News

Moody’s: Amazon to ‘kick start’ its grocery business with purchase of Whole Foods Market

BY CSA STAFF

Moody's Investor Services is feeling positive about Amazon's plans to acquire Whole Foods Market.

The ratings agency assigned the deal a Baa1 rating and revised Amazon’s credit outlook to positive from stable, reported Marketwatch. The report also said that Amazon is planning to issue up to $16 million in debt to fund the online giant's acquisition of Whole Foods.

The move “reflects our view that despite the increase in debt, the Whole Foods acquisition is an immediate credit positive for the company on a variety of fronts,” Moody’s VP Charlie O’Shea wrote in a note. “Whole Foods provides Amazon with greater scale and a crucial brick-and-mortar presence in a segment where it has been trying to grow, and the almost 500 existing Whole Foods locations can be utilized to expand food delivery, as well as provide pickup points for online orders of any type.”

Click here to read more.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
News

Discounter names new food and beverage VPs

BY Marianne Wilson

Target is bringing on talent from Walmart and General Mills to accelerate its food and beverage strategy.

Mark Kenny will join Target as VP divisional, meat and fresh prepared food where he will oversee the meat, seafood, deli, bakery and prepared food categories. Kenny joins Target from Walmart, where he most recently was the senior director of private brands, deli and bakery.

Liz Nordlie will join Target as VP, product design and development for food and beverage. She will oversee the brand direction and product vision for owned brand food and beverage categories. With 27 years of brand building experience across 30 food and beverage businesses, Nordlie will lead and strengthen efforts underway with Target’s owned brand portfolio.

Nordlie joins Target from General Mills, where she spent 20 years in general management roles, building brands across cereal, snacks, meals, yogurt and baking core businesses, as well as natural and organics. Most recently, Nordlie was the president of General Mills baking division.

Nordlie and Kenny will join Target later this month.

“We have been making positive progress with our assortment, presentation and operations in food and beverage this year," said Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. "With Jeff Burt’s leadership, and the investment we’re making to bring on two new seasoned executives, combined with our already talented team, I’m confident we’ll be able to go even further, faster, delivering both an experience and assortment that’s uniquely Target."

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
News

Regulatory Wrap-Up: Updates on wage increases, NAFTA and transportation

BY CSA STAFF

Wages

Arizona: The state supreme court rejected an attempt to nullify a voter-approved statewide wage law that went into effect Jan. 2017. The mandate requires employers to provide three days of paid leave and increases the minimum wage to $12/hr. by 2020. The current statewide wage is $10/hr.

Rhode Island: The recently enacted state budget includes a wage increase to $10.10/hr. in 2018 and to $10.50/hr. in 2019. The current statewide minimum wage is $9.60/hr.

Albuquerque, NM: A state district judge rejected a business community-backed challenge to a 2012 voter-approved minimum wage ordinance. The judge has not yet ruled on a similar paid leave ordinance scheduled to appear on the Oct. 3 ballot.

Kansas City, MO: An Aug. 8 ballot initiative seeking to incrementally raise the city’s minimum wage to $15/hr. over a five-year period passed overwhelmingly with 69% of the vote. The initiative conflicts with a recently passed statewide preemption law preventing local action on employee wage and benefit issues. A legal challenge to the initiative is likely. Proponents have also begun working on a similar ballot initiative to increase the statewide minimum wage.


Wage Theft

Sonic: Sonic Drive-In announced a partnership with the Labor Department designed to increase wage and hour compliance among Sonic franchisees. The agreement comes after a number of violations over the past few years.


Labor Policy

NLRB: Current NLRB Chairman Philip Miscimarra announced his departure from the board upon completion of his first term in Dec. The Republican Chairman opted out of his next term citing family concerns. The U.S. Senate recently confirmed Marvin Kaplan for an open seat and has yet to schedule William Emanuel’s confirmation vote. It remains to be seen who President Trump will nominate to replace Miscimarra.

Joint Employer: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to enforce an NLRB finding that CNN and Team Video Services (a subcontractor) were joint employers. The unanimous decision found that the NLRB failed to demonstrate that the two entities shared “direct and immediate control” over a group of employees. Legal analysts consider this a positive development for employers as a similar case — the controversial 2015 Browning-Ferris NLRB decision awaits appeal in the same court.

Micro-Unions: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the NLRB’s 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision and rejected a challenge brought by Rhino Northwest LLC, a concert staging company. The court found that “riggers” who set up equipment can be considered a separate bargaining unit, upholding the NLRB’s decision. The ruling is particularly significant because employers across the country can challenge NLRB decisions in the D.C. Circuit; however, seven other federal appeals courts have already approved the NLRB’s micro-union test. Businesses are looking to the administration and Congress to overturn the Specialty Healthcare decision that allows for unions to organize smaller bargaining units as opposed to wall-to-wall units which had historically been the norm prior to 2011.

