…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The San Francisco Business Times reports that "a South San Francisco farming startup is quickly growing its retail roots after landing new distribution deals with two of the area's largest grocers.

"Vertical agriculture company Plenty will soon stock the produce shelves at a handful of Whole Foods Market and Safeway locations across the Bay Area to mark the beginning of what the startup is hoping will be a widespread push into new retailers and restaurants. Plenty's vegetables first began selling in retail outlets last year and are now available through Good Eggs, Berkeley Bowl, Bi-Rite Market and the robotic burger restaurant, Creator."

Retail roots aren't the only roots that Plenty is interested in: "Plenty grows its produce hydroponically, meaning it feeds the plant without having it rooted in soil. By cutting water consumption, shortening the supply chain and shrinking the space needed to grow produce, Plenty will be able to deliver more produce at a faster rate."

• The New York Times reports that the Trump administration has announced new rules that, when they go in effect in March, will mean that "employees of a fast-food franchise like a McDonald’s restaurant … may struggle to win a legal claim against the parent company if a franchisee violates minimum-wage and overtime laws."

The story notes that the new rule "effectively replaces a more labor-friendly Obama-era approach that the Trump administration withdrew in 2017, one of several departures from the previous administration in the area of employment and labor law."

• This is an example of how it can pay to be a disruptor.

From Axios: "Upstart mattress maker Casper filed Friday for an initial public offering … This will be the next public market test of a consumer products company that venture capitalists have arguably valued like a tech company … It has raised over $355 million in venture capital funding, most recently in early 2019 at a valuation just north of $1 billion. Investors include retailer Target."

Of course, this doesn't mean that Casper actually is showing a profit: "Casper reports a $67 million net loss on $312 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2019, versus a $64 million net loss on $260 million in revenue for the year-earlier period."

Going public without being profitable? In other words, just like a tech company.

• This story has nothing to do with retailing. But it is worth reporting nonetheless.

The 1968 Ford Mustang - a fastback in Highland Green - that was one of two identical cars driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968) in a classic car chase through the streets and hills of San Francisco, was sold at auction over the weekend for $3.74 million.

It is, reports say, the most ever spent on a Mustang at auction. The previous record holder was a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake sold last year for $2.2 million.

The Washington Post reports that " the interior includes remnants of filming equipment still on the body of the car. A coupe with a blacked-out grille and paint worn to a rough patina, its engine was modified to enhance speed and sound with additional camera mounts welded to the metal tubes underneath its body. Film hands cut into the trunk to allow cords to run from the generator to the cameras and lights."

The buyer's name has not been disclosed.

Just to put rumors to rest, I can confirm that the buyer was not me. But I can also confirm that this would be my idea of a dream car.