Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2013 12:09 PM
Since Walmart apparently doesn’t think it has enough shoppers already, it is taking extra steps in 21 states to woo in anybody who is annoyed with the high price of gas by chopping the price of gasoline at its pumps by 15 cents, Reuters reports.
High gas prices are keeping consumers off the road and out of stores, the wire service notes, so Walmart is aiming to bring those consumers back in by giving the 15-cent discount to those paying with a Walmart MoneyCard or credit card until July 7. For those who have Walmart gift cards laying about, this could be the time to use them. Those cards will be worth a 10 cent per gallon discount.
"I am constantly hearing that gas prices are making it tough for our customers to balance their budgets," Gisel Ruiz, COO for Walmart US, told Reuters. "For every cent gas prices climb, consumers have $1 billion less to spend."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 2, 2013 03:03 PM
The "new normal" for American marketing executives appears to be a resolutely sober state in which they're seeking cost cuts whether the economy is good or bad.
That's why 82 percent of marketers surveyed by the Association of National Advertisers are still pushing for cost savings and still streamlining marketing budgets despite more signs of U.S. economic recovery including a buoyant stock market and an apparent uptick in first-quarter growth. Two thirds of the 82 percent planned to reduce their marketing budgets by up to 10 percent this year, about the same level who had such plans in 2012.
"Even in better times," ANA group executive vice president Bill Duggan told brandchannel, "a large, large percentage of marketers will still check that box to say that they're looking for cost reductions in their marketing efforts."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 13, 2013 02:23 PM
Plenty of businesses were unhappy when President Obama suggested raising the minimum wage, but Costco CEO Craig Jelinek recently let the world know that he’s all for raising it to $10.10 an hour—and the news isn’t hurting business, either.
Last quarter, Costco's revenue ballooned to $537 million, which is up from $394 million in the same period one year ago, The Huffington Post reports.
“At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business,” Jelinik said last week. “Instead of minimizing wages, we know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2013 09:58 AM
In their on-again, off-again love affair with spending, the American consumer may just have hit the "off" switch again. Both Walmart and America's National Restaurant Association are warning about remarkable dropoffs in the trend for consumer spending over the last few weeks, with few prospects for improvement anytime soon.
And on Thursday morning, Walmart reaffirmed its alarm in a financial report that predicts flat same-store sales in the U.S. for the first quarter.
The latest revelation was that U.S. restaurant same-store sales rose much less in January than in December due to a pullback by consumers, according to a restaurant operator survey authorized by the NRA. The trend was worse for full-service restaurants than for quick-serve businesses, but the overall 1.1 percent rise for the month (versus a year earlier) compared with a 2.4 percent increase for December prompted alarm bells to go off.
"Operators are unsure of what the cause of the slowdown was," said Larry Miller, restaurant securities analyst at RBC Capital Markets and creator of the NRA's monthly survey, according to NRN.com. "They cited a laundry list of reasons, including weather, holiday shifts, gas prices and tax-refund delays."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2012 01:32 PM
Japan experienced a "lost decade" of economic stagnation in the Nineties, and that was bad enough. But now the CEO of Unilever warns that Europe's slump may end up lasting at least that long. And that means Unilever and the rest of the CPG industry will continue having to adapt to it.
"We are in for at least 10 years of slow economic growth in Europe, and I don't see that changing" after the continent already has been slumping for a few years, Paul Polman told Bloomberg. "The key thing is to see reality in the eye."
And while Polman looks for continued difficulties in the Dutch company's close European market, which accounts for about 25 percent of its $65 billion in annual sales, he also doesn't like what he sees — and foresees — in the economy of the U.S., for which Unilever now depends for about 16 percent of sales.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 09:55 AM
President Obama lobbied a group of big business leaders in Washington this week with his views about the looming fiscal cliff. But at least one of the most important heads of a major American business, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, was taking no guff either from Obama or from the leaders of the Senate and House with whom the president is deadlocked — and apparently willing to push to the edge, if not over it, in a political stand-off.
"It's a concern to all of us, because this is a very, very fragile recovery," Mulally said on MSNBC this week. "It's just so important that we come together on a plan to deal with both the revenue side, but also the expense side, because really what we're talking about is keeping the economic development going. That's the most important thing about this issue."
And while so far the U.S. auto industry has more than carried its weight in the nation's sluggish economic recovery, Mulally said that he couldn't guarantee that it would be able to post continued sales increases if Obama and Congress don't deal quickly and decisively with the fiscal cliff.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2012 02:01 PM
Starbucks is certainly feeling bullish these days. Just a few years after scaling back its US retail footprint in a rocky economy, the coffee giant is now eyeing "accelerated global growth" with plans to open thousands of new locations. It's even offering a luxe "superpremium" gift card that'll cost $450 to put in a Christmas stocking.
In a presentation at the company's biennial investor conference today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz glowed with the news that he plans to boost the number of Starbucks cafes in the Americas by more than 20 percent — opening more than 3,000 new shops over the next five years, including 1,500 in the United States, still its biggest market.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 5, 2012 11:14 AM
It turns out that Fresh & Easy was neither, in the end.
Tesco, the third largest retailer in the world, has announced that is ready to pull up stakes and close its 200 Fresh & Easy supermarkets in California and Nevada after a largely unsuccessful five-year run.
As Tesco CEO Phil Clarke put it about why the US grocery store brand is "under strategic review," "It just became clear to us that the journey to sustainable returns was going to take too long. ... It's likely but not certain that our presence in America will come to an end."
Tim Mason, deputy chief executive in charge of the U.S. business, has left the company, effective immediately, after 30 years of service. But as we reported back in July, the writing has been on the wall for Tesco's US expansion.Continue reading...