Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 07:02 PM
The machinery may be creaky and the model basically a rehash, but two and a half years after Sweden produced what could have been its last Saab automobile, the brand rolled a new sedan off its assembly lines in Trollhattan, Sweden, today.
Newly owned by Chinese company National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought Saab out of bankruptcy last year, the venerable automotive brand presented its new Aero 9-3 sedan as the first in a series of new cars it will produce, according to the Associated Press.
"It's very similar" to the old 9-3 sedan that Saab stopped making in April 2011, Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for the Hong Kong-based new owners, according to the BBC. "We acquired the assets in August last year. Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working."Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2013 06:39 PM
Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 were both released in the weeks before Black Friday in the hopes of generating some early holiday sales. But whatever happened ahead of the biggest shopping weekend of the year is now forgotten, as Microsoft's Xbox systems have emerged as the clear winner in console sales.
According to Escapist Magazine, Xbox One and Xbox 360 accounted for 61 percent of all gaming consoles sold on Black Friday. So where was Sony? The company’s PS3 and PS4 systems were responsible for 30 percent of the sales, but the consoles were also apparently understocked, according to analyst Jon Brelig. "Microsoft's success can be largely attributed to limited availability of the PS4, in addition to Walmart discounting the Xbox 360 down to $99 for Black Friday," he said.
The Black Friday victory may be sweet for Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean the company gets a free PR pass. Microsoft, which has had a few marketing hiccups lately, had to apologize to the gaming public for a marketing coup that many felt was sexist.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 05:56 PM
Even with its recent travails, McDonald's could count on staying ahead of every conceivable fast-food rival. But is that still the case? Burger King seems to be nicking away at the idea.
Neither No. 2 Burger King nor No. 3 Wendy's can possibly at this point match McDonald's revenues or 69 million visitors a day. But in its own way, the traditional biggest challenger, Burger King, is taking it to the leader unlike ever before, in terms of products, innovations, marketing and branding.
Burger King has been the aggressor in the war for market share in a stagnant fast-food market in the US and across much of the rest of the world. For example, Burger King has just introduced a new Big King sandwich that—made of two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions and served on a sesame-seed bun— sure seems like a knockoff of McDonald's reigning Big Mac. And that came just a few months after Burger King brazenly unveiled a limited-time summer menu that included a BBQ Rib sandwich, a boneless rib pattie just like McDonald's limited-time McRib sandwich.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 04:52 PM
It’s tricky to find consensus on the success of this weekend’s spending, but one thing is a fact—Black Friday marked the first billion-dollar-plus day of this year’s holiday shopping season.
Accorind to comScore, consumers spent $1.2 billion online, with sales up 18.9 percent this year from last as retailers pushed their open hours from Friday to Thanksgiving day.
"Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and senior director of research, told USA Today. "The dust is still settling, but early indications point to a weekend of record-breaking online sales and a healthy appetite for key tech products."
ShopperTrak reports that sales were off 13.2 percent on Black Friday, but with more stores open earlier on Thanksgiving this year, and for longer hours, the combined sales of Thursday and Friday were actually up 2.3 percent over the same two days last year. Still, a more somber take from the National Retail Federation puts the weekend spend at about $1.7 billion less than in 2012. “There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,” Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF, told the New York Times. “So in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2013 03:47 PM
Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez jumped from the steady deck of Zara a year ago onto the struggling (some say sinking) deck of a competitor, Esprit, to try and lead the company back to a more stable place as it does battle against his former employer as well as H&M, Gap, and Uniqlo.
Part of his plan, apparently, was to bring former employees of Inditex, which owns Zara, to the company to help inspire change at Esprit. Accrording to Reuters, the 44-year-old Martinez has a 12- to 18-month plan to get the business back to where it needs to be to compete with fast fashion brands like Zara, with “upgrades to technology and distribution to help … new hires get clothes designed, manufactured and on the racks in three to four months from the current seven to eight month time frame.”
"Competition is very intense," said Aaron Fischer, head of consumer research at brokerage CLSA, according to Reuters. "Esprit has high brand awareness but it needs to convert foot traffic into sales—and that requires good products. Right now, their products are quite poor compared with their peer group."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 02:11 PM
Amazon, the granddaddy of big-box e-tail has taken a giant leap forward in the same-day delivery race with the debut of its Prime Air delivery drones.
Making its debut on 60 Minutes Sunday night, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the “octocopter” drones could be operating in four or five years. “It will work, it will happen, and it’s going to be alot of fun,” he said.
The drones, which have been a special project of the company's R&D lab, will need FAA approval before they can deliver any packages—primarily within a 10-mile radius of distribution centers for packages five pound or less in under 30 minutes.
“Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards,” the company noted. Bezos also noted that the environmentally sensitive motors are "very green."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 12:46 PM
American commercial sponsors of US Olympics teams have long helped the home-country effort in lots of ways beyond buying ads on TV telecasts, ranging from employing olympians while they're training to broad efforts to boost American hopes such as that launched for the 2012 Summer Olympics by Procter & Gamble.
And with US medal hopes suffering a number of blows in the weeks before the games begin in February in Sochi, Russia, it may be all the more important for brands to do their parts to be helpful to American olympians.
One example of that assistance will come from Blue Diamond Almond Growers, which is an official sponsor of the US Ski, Snowboarding and Freeskiing teams heading into olympics season. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 11:22 AM
Elon Musk is going on a rocket ride this evening, and it has nothing to do with the price of Tesla's stock. The serial entrepreneur will be watching as his other high-profile startup, SpaceX, is scheduled to make a critical commercial-satellite launch at 5:41 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral.
It'll mark entry by SpaceX into the commercial-satellite market with its Falcon 9 rocket after a series of test flights and launches for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. It will be the second of three flights the upgraded Falcon 9 must make before it can qualify for US military-launch business. The launch also will mark a crucial update on the progress of a company that plans to put rank-and-file passengers into space sometime in 2014.
And, of course, the launch will mark another testament to the engineering and entrepreneurial skills of the much-lauded Musk. He's been busy lately with Tesla, the electric-vehicle startup that has rocketed to the national and investor forefront over the last several months.Continue reading...