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• The New York Post is quoting informed sources as saying that Dollar General may have to divest more than 4,000 stores if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decides to approve its hoped-for $9.1 billion acquisition of Family Dollar. Dollar General had said it would sell up to 1,500 stores to satisfy regulators, though it believed it would be required to sell fewer.

Family Dollar continues to prefer an $8.5 billion offer from Dollar Tree that it believes will pass muster more easily with antitrust regulators and require fewer stores to be divested.

• The Times of Trenton reports that Delhaize-owned Bottom Dollar Food "expects to lay off 460 employees at its 13 New Jersey supermarkets as it closes all of its stores following a sale to larger grocery chain Aldi. The layoffs are expected to take place before the end of the year, and result from the fact that Aldi stores tend to have fewer employees than Bottom Dollar units.

It is likely that the layoff scenario will repeat itself throughout the markets where Bottom Dollar has been operating.

• The Harris Poll is out with projections saying that "just over half of all Americans (51%) plan to purchase toys as gifts this year, nearly consistent with last year's intent (50%). Not surprisingly, parents of a child under the age of 18 are twice as likely to purchase toys as those without children under the age of 18 (82% vs. 41%, respectively)."

The report goes on: "Just 18% of Americans who will purchase toys intend to spend more than they did in the previous year. This number has decreased steadily over the past three years (23% in 2012, 20% in 2013, & 18% in 2014). While nearly half of all toy purchasers (48%) plan to spend the same amount on toys as they did last year, nearly one-third (31%) plan to spend less. 
Looking specifically at parents who plan to purchase toys, one-quarter (25%) intend to spend more on toys compared to last year; however, one-third (33%) intend to spend less."
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