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McDonald’s Keeping As Much As 25% in Hong Kong and China Stores

McDonald’s Corp is trying to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion through the sale of its Hong Kong and China stores after the fast food giant based in the U.S. decided it would keep as much as a 25% minority stake, said a person who has knowledge of company plans. The company chose a consortium that is led by Carlyle Group LP a private equity business and CITIC Group Corp a conglomerate based in China to buy its stores and the decision to keep as much as 25% lowered the sale price from as much as $3 billion that was originally expected, said... 
 

Early Data from Cyber Monday Shows Sales Increasing Over 9%

While a steady stream of customers have been keeping retailers busy for a number of days thanks to discounts from holiday promotions, shoppers still took to Internet in large numbers for Cyber Monday. Early data shows that sales online for Monday November 28 were more than 9% higher than for Cyber Monday of last year. As of early Monday, over $540 million already had been spent for purchases online, according to tracking firm Adobe, whose software operates under many websites of retailers. While this special shopping day had reigned supreme for... 
 

Retailers Anticipating Strong Support for Small Business Saturday

The better known of the two may be Black Friday due to its huge deals but Small Business Saturday is a shopping day that puts its emphasis on community. Sponsored by American Express, Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and focuses on supporting the small, local businesses in communities around the country. Small businesses that have been regular participants in the event said they have seen sales as well as foot traffic increase every year. Many small retailers around the country expect between 40% and 50%... 
 

European Union Car Sales in October Ended Flat

The new car market across the European Union was flat during October as demand dropped in the two largest countries of the bloc reported the Automobile Manufacturers Association or ACEA on Thursday. Total sales in the EU slightly exceeded 1.1 million, showed a statement released by the trade group that is based in Brussels, Belgium. That figure represented a slight drop of 0.02% in comparison to sales during October of 2015. In Germany, which is the largest car market in all of the EU, sales were down by over 5.6% finishing the month of October... 
 

Vodafone Takes Charge of $5 Billion Due to India Price War

Vodafone the telecoms group posted a net loss for the first six months of 2016 of €5 billion equal to $5.5 billion Tuesday after it wrote down its Indian business by $5 billion because of a price war starting due to a powerful rival entering the market. CEO Vittorio Colao announced that an improvement in markets across Europe was slightly ahead of company expectations with Germany and Italy leading the way, but competition intensified in India and would affect its cash flow there. The three largest telecoms in India’s mobile market are led by... 
 

McDonald’s Sales in U.S. Increase Amidst Competition

McDonald’s Corp has kept its turnaround on the right track during its most recent quarter despite an increase in competition across the U.S. The burger chain was aided by its all-day breakfast, its McPick value promotions and its Chicken McNuggets containing simpler ingredients, said company officials on Friday. U.S. restaurant sales at established locations increased 1.3% amidst softness across the industry that was partly blamed by executives on lower prices at the supermarket that helped to encouraged a certain number of diners to cook meals... 
 

U.S. Lifts Limits on Imports of Cuban Alcohol and Cigars

For a number of decades, Cuban cigars have been renowned for their intense flavor and difficulty in being obtained. The decade’s long embargo by the U.S. against Cuba has prevented Americans from returning with Cuban cigars, even if purchased while in other countries. Two years ago, limits were eased, but those returning could only bring back $100 worth of cigars. After the embargo became law in 1962, agents with U.S. customs began seizing cigars they were able to find in bags of travelers, calling it contraband. Some agents went as far as tearing... 
 

Coca Cola Acquiring Former SABMiller Africa Bottling Stake

Coca-Cola Co. on Monday announced that it would be exercising a clause of change of control, which gives it the right to acquire the former interest of SABMiller in Coca-Cola’s largest bottling company in Africa. This move takes place after Anheuser-Busch InBev on Monday closed on its SABMiller acquisition creating a behemoth in the beer industry with a huge footprint in Africa. As of the latter part of August, SABMiller held a stake of 54% in the bottling company Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, which handles 40% of the distribution of Coke volumes... 
 

