Warm Southern Breeze

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Democrats Vote to Save Jobs: ABC Privatization Bill Dies in Senate Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bill by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to privatize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has died in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee by a 7-6 vote along party lines, with one Republican voting ‘NO.’ The vote received applause from attendees.

A substitution bill presented by Orr would’ve changed the suspension penalty for Selling to Minors from one year to one week, and increased taxes, was also adopted along party line vote.
Orr said earlier that, “Part of our job is to downsize government,” and demanded a committee vote be taken on his bill today.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson testified that employees are paid from mark-ups from sales in the state’s 176 ABC stores. He also noted that by comparison, there are 587 private package stores in the state.

In Alabama, liquor is marked up at Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

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Alabama Lawmaker Arthur Orr has Big Idea to Destroy State’s Competitive Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr (R, Decatur) has proposed eliminating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board‘s retail outlets statewide.

Senator Orr represents the Third District, which includes Morgan, Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama State Senate.

He attempts to justify his position by asking a rhetorical question, on pretense of being modern: “The fundamental question, I think, for us as legislators and as a state, is, should the state of Alabama Read the rest of this entry »

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Magic City Brewfest: Renewed excitement in 7th year with passage of Alabama’s Homebrew Law

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!

Moylan's Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Cheers to beers: Alabama raises a glass to home-brew, Brewfest and craft breweries

(Gallery by Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com By Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com
Follow on Twitter
on June 02, 2013 at 8:56 AM, updated June 02, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This weekend Birmingham played host to a sold-out Magic City Brewfest at Sloss Furnace, featuring more than 200 different beers from more than 70 craft brew­eries around the nation. Although 2013 marked the seventh annual Brewfest, it was the first since home­brew became legal in Alabama, thanks to legislation passed in May.

Because home-brewers in Alabama can now share recipes and bond over their successes and struggles, Brewfest has a renewed “electricity” in the air, said Gabe Harris, president of Free the Hops, the grassroots non­profit that worked to help pass the home­brew bill.

“It feels great to have home-brew legal in Alabama,” Harris said. “Every craft brewer at Brewfest started out as a home-brewer, and everyone is really excited to be here this year.”

Because craft brewers across the state feel passionately about spreading the home­brew “gospel,” the Home-brew Association set up a tent at Brewfest specifically to edu­cate people about the brewing process.

“We’ve had tons of peo­ple at the tent asking some really intelligent questions,” Harris said.

Spencer Overton, home­brew manager at Birming­ham brewery and bar Hop City, said Birmingham is now on the “cutting edge” of craft beer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee may modernize antiquated beverage alcohol laws

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tennessee has some very strange and peculiar laws regarding the regulation of beverage alcohol, most of which remain rooted in the Prohibition Era, and in in fear.

And, true to form, it would be no wonder that Baptists – the arch-conservative religious political right wing activists of the right wing party – are directly involved in efforts to keep the state mired in the antiquated bad old days of yore.

Tennessee is unique in the regard that state law forbids sale of wine except in state-licensed liquor stores. To clarify, the state of Tennessee has an unusual combination of laws that forbid sales of wine in any other type store save one that sells liquor. Further, sales are prohibited on Sunday. Beer, however, is able to be sold in grocery stores… but only if the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is under 6%.

Alabama once had a similarly prohibitive content law, along with bottle size restriction – which severely limited the sales of domestic and imported craft/micro brew beers and ales. Alabama no longer has such prohibitive limitations.

And then, if one considers the implications of that law – mandating the sale of wine be exclusively limited to sales in liquor stores – the state actually sanctions the liquor enterprise itself, rather than being a neutral, regulatory body. In Tennessee there are no state-operated liquor stores as there are in Alabama. To have a state-run enterprise is not contradictory to the free market, because the state is a direct competitor in the market, which frequently has the lowest priced products, because taxes are the markup/profit margin for the state. Contrasting that model with the private retailer, the private retailer must make a profit atop the taxes which the state charges (after they purchase from the state at a wholesale cost – the same cost the state sells to the general public), thus increasing the retail price above what the state sells it.

Supporters and opponents of a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell wine undertook one final push to sway Tennessee lawmakers Monday ahead of a make-or-break vote in the state legislature.

