Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 03:10 PM
It was an emblematic early scene of the Great Recession five years ago: the economic devastation wrought in northern Indiana, proud home of America's recreational-vehicle industry, where a major swoon in the business was slapping RV makers and stripping jobs because Americans didn't have the funds for fun anymore.
Fast forward (or at least as much as you can accelerate in a lumbering RV) to a much brighter scene that unfolded in Louisville last week, where the RV industry was showing off its wares for the annual show of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
Brands such as Thor Industries and Winnebago were showing off their newest wheels as the business was celebrating the fact that RV sales are expected to improve by 11 percent this year over 2012, to more than 316,000 this year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This is the fifth consecutive year of recovering sales for the industry after the 2008 low. The trade group expects another 6 percent gain next year.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2013 12:36 PM
After 80 years of printing, Newsweek announced last October that it would be going all-digital—a move that proved detrimental to the venerable brand. So now, nearly a year since it merged with Tina Brown's Daily Beast, Newsweek will be returning to print, albeit in a bit of a different form.
According to the New York Times, the company will begin printing a 64-page weekly print product in January or February. The 'new' Newsweek won't be as dependent on ad dollars, though.
“It’s going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is,” Newsweek Editor in Chief Jim Impoco told the Times. “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.” In other words, suscription fees will make up for the product's lack of ad pages.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 4, 2013 01:42 PM
BlackBerry seems to have more than a few lives. The company that has had one foot in its grave for months now has been revitalized through an infusion of $1 billion from its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings and “an unnamed group of institutional investors,” according to the New York Times.
After issuing a public plea last month, the mobile company announced that it was no longer on the market, cancelling out a plan that would have seen the company go private under Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion. The company also announced that CEO Thorsten Heins would be stepping down and will be replaced by interim CEO John Chen, formerly of Sybase, a mobile software company, who will also serve as the executive chair of the company's board of directors. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will also join the company's board following the investment.
Despite the decision to not go private (for the moment)—which sent shares tumbling 16 percent—there are still entities that could make bids for BlackBerry, including a group that consists of co-founder Douglas Fregain and Qualcomm.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 29, 2013 12:21 PM
HMV, the once-global chain of British music stores, has had a rough couple of years. The company went into the British equivalent of bankruptcy earlier this year, but now with a new owner, Hilco, and 142 stores in the UK offering up everything from music, games, films and TV, the brand is looking to make a comeback. And like the rest of the world, HMV is putting its hope for revival and survival onto the web—the platform that ate its lunch by enabling digital music downloads to bypass retailers.
This week, HMV debuted a revamped website that tries to bring back the “authority” of the experience consumers had in its stores, Britain's Marketing Magazine reports. The site features curated and original content that hopes to inspire consumers to discover “both old and new products.” Trying to woo digital-savvy millennials and music-lovers, the “site will also become personalized, based on users’ interests and past purchases.”
In order to bolster the community aspect of the site, employees from the brick-and-mortar locations will also be posting information based on what’s happening locally. But is it too little, too late?Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 07:16 PM
Ever since JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman said a few weeks ago that he didn't think the chain's Martha Stewart housewares were all that great, it's been obvious that he wanted to end tensions with Macy's over the rivals' litigation involving home goods designed by Stewart's company.
On Monday, JCPenney and Martha Stewart Living announced a revised agreement that eliminates Stewart's products in home-goods categories to which Macy's claims exclusive rights. In other words, JCPenney has completely backed down over Macy's central complaint in the litigation. And now the only big thing to be determined is whether Macy's will receive a damage award when the judge's final ruling in the case comes, probably later this week.
JCPenney and Stewart also are walking back other aspects of their two-year-old agreement, by swapping the 11 million shares in Stewart's company that JCPenney purchased; JCPenney also will give up its two seats on the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The only remnant of the deal is that the retailer still will sell a small batch of Stewart products, including window treatments and party supplies.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 3, 2013 01:37 PM
Paul Mangiamele already has put the Bennigan's brand on the route to a turnaround. Now, he told brandchannel, he plans to do something similar with Steak and Ale.
The last outlet in the venerable Steak and Ale chain closed about six years ago, said Mangiamele, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant-franchising business who has taken to revitalizing old brands. But by early 2014, he said, the familiar marque will be back in business. Then the rest is up to his team's execution—and the public.
"There are exactly zero Steak and Ales anywhere in the world right now," said Mangiamele, who brought Bennigan's out of a five-year bankruptcy earlier this year and has opened dozens of new restaurants and refined the Bennigan's business model in an effort to bring about a comeback. The same ill-fated parent used to own both chains.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2013 06:36 PM
Twinkies have gotten all the PR, but let's face it—they've never had their own TV show. So the return of Wonder Bread (whose old TV ad inspired the title of the Nineties' nostalgic series The Wonder Years) to American store shelves is also a big story as the other major brand from now-defunct Hostess makes a comeback under its new owner, Flowers Foods.
Georgia-based baking giant Flowers announced that it has been putting Wonder back on store shelves since Monday along with other former Hostess-owned brands that it acquired in February, along with 20 baking plants, for $355 million. Twinkies, which was aquired by Apollo Global Management, and other Hostess treats began returning to store shelves over the summer.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 23, 2013 03:44 PM
ESPN often calls itself the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and there is no doubt that it is. Its market dominance is unquestioned.
However, in recent months, a few big brands have appeared on the scene ready to make some inroads into ESPN’s longtime rule. NBC has collected its sports content under one roof and scored a big victory when it began airing English Premier League games this season. Fox Sports 1 launched in August and is happy with its progress. “I don’t know how much better it could be going,” Michael Mulvihill, senior vice president, Programming & Research told TheWrap. “We’re very pleased.”
With that in mind, the Disney-owned ESPN is launching a new ad campaign for its flagship program, SportsCenter, that will remind all sports fans who’s boss. The spots will feature fans and pro athletes such as Bubba Watson, Maria Sharapova, RG III, Patrick Kane, and Clayton Kershaw, Deadspin reports, singing the SportsCenter theme song while they go about their lives. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the first time in about a decade that the sports juggernaut is actually paying to advertise its products on other networks, including DirecTV and Comedy Central.Continue reading...