Walmart's size means that when the company raises hourly wages and improves benefits, it is essentially raising working conditions for entire areas and pushing other businesses to do the same, writes Oliver Staley. The wage increases have alarmed investors and come against a larger competitive war Walmart is fighting to maintain in-store sales while growing online.
More than 25 years after disrupting the ready-to-drink iced tea market by introducing 24-ounce tallboy cans, Arizona Beverages is expanding its snack offerings to boost convenience store sales. The company is adding to its existing line of nachos with the launch of its new Crazy Cowboy beef jerky brand, and is working to increase international growth.
Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Ill., will add about 20,000 square feet of space to its technology offices in Chicago, with plans to double its tech workforce to 600. The office opened seven years ago to house the pharmacy chain's e-commerce, social and mobile tech teams.
Consumers consider food an aspiration and want to express themselves by understanding where their meals are sourced and how they're prepared, said Mike Lee, founder of The Future Market, at the recent Smart Kitchen Summit. However, many consumers' kitchen skills don't yet match their aspirations, allowing grocers and manufacturers to meet their needs with shortcuts like meal kits, he said.
Target will open about 12 small-format urban stores this week in high-profile cities including Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. A store slated to open in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis will offer goods and amenities aimed at young professionals, including organic groceries, workout wear and a Starbucks.
Reckitt Benckiser has launched a restructuring effort that will create two separate divisions within the company effective Jan. 1. Rakesh Kapoor will remain group CEO but will also oversee the consumer health division, while Rob De Groot, current head of the company's European and North American businesses, will run the home and hygiene unit.
Coca-Cola is rolling out its Vitaminwater Active sports drink line to select stores, and the limited introduction will be followed by wider distribution early next year. "We're here to hydrate those who appreciate the fun side of fitness, not necessarily those who live for a competitive sport," said Coca-Cola's Ami Mathur of the three-flavor line.
Houston-based recycling company Strategic Materials will be acquired by equity firm Littlejohn & Co. for an undisclosed amount. "As recycled product demand and sustainable manufacturing practices have become a priority for numerous markets worldwide, we believe Strategic Materials is at the forefront to meet those product needs and services on a much larger scale," said Littlejohn's Brian Michaud.
The forecast for wine quality in Europe for this year may be superb, but tough weather, including drought, hail and frost, could mean the harvest is 14% smaller than anticipated. The Copa-Cogeca farm union has said that the impact of extreme weather could render this year's wine production the lowest in 36 years.
Officials in Omaha, Neb., have installed two new glass recycling dropoff points in the city. The containers, which the city purchased with funding assistance from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, will allow Ripple Glass to turn the reclaimed glass into fiberglass insulation and new bottles.
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