Big Mac Not Known by Many Millennials

The Big Mac does not seem to be as big any longer. It is not about its size, but its popularity. One top franchisee with McDonald’s said in a memo, that was send to other franchisees during the summer, that the Big Mac is less relevant. One out of every five millennials, which is the core customer of the fast food industry, has tried McDonald’s flagship product, said the memo. Sales for hamburgers at U.S. restaurants for McDonald’s have been flat over the last couple of years. Prior to that, it had a growth rate of only 1% to 2% each year,... 
 

New Home Sales Plunge in August by 7.6%

New home sales pulled back during August, one month following a surge in sales to their highest level in over 9 years. In each region, activity dropped across the country with the exception of the West. Sales of new homes were down 7.6% in August to an adjusted annualized rate of just over 609,000, said the Commerce Department in a report released on Monday. Those numbers followed a July surge in sales that saw a 13.8% spurt to over 659,000, which was the fastest new home sales pace since October of 2007. Following the surge in July, analysts expected... 
 

General Mills Has Earnings Hit By Weak Sales of Yogurt

General Mills Inc posted sales that fell 7% during its most recent quarter, ending the three-month period at $3.9 million, due to a plunge in the United States of its Yoplait yogurt business as shoppers shift to brands that are Greek-style. General Mills, based in Minneapolis, has been struggling to keep abreast of the rapidly changing habits of eating of its customers, which have hurt brands like Cheerios cereal and cake mixes such as Betty Crocker. CEO Ken Powell recently prioritized the revamping of the cereal business in the U.S., by eliminating... 
 

Ford Pays $65 Million to Acquire Startup Chariot

Late last week, Ford Motors acquired Chariot a startup shuttle van company in a deal that was all cash. However, the price at the time of the deal was not disclosed, so it was not certain if the deal had been for a distressed startup being sold for a bargain price or if Ford paid a market price for a business that fits into its long term strategic plans. The automaker dished out $65 million for the company plus earn outs so employees who held stock options would be whole. The shuttle van startup raised just one round of funding of $3 million since... 
 

Drop in Prices of Food Pressures Distributors and Grocers

A continual slide in the price of food has put pressure on more U.S. distributors and grocers, weighing down their shares and prompting some to make revisions to their outlooks in earnings for the full year. Sprouts Farmers Market has cut its guidance for the quarter and 2016 due to significant deflation that is ongoing that its announced will likely not let up for a number of months. Shares at Sprouts, which is based in Arizona, fell by 14% to end trading on Wednesday at the price of $19.68, which is the lowest close for the company in over a year. Executives... 
 

Campbell Soup Weighed Down by Carrot Business

Campbell Soup Co posted an adjusted profit that was less than had been predicted due to a recalled product and higher costs as well as lower sales of its carrots. The company expects the same issues to dent sales the remainder of 2016. The largest soup maker in the world also released a full-year forecast for adjusted earnings that came up short of estimates on Wall Street, sending shares tumbling by over 6.5% to a low of over six months Thursday. The problems with the company, during the recently ended quarter centered on the Campbell Fresh business.... 
 

Abercrombie & Fitch Posts Drop in Sales for Quarter

Abercrombie & Fitch reported a drop in sales for its most recent quarter as well as releasing a cautious outlook for the rest of the year, as the retailer of apparel struggled to entice shoppers into its locations in malls. Abercrombie shares, which rose by over 20% the past year, dropped 11% in premarket trading on Tuesday. Sales at its locations open a minimum of 13 months will remain challenging during the second six months of the year, said a statement released by the company. In May, Abercrombie expected results to be better after making... 
 

Just Mayo Maker Under Inquiry

Prominent startup Hampton Creek that is attempting to bring the panache of the tech industry to ranch dressing, mayonnaise and other products is under scrutiny as regulators look into its business practices. A preliminary inquiry was opened by the Securities and Exchange Commission into startup Hampton Creek, says one person who was briefed on this situation, but asked that his name not be used publicly. The inquiry by the SEC came following a report that was recently released that described an organized Hampton Creek effort to buy large numbers... 
 

Target Corp Cuts Annual Forecast for Profit

During the just ended quarter, Target Corp posted sales at same-stores that fell and the retailer is expecting more declines that will hamper its turnaround. On Wednesday, Target Corp announced that its sales at its established locations were down for the first time in over two years while warning there would be additional declines, signs that the turnaround push by CEO Brian Cornell has now stalled. Target lowered its profit target for the year and warned that sales at same-stores would remain flat or drop up to 2% for the current fiscal year. Cornell... 
 

