business news in context, analysis with attitude

• As anticipated, walkouts and protests by fast food employees looking for higher wages took place all over the country yesterday, as advocacy groups looked to crate momentum for a national minimum wage of $15 per hour, more than double the current $7.25.

According to USA Today, "In Washington, D.C., dozens of people carried signs and marched while singing 'Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, it's no fun, to survive, on low low low low pay.'

"In New York City, about 100 protesters blew whistles and beat drums as they marched into a McDonald's chanting 'We can't survive on $7.25.'

"And in Detroit, more than 100 workers picketed outside two McDonald's restaurants, singing 'Hey hey, ho ho, $7.40 has got to go!'"

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Kroger Co. announced yesterday that "net profit in its latest quarter fell nearly 6%, thanks in part to one-off gains in the same period last year, while revenue rose about 3% … For the latest period, Kroger reported a profit of $299 million, or 57 cents a share, down 5.7% from $317 million, or 60 cents a share, a year earlier.

"Last year's results included a gain from a settlement with Visa and MasterCard and from a reduction in the company's pension funding obligations … Total sales grew to $22.51 billion, and were up 4.7% excluding fuel sales … Kroger's identical-store sales, which includes locations open at least 15 months, rose 3.5% excluding fuel in the latest quarter."

Bloomberg reports that not only is Dish Network closing all its Blockbuster stores in the US, but that every Blockbuster store in the UK is likely to close in the near future.

According to the story, "Sixty-two of the 153 outlets that remain were today condemned to close by Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP, which has already shuttered more than 100 stores since being appointed administrator Nov. 11. No acceptable offers have been made for the outstanding 91 units, which may also have to shut, it said."
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