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Starbucks offering 'buy one, get one free' deal for frappuccinos

Fans of Starbucks frappuccinos will be able to buy one and get a second one free during a promotion the company is offering on June 29.

>> Read more trending news 

The offer is valid beginning at 3 p.m. at participating Starbucks stores across the United States, the company said on its website. Customers must buy a grande or larger frappuccino or espresso drink to receive one of equal or lesser value for free.

Customers who have a registered Starbucks card are already eligible for the promotion. Customers who do not must sign up for a card here. After filling out the information, customers will receive a promotion code to take advantage of the buy one, get one free deal, Starbucks said on its website.

Kroger CEO addresses grocery industry, Target merger rumors

The grocery landscape is constantly changing and Kroger has to stay ahead of what the customer wants, the grocery chain’s chief executive said.

>> Read more trending news

Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of the Cincinnati-based grocery giant, talked about some of those changes from the rise of organics, to the merger rumors to looming trade issues in a new interview with Bloomberg.

“The only thing that stays consistent is people keep eating, but the way they eat will constantly change,” McMullen said.

McMullen said one of those big industry changes is the more than 9 million shoppers that come to Kroger’s store each day want more natural and organic grocery products, like Kroger’s Simple Truth, which is over a $2 billion category today for the retailer.

Addressing looming threats of international trade disputes, McMullen said Kroger’s main concern would be if the company was at a competitive disadvantage.

“From a trade perspective, our competitors are going to have to deal with the same things we would, so we leave it up to the government officials because they have a lot more knowledge than what we would,” he said.

A month ago, there had been rumors of merger talks between Target and Kroger, which Kroger had declined to comment on.

When asked in the Bloomberg interview about the previous reports of merger talks, McMullen said with any type of merger considerations, Kroger is looking at how would it create new capabilities that neither company would have independent of each other.

“To me, we’re big enough at $120 plus billion that scale isn’t really what we need from merging with someone,” McMullen said.

Subway announces it will close 500 stores in US

Subway announced that it will be closing nearly 500 stores in the United States while adding more than 1,000 shops worldwide, WPVI reported Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

The chain, which got its start in August 1965 when founder Fred DeLuca opened a shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has nearly 27,000 stores in the United States and 44,000 worldwide. According to the National Retail Federation, the next highest chain is Yum Brands, which runs KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, CNN reported. McDonald’s has 14,000 locations, the federation reported.

Subway’s sales dropped 4.4 percent last year as competition from newer fast-food chains gave consumers more options.

While there will be shutdowns in the U.S. the chain will focus on opening stores in the United Kingdom, Germany and Asia, WPVI reported.

Candy company introduces gummy beers

You’ve heard of gummy bears. A candy company that caters to adults is introducing gummy beers.

>> Read more trending news

Sugarfina has teamed up with Corona Light to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by launching limited-edition Corona Light and lime-flavored gummy candies ahead of Cinco de Mayo, WFLA reported.

The company is introducing two products: But First, Cerveza; and Here For a Good Lime.

But First, Cerveza, features a gummy shaped like a bottle of Corona Lite and tastes “like sunshine in a bottle,” according to a release on the Sugarfina website. 

Here For a Good Lime is shaped like a lime slice and are described as “tart and zesty.”

Although both candies have a beer-like taste, neither flavor is alcoholic, WFLA reported.

Both come in individual boxes for $7.50, according to the company website. A combination bento box that also includes a lime-shaped bottle opener costs $26.

The candies went on pre-sale on Monday, with in-store sales to begin April 1 at Sugarfina boutiques and Nordstrom stores, WFLA reported.

Amazon warehouse culture like 'prison,' undercover author writes 

An undercover author said working in an Amazon fulfillment center is like "a prison," where workers were urinating in bottles because they did not have enough time to go to the bathroom. 

>> Read more trending news

James Bloodworth, as part of his book "Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain," spent almost a month in 2016 working as a "picker" at a fulfillment center in Rugeley, England, where he retrieved items for delivery.