Home Depot Has 9.3% Increase in Profit from Latest Quarter

On Tuesday, Home Depot posted revenue and earnings that were mostly in line with estimates on Wall Street, as the largest retailer for home improvement in the world continued reaping the benefits of a strong U.S. housing market. The retailer reiterated as well its guidance for sales for the full year, while raising its forecast on earnings. Shares of Home Depot were unchanged during early premarket trading Tuesday morning. It is a strong quarter, but does not deliver on the upside that we have seen from the company the past couple of quarters, said... 
 

Michael Kors and Coach Hand Department Stores Another Setback

Department stores are already struggling as they face declining numbers of customers and on Tuesday and Wednesday were hit hard again by two brands that are considered big lures for department store shoppers. On Wednesday, Michael Kors announced it would lower the quantity of merchandise it sends to department stores. Coach, on Tuesday, said it was planning to pull purses and other products of its brand from 250 department stores or about 25% of brick and mortar locations. The two brands announced that the deep discounting that is now common amongst... 
 

Burger King Owner Same Store Sales Come Up Short

Despite getting a boost in sales from unique new products such as Mac ‘N Cheetos and Chicken Rings, Restaurant Brands International saw its sales in same stores come up short of expectations by analysts. The owner of Tim Hortons and Burger King posted earnings that reached 41 cents with revenue reaching $1.04 billion. The company had been expected by analysts to post earnings for the second quarter of approximately 35 cents per share with revenue reaching $1.05 billion. Revenues missed expectations by analysts for the second quarter primarily... 
 

McDonald’s Misses Expectations on Growth of Sales

McDonald’s Corp, the largest restaurant chain in the world posted sales growth for same stores that came up short of analyst expectations, which stoked concerned that the fast food industry in the U.S. was heading toward a recession. Sales at same-stores were up 3.1% globally, said the company based in Oak Brook, Illinois. Analysts however were expecting an increase of 3.6%. Analysts have raised some concern that restaurants could be hitting a downturn, which is a harbinger for a broad slump in the economy in the U.S. for 2017. Rivals in fast... 
 

PepsiCo Beats Wall Street on Profit With Help from Frito Lay

PepsiCo posted profit for the second quarter that topped expectations on Wall Street as the company slashed its costs and sold more snacks from Frito Lay than it expected. The company raised its earnings outlook for the full-year, which helped give a boost to its shares during premarket trading on Thursday. PepsiCo stock was trading 2% higher prior to the opening bell. The company announced that revenue from its North American Frito-Lay unit increased due to stronger volume of sales and pricing. The beverage unit in North America, which includes... 
 

Chipotle Giving Away Food to Win Customers Back

Chipotle Mexican Grill hopes that some free food will help them to win back some valued customers. The chain will launch its Chiptopia promotion for the summer beginning Friday that will reward customers for the number of times they visit. At the lowest level, diners who buy either four burritos or four other entrees will get the fifth free. The promotion was not aimed so much at luring in new customers but inducing the better patrons of the chain to return on a more regular basis. This is about getting customers who used to eat the most frequent... 
 

Rite Aid Posts Sales and Profit That Miss

Drugstore chain Rite Aid said reductions in drug costs would be short of their expectations in the short term. Rite Aid Corp, posted sales and earnings that disappointed for its just ended first quarter amidst pressure from pharmacy reimbursement rates. This week the company said it was not able to offset the pressure due in large part to efficiencies in drug purchasing that did not reach expectations, John Standley the CEO said. Standley added that the drug cost reductions would continue to remain short of expectations of the company during the... 
 

Consumer Prices Rise as Rents Move Up in U.S.

The U.S. cost of living excluding fuel and food rose during May, driven by the rising costs of rent. The core measure as it is called of the consumer price index was up 0.25 during May, the same as it was during April, a report on Thursday from the Labor Department showed. The broader overall measure of consumer prices was higher as well by 0.2%. Policy makers in the Federal Reserve project a strengthening of demand as well as more stable costs of energy and less appreciation of the U.S. dollar will give more businesses the opportunity to regain... 
 

