business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Kroger said last week that it created 7,000 jobs last year, growing "jobs to about 350,000, an increase of 2 percent with most positions at the store or division level. The acquisition of Harris Teeter, which closed last month, added another 25,000 employees – pushing Kroger’s total workforce to 375,000 … Excluding acquisitions, the grocer added it has created 40,000 over the last six years, including 22,456 veterans since 2009."

According to the story, "Kroger is one of more than 130 companies participating in the '100,000 Jobs Mission' that set out to hire that many transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020. The goal was hit seven years early."

• New Seasons Market last week announced that its "Grant Fund awarded $91,000 to 36 nonprofit organizations supporting small farmers and increasing access to fresh local food. This year, the Fund was able to distribute the most dollars to the most grantees in a single year since the program launched in 2007. Twenty-nine of the 36 grantees are farmers markets located throughout the Portland-Vancouver region. The majority will use some or all of their grant funds to match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars, making it easier for low-income shoppers to enjoy fresh, local produce - and putting additional dollars back into the pockets of farmers from the area."

New Seasons annually donates 10 percent of its after-tax profits to local nonprofits across the Portland-Vancouver area.

Marketing Daily reports on a new study saying that "nearly a quarter (23.6%) of Hispanic consumers reported that they use tablets for local shopping, compared with 15.5% of non-Hispanics … Nearly half (48.5%) of Hispanic consumers use mobile devices for local shopping, compared with 32% of non-Hispanics. Among mobile Hispanic consumers, 52.5% report using their tablets and 42.5% report using their smartphones daily for local shopping."

The conclusion: "Hispanic consumers are outpacing non-Hispanics in their adoption of mobile, social and online sources for local shopping."

• McDonald's is giving bone-in chicken wings another chance to take flight, albeit at a reduced price.

USA Today reports that McDonald's pretty much flopped last year with its Mighty Wings, priced at $1 apiece. Now, it is bringing them back - at $3 for five, or about 60 cents apiece.

The general sense is that McDonald's didn't test price resistance as much as it did taste, but that if this re-introduction does not work, that'll pretty much be it for Mighty Wings.
KC's View: