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retail watch

Now What? Best Buy, Investors in Shock Over Plummeting Holiday Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2014 03:53 PM

This past holiday season was not a good one for big-box retailers and Best Buy is the latest to take a big hit. Its shares fell about 30 percent Thursday to erase around $4 billion of its market value after the company announced that it was going to have “a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating margins,” according to Reuters.

"It just seems that the promotions did not drive incremental sales, that opening on Thanksgiving just added costs," Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser told the wire service.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Best Buy, which had been one of 2013’s hottest stocks after launching a turnaround effort to combat showrooming from online retailers. Best Buy, of course, wasn’t the only big-name retailer that had a lousy holiday season. Sales at Sears stores in the nine weeks that ended January 6 were down 9.2 percent while Kmart’s were down 5.7 percent in the same time period, adding to what is becoming a legacy of decline. “Sales at the company have been falling since 2005, when billionaire hedge fund manager Edward Lampert merged the two US chains in an $11 billion deal,” Reuters notes.Continue reading...

retail watch

JCPenney Backpedals Some More with Plan to Close Stores to Spur Growth

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 01:47 PM

JCPenney looks like it'll have to take a few more steps back before it finally ever strides forward again. The brand said it will close 33 underperforming stores and lay off 2,000 employees as the troubled retailer continues a sweeping turnaround effort.

The company said the closings will save about $65 million a year beginning this year; the poorly performing outlets are expected to be closed by May. It'll take a total pre-tax hit of $43 million from the moves.

But the bigger problem is that the cutbacks may not be all that salutary. CEO Myron Ullman has been tackling all sorts of problems since taking over again from ousted CEO Ron Johnson last summer, basically undoing everything Johnson did—but he barely has gotten JCPenney's sales leakage and brand-equity erosion to level out, much less turn it around.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Microsoft, JCPenney and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

Apple settles FTC complaint over app charges on kids with deal to refund $32.5 million, while China Mobile eyes iPhone sales bonanza, with more than 1 million pre-orders ahead of Friday's launch.

Microsoft may pay $2.6 billion to Samsung and others to make Windows phones as rumors cite Ericsson CEO to replace Steve Ballmer.

JCPenney plans to close 33 stores and slash 2,000 jobs.

AOL unloads most of Patch to private equity firm.

AT&T ends long-running American Idol sponsorship.

Axe features Kim Jong-Un lookalike in Super Bowl spot.

Best Buy reports holiday sales decline.

Charter is talking with Comcast about new bid for Time Warner Cable, report says.

Citi replaces debit cards after Target data breach.

Facebook revamps ads to compete with Google.Continue reading...

brands under fire

McDonald's, Lululemon Among America's Most Hated Companies: 24/7 Wall Street

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 07:45 PM

One would imagine you'd have to be pretty despicable to land on a "Most Hated" list, or just make some serious PR gaffes. The brands on 24/7 Wall Street's 10 Most Hated Companies in America list did a little bit of both, and this year's winner—McDonald's—may surprise some, but not all. 

In a year that has seen the Golden Arches be the face of the low-wage fight, falling fast-food sales and poor customer service, it isn't really shocking to see one of America's—and the world's—most prolific brands at the top of the list. 

Joining McDonald's in this unfortunate collection is unsurprisingly Abercrombie & Fitch, Electronic Arts, Sears Holdings, DISH Network, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, Lululemon, BlackBerry, and JCPenney. 

Three of the metrics used to make up the list include customer service, stock performance, and employee satisfaction. The latter is part of what did BlackBerry in, as the company has had to dump a third of its workforce as it continues to bleed insane amounts of cash.Continue reading...

retail watch

Macy's Tidies Up After Holidays, But No One's Sure What JCPenney is Up To

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 01:47 PM

Some major retailers are still singing the holiday blues off of a somewhat-disappointing holiday shopping season. Macy's plans to lay off 2,500 workers and close a scattering of stores, while JCPenney has hinted to investors and other constituencies that it may not have bounced back during the season as much as had been hoped.

Macy's said its cutbacks are part of a new $100 million cost-shaving plan. But in the big picture, Macy's moves don't seem to reflect bleakness. They involve closing five stores but also opening five new stores, plus three Bloomingdale's stores. And Macy's said its net payrolls would stay about the same, at about 175,000 employees, because it will be hiring more people in areas such as online operations.

Also, Macy's moves come after a decent 3.6 percent jump in comp-store sales for the November-December holiday shopping season compared with a year earlier. Investors on Wednesday and Thursday bid up Macy's shares.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: T-Mobile, Samsung, Macy's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 09:25 AM

In the News

T-Mobile caps turnaround with customer expansion as it covers termination fees for new users.

Samsung wants to be world's biggest appliance maker by 2015.

Macy's closing stores, cutting jobs to cut costs.

Barnes & Noble new chief must tackle Nook woes.

Chuck E. Cheese parent explores sale of chain.

Constellation Brands expects big things from new Corona Light on tap.

Darden focuses more on digital and less on TV.

Delta adds outlets, bigger overhead bins in 225 planes.

Denny's makes first move into Middle East.

Diageo and Sean Combs team up in tequila.

E*Trade system is zapped by power outage.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yahoo, Alibaba, McDonald's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 8, 2014 09:23 AM

In the News

Yahoo overhauls its advertising platforms as Mayer puts on a show at CES

Alibaba integrates its payment service with China's Sina Weibo.

McDonald's looks to use sustainable beef by 2016.

Airbus names new US chief.

Amazon makes it difficult for new hires to stick.

Barnes & Noble promotes Nook head to CEO.

Bentley sees steady luxury sales in 2014.

BlackBerry renews its vows to the smartphone keyboard.

Boeing must slash costs of building Dreamliner.

Comcast halts erosion in video subscribers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Sears, Nike, Spotify and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

Sears files to spin off Lands' End as company's struggles disenchant investors.

Nike features Man-U's Wayne Rooney in ads for new soccer ball as spokesman LeBron James hinders efforts to market his own new shoe.

Spotify introduces free mobile music service.

Dell offers employee buyouts to cut costs.

Electronic Arts refocuses to fix Battlefield bugs.

Ford pulls off lavish global launch of new Mustang and promises a convertible too, while company scion says CEO Alan Mulally isn't leaving next year.

GM may pull production out of Australia soon.

Hershey introduces Jolly Rancher in India.

Honda uses dealer cash incentives to push for better December than last year.

JCPenney discloses SEC peek into its finances.

Jaguar Land Rover plans Brazil output beginning in 2016.

NBC surveys feedback on The Sound of Music live telecast that featured tight integration with Walmart ads.

Nestle continues streamlining with sale of 10-percent stake in Givaudan flavor house.

Nissan crafts promotional car-design experience based on digital goggles.

Quiznos slows into a financial crisis.

Tesla dodges bullet aimed at its plan to sell in Ohio.

Unilever plans to cut SKUs by up to 30 percent and slash marketing headcount by 12 percent.

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