business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Cincinnati Business Courier speculated that Kroger "could be a prime bidder for some Rite Aid or Walgreens drug stores that will need to be sold when those two companies finally complete their merger later this year," suggesting that Kroger "is a potential buyer of some of the 500 stores that will likely be put up for sale."

The story goes on to say that "Kroger is primarily a grocery store chain, but it’s also the nation’s fifth-largest pharmacy operator. It has 2,200 in-store pharmacies. An acquisition of some of the Walgreens/Rite Aid stores would boost its pharmacy business. It could also use the sites – typically in prime locations – and surrounding real estate to build supermarkets. It could even use some Walgreens/Rite Aid sites to open urban supermarkets, a trend Kroger has been capitalizing on recently."

This might make sense, but it also needs to be pointed out that pretty much every time these kinds of opportunities pop up Kroger is probably going to be suggested as being potentially in the mix. Doesn't make it so. Just makes it fun to wonder.

• The Houston Chronicle reports that "a revamped and re-branded Fiesta Market in Houston's traditionally Hispanic East End is the first step in a company-wide effort to expand the appeal of the 44-year-old grocery chain," according to CEO Michael Byars, who said, "What you see in this format is a store that still is relevant not only to the core Hispanic shopper but also provides outreach to any of the demographics we serve."

Byars also said that the overhaul "marks the beginning of a series of store remodels and upgrades in coming months."

• The New York Times reports that PepsiCo-owned Gatorade is introducing a new organic version, called G Organic, which "will come in lemon, strawberry and mixed berry flavors." The organic version is seen as a way "to cash in on a growing demand for foods considered to be more natural and free of additives, pesticides and artificial ingredients seen as harmful."

• The Chicago Business Journal reports that Kroger-owned Mariano's Fresh Market has opened, in the city's north side Lakeview neighborhood, a new concept that management is referring to as a "grocerant," which is to say "both a traditional grocery outlet and a place where customers can find a larger-than-usual array of prepared restaurant-style items to either eat in store or take home ... This particular approach sounds tailor-made for the masses of busy millennials who inhabit the Lakeview neighborhood around where the new two-story Mariano's is located at 3030 N. Broadway."
KC's View: