business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Whole Foods has decided to push back the opening of a 365 by Whole Foods store in Houston from 2017 to 2018, according to a story in the Houston Business Journal.

The story says that Whole Foods originally bought the property in 2015, and it originally was expected that it would be the location of one of the first five 365 stores to be opened in the US.

Four 365 stores now are operating - in the Los Angeles market; Lake Oswego, Oregon; Bellevue, Washington; and the latest, in Austin, Texas.

Reuters reports that Pret A Manger, the British coffee and sandwich chain, is seeing some strong growth in the US, apparently because of its investment in a breakfast menu. Sales at its US stores exceeded $200 million for the first time, up 14 percent last year, which has encouraged the company to begin planning for further US expansion.

• The Chicago Tribune reports that "McDonald's has launched a line of premium mix-and-match sandwiches it calls Signature Crafted, a pricier option it hopes customers will bite onto despite their focus on value. The Signature Crafted line features three topping choices: Maple Bacon Dijon (grilled onions, thick-cut bacon and Dijon sauce); Sweet BBQ Bacon (barbecue sauce, bacon and crispy onions) and Pico Guacamole (avocado, pico de gallo and buttermilk ranch sauce.) All come with white cheddar cheese. The topping options are available on a burger patty or grilled or crispy chicken. The new line, which rolls out nationwide this week, costs around $5."
KC's View: