Posted by Shirley Brady on September 27, 2012 11:01 AM
H&M has announced that its new store brand, & Other Stories, will launch in Spring 2013 in "selected European countries," with an online hub at stories.com (which was registered in March), and a waiting Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Along with the news that H&M's U.S. e-commerce launch has been moved to Summer 2013, H&M commented on the pending & Other Stories launch in the company's third quarter earnings update, which was softer than expected —Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 26, 2012 04:07 PM
For decades, pundits have been saying that the rise of the computer would vanquish paper to the trash shredder of history. But they haven't been right.
Maybe, that is, until now. Because the whole issue of the feasibility of paper products may have reached a tipping point with the news that Staples is realigning its retail and e-tail strategy in a massive rethinking of its business.
The company announced that it "will integrate its retail and online offering, increase investment in its online businesses, reorganize its operations, implement leadership changes, initiate a multi-year cost savings plan, and restructure its International Operations."
Specifically, it plans to slash its U.S. store footage by 15 percent and invest the savings in its e-tailing business. In addition to shrinking its U.S. retail footprint, it's closing 45 stores in Europe. It's also rebranding its Australian business "as it continues to move toward one global brand."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 21, 2012 12:12 PM
This development isn't going to make Sergio Marchionne very happy: German premium brands are defying Europe's economic crisis and picking up sales and market share at the expense of mainstream car brands whose struggles are only growing.
Turns out that, while middle-class European consumers are sweating the Eurozone diffculties and being battered by recessionary gales there, luxury consumers are zipping ahead with substantially more confidence, and buying substantially more vehicles.
As a result of this autobahn-like confidence, brands including all three of the German premium makers — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — are catching up in sales volume to their mainstream counterparts as the latter brands suffer.
It's exactly what Fiat CEO Marchionne has been noting as he has been calling for a coordinated approach to trimming production by auto brands in Europe so that general-market brands such as Fiat don't suffer disproportionately. The Germans have rebuffed him.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 06:24 PM
McDonald's recent emphasis on limited-time menu offerings not only is attracting customers to come in for their favorite menu items before they disappear for at least a little while. The promotional strategy is helping McDonald's quickly generate traffic for new "value" menu items in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Analyst Jeffrey Bernstein of Barclays Capital sees emphasizing more low-priced menu items and platforms in both European and U.S. markets where many consumers are struggling financially as a smart way to meet immediate financial concerns while introducing them to non-value menu items. It's a classic sales strategy — get their nose in the tent — that's paying off handsomely for McD's.
"After the introduction of value platforms, customers will often heavily use the value menu based on the perception that the platform is short-term in nature and will soon no longer be an option," he wrote, according to Nation's Restaurant News. "Once customers realize the value emphasis is longer-term in nature, they increasingly use other portions of the menu, helping in the recovery of both the average check and restaurant margin."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 05:02 PM
BMW held an event for auto reporters in Europe this week at a decommissioned military airport outside Munich, which the company has converted into a new driver-training center. Plenty of room there for auto scribes to cavort and pretend they're driving in 24 Hours of Le Mans instead of jotting down the spelling of Fürstenfeldbruck, the name of the former airfield.
A member of BMW's management board, Herbert Diess, was asked about the i-Series electric car that BMW has promised to launch by the end of next year, a full few years after the first completely electrified model hit American roads, at least, in the form of the Nissan Leaf. "It will be a lot of fun to drive, I can promise you that," Diess said, according to the New York Times. But he added, "The internal combustion engine will be with us for a long time."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 13, 2012 05:03 PM
It may not yet be a major earthquake, but there seem to be rumblings that luxury goods are undergoing some sort of seismic shift.
As Fashion Week was at its height in New York, instead of watching hemlines fashionistas were watching stock prices, as luxury apparel maker Burberry saw its shares drop over 20 percent Tuesday on issuing its first profit warning since 2008. It was an especially bitter pill to swallow for a brand that in January was named "International Retailer of the Year" and, in April, took the mantle of greatness from a bankrupt Aquascutum.
Bloomberg Businessweek labeled Burberry's slide as "an end to a three-year rally in the luxury-goods industry as wealthy shoppers cut back on past indulgences." While Burberry's report may have helped pull down shares of luxury giant LVMH and other luxury brands such as Prada and Richemont, it does appear demand for luxury goods has been softening recently.
Harry Winston indicated last week that there was lower interest in its luxury products, and last month, Tiffany projected lower profits for the year. Stacey Cartwright, Burberry's CFO, told Bloomberg Businessweek that she had spoken with other luxury goods marketers. "We know we are not alone in terms of what we've seen in the last couple of weeks," she said.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 11, 2012 05:36 PM
"Has Coca Cola ceased to be a mere brand and evolved into a historically important cultural artifact?" That question was tweeted by Duncan Jones, David Bowie's son who is better known these days as an award-winning filmmaker. Jones included a link to a BBC story on this week's historic return of the Coke brand to Myanmar, making its first delivery in more than 60 years.
"The Coca-Cola Company has been a part of the community fabric in countries around the world for decades," stated Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "In every nation and city where we do business, our employees strive to create economic value and build sustainable communities. We are privileged to once again have the opportunity to play a role in building a better future with the people of Myanmar."
In addition to referencing the Coca-Cola brand's position as the #1 brand in Interbrand's 2011 Best Global Brands report, the BBC notes that there are now "only two countries where Coca-Cola is not officially bought or sold - Cuba and North Korea ... due to trade embargoes with the US."
PepsiCo, meanwhile, last month signed its own distribution agreement to distribute Pepsi and its other beverage brands in the former Burma, with CEO Indra Nooyi commenting, "Over time, we believe we can build a strong business in Myanmar and play a positive role in the country's continued development."
Whatever that future holds, Nooyi announced other news today that impacts her company's continued development and her own succession plans: the resignation of PepsiCo president John Compton.
He's being replaced by Geneva-based PepsiCo Europe CEO Zein Abdalla, who is relocating to company HQ in Purchase, NY, and in turn handing over his office and title to Enderson Guimaraes, the current President of PepsiCo's Global Nutrition Group.
Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2012 02:55 PM
Despite the growing stagnation of the European auto market, worries that it won't improve anytime soon, and huge financial tolls that slumping sales are taking on just about every automaker selling on the continent, General Motors and Ford have surprised some industry followers in recent days by re-committing to the future of their brands in Europe.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally hosted a "more than a tagline" Go Further event in Amsterdam last week to unveil their new lineup to its European dealers. And Michael Lohscheller, new chief financial officer of GM's Opel unit, told Reuters that GM already has figured out where it wants to take the brand over the next 10 years.Continue reading...