In addition to his undercover work at Amazon, Bloodworth also took jobs in social care, at a call center, at a building site and even as an Uber driver to research how people cope at their workplace. 

According to Bloodworth, Amazon fulfillment workers had to meet high productivity targets that were feasible only if they ran around the warehouse. Running around the warehouse is something Amazon does not allow for safety reasons.

"The job itself is really bad," Bloodworth told Business Insider. "I've worked in warehouses before, but this was nothing like I had experienced. You don't have proper breaks — by the time you get to the canteen, you only have 15 or 20 minutes for lunch, in a 10½-hour working day. You don't have time to eat properly to get a drink.

"You have to go through security when you leave the warehouse, and that adds five minutes. It's like an airport — belt off, watch off. The atmosphere is what I imagine a prison feels like. You felt like you were walking on eggshells."

Bloodworth's claim that workers were so busy that they had to urinate in bottles sparked widespread outrage on social media on Monday.

Bloodworth told The Sun, a news company in the UK, that "workers often didn't take a break to go to the toilet because they were too sparse to get to quickly and they feared punishment for missing productivity targets. So they peed in bottles instead."

"If you're on the top floor, you know it will take five minutes to go the toilet, and all the time you're being admonished for taking too much idle time," Bloodworth said. 

Bloodworth explained how he came across a bottle of urine while searching for items on an upper floor of the warehouse.

"One day I'm walking down the aisle, and I go to pick up an item, and there's a bottle of straw-colored water on the shelf. And at first I thought, 'Oh, what's that?'" he said. "And then it was very obvious what it was. And there was a pool of water next to it. It struck me — it was so obvious why someone would do that."

According to Business Insider, Amazon said that it doesn't time warehouse workers' toilet breaks and that it ensures they can reach the bathrooms easily.

Amazon responded in a statement to Business Insider, saying that “We don't recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”

The book can be found on Amazon’s website.

CEO of MGA Entertainment makes formal offer to buy Toys R Us

The man who brought Bratz to the toy market said Friday that he entered a formal offer of $890 million to buy many of the Toys R Us stores in the United States and Canada, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Isaac Larian, the CEO of MGA Entertainment, said he entered a formal offer of $675 million to buy 274 Toys R Us stores in the United States and $215 million to acquire 82 stores in Canada, CNN reported.

Larian said he would use his own money for the bid, along with financing from banks and additional investors, according to a news release.

“The liquidation of Toys R Us is going to have a long-term effect on the toy business. The industry will truly suffer,” Larian said in the statement. "The prospect of bringing the Toys R Us experience to a new generation, my new grandson's generation, is enough to motivate me to Save (sic) Toys R Us.”

Toys R Us declined to comment, CNN reported.

Larian already tried to buy the chain of toy stores through a GoFundMe campaign. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy last fall and said in March that it would shut down or sell its U.S. stores, CNN reported.

According to his statement, Larian said he wants to transform Toys R Us stores into a “mini-Disneyland.”

"We will make Toys R Us an experience in and of itself; a fun and engaging place where families can spend an entire day," Larian said. "Imagine a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood."

Dunkin’ Donuts hosting free 4-hour cold brew tasting event Friday

This is not about fake brews. In fact, it’s about new brews that are very real.

>> Read more trending news

Dunkin’ Donuts, as part of a special nationwide cold brew tasting event, is offering a complimentary sample Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time, the company said in a news release.

Patrons who stop by participating Dunkin’ Donuts franchises during that four-hour time frame can receive a complimentary 3.5-ounce sample while supplies last.

The cold brew is prepared with a special blend of coffee that is placed in cold water for 12 hours, the company said in its news release. The result is a “uniquely distinctive, inherently sweeter flavor,” Dunkin’ Donuts said.

Blue Moon’s former brewer to release marijuana-infused beer

Blue Moon’s former brewer is aiming for a higher market.

