business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Associated Press reports that the California legislature is considering a bill that "would ban California grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies from handing out single-use plastic bags," and that the bill is being supported by groups that include the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association, as well as environmental groups.

According to the story, "The proposal would ban plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies starting in 2015 and in convenience stores and liquor stores by July 2016."

Reuters reports that "Macy's Inc has filed an appeal challenging a judge's ruling that J.C. Penney Co Inc can sell unbranded Martha Stewart goods in its stores for now -- the latest salvo in a legal war between the two retailers over rights to the domestic doyenne's products."

The judge in the case had dismissed Macy’s claim of unfair competition against JCP, which came as part of a broader court battle in which Macy's has accused JCP of contract infringement.

Bloomberg reports that Walmart and Sears "have so far declined to join Li & Fung Ltd. and other companies in voluntarily compensating victims of a fire last year at a Bangladesh garment factory.
Wal-Mart and Sears also didn’t respond to an invitation to attend a meeting today in Geneva, where companies whose clothing was manufactured at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory are expected to discuss compensation payments, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a Washington-based international labor-monitoring group."

The November 24 fire killed a dozen people and created enormous pressure on US companies to be more vigilant about monitoring the manufacturing companies with which they do business.

Advertising Age reports on how registered dietitians have become a marketing tool for major supermarket chains:

"Once confined to hospitals and offices, the dietitians are a marketing weapon for the chains bringing them aboard to aid shoppers seeking the best foods to drop weight, battle diseases or avoid allergic reactions. The trend is another sign that consumers are demanding more from their food providers as the nation's health-care system puts a premium on preventive care. And it also represents an increasingly powerful constituency for the nation's food marketers to win over.

"Grocery chains have long had dietitians at the corporate level, but a growing number are now positioned in specific stores. (One-third of stores have a registered dietitian at retail, according to a recent survey by the Food Marketing Institute, which represents food retailers; 86% employ them at the corporate level.)"
KC's View: