Tuesday tidbits 60: Cost Plus World Market, Gourmet magazine, high alcohol beer

? Cost Plus closes 26 stores: Which is very bad news for those of us who love cheap wine, since Cost Plus has some of the best prices in the country. Sometimes, the prices look like they ?re just a couple of percentage points over cost. The retailer is pulling out of eight markets, including Memphis, Fort Lauderdale and Minneapolis. I have a friend in the marketing business, who follows these things, and she says that by the time the recessions is over, Cost Plus won ?t be the only major retailer that does this.

? Gourmet to fold? Hard to believe, but this report says ?Gourmet will probably not see the end of the year. Its parent company, Conde Nast, can no longer rely on the huge profits of the newspaper portion of the Newhouse family business. The magazine operation needs to go on a diet. ? It ?s not so much that Gourmet does a great job writing about wine; the magazine doesn ?t do much at all. But its demographic is more or less the same as those of the Wine Magazines. And if Gourmet is in trouble, and it has deeper pockets and a deeper readership, what does that mean for the Wine Magazines?

? How does 18 percent beer grab you? By the throat, and even the man who makes it admits it ?s not for everyone. Too bad more people in the wine business don ?t feel that way. ?I don ?t find it pleasant to drink, ? he says. ?I find it unbalanced and shrieking. ?

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