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Keith Villa, the creator and head brewmaster of Blue Moon since 1995, announced his retirement from MolsonCoors in January 2018 after 32 years of service.

Villa is still working with brews, however. He announced that he is releasing three-marijuana-infused beers through a company called Ceria Beverages started by himself and his wife, Jodi, that promise the same effects as the drink but without the hangover, KABC reported. 

The beers, which will be released this fall, will only be available in Colorado, but Villa said he plans to make the drinks available in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

The drinks will not contain alcohol, KABC said.

Heineken pulls ‘Sometimes lighter is better’ ad after racism claims

Heineken officials have removed an ad with the tagline “Sometimes lighter is better” after the 30-second spot was criticized as being racist, CNN reported.

> Read more trending news

The ad features a fair-skinned bartender sliding a bottle of Heineken Light to a woman. The bottle slides past three black people before arriving in front of the lighter-skinned woman as the tagline appears at the end of the commercial.

Critics on social media did not treat the ad lightly. Hip-hop singer Chance the Rapper called it "terribly racist" on Twitter on Sunday evening.

“I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views,” he tweeted.

On Twitter, Helen Ehrenofer called for the firing of the person who allowed the ad to air.

"What idiots do they have approving this ad? Fire that person," she tweeted.

Heineken pulled the ad from television and the internet late Monday, CNN reported.

“While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer, and that light beer is better than other high-calorie options -- we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns," Heineken USA spokesman Bjorn Trowery said.

Loyola-Chicago gets blessing to market Sister Jean's name, image

The 98-year-old nun who serves as chaplain for the University of Loyola-Chicago basketball team has given her blessing to license and market her name and image, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the inspirational force behind the Ramblers’ unexpected run to the Final Four gave her approval to school officials to put her image on T-shirts, socks and even bobbleheads.

“We weren't going to do anything until she gave her blessing,” Tom Sorboro, a senior associate athletic director at the school, told ESPN.

"She didn't ask for anything for herself," including compensation, Sorboro said.

The school has approved more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts from several companies. Fanatics has produced a Final Four shirt with the nun’s signature phrase, “Worship, Work and Win,” ESPN reported. The company has sold more Loyola products in the past 48 hours than it had during the rest of the season, Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich told ESPN.

>> Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt: 5 things to know

The school gave away Sister Jean bobbleheads in 2011 and 2015. Loyola approved a new bobblehead, to be produced in June by the Milwaukee-based Bobblehead Hall of Fame. 

"Licensing rules prohibit the sale of bobbleheads of college players," Sklar told ESPN. "But Sister Jean's bobblehead really represents the entire team, school and the Loyola-Chicago community."

Rock 'Em Apparel was approved to license Sister Jean socks. It began selling them on its website on Sunday afternoon, ESPN reported.

"Usually it's an athlete or coach that captivates the attention of the sports world," said Steve Rollins, senior vice president for the company. "She brought Loyola's tournament run to the next level by letting the world see her passion for her team. Everyone wants to wear something with her image on it for good luck."

>> Coming soon: Another SIster Jean bobblehead

Licensing royalties for Sister Jean product, except for the bobblehead, are set up to support the Loyola Athletic Fund, which supports the funding of the program's athletes. The bobblehead splits the proceeds between the school's fund and Sister Jean's Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

That Sister Jean has become a sensation during the NCAA Tournament is an understatement. Media tracking company Apex Marketing Group said that there were 20,526 stories that mentioned Sister Jean, ESPN reported. By comparison, there were 5,681 stories that mentioned Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and 9,727 stories reference Kansas coach Bill Self. 

"Sister Jean has risen to the top of the sports world by becoming a must-see and must-mention for sports commentators and news organizations," Apex's Eric Smallwood told ESPN.

As the Ramblers prepare for Saturday’s Final Four game against Michigan in San Antonio, Sister Jean fever continues to rise.

"Sister Jean is the most famous religious licensing icon since the pope," Sorboro said. "She's captured the attention of the entire nation."

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