Retail Sales: Higher Increase Than Forecasted as Consumers Spend

In May, retail sales increased more than had been forecasted, showing that consumer spending will give a boost to economic growth during the second three months of 2016. The increase of 0.5% in purchases comes after a jump of 1.3% in April that was the largest gain in almost one year, showed figures released on Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department in Washington. The average forecast by economists projected an increase of 0.3%. Excluding purchases of gasoline and autos, sales were up 0.3%. Steady increase in consumption helps give acceleration... 
 

TAG Heuer CEO: Watchmaker Pushing into China

On Saturday, the CEO of LVMH’s Swiss luxury watchmaker said the company was pushing the brand TAG Heuer in China, as its rivals pull back their investment in the most populous country in the world due to demand becoming weaker. Jean-Claude Biver the Chief Executive Officer of TAG Heuer said the company was pushing hard especially at the current time, much more that before due to all the other brands scaling back their investments in the country. He added that it meant their investment would now become much stronger. TAG has just minimal exposure... 
 

Signet Shares Drop As Report Alleges Diamond Swapping

Signet Jewelers the operator of Jared, Kay and Zales said it strongly objected to the allegations. Signet Jewelers shares dropped on Friday reaching a weeklong drop of 12% amidst reports that have questioned its customers’ credit quality and alleged that some employees at Signet replaced premium diamonds with less expensive substitutes that were manmade. In a prepared statement released Friday, the jeweler said it strongly objects to the recent allegations that have appeared on social media that claimed the company members had systematically mishandled... 
 

New Study Says GMOs are Safe

Consumers across the globe are receiving conflicting information over genetically engineered corps and foods derived from them. A number of claims over their benefits and possible risks associated with the crops and their impact on human health, environmental, agricultural and economic outcomes have brought about a confusing landscape that is complicated by the evolving technology in its field. For those that have lingering questions about crops and foods about GE, there is some good news. A large new study found that there was no substantiated... 
 

Walmart Revenue Increase is Pleasant Surprise, Outlook Upbeat

Shares of Walmart Stores increased sharply as the giant in retail posted profit that top Wall Street expectations and announced a strong move up in revenue. Walmart Stores on Thursday posted a surprise growth in revenue during its first quarter and offered an outlook that was upbeat for its second quarter, which underscored the strong grocery business of the company that could help to shield it somewhat from the troubled retail environment. Walmart shares were up 9.2% in trading before the bell on Thursday and have increased by 3% in 2016 as of... 
 

Banana Republic and Old Navy Weigh Down Gap

Gap has reported another drop in sales for the fifth consecutive quarter because of weak demand for its Old Navy and Banana Republic brands the clothing retailer is having problems wooing back its former shoppers that were lost to the fast fashion retailers. Shares of Gap were down 12% in Monday extended trading as the business also estimated that its profit for the first quarter would be below market estimates. Gap has been struggling the last few quarters due to a number of fashion misses that turned off its shoppers amidst the greater competition... 
 

GNC Might Look for Buyer

GNC Holdings, the health-supplement and vitamins chain that has more than 9,000 stores might be trying to sell itself. GNC announced that it hired Goldman Sachs as well as a law firm to advise it on financial and strategic alternatives, according to a company statement released late Monday. The review is to look at the current plan of the company, along with other strategies like optimizing capital structures, possible partnerships or a possible sale. GNC has an enterprise value of approximately $3.1 billion shows data from S&P’s Capital IQ. This... 
 

Profit at Fiat Chrysler Soars on North American Performance

On Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announced that its net profit for the first quarter was 478 million euros or $539 million as consumers in North America snapped up the higher priced SUVs as well as pickups from the automaker. The latest results suggest that Sergio Marchionne the CEO has his plan of turning the market in the U.S. into a profit machine of big vehicles paying off. Marchionne already has curtailed certain production of cars in favor of producing more SUVs from Jeep. The adjusted operating profit from North America was more than... 
 

