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Jul 16, 2014

Starbucks opens in Colombia, home of Juan Valdez

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp opened its first shop in Colombia on Wednesday, 43 years after the world’s biggest coffee chain first started buying beans from the country famous for its premium arabica coffee named after fictional coffee farmer Juan Valdez.

The first of 50 Starbucks stores planned for the coming five years will be in Bogota’s Parque de la 93, one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. This store and all other Starbucks locations in Colombia will be the Seattle-based company’s first to serve only locally sourced coffee.

Jul 15, 2014

Less than a year after IPO, no fire in the Potbelly

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (Reuters) – Early investors in Potbelly
Corp have seen their shares in the toasted sandwich
chain go cold.

Expectations were high ahead of Potbelly’s initial public
offering in October. The roughly 300-unit Chicago-based sandwich
chain was poised to grow, announcing plans to increase its
restaurant count by at least 10 percent per year. And it had
signed on Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Officer Howard
Schultz’s Maveron venture capital firm as its biggest investor.

Jul 8, 2014

American Apparel’s Charney loses support of some factory workers he championed

LOS ANGELES, July 8 (Reuters) – Ousted American Apparel Inc
head Dov Charney supported workers in the clothing
industry with his stance in favor of immigration rights and
determination to keep jobs in the United States, but some
employees are not returning the favor.

Four of the six workers who would talk to a Reuters reporter
outside the company’s downtown Los Angeles factory said they
back the board’s decision to fire Charney, the company’s
outspoken founder who has been dogged by lawsuits and
allegations of sexual harassment.

Jul 2, 2014

Kroger offers $280 million for Vitacost.com in health play

By Lisa Baertlein and Shailaja Sharma

(Reuters) – Kroger Co said on Wednesday it would buy Vitacost.com Inc, a health products retailer, for about $280 million in a bid to expand its presence in the profitable health and wellness niche popularized by Whole Foods Market Inc.

A growing number of U.S. shoppers are willing to pay extra for products such as organic foods, local produce and specialty items such as vitamins and other supplements. Eyeing bigger profits, grocery sellers from Kroger to Wal-Mart Stores Inc and drugstore chain CVS Caremark Corp are hoping to cash in on the trend.

Jun 27, 2014

U.S. retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

The six-year contract between dockworkers and the employers who operate port terminal and shipping lines expires on July 1 at 5 p.m. PDT (0000 GMT). It covers workers at 29 ports from California to Washington state, including major hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma.

Jun 27, 2014

Retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

The six-year contract between dockworkers and the employers who operate port terminal and shipping lines expires on July 1 at 5 p.m. PDT (0000 GMT). It covers workers at 29 ports from California to Washington state, including major hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma.

Jun 20, 2014

Darden’s Olive Garden weak amid fight for board control

June 20 (Reuters) – Darden Restaurants Inc, battling
an activist investor that wants to replace its entire board of
directors, on Friday reported lackluster results at its flagship
Olive Garden chain as it prepares to complete the sale of Red
Lobster next month.

Starboard Value LP launched its effort to replace Darden’s
board shortly after the restaurant operator’s May 16
announcement that it planned to sell Red Lobster to Golden Gate
Capital for $2.1 billion.

Jun 20, 2014

Starbucks to raise prices on some drinks, packaged coffee

June 20 (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp on Friday said
it will raise prices on some drinks offered by its U.S. shops
and also boost list prices on its own brand of packaged coffee
sold in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

The action comes just weeks after J.M. Smucker Co
raised list prices of its well-known Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts
brands, for the first time since 2011 because of soaring green
coffee costs.

Jun 19, 2014

American Apparel expects fight from ousted founder

LOS ANGELES June 19 (Reuters) – The board of hipster
clothing brand American Apparel Inc has ousted founder
Dov Charney as chairman and said it was preparing for the
controversial executive to fight his removal.

American Apparel replaced the 45-year-old Charney as
chairman late Wednesday, citing unspecified allegations of
misconduct. It also said it suspended him as president and chief
executive officer, and plans to fire him for cause, following a
30-day period stipulated in his contract.

Jun 12, 2014

U.S. food makers sue to stop Vermont’s GMO labeling law

June 12 (Reuters) – Several industry groups representing
U.S. food makers on Thursday asked a federal judge in Vermont to
block that state’s new law that will require labels on food
products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The legal challenge was widely expected and Vermont created
a “food fight fund” in anticipation of the move because it was
the first state to pass a GMO labeling law that did not require
other states to go first.

    • About Lisa

      "Lisa writes about restaurants and grocery stores. She is based in Los Angeles and previously has covered computer software, Internet companies, video games, prescription drugs and municipal bonds."
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