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 9, 2013 02:06 PM
Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has made enough smart choices to become a billionaire, but one decision has surely been haunting him for some time now. When he decided to combine Kmart and Sears back in 2005 for $11 billion, there was no way he’d know that it would mean a continued downward spiral for his new company.
After all, Sears and Kmart were once retail titans. Now they are slowly being crushed by the likes of Walmart, Target, and online retailers of all stripes.
Sears, of course, has been doing all it can to survive. The company has tested localized personal shopping, taken its in-house brands – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard – out of house, sold its Canadian real-estate holdings in October for $383 million, and even set up a whole section on its website using “undead” models to appeal to younger consumers. But nothing has turned it around.
Now Sears Holdings will follow through on an idea it floated back in October: spinning off clothing retailer Land’s End. According to the Chicago Tribune, the spinoff “will not raise cash for Sears but will allow Lampert to more efficiently chart a course for the two businesses, which compete for management time and capital within the Sears group.” Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 01:16 PM
Move over, Angry Birds and Candy Crush. QuizUp, the iPhone-based trivia game, is breaking all the records and is now the fastest-growing mobile game in history.
Just three weeks old, it has amassed 3.5 million registered users, the millionth one signing up just eight days after launch. (It took Draw Something, 2012's darling, nine days to achieve such a feat.) The average QuizUp player plays for 40 minutes a day, enticed by more than 200,000 trivia questions spread out over nearly 300 categories.
The fast, multi-player game, is free to download but in-app purchases that allow users to 'level-up faster’ can cost anywhere from $1.99 to $5.99. Through a sync-up with a user's email or Facebook account, the app finds a global opponent and users are off to the races—answering seven multiple-choice questions in just over a minute.
The game’s simplicity is key—its intuitive interface follows a pub quiz night format similar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," making it simple to learn for all experience levels.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 12:04 PM
By now, it really doesn't matter if Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is any good or not, or even if it appeals only to true Will Ferrell aficionados. Several days ahead of its release, the movie already could qualify for its own new category in any Hollywood awards show: Most Outrageously Successful Advance Promotion for a Film.
Ferrell, in his signature Anchorman burgundy--and Burgundy--garb has been everywhere promotionally, sometimes with fellow cast members including Steve Carrell, in one of the most overwhelmingly memorable integrated-marketing pre-launch campaigns in movie history. Or certainly Ron Burgundy might put it that way.
All the stuff with the Dodge Durango and horses and dancers turned out to be only a tease. Since that campaign began a few weeks ago, Burgundy also has been seen shilling for everything from Riviera Imports' "Great Odin's Raven Special Reserve" to Ben & Jerry's very real new flavor, "Scotchy Scotch Scotch" (which, surely to his dismay, contains no real alcohol). Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 11:11 AM
After a century without an official logo, New York City’s fleet of yellow cabs now have their third logo in six years. The newest one signifies the so-called Taxi of Tomorrow that may soon be a relic of yesteryear.
The logo for the Taxi of Tomorrow plays off the previous two with a large yellow T in a black circle. It came about because when the second one was plastered onto the Nissan NV200 minivan, it looked a little small. “It was a little anemic,” David S. Yassky, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said, according to the New York Times.
The Taxi of Tomorrow isn’t just a new logo. It has reading lights, climate control, electrical outlets, and antibacterial seats. Outgoing Mayor Bloomberg aimed to have all taxi fleets buy these vehicles when replacements needed to take place. But the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Bloomberg has overstepped, and can’t force taxi-fleet owners to make that choice. Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 10:35 AM
There’s a new posse in town with a new website, Global Government Surveillance Reform, spearheaded by eight corporate heavyweights, reacting to the tarnishing of their reputations by revelations of government spying on their customers’ data.
Led by Google and Microsoft, and quickly joined by Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, and LinkedIn, the public campaign is calling on President Obama and Congress to set new limits on government surveillance. Forced into the glaring spotlight by the disclosures of former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, the companies deny complicity and are scrambling to repair the damage to their reputations.
Accompanied by full-page ads in national newspapers including The New York Times, the website states: “While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 09:19 AM
American Airlines and US Airways set to take off as a new company after final Supreme Court action.
Audi saw 7-percent rise in November sales on China, US demand.
Chick-fil-A has been making "stealthful" health changes.
Compuware prompts joint bid by private-equity firms.
Domino's looks to India to supplant UK as second-largest market.
EADS to cut 6,000 jobs, report says.
Fiat sets to invest $12 billion in brand and plant revival, report says.
Google, Microsoft lead group of tech giants urging limits on government surveillance.
GM pares production in problematic South Korea and Australia markets. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 07:14 PM
Nissan is crossing its fingers that its renewed growth in China won't be sabotaged again by geopolitical shenanigans in the East China Sea. But that's not all the Japanese brand is doing: Nissan is pursuing distinct new strategies for the low and high segments of the world's largest auto market, and elsewhere.
Overall, Nissan has forecast that its growth in China will outpace industrywide sales growth there for the first time in three years as consumers return to Japanese brands after Chinese auto buyers abandoned Nissan, Toyota and Honda in droves last year when a diplomatic row erupted between Japan and China over disputed islands and surrounding waters.
"Fortunately to date, we haven't seen the recurrence of the uproar in demonstrations and the violence targeting Japanese companies that happened" then in China, Joseph Peter, Nissan's CFO, told Bloomberg.Continue reading...