Retail: Starbucks closes stores for anti-bias training
Starbucks temporarily shuttered about 8,000 of its stores for an afternoon this week to provide anti-bias training for its staff, said Julie Jargon and Rachel Feintzeig in The Wall Street Journal. The move, which the coffee giant said cost $12 million in lost sales, was in response to an April incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks in which a manager called the police on two black men who hadn’t purchased anything. Starbucks said the training was the first step in what will be a “continuing education of its employees to ensure that its cafés are welcoming to everyone.”
Food: German food conglomerate buys Pret A Manger
The “deal-hungry” German conglomerate JAB Holding continued its streak of food acquisitions this week, snapping up British sandwich chain Pret A Manger, said Michael de la Merced in The New York Times. The deal, worth about $2 billion, gives JAB ownership of Pret’s 530 locations around the world, including in China, France, and the United States. Backed by Germany’s “wealthy and secretive Reimann family,” JAB’s burgeoning stable now includes Panera, Keurig, Stumptown, Peet’s, Krispy Kreme, and Dr Pepper Snapple.
Retail: Lowe’s demands arbitration agreements
“Lowe’s has a message for its store managers: Sign this or else,” said Dave Jamieson in HuffingtonPost.com. The big-box retailer is requiring salaried managers and assistant managers to “enter binding arbitration agreements under the threat of losing their valuable bonuses.” By signing the contract, staff formally agree not to take Lowe’s to court “with any claims or join in class-action lawsuits against the company.” A copy of the contract seen by the Huffington Post was dated March 2018, predating last week’s Supreme Court ruling that labor experts believe will make such employee arbitration contracts more common.
Economics: U.S. GDP growth revised down
“The U.S. economy grew at a weaker-than-expected 2.2 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year,” said Martin Crutsinger in the Associated Press. The figure for the January-March period was revised down this week from last month’s 2.3 percent estimate by the Commerce Department. Lower-than-expected inventory building by businesses was a factor, as was lower consumer spending. President Trump has contended that his program of “$1.5 trillion in tax cuts, government deregulation, and tougher enforcement of trade laws will lift the economy to permanent growth rates of 3 percent or better.”