Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2012 01:54 PM
Waterstones, in a surprise move, has partnered with Amazon to sell the e-tailer's Kindle e-book reader, as detailed in a press release and seen in a video, below, from managing director James Daunt.
What a difference a few months make in the fiercely competitive digital versus physical retail wars. In December, Daunt called Amazon “a ruthless, money-making devil," adding, "They never struck me as being a sort of business in the consumer's interest.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 16, 2012 03:06 PM
As the fast-casual sector continues to rise and wallet-watching consumers keep seeking out culinary alternatives that don’t break the bank, the fast-food nation is trying to find ways to keep drawing in customers.
McDonald’s, in the midst of a $3 billion global image upgrade, is trying to impress Chinese consumers with specialized promotions. And now it's completely turning the fast-food experience on its head in the UK, where it's in the spotlight as the official restaurant sponsor of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Its British franchisees have been offering limited "Great Tastes of America" menu items evoking regional favorites, from Texas BBQ and Chicago to this week's Arizona Nacho Grande.
Now the word from the Daily Mail's ThisIsMoney website is that Mickey D’s is testing out waiter service at a handful of its 1,200 UK outlets. “If you have lots of bags, kids or are a large group, table service can be easier and less stressful,” commented McDonald's top UK exec Jill McDonald.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2012 06:33 PM
While they suffer from even more ignominy under a new glare induced by the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation, the roundly condemned purveyors of "junk" salt, sugar and calories aren't exactly lying low and saying their mea culpas. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and 7-Eleven are each fighting back in their own way.
Coca-Cola has launched a test of its own new "mid-calorie" sodas to join PepsiCo in trying once again the concept of a "hybrid" diet/non-diet drink even though other attempts by both companies to mine a moderately-minded market have failed. Coke plans to test Sprite Select and Fanta Select products this summer — with only half the calories, 70 of regular drinks per 12-ounce can — in test markets in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville and Memphis.
Interestingly, Coke's new toe in the mid-calorie water will depend on a blend of sugar: Cargill's Truvia brand of natural sweetener stevia plus erythritol, a "sugar alcohol" (unlike the ingredients in PepsiCo's new, nationally available mid-cal, Pepsi Next, which includes sucralose and high-fructose corn syrup). That gives Coke a leg up on an "more natural" claim it might want to make for select beverages against Next.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2012 04:33 PM
Barclays got out of the branch-banking business in the United States in the early 1990s, but now the British bank is making a digital run at the U.S. by wooing Americans to its new online banking service.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Barclays, which will have its name on the side of the new Brooklyn Nets arena when it opens later this year to basketball (and Barbra Streisand) fans, is looking to “diversify funding for its growing credit-card operations” in the U.S. The British bank, as Marketwatch notes, today went live in the U.S. with a high-yield savings account and certificates of deposit through its Barclays Bank Delaware subsidiary.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2012 04:41 PM
Like Marmite, toast and tea, Weetabix long has been favored by British consumers as a breakfast staple. But now a major Chinese food conglomerate believes that Chinese consumers, who traditionally prefer congee porridge to start their day, will gobble up the iconic cereal as well.
China's state-owned Bright Food has bought a 60-percent stake in the 80-year-old brand, which accounts for about 7 percent of U.K. sales. Western eating habits are slowly catching on in China and across Asia as wealthier citizens seek to diversify from traditional staples such as rice and steamed bread.
"We are excited by the many growth opportunities for the business, especially in international markets, and Asia in particular," said Zongnan Wang, chairman of Bright Food, according to the U.K.'s Guardian. "With Bright Food's strong resources and our expertise in both the Chinese and broader international markets, we are excellently placed to develop the Weetabix business."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 27, 2012 03:10 PM
Burberry has shown off its ability to use digital technology to spread its brand name around in the past by hosting live 3-D streams of Burberry fashion shoes, allowing in-store customers to shop from tablets, and creating animated GIFs of how different collections look.
But the iconic British trench coat maker has outdone itself with the grand opening of the brand’s largest store in the Asia Pacific. For its latest opening, this week in Taipei, the brand's digital maestros made it (virtually) rain for the launch of Burberry World Live.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 26, 2012 12:11 PM
As he battles to restore his media conglomerate's reputation as the British hacking inquiry continues, News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch found himself in more hot water this week.
On the second day of the UK media ethics inquiry chaired by Lord Justice Brian Leveson about the Australian-born mogul’s intertwined political influence and business interests, Murdoch stepped into it by describing British Prime Minister David Cameron's late son Ivan as "retarded." In fact, Ivan Cameron was afflicted with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and died at age six in 2009.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2012 10:02 AM
London’s Savile Row has long been the home of some of the world’s finest tailors. Everybody from Winston Churchill to Elton John and MI5's dashing James Bond has gotten their clothes made there. The street has been around since the early 1730s but didn’t become a tailoring hub until the early 1800s.
It got a shot of cool and street cred back in the ‘60s when the Beatles opened its Apple Records studios, but it’s still better known as the place for the monied classes to secure their waistcoats, cutaway tails, and other tailoring needs for hundreds of years.
A recent change on the “golden mile of tailoring,” however, has got a few bespoke knickers in a twist. Abercrombie & Fitch just opened a children’s store along the Row and some folks weren't happy, as evidenced by a flash mob protest against A&F that was organized by the wannabe dandies at The Chap magazine on that bastion of British fine tailoring.Continue reading...