Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2013 05:46 PM
United Airlines has had a rough go of it lately, especially since it merged with Continental Airlines back in 2010. "These past few years, in many ways, have felt like we've been managing a merger and not an airline...and now we get to manage an airline," United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek admitted, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The airline has become a bit of a punch line for its policies and slip-ups, including boarding passengers with window seats first to its ranking as the least satisfying major airline on the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index. And the fees, oh the fees.
So the airline has announced plans to both improve its profitability and performance, USA Today reports. Of course, part of the plan is to add on more fees and “optimizing” the ones it already has. The airline figurs it can make an extra $700 million annually that way resulting in “$3.5 billion in ancillary revenue by 2017.” Those extra charges could be for such things as “priority boarding, roomier seats, and/or less-stringent rebooking rules,” according to the Chicago Tribune. That doesn’t exactly sound like it will help those satisfaction ratings, though.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 03:57 PM
When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recruited Johan de Nysschen to head the Infiniti brand last year, he wanted his new recruit to accomplish much the same for Nissan's luxury brand as de Nysschen had done in turning around the fortunes of Audi in the US market. Only Ghosn wanted it done on a global basis.
Some of the results of de Nysschen's disruptive new strategy have become evident now, as Infiniti newly targets both China and its home country of Japan as it attempts to achieve Ghosn's target of 10 percent of the world premium market by 2020.
In China, de Nysschen told Bloomberg, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and his old employer, Audi, "have become so successful that they've become almost a little bit ubiquitous. They're everywhere. And this is where we see a big opportunity with this new emerging premium consumer, to offer them an alternative, reinvent the notion of exclusivity."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 04:57 PM
For decades, the "old" General Motors lived uncomfortably with the evident overlap between its Buick and Oldsmobile brands in the US market, a counterproductive overlap that encompassed product segments, dealers and, of course, many customers. But it took the company until just before the 2009 bailout to finally end the brand confusion by vanquishing Oldsmobile.
GM faces a similar conflict in Europe between the Chevrolet and Opel brands, and CEO Dan Akerson has said, "Something has to change" about the arrangement. What isn't clear at this point is exactly what will change. But the whole problem is pretty consequential for the company.
Opel is to GM in Europe what Chevrolet is to GM in the United States: the big, bellwether, crucial brand for the company in that market. That remains the case despite the woes of the European auto industry that have affected every company, brand and segment, and would seem to favor a further incursion by budget-priced Chevrolet. But Opel outsells Chevy five-to-one there despite GM's efforts to grab a significant foothold for Chevrolet over the last several years, including shared Opel and Chevy showrooms and some similar product lines.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2013 03:42 PM
Swedish retail giant Hennes & Mauritz is gunning for its “coolly-minimal younger sibling,” COS, to make big a splash in the US market after building up quite a fanbase in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The brand will make its debut in the spring, joining fast-fashion phenom H&M.
But the higher-priced, more artsy brand has no intention of settling for second place. According to H&M's head of business, Marie Honda, the high-fashion brand has the potential to be huge. After testing the waters earlier this month with a NYC pop-up shop at Opening Ceremony, the upscale, minimalist and cosmopolitan COS brand will target US ities "that have an international feel," Honda told Women's Wear Daily.
Come spring 2014, the brand plans to launch US e-commerce and open its first store in April in NYC's Soho neighborhood.
It’s a strategic shift for H&M, which launched in the US market as a trendy and cheaper alternative to Gap, Zara and Forever 21, and for whom American stores deliver the most revenue after Germany.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2013 10:54 AM
As palm oil production continues and demand grows, the most vulnerable tropical habitats worldwide are systemically being destroyed. But after an outcry from consumers and activists, some of the biggest consumers of palm oil are making it their business to implement more sustainable production.
The 2013 edition of WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard ranks Ecover, Ferrero, IKEA, REWE, United Biscuits and Unilever as the leaders in the uptake of sustainable efforts.
Earlier this week, Unilever made a transformative move by announcing that all of the palm oil it buys—about 1.3 million tons a year for use in Dove soap, TRESemmé and Flora margarine, among others—will come from traceable sources by the end of 2014, allowing the world’s biggest user of palm oil to guarantee that the oil is coming from environmentally safe and legal suppliers.
The Anglo-Dutch CPG giant has crossed swords with environmental activists for sourcing the oil from plantations involved in mass deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, but the brand has vowed to consciously source its product in the future. "The first step in this whole journey is to know where the stuff is coming from," Marc Engel, Unilever's chief procurement officer, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 13, 2013 04:54 PM
The global luxury market is set to see its slowest growth this year since 2009, with the Asian market in particular contributing to the slump. French luxury brands Gucci and Louis Vuitton, for example, recently reported drops in Chinese sales as consumers showed a preference for "logo-free" clothing and accessories.
In a turn of events, it's the US that is expected to be a strong luxury market over the next five years, according to a new study by Departures magazine in association with Ledbury Research. Top luxury CEOs ranked North America as the most important growth market, followed by East Asia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central/South America. Despite China's blistering economic growth in recent years, it is actually the US that created 94 percent of the world's new millionaires over the past year, according to Credit Suisse.
But some of the more intriguing recent data regarding the global luxury market may be coming out of India. A new report published by the Confederation of Indian Industry and IMRB International, a market research firm found that over the past three years, the Indian luxury market has grown around 15 percent, with the highest interest in luxury products as opposed to luxury services. Driving that growth is India's "Closet Consumer."Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 11, 2013 03:23 PM
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been doubling down on emerging markets, despite feeling tremendous pressure to grow their business in developed regions such as the United States and Europe. And PepsiCo just made a massive US$5.5-billion commitment to expand its operations and sales in Mexico over the next seven years.
CEO Indra Nooyi announced that PepsiCo and its partners plan to double their current production capacity in India, to ramp up distribution infrastructure especially in rural markets, to boost its collaborative program with Indian farmers, and to continue to expand the range of foods and beverages in its current India portfolio of eight brands.
"India is a country with huge potential and it remains an attractive, high-priority market for PepsiCo," Nooyi said in a statement. "We believe we've only scratched the surface of the long-term growth opportunities." In a press conference in New Delhi on Monday, Nooyi also couldn't resist a playful dig at her biggest competitor, telling reporters that the Pepsi brand is "more youthful" than rival Coca-Cola.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 30, 2013 02:47 PM
Gobal luxury brand conglomerates such as Kering, previously known as PPR, the parent company to brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and a slew of other high profile brands, are a double edged sword: They can gain profits from a diverse brand portfolio, yet they can see sales sink when the luxury market is sluggish in a particular region of the world.
At the moment, the region in question is Asia, and more specifically China. While China is still consuming luxury goods, it seems that "Chinese shoppers are cutting back on designer duds, leather handbags, and pricey watches" according to the Associated Press. In fact, sales of luxury goods in China are expected to limp along and grow just 2.5 percent this year—a far cry from the double digit growth of a few years ago.
Chinese publication Jing Daily confirms that, "Chinese consumer tastes continue to quickly shift toward logo-free products and niche brands. ...The rise of popularity of niche designer labels in contrast to major logo-focused brands was exhibited this fall in the openings of three major department stores in mainland China..." Also a likely contributor is China's national austerity drive, which has put a negative connotation on luxury goods and experiences of all kinds.Continue reading...