business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "U.S. cattle prices jumped to a record Friday, setting up a fresh hit of sticker shock for consumers at the grocer's meat counter … Analysts said the higher cattle prices likely will be passed along to U.S. consumers in the next few months. That would boost fresh-beef prices at retail that surged to a record $5.014 a pound in November, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 26% increase over five years ago.

"Higher beef prices could further pinch per-capita U.S. consumption of the red meat, which has slumped 25% in the past three decades as Americans have turned to less-costly meats or avoided animal protein for health and other reasons."

Philadelphia magazine reports that MOM's Organic Market, a small chain based in Maryland, plans to open a new store on Philadelphia's Maine Line with a 17,000 square foot store that "sets itself apart from places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods by stocking more organic products than other grocery chains, including a produce section made up entirely of organic fruits and veggies, and showcasing lots of locally sourced items.

"The store will also have a cafe counter called Naked Lunch, where you’ll be able to get fresh juice, sandwiches, hot foods and more. The cafe will be open for lunch and dinner."

• In Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel reports that Roundy's is saying that "it will close its stores in Wisconsin early on Monday because of the cold weather that is forecast. 'For the safety of our staff and customers, all Pick 'n Save, Copps and Metro Market stores will close at 8 p.m. on Monday, due to the extreme cold temperatures expected in the area,' the company said in a statement. Stores will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday'."

As of this posting, it is -12 degrees in Milwaukee, with the wind chill factor said to be between -40 and -50 degrees … all part of record cold temperatures hitting the middle of the country.

• The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Schnuck Markets Inc. has purchased the Columbia Centre Market Place, a 25-year-old grocery in Columbia, Ill. The store will close at noon Sunday, Jan. 12 and will reopen as a Schnucks store at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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