chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 03:15 PM
McDonald's is sort of limping along in the U.S. on the strength of its value menu, and there do not seem to be prospects for a return to sizzling growth anytime soon. So the fast-food chain is relying on the historic strengths of its brand — including locations, familiarity and convenience — to carry it through what is expected to be a ho-hum near-term future.
On Wednesday, the world's biggest QSR reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, but same-store sales growth of just 0.1 percent worldwide. That measure grew slightly in the U.S. thanks to the Dollar Menu and from pushing franchisees to stay open on Christmas. But same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent in Europe —McDonald's biggest market — and fell by 1.7 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Japan's sales decline of more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter was especially severe.
The immediate problem for McDonald's, at least in the U.S., is that first-quarter comparisons are becoming difficult due to last year's mild winter, and the chain doesn't have much new up its sleeve right now.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2013 05:05 PM
Nissan is pulling out the stops for its North American Auto Show return next week — and the stopper. In a bid to woo car-lovers heading to the Detroit trade show next week, the Japanese automaker is appealing to the senses, including testing a brand smell that it may roll out to its dealers. And it won't be that dreaded "new car smell," either; Nissan describes its brand scent as "quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental," according to a press release.
"As is tradition in luxury hotels and retailers, which pipe pleasing music and fragrance into their lobby and common spaces, the Nissan display features its own special scents and sounds, carefully choreographed to create a complete experience for visitors," Nissan added of the multisensory exhibit design, above, which will travel to ten trade shows this year. "A distinctive fragrance will be periodically released into the display area."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2013 05:12 PM
Toyota's report of a 27-percent gain in U.S. sales in 2012 is the latest welcome sign of recovery and revival by a company that has been tortured — by itself, by economic forces and even by Mother Nature — for the last four years. Management led by CEO Akio Toyoda has been clearing the decks for what promises to be Toyota's best year in several.
"With sales nearly doubling the [percentage] increase of a healthy industry" overall in the U.S. last year, Toyota "had a breakout year," said Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., in a press release. "As we move into 2013 and the market sees continued growth, we expect to outperform the industry once again with another nine product launches on the horizon."
What's more, Toyota in 2012 reclaimed its title as the world's largest automaker, selling 9.7 million vehicles globally and leapfrogging GM and Volkswagen to get back on top.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2012 04:59 PM
When you're a lifestyle brand and not just the logo on some commodity product, you've got to meet and ideally exceed customer expectations. In three arenas around the world, Starbucks is confronting both the challenges and the opportunities in having customer bases that expect more out of it than they do other brands.
In its home turf of Seattle, in addition to Washington, D.C., Orange County, CA and a handful of other locations around the United States, Starbucks finally is addressing customer expressions of a desire for the chain to offer a broader menu than mainly coffee, tea and pastries — and that entails Starbucks creating an evening ambience to match its achievements with other day parts.
A potential answer is Starbucks Evenings, a test concept that has been quietly piloted over the past year. After 4pm daily in these locations, the store flips to a menu offering a selection of wines, beers, various small plates (such as truffle mac and cheese), salads (baby arugula with fresh basil and pickled beets, anyone?), sandwiches (such as fire grilled chicken with goat cheese) and even desserts.Continue reading...
Posted by Johnny Trinh on December 12, 2012 11:19 AM
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) celebrates its 8th anniversary in the U.S. today, marking the opening of its New York City flagship store on December 12th, 2004. It's a bittersweet time for many longtime fans, including this writer.
The Planet of the Apes-inspired brand paved the way for many streetwear brands, with a limited edition run of products sparking a huge craze outside of Japan at a time where you could only attain items imported by proxy vendors or resellers. As a result, it was ranked #3 on Complex's "50 Greatest Streetwear Brands" ranking last year.
The New York store, located in SoHo, is still a mainstay for streetwear aficionados, tourists and fans of the Bathing Ape lifestyle — and many of them will be flocking to the store today to pick up the limited edition anniversary gear. With the recent 10th Anniversary of BAPE London, I am reminded of my experiences over the last eight years with BAPE New York and the Bathing Ape brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2012 12:57 PM
When UNIQLO CEO Tadashi Yanai set his sights on the US in 2007, the fast-fashion retailer that combined the back-to-basics approach of American Apparel, the competitive pricing of Old Navy, and the foreign edge of a Zara or H&M, was already "a retail juggernaut in Japan, with 760 stores in six countries, 20,000 employees, and earnings of US$ 3.5 billion in 2004," as we noted.
The Fast Retailing Co.-owned brand, whose name is derived from "unique clothes," is now the leading global Japanese retail holding company (and Yanai its richest citizen), posting global sales of 820 billion yen for its 2011 fiscal year, making it the world’s fourth largest apparel retail company and a true innovator thanks to its Heattech heat-generating fabric.
That innovation is now being turned to help individuals affected by Super Storm Sandy as the northeastern US braces for winter cold. The brand announced today that it has just kicked off United in Warmth to bring about just that. The 10-week program will donate and distribute 100,000 Heattech items to men, women and children and 10,000 Ultra Light Down jackets to adults affected by Sandy through a 10-week volunteer program on Saturdays, holding true to its brand commitment of “changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on December 10, 2012 10:01 AM
Started by a woman in a time when women didn't start companies. Governed for nineteen generations, not by a corporate policy, but by a family philosophy. Brewed naturally by master craftsmen the same way today as it has been for almost four hundred years. Passing on old traditions while making new ones, takes time.
That's the pitch that Kikkoman US is hoping will bring viewers and distributors to Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Story — a 24-minute commissioned film on the Japanese brand's almost 400-year history — with the hopes it picked up by a TV network as a non-fiction program. “Audiences want authenticity,” said the short's Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker to Adweek. “Nobody’s going to watch 24 minutes of phony stuff.” Check out another clip below.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 6, 2012 11:01 AM
Next year is shaping up to be mixed, at best, for luxury goods. Continuing economic woes in the Eurozone, a flagging Japanese economy, and slow recovery in the U.S. will likely lead to modest spending on luxury brands in those regions.
At a recent fashion summit in Florence, Italy, luxury designers were downbeat. Michele Norsa, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian shoemaker, said: "Markets are very volatile. We must keep a cool head and define our forecasts day by day. ...The first part of the year will be slower. In the second part there will probably be a recovery. These are the signs we are receiving from all our markets." Michele Tronconi, the head of Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), Italy's fashion body, added, "Orders of goods to be delivered in the coming months have shrunk and I don't expect this trend to change soon."
Indeed, Italy is a microcosm of Europe's slide when it comes to luxury goods. Luca Solca, who heads luxury goods research at the Exane BNP Paribas investment group said Italy's luxury goods sales have taken an "abrupt hit" due to the country's austerity measures. Sales of luxury goods are expected to decline nearly 1 billion euros by year's end in Italy despite solid tourism. Globally, sales of luxury goods should grow about 5 percent in 2012 vs. 13 percent last year according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Co.Continue reading...