Delaware: Delaware recently enacted a law prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary histories, effective Dec. 1.


Medical Marijuana

Connecticut: A federal district court judge ruled that a state law prohibiting an employer from firing or refusing to hire a person who uses medical marijuana is not preempted by federal law, in effect upholding the law. This ruling is similar to a recent Massachusetts state court decision and is notable given the federal jurisdiction of the court.


Tax

MTC: The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) announced that five new states (FL, ID, IA, SD and WI) have joined the special voluntary disclosure program for online sellers. The program now has 19 states participating. Under the voluntary amnesty program, sellers who could have sales tax collection liabilities as a result of storing inventory in fulfillment centers, can join the program and in most cases be forgiven past sales tax liabilities in exchange for future collection in the participating states.


Sugar Tax

Cook County, IL: Attorneys for the Cook County Board of Commissioners withdrew a legal challenge to force the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to pay over $17 million in lost revenue during the time period the courts enjoined the “pop tax” from going into effect. The federal government also weighed in on the issue claiming the county’s implementation of the tax through a point-of-sale workaround is a violation of SNAP rules, placing $87 million in federal funding in jeopardy. In a related development, customers in Cook County filed separate lawsuits against 7-11, Walgreens and McDonalds for allegedly charging the tax on unsweetened beverages. The future of the tax remains uncertain.


Transportation

West Coast Ports: The International Longshore and Warehouse Union membership ratified a contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association (cargo carriers and terminal operators) through July 2022. The announcement comes after several importer groups encouraged both the union and management to begin early negotiations in an effort to avoid a repeat of the 2015 slowdown, estimated to have cost retailers $7 billion.


Trade

China: The White House announced an executive memorandum Monday that directs the USTR to determine whether to begin investigating China regarding intellectual property violations. The delayed move could escalate tensions between the two countries as they continue to discuss the volatile North Korea situation. The memorandum comes after the Commerce Department announced last week countervailing duties ranging from 17% to 80% on imported aluminum foil, 70% of which comes from China.

NAFTA: The USTR officially announced the first round of negotiations with Mexico and Canada will be held in Washington D.C. Aug. 16-20. Reports indicate the three countries are likely to hold seven rounds of discussions every three weeks. The goal is to conclude discussions prior to the 2018 Mexican presidential elections.


Product Safety

FTC: Following an FBI consumer notice alert regarding Internet-connected toys, the Federal Trade Commission updated a guidance document related to “Internet of Things” products that may collect the personal information of children. The enforcement puts child-directed sites, services, or products on notice that they may be liable for third party advertisers or plug-ins that collect personal information even if the original services or products do not. The guidance also details approved methods for obtaining parental consent including knowledge-based questions and the use of facial recognition software.


Key Takeaways

The Fight for $15 campaign continues to face an uphill battle. Bolstered by numerous new studies lamenting the unintended consequences of significant increases in the minimum wage over relatively short time periods, friendly elected officials and traditionally sympathetic journalists are distancing themselves from the effort. This week, two prominent labor reporters from the Washington Post and Houston Chronicle suggested that proponents dispense with the effort and develop new strategies to address wage stagnation.

Confusion around the Cook County sweetened beverage tax is a clear result of poor implementation. The ongoing litigation, engagement of the federal government and budget desperation of the county are all problematic, but for operators the confusion around compliance is even more troubling. Issues with point-of-sale compliance are leaving some operators caught between enforcement actions by the county and potential class action litigation for taxing the wrong beverages. Unfortunately, it’s unclear how or when the county will remedy the situation.

Operators would be wise to follow developments related to Sonic Drive-In’s partnership with the Labor Department. The arrangement could provide much needed clarity on complex areas of the law for small business owners (franchisees) that don’t necessarily have regular access to high-priced employment lawyers or human resource professionals. Under the previous administration, for which the focus was enforcement rather than compliance, some employers were hesitant to provide the agency regular access to its operations for fear of steep penalties and fines rather than an opportunity to correct any problems.

Legislature Status for Week of 8/14/17

The United States Senate is in recess until September 5, 2017

The United States House of Representatives is in recess until September 5, 2017

Eight state legislatures are currently in regular session

o CA, MA, MI, NJ, NC, OH, PA, WI

One state legislature is in special session

o TX

Podcast

We've recently launched a podcast that focuses on politics and policy for the restaurant industry. You can listen to the "Working Lunch" podcast by clicking here or subscribe on iTunes here.


p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}
span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

The Regulatory Wrap-Up is presented by Align Public Strategies. Click here to learn how Align can provide your brand with the counsel and insight you need to navigate the policy and political issues impacting retail.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...