business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Washington Post this morning reports that "after a year marked by unrest and upheaval, retailers around the country are taking sweeping measures — and spending millions — to protect their stores during a high-stakes presidential election that could quickly turn contentious. Saks Fifth Avenue and CVS are boarding up store windows and adding extra security at some locations, while Neiman Marcus is closing all stores at 5 p.m. on Election Day. Others are closing altogether on Tuesday, or providing paid time off for employees to vote or volunteer at the polls."

The Post goes on:  "The election is the latest wild card for retailers, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and a summer of civil unrest. The May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests across the country, including some that turned violent. Stores across the country were vandalized, leading some retailers such as Target and Nordstrom to abruptly shutter locations, and others to board up windows and step up security.

"Retailers have already sustained an estimated $1 billion in insured losses from property damage and theft this year, according to early estimates from the Insurance Information Institute, making this year’s protests 'the costliest civil disorder in U.S. history'."

•  Dunkin' Brands, parent company to Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins, has sold itself to Inspire Brands, parent company to Arby's and Sonic, for $11.3 billion.

The Boston Globe reports that "the acquisition, expected to close by the end of the year, will end nine years that Dunkin' spent on the public market and will mark a return to the world of private equity. Private equity firms Carlyle Group, Bain Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners bought Dunkin' in 2006 and took it public in 2011."

•  In Minnesota, KSTP-News reports that "a fair-inspired food and entertainment concept is coming to the Mall of America in early December.

"'The Fair on 4' will open on the mall's fourth level and will feature fair-inspired foods such as cheese curds and corn dogs. There will also be a pizza kitchen and a bar, featuring signature cocktails, wine and more than 40 beers on tap.  Visitors will also be able to participate in axe throwing, go cart rides, hammerschlagen and arcade games.

"The 35,000-square-foot concept also includes a stage for live music and private event space for rent."

My first thought was that considering all the bad stuff happening to the mall business these days, it probably makes sense to look for another way to use space and attract customers.  But my second thought was that the Mall of America folks must not have gotten the memo about the pandemic, and how fairs and live music venues are a little problematic at the moment.