Posted by Dale Buss on January 18, 2012 03:08 PM
Jobs, jobs, jobs — they remain a topic utmost on Americans' minds as the slowly dropping unemployment rate largely belies the reality of a U.S. labor market that is only slowly picking up momentum. Brand executives know this, and more of them have taken to wielding job creation as a branding device, like Subway.
But corporate strategy sometimes dictates a different turn even when eliminating jobs is the last thing a brand wants to do. Among the big brands announcing layoffs in recent days: Novartis, which is restructuring its U.S. business and cutting 1,960 positions; Goldman Sachs, which laid off 2,400 employees last year with more to come; Citigroup, which is shedding about 5,000 jobs globally; Kraft, which announced that it will cut 1,600 North American jobs as it prepares to split into two companies. All eyes are on Kodak, too, as the company prepares to restructure.
Kraft — which made headlines with one high-profile hire in the past year: golden-voiced homeless-to-Hollywood phenom Ted Williams, at top — is now shedding ballast in order to survive a difficult future, where its strategy is to split into a global snack company and a North American grocery operation later this year.Continue reading...
news you can booze
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 30, 2011 07:14 PM
When Jay-Z's Rocawear brand yanked its "Occupy Wall Street" shirts over criticism about profiting off a social movement (with no plans to donate anything back to Occupy Wall Street), the lesson was clear: Those capitalizing on OWS must tread lightly or risk major PR blowback.
With this in mind, the future of one trademark application (filed Nov. 19th) is very intriguing. The mark, "Wine for the 99%," was requested by massive wine conglomerate The Wine Group LLC.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 25, 2011 12:28 PM
Retailers are seeing bigger crowds at America's malls and stores in the wake of chains like Macy's and Target opening their doors at midnight. Toys R Us and a few other stores that opened on Thanksgiving Day are still overflowing with shoppers, reports AP.
Depending how today's retail rally goes, sales at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores may rise 2.8 percent — compared with 5.2 percent last year — to $465.6 billion this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation estimates. Online revenue, fueled by Cyber Monday, could advance 15 percent to $37.6 billion, according to ComScore.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday isn't just an American phenom, with Canadian retailers getting into the spirit, and brands like Apple offering worldwide sales today. The down side: reports of violence in at least five states, primarily at Walmart stores, including two shootings and a pepper-spraying incident.
Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2011 02:19 PM
When Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced this week that Chrysler will invest $500 million to upgrade and expand its Jeep assembly operations in Toledo, Ohio, as part of a bigger $1.7 billion investment that will create 1,100 jobs to work on its next-generation Jeep SUV, the disclosure marked just the latest remarkable example of one of the most spectacular corporate turnarounds of the last several years.
And we're not talking about how Fiat helped Chrysler come back from the scrap heap of automotive history by taking the crumpled automaker off the hands of the U.S. government more than two years ago. Instead, this turnaround is addressing how poorly Fiat itself has been faring lately.
The European car market was a cauldron of competition when a reasonably healthy Fiat rescued Chrysler with the aim of shaping a truly competitive global player in the industry. But things have only gotten worse since then, as European debt woes began to suck in even major economies, such as Italy's. Italian car sales are expected to fall this year to the level of 15 years ago, while Fiat posted nearly $300 million in losses from July through September.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2011 12:01 PM
Pretty much everybody is hurting for cash these days. And that has led to the U.S. government’s food-stamp program having a fresh influx of members.
In August, a new record was set of participants when it reached 45.8 million Americans, an increase of 8.1 percent form 2010. Way to go, America! In 2010, the program “distributed a record $64.4 billion,” according to Bloomberg. So there are plenty who’d like a piece of that pie.
The United States Department of Agriculture runs the food-stamp program and folks there were apparently none too pleased when they heard the news that Yum! Brands Inc. was planning to let its KFC and Taco Bell franchises accept food stamps. Now, the USDA “is encouraging states not to give Yum a green light," Bloomberg reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 16, 2011 09:55 AM
Retailers always approach the holiday shopping season with a mixture of cautious optimism and trepidation. While this year will be no different, at least one market survey suggests American retailers may be able to breathe a small sigh of relief.
That's because American consumers will spend, on average, 17 percent more money than last year. Americans will spend an average of $831 on gifts this holiday season, $121 more than last year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report.
But consumers will also be shopping smarter, taking advantage of strategies that will save them money. Pre-holiday shopping is expected to increase by 37 percent over last year. That's one reason Walmart is aggressively promoting its layaway program and pitching a "Christmas Price Guarantee."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 7, 2011 05:28 PM
Like the act of Tebowing before her, Los Angeles gallery owner Kristen Christian managed to create a sensation extremely quickly by using social media.
Christian is the founder of Bank Transfer Day, which took place on Saturday, Nov. 5. The idea, for those of you who’ve been under a rock recently, was for people who are fed up with the actions of big banks (read: Occupy Movement activists and almost everyone else) to take every last penny out of those banks and stick it into a small community bank or credit union where actual face-to-face service might be a reality.
Nearly 80,000 people had signed up via the movement's Facebook page and Twitter feed as of Friday to say they’d be making the switch, according to the Village Voice. The Christian Science Monitor estimated that before the day even hit, almost 850,000 people had already made the switch; ABC News estimated about 1 million customers were making the switch.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2011 02:02 PM
Jeffrey Immelt of GE. Howard Schultz of Starbucks. Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts. Jim McNerney of Boeing. The late Steve Jobs. And now, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner has become the latest American corporate chieftain to join the chorus of peers who are concerned about the nation's economic present and future — and who have their own ideas about what to do about it.
They're risking damage to their brands and in some cases courting enhancement of brand equity through their comments, though not necessarily with the Occupy Wall Street-sparked global protest movement. But Skinner nonetheless waded into an increasingly common form of high-stakes rhetorical gamble for today's CEOs.
"In order to create jobs in America, you're going to have to cut taxes ... particularly in the business community," the McDonald's CEO stated, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph. "We pay some of the highest [corporate] taxes in the world. There needs to be some leveling." He had other things to say, but you get the idea. Not one for tirades, Skinner hasn't been known for such rhetoric.Continue reading...