Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2013 09:03 AM
Apple faces a limited ban on product sales in wake of court victory by Samsung.
Toyota recalls nearly a quarter-million Prius and Lexus hybrids.
Allegiant Air emerges as most profitable airline in America.
Amazon plans major expansion of grocery delivery, report says, while it is attacked by French culture minister as "destroyer of bookshops" and reaches deal with Viacom to stream kids' shows.
Bloomberg begins fund to invest in startups.
Carl's Jr and Hardee's go after McDonald's disaffected Angus customers.
Chrysler challenge of federal recall effort on Jeeps is unusual.
Delta plans to reduce operations at Memphis hub.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2013 05:12 PM
Uniqlo, the fourth-largest retail brand in the world, has gone the way of Walmart and refused to sign the Bangladesh safety agreement, opting instead to monitor its factories on its own.
"We want to first focus on what we can do right now, on our own," Yukihiro Nitta, head of Fast Retailing's Corporate Social Responsibility group told the Wall Street Journal. He said the company also will hire a Japanese company to assess the soundness of its suppliers' factories in Bangladesh, noting that ultrasound and x-ray technology can be used to check for cracks in concrete and piping.
Most of the 30 companies who have signed, including Uniqlo’s rival H&M, are European. Meanwhile, American companies including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney, Sears and Target have all held out on the point that the agreement includes a legally-binding clause, one that they argue could hurt US companies more than their international counterparts. For Uniqlo, this isn’t the first time the company, owned by Japan’s Fast Retailing, has come under activist pressure. Earlier this year, the brand bowed to a cause to sign a detox pledge spearheaded by Greenpeace, in which the company agreed to stop releasing hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 27, 2013 12:06 PM
The world will soon see whether the departure of Bob McDonald and return of A.G. Lafley as CEO leads to crisper financial and market-share results for Procter & Gamble. A conservative management culture like P&G's doesn't undergo such a wrenching change lightly, so the appetite for immediate results will be enormous.
But in the meantime—and only for the meantime—two personal brands are ascendant in this sea of change at P&G: Lafley, of course, and activist investor Bill Ackman.
Lafley didn't exactly go quietly into "retirement" when he left P&G in the leadership of his hand-picked successor, McDonald, in 2009. Joining the private equity firm that also wooed Jack Welch post-GE, he's been busy as a business guru.
As the architect of P&G's golden era—doubling sales, quadrupling profits, boosted its market value by $100 million, launching hit products such as Swiffer and Febreze, acquired Gillette and built a global reputation for innovation management during his decade-long tenure at the company's helm—Lafley hasn't exactly been laying low since he left.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 24, 2013 02:42 PM
Millions of credit cards are swiped each day in America, meaning Visa and MasterCard are raking in big bucks from retailers daily under the current fee structure. Following a dispute over the swipe fees, Visa and MasterCard were prepping to pay out a $7.2 billion settlement to retailers, but now, the brands and the National Retail Federation have denied the settlement and instead have decided to sue the credit companies.
Macy's, Target, Office Max, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Saks, and about a dozen other big retailers have banded together and sued Visa and MasterCard, Reuters reports. Walmart and 18 other retailers didn’t get in on the suit, but will “consider pursuing separate legal actions over damages.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Procter & Gamble's board is hoping that A.G. Lafley can pull a Steve Jobs and return to the helm of the CPG giant to make vast improvements, quickly.
Lafley is abruptly coming back to the CEO post from which he retired in 2010 after 33 years, this time to replace the soon-to-depart Bob McDonald, according to a P&G press release. Yet there will be enormous pressure on Lafley from the start to demonstrate that such a move—uncharacteristic of the conservative culture at P&G—was justified.
The changing of the guard, which will see McDonald formally exit on June 30 while Lafley returns as Chairman, President and CEO "effective immediately," surprised most P&G investors and employees, especially as the bombshell dropped before the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. But perhaps it became inevitable when McDonald, after improving the company's financial and market performance for a while last fiscal year, stumbled in late April by reporting weak sales growth, following on a tumultuous year for the company and its embattled leader.
During his four years at the top, P&G had lost a step to rivals such as Unilever in terms of market share and profitability. Despite the fact that McDonald had launched the popular Tide Pods product line, a $10-billion cost-cutting program and had managed to improve P&G's position a bit during the second half of 2012, he couldn't do enough, quickly enough.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 23, 2013 01:54 PM
Almost one month to the day after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,127 people, American retailers and their international counterparts remain at odds over the plan to improve labor conditions, with legal liability still at the top of US concerns.
Gap, one of the largest American retailers implicated in industry accidents in Bangladesh has said in recent weeks that it was close to signing the proposed agreement, if only clauses regarding arbitration were removed. “In the United States, there’s maybe a bigger legal risk than there is in Europe,” said Gap CEO Glenn Murphy, according to The New York Times. “If we were to sign onto something that had unlimited legal liability and risk, I think our shareholders should care about that.” Calling the language of the agreement "vague and unclear," Gap, along with Walmart, Target, JCPenney, Sears and other major US retailers have bilked at signing the accord, despite the fact that over 30 global brands had signed on by the proposed May 15 deadline.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 23, 2013 12:38 PM
It didn't work for JCPenney. But will a new strategy on pricing work for PepsiCo?
PepsiCo is adjusting its pricing strategy for its beverage brands in some sections of the United States in an effort to wean consumers off the habit of buying soda only when it's on sale, Reuters reports. Pepsi's "Hybrid Everyday Value" strategy involves narrowing the gap between soda prices on holidays and regular days by cutting discounts on holidays. With Memorial Day approaching, there's no better time for PepsiCo teo see if this new approach migh work.
Under the new plan, the price for a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of Pepsi would settle somewhere between $2.50, which is how low it can get now with holiday discounting, and $5.99, which is about as high as the current "everyday" price gets.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 12:54 PM
Fortunately, the issues brought to light by the recent horrors in Bangladesh are not disappearing from the headlines. Unfortunately, those who are culpable are not acting swiftly enough.
What little consensus has emerged from the rubble of a collapsed eight-story factory, which claimed over 1,120 lives, underscores the fact that public-private collaboration is vital to enact the sweeping reforms required for real change rather than corporate social responsibility campaigns. Major retailers including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney and Sears have yet to sign the proposed fire and safety agreements, while Walmart, like the wolf guarding the hen house, said it will monitor its 300-plus Bangladeshi suppliers itself. However, H&M, along with 30 other international retailers committed to the $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh.Continue reading...