Fakes Industry Worth More Than $460 Billion

The majority of consumers might think of Louis Vuitton knockoff bags when thinking of counterfeit goods. However, the problem of fake goods reaches well beyond just those of luxury handbags. The phony products trade is one that is growing and has now reached to over $460 billion or higher than the combined gross domestic product of Ireland and the Czech Republic, says a just released report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. When the group last reported on the industry of counterfeit trade back in 2008, the think tank,... 
 

Unilever Growth is Elusive, Sales Meet Expectations

Unilever posted sales growth for the first quarter in line with expectations as the maker of consumer goods battled lower prices and dwindling demand for certain products around the world. Underlying sales were up 4.7%, said Unilever on Thursday, compared to an estimate by analysts of 4.6%. Growth slowed down from the fourth quarter of 4.9%, as the Axe body spray and Dove soap maker struggled with less volumes and today’s deflationary environment that made it difficult to increase products. CFO Graeme Pitkethly while on a phone conference said... 
 

Investment by Bill Gates Gives Sears a Needed Boost

Sears the struggling retailer that was at one time was one of the biggest in America, has for a number of years enjoyed the strong financial backing of its billionaire CEO and chairman Edward Lampert, whose company ESL Investments is the largest shareholder. Now, a billionaire that is even bigger has invested with the retailer – Bill Gates. The company, based in Illinois, announced on Friday that it received a loan facility of $500 million that was secured, of which the first $250 million would be given equally by affiliates of Lampert’s ESL... 
 

Ivanka Trump Has Scarves Recalled Due to Risk of Burning

Donald Trump has a new connection with China that could be considered quite embarrassing. Close to 20,000 scarves that were manufactured in China for the fashion line of Ivanka Trump, Donald’s daughter, have been recalled due to posing a burn risk said the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the U.S. Consumers should stop using the scarves made of rayon immediately, said the agency. The scarves recalled have two styles. Customers are requested to return the scarves to the place they were purchased for a complete refund, advised the CPSC. Although... 
 

Amazon: Female Workers Receive Pay Equal to Male Workers

Amazon.com under pressure from one of its activist shareholders to disclose policies on gender pay and its equality, said this week that its female employees earn as much as male counterparts, according to one survey it conducted recently. The disclosure came as companies in the U.S. face criticism on the pay equality issue especially in the technology sector that is highly male dominated. The online retail giant based in Seattle disclosed results of its own study after receiving pressure from activist shareholder Arjuna Capital, which is owned... 
 

Tiffany’s Profit Exceeds Expectations on Drop in Costs

Tiffany & Co, the upscale jeweler posted a profit that was better than had been expected for its holiday quarter. The jeweler was boosted by increased prices and a benefit from lower costs of gold, silver and diamonds. Stock in the jeweler, which became well known in 1961 thanks to the classic Hollywood film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was up by 4% in Friday afternoon trading. A weakness across the global economy along with a strong U.S. dollar has hurt Tiffany as well as other luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstrom as tourists... 
 

Volkswagen Top Executive in U.S. Resigns Amidst Probe

The top executive in the U.S. for Volkswagen AG will step down close to six months after the automaker based in Germany admitted to having software installed in its engines that allowed over 580,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. emit an excess amount of emissions. The company announced late Wednesday that Michael Horn, who has been the CEO and president of Volkswagen in the U.S. since 2014, would leave by a mutual accord to pursue opportunities elsewhere effective immediately. Horn, who is 54, was not available for comment. A lawyer that represents... 
 

Exports from China Contract 20% Causing Worries over Slow Growth

Last month exports from China shrank sharply deepening the worries over a slowing growth in the second largest economy in the world. February exports contracted by 20.6% from the same period last year to just over 821.7 billion yuan equal to $126 billion, showed data from the General Administration of Customs. That is a far steeper fall than the contraction of 6.6% for January. The economy in China is now registering the slowest pace of growth over the past 25 years following decades of expansion at breakneck rates. Investors have become worried... 
 

Tour by Tesla of Meet Model X Begins

During the earnings call for Tesla Motors the electric carmaker earlier this month, the company announced it was doing whatever it could to heighten the demand for its launch in September of Model X SUV. With orders coming in for the latest vehicle that are higher by 75% in one year, without the company showing the vehicle in its stores, or marketing it on the Internet, there is no reason to have the actual vehicle until the production phase begins. Its deposit-backed 35,000 orders for the SUV were significant already, considering Tesla just delivered... 
 

