business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  WOOD-TV News reports that  that the last Kmart store in Michigan - the state where it was incorporated in 1916 and in which the retailer was headquartered in its halcyon days - will close sometime in November.

The store is in Marshall, about 107 miles due west of 3100 W. Big Beaver Road in Troy, Michigan, where Kmart's international headquarters were located, and where the building reportedly remains vacant since the company was sold to Sears Holdings in 2005.

I remember visiting Kmart headquarters sometime in the late eights/early nineties to do an interview with then chairman-CEO Joseph Antonini, and I remember thinking then that the building seemed more like a shrine than a headquarters.

•  In Illinois, the Belleville News-Democrat reports that Schnucks is cutting back its stop hours, closing at 9 pm instead of 10 pm because of what it calls "the challenging labor market."

The reduction is reported by the paper to be only affecting the company's Illinois stores for the moment.

•  Reuters reports that "German discount supermarket group Aldi will invest 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion US) in Britain over the next two years, opening a new store every week to try to accelerate its rapid growth in market share, it said on Monday."

In addition, "Aldi will create 2,000 jobs and open another 100 stores across the UK over the next two years as part of a £1.3bn plan to take a larger share of the British grocery market."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc., this year plans to test serving burgers in reusable sandwich boxes and pouring drinks in reusable cups.

It will charge a refundable deposit for each package, which customers can recoup by scanning the container in the Loop app and returning it to Burger King or other Loop collection points. Burger King did not disclose the price of the deposit.

"Certain Burger King locations in New York City and Tokyo will be among the first to test the program."

The story points out that this is part of a broader trend:  "McDonald’s Corp. , Burger King and Tim Hortons have committed to pilot tests with TerraCycle Inc.’s Loop, a program that collects, cleans and redistributes reusable packaging."