With the back-to-school shopping season in full swing, many retailers find themselves understaffed as students increasingly opt for unpaid internships to get real-life experience over taking retail jobs. Retailers are working with associations and local community groups to solve employee shortage problems.
Natural foods chain Earth Fare will open two stores in North Carolina's Triangle region in the next year, directly competing with market leader Whole Foods. Asheville, N.C.-based Earth Fare originally opened in 1975 as Dinner for the Earth.
Jim Grueff, assistant deputy administrator for trade policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says it is likely the U.S. will deem sugar a "sensitive product," protecting it from tariff reductions that will be part of a global trade agreement currently being negotiated by World Trade Organization members. Andy Mukherjee of Bloomberg News writes that such a move could have disastrous effects, with other countries reciprocating by keeping certain markets closed to foreign goods. One grocery industry group official agreed, telling the U.S. International Trade Commission "We hope you'll consider the effects of sacrificing the considerable export gains for U.S. agriculture for a single commodity that accounts for about 1% of all U.S. farm cash receipts."
With major grocery chains trying to stay competitive and keep their unions happy, Bi-Lo will most likely be purchased by a private investment firm or a buyout group, analysts say. The grocery chain was put up for sale in February and multiple bids have been submitted. The sale is expected to be completed by year's end.
The Belgian brewer increased its ownership of Sun Interbrew of Russia, signaling what many see is a commitment to the expanding Russian beer market. The deal, valued at nearly $650 million, raises Interbrew's ownership of Sun Interbrew to 75.5%.