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Independent Brands Mad At Whole Foods For New Pricing

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(Via Zerohedge)


The independent and up-and-coming brands that were once a hallmark of Whole Foods Markets’ success – particularly during the early days when it was still a privately-owned brand based in Austin, Texas – are on the verge of a revolt against the store now that it’s under new management as Amazon tries to squeeze every last penny out of one of its most high-profile investments.


Several small brands complained to Business Insider that WFM recently hiked the fees its vendors are expected to pay, making them responsible for more of the costs of shipping and stocking their products. The company has also started instituting higher fees for prime shelf space, as well as additional fees if smaller brands want to hold product demonstrations in Whole Foods’ stores.


It’s also forcing smaller brands to pay additional fees to a small, Connecticut-based “retail consulting” shop while also dropping “minimum shipment” guidelines that helped stores experiment with small batches of new products.


The hostility of the brand’s new corporate overlords has made some smaller sellers nostalgic for the good ol’ days when WFM was still an innovator in the world of independent food brands and locally sourced products…


“I once drove to every Whole Foods store in the Portland area and dropped off jars of our nut butters” for stores to sell, said the founder of a brand of natural nut butter. “That’s over, that’s done. That’s not ever happening again.”


Another vendor intimated that their brand is on the verge of pulling out of WFM because, with the added fees, the company is now losing money on some of its shipments…


“They have pissed off their employees, they have pissed off customers, and they have pissed off their vendors,” said a Whole Foods vendor of eight years who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. “From a financial perspective, we can only take so much abuse before we say this just isn’t working for us anymore.”


ut the irony is, by squeezing small brands past their breaking points, Amazon risks destroying the one competitive advantage that helped bring WFM to national prominence: It’s offerings of local and independent brands. In the old days, store managers were famously given autonomy to strike deals with small producers. Now, most product decisions have been centralized at WFM’s headquarters in Austin.


Of course, Daymon, the consulting firm that WFM now employs, says WFM is just trying to equitably distribute its cost burden…by making it impossible for small brands to compete with faux-indie labels like Annie’s Homegrown, which is of course owned by General Mills.


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Business

Soros Newest Investor Of Tesla Bonds

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Tesla looks to have a new bond holder and it’s none other than George Soros. Whatever this mean, Soros has also taken a stake in Crypto-Currencies .

Zerohedge Reports: Amid Elon Musk’s darkest hour in late March – as his stocks and bonds tumbled in price – it seems there was at least one other billionaire willing to buy the ‘blood on the street’.

According to the latest 13Fs, George Soros’ investment firm took a $35 million stake in Tesla’s convertible bonds during the first three months of the year.

As a reminder, convertibles are hybrid securities, either bonds or preferred stock, that can be exchanged for a predetermined number of common shares. That effectively lets an investor participate in stock-price changes, but with the yield and greater security of a fixed-income instrument.

The March 2019 Converts bounced handsomely off those lows – tracking the stock’s divergent bounce – but in recent days has fallen back towards the lows, catching down to the straight bonds record low price.

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“Racial Bias Education Day” To Close Down Starbucks Nationwide

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Starbucks is going to the illogical extreme by taking an entire day to put their employees through what they call “Racial Bias Education Day”. Coming after a viral videos showed two men being arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Starbucks almost instantly gave into calls to do ‘something’ but will this really fix anything in a culture where ‘racism’ is more of a political talking point than an actual substantive conversation or debate.

CNBC Reports: Starbucks said Tuesday it will be closing all of its company-owned restaurants in the U.S. during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education program.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement Tuesday. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

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Soros Now Investing In Crypto-Currencies

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(Via Zerohedge)
By TD


After a historic drop in cryptocurrency prices in the first quarter, one which deflated much of the euphoria that surrounded the sector in late 2017 and the start of this year, the space is about to get exciting again because none other than 87-year-old billionaire George Soros is reportedly preparing to trade cryptocurrencies as prices plunge.

According to Bloomberg, Adam Fisher -who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management – has received internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, “though he has yet to make a wager.”

The question, of course, is whether Bloomberg’s leak is accurate, and if indeed Soros is only now getting started in the space or if he has quietly loaded up already.

What is ironic, is that just three months ago when speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros said digital coins cannot function as actual currencies because of their volatility, “but he didn’t predict the hard tumble that some observers had forecast at the time.”

“As long as you have dictatorships on the rise you will have a different ending, because the rulers in those countries will turn to Bitcoin to build a nest egg abroad,” Soros, 87, said on Jan. 25.

With Bitcoin tumbling below $7000 recently…

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