In retail news, check Wal Mart's May 17 quarterly report here. Notable:U.S. Wal Mart comparable store sales were up 2.6% in the 13-week period ending April 27, above previous expectations of flat to 2%.
Looking ahead, Wal Mart said that comparable store sales from April 28 through July 27 are expected to range up 1% to 3%.
Here is the Houston Chronicle's coverage of the move by Aldi into the Houston market.
Check out this interesting blog post by Jason Klinowski on the history and legal wranglings around the grape tomato, and the relevance that has to today's market. The Fresh Facts blog also has a post by Klinowski on the Adams Produce Company case.
Organic growers and marketers, check out the May 22-25 National Organic Standard Board agenda here.
Buyers have been routinely accused of being heavy handed with suppliers, and that is all the more reason I want to look at this "man bites dog" story from the UK more closely in a future post. From The Telegraph, this gives us a flavor:
John Maylam, 44, was lavished with "excessive gifts and hospitality" by directors of Greenvale, which supplies almost half of the supermarket giant’s potatoes, a court has heard.
He ran up a £200,000 bill at Claridge's Hotel in London, enjoyed a luxury £350,000 twelve-day holiday to the Monaco Grand Prix and received cash payments totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds stuffed inside brown envelopes.
Greenvale, one of the country’s leading producers, funded the extravagant gifts by overcharging Sainsbury’s for its potatoes in a £40 million deal sanctioned by Maylam.
Here is later coverage by Reuters, which had this simple statement by Sainsbury's:
"This was an unacceptable and calculated crime against Sainsbury's of a magnitude never experienced in our history."
TK: How can retailers be sure this type of corruption isn't taking place under their nose? To the degree that produce buying and selling is a "relationship" business, it may be impossible to completely avoid corruption. Is another case like this hidden from view even now?