplace, but that does not mean that management is able to avoid hard operational decisions.

Reuters reports that the company is laying off a thousand people, at its Plano, Texas, headquarters and its Pittsburgh customer call center, “as part of its previously announced cost cutting measures.”

I’m guessing that we’re not going to hear Ellen DeGeneres talking a lot about that...

But I have to say that I love it when a company more than a century old starts talking about acting like a “nimble startup. Not sure it is possible, but I like it...

The Oregonian reports that “Zupan's Markets plans to open its fourth grocery store on April 18 in Lake Oswego.”

According to the story, “The new Zupan's replaces a former Wizer's Lake Grove Market that closed in 2010. Zupan's has three other locations in Portland. Zupan's was also previously located in West Linn at 19133 Willamette Drive before eventually closing. That building is being turned into a Wal-Mart grocery store.”

I love Zupan’s. I visited one of their stores for the first time last year, and was extremely impressed ... it spoke well of the company and its ability to cater to the food culture of the area. And if I lived there, it is certainly one of the stores I would try to patronize on a regular basis. Glad to see that it continues to grow...
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