U.S. is Now Top Trade Partner with Germany by Passing France

Last year, the United States become the No. 1 destination for exports from Germany, overtaking France who had been No. 1 since 1961. The U.S. economy made an upturn along with the weaker euro helped the U.S. become the biggest trading partner with Germany showed data from Germany. Exports into the U.S. rose 19% to more than 114 billion euros equal to $127 billion during 2015, in comparison to purchases by France increasing by 2.5% for a total of 1.3 billon euros. It was only the first time in over 50 years that France was not the biggest trading... 
 

Google Express Makes Debut of Grocery Deliveries

Google is amidst the launching of yet another service that will deliver fresh groceries in two cities in the U.S., which will only intensify the competition with Amazon.com the retail giant online and other start-ups in the tech industry like Instacart. This new service offered by Google Express will offer delivery on the same day of dairy, frozen foods, vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood. It has launched in select Los Angeles and San Francisco neighborhoods, said the Internet search giant. If the program’s pilot is successful, Google Express... 
 

Dunkin Donuts Posts Drop in Same Store Sales in U.S.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc has reported a sales drop at its established Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. as its price increases and an intensified competition lowered the number of customer visits. The company, which owns the chain of ice cream stores Baskin-Robbins, said during October that franchisees increased prices 3% to help offset an impact of minimum wages being increased for workers. The all-day breakfast launch by McDonald’s during October and a number of offers for a limit time by rivals like Burger King and Wendy’s may have... 
 

Proctor & Gamble Sees Profit and Sales Rise

On Tuesday, Proctor & Gamble reported earnings that were better than had been expected for its quarter ending in December, as an increase in pricing helped return the giant in consumer products to growth in core sales. The maker of Bounty paper towels and Pantene shampoo has been struggling for years to ratchet up sales growth and has been underperforming its nimbler, smaller rivals that have grown sales organically across the U.S. as well as abroad. However, P&G executives predicted sales growth would return for the latest three-month period. David... 
 

Lululemon Raises Guidance Thanks to Strong Sales

Lululemon Athletic helped investors to find a bit of Zen Monday when the maker of yoga wear raised its forecast for sales and profit for its fourth quarter after enjoying a blockbuster period during the holiday season. The company has fought to keep its market shares from numerous competitors such as Athleta by Gap to Kohl’s that are entering the craze of athleisure, which spooked some investors in December when it reported a quarterly profit that was lower than had been expected as its bloated inventories and expenses from international expansion... 
 

Death Toll of Dairy Cows to Pass 30,000 in New Mexico and Texas

New Mexico and Texas diary producers have estimated that the death toll amongst cows during the winter storm that just passed named Goliath will surpass 30,000. The winds are thought to be the cause of death of many of the animals. It created large drifts of snow that in some areas was 14 feet high and pushed the animals into the corners of fences where they then suffocated. As the storm Goliath was ending over the area of the southern Plains, there were strong winds associated with the storm. The snow and the winds became sufficiently strong to... 
 

Port of Los Angeles Introduces New Era of Megaships

On Saturday, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin arrived at the Port of Los Angeles. The massive blue ship is 1,300 feet in length, 177 feet in width and 197 feet in height. The ship is able to carry up to an equivalent of 18,000 of the twenty-foot containers or TEUs that are the standard volume containers. This is the largest ever container ship that has docked at a port in North America. Its length is longer than the height of the Empire State Building, wider than a standard football field and its height is equal to a 20-story building. The size, combined... 
 

Starbucks Predicting Gift Cards to Be Huge Hit for Holidays

Starbucks is expecting a great deal of business from shoppers who wait until the last minute on Christmas Eve. The coffeehouse chain is predicting sales in record numbers of its gift cards on December 24, likely topping the North American sales of 2.5 million made on Christmas Eve last year, said the company in a press release. Starbucks said that since it started the program back in 2000, customers across the United States and Canada have loaded more than $25 billion onto gift cards, of which $5 billion was just in this past fiscal year, and $1.6... 
 
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