Liquor store owners, grocery store operators, wine shoppers, a sheriff, an addiction specialist and a minister were among the people allowed to testify at a special hearing held a day before the Senate State & Local Government Committee is to vote on the biggest rewrite of Tennessee’s liquor laws in decades. Members guarded Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” shows improving economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Federal Reserve regularly publishes a summary of economic activity in the 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the United States.

It is important to note that “This document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.”

Much, if not most of the news was promising.

Summary highlights from this Beige Book 2013-01-16 are that:

• “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report, with all twelve Districts characterizing the pace of growth as either modest or moderate.”

• “All twelve districts reported some growth in Read the rest of this entry »

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Hostess Names Flowers as Lead Bidder for Bread Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

The saga continues.

Hostess Names Flowers as Lead Bidder for Bread Business

Hostess Brands Inc., the bankrupt maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies, said Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) is the lead bidder for most of the assets of its bread-baking operations.

“We are pleased with the Flowers offers and look forward to a robust auction process that will allow these iconic brands to continue and to maximize value for all of the company’s stakeholders,” Hostess Chief Executive Officer Gregory F. Rayburn said yesterday in a statement.

The proposed accord with Flowers Foods includes the purchase of the Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature’s Pride brands, 20 bakeries, 38 depots and other assets for $355 million, which may be increased to $360 million if certain license rights are included in the sale. The remaining bread brands, as well as its snack cake business, will be sold separately, according to the statement.

Flowers Foods, based in Thomasville, Georgia, also agreed to

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Federal Reserve: Economy “Strengthening” & “Generally Expanded”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 12, 2012

“Most Districts reported strengthening in existing home sales, while prices were described as steady to increasing, with declining inventories noted in the Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts.

“Automobile sales were flat over the past six weeks but are up year-over-year.

“Demand for consumer credit remained relatively strong, Read the rest of this entry »

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Booze News You Can Use: Cullman, Alabama city officials delighted with alcohol tax revenue

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 5, 2012

For many years, Cullman, Alabama – a tiny town in Central North Alabama, founded by German immigrants in 1873 – had been “dry,” which is to say that there were no legal sales of beverage alcohol in the city.

In fact, the city had been dry for nearly half its existence, having experienced “wet” and dry periods aside even, from national Prohibition.

There had been various referendums in 2004, 2002, 1992, 1990, 1986 and 1984, with the closest vote in 1984, when alcohol sales were voted down by a mere 159 votes.

Cullman had also been the butt of national jokes & mockery because it had the only dry Oktoberfest in the United States. That all changed in 2011, and for the 30th celebration of Oktoberfest that year, celebrants were able to legally sell & enjoy the consumption of beer, wine & liquor.

What is particularly fascinating about this entire ordeal – local prohibition in small-town Alabama – is that it is representative of Read the rest of this entry »

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How is FaceBook’s IPO like Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 20, 2012

{UPDATE: Tuesday, 22 May 2012 – 2d story added}

Read on, to find out why.

(Oh, and please, dear reader, don’t make me spell it out why.)

And, as an interesting note aside, Mr. Zuckerberg was married yesterday.

Here’s wishing him and his bride all the best.

Nasdaq ‘embarrassed’ over Facebook IPO

By Telis Demos in New York, May 20, 2012 10:12 pm

facebookNasdaq OMX‘s chief executive admitted he was “embarrassed” by the delay in the opening trade of Facebook’s initial public offering and revealed that the exchange was in talks with regulators over potentially millions of dollars of customer claims.

Bob Greifeld said on Sunday that the 20-minute delay in trading of Facebook’s $16bn offering on Friday had been caused by a millisecond systems blip due to the largest IPO auction “in the history of mankind”.

The exchange has found itself in the spotlight after Facebook failed to deliver a first-day “pop” to investors, instead almost falling below its issuing price of $38. The shares, having risen briefly, quickly fell away to close the day with a gain of just 0.6 per cent, at $38.23.

As a result of the trading delay, Nasdaq was left with a position in Facebook shares that it was forced to liquidate, according to its own rules, generating $10m for the group. It plans to use that money, plus potentially more, to resolve disputes related to 30m shares that may have received improper trades.

It has requested approval from Read the rest of this entry »

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