• Big Retailers Go Into Survival Mode
    With fears that the coming months could be the toughest for them since the 1991 recession, retailers are fighting to gain any edge they can over their rivals. The stores' strategies vary. So do their prospects for success. Many are redeploying staff and revising promotions; some are putting a new stress on low prices. Stores are trying to ease their pain from the slowdown in consumer spending by taking care not to stock too little of the latest hot fashion or product--or to showcase it too late. Many stores are working more closely with overseas suppliers to settle quickly ...
  • Consumers Battling Hidden Fees And Surcharges
    After years of being squeezed by hidden fees and surcharges that drive up the cost of everything from phone service to concert tickets, customers are fighting back. Just calling to complain satisfies many people. Others use Internet sites such as Complaints.com, Planet Feedback.com, Callforaction.org and ConsumerXchange.com to help settle disputes. If those channels fail, they turn to the courts. Class-action lawsuits, with numerous plaintiffs, are the preferred choice because individual cases over small amounts of money aren't worth the legal costs and aren't profitable enough for lawyers to pursue. A federal law that limited securities class actions by shareholders ...
  • Disney Takes Big Plunge Into Online Video
  • EU-Microsoft Deal Doesn't Stop Record Fine
  • Wal-Mart Cuts Cott's, Favors Cadbury
    Cott Corp.'s stock dived about 38% on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday amid rumors that Wal-Mart would cut space and marketing support for the Sam's Choice brands it supplies. The stock dropped 20% the day before, following a report Friday that claimed Cadbury Schweppes would gain more shelf space at Wal-Mart for its Royal Crown and Diet Rite brands at the expense of Sam's Choice. A Cott's spokeswoman says the investor reaction was understandable, but stresses the amount of shelf space lost is still up in the air. "Cott is still in active negotiation, nothing has been finalized," says ...
  • Generational Tensions Behind Changes At Estée Lauder
    On Monday, Estée Lauder will hand the post of president to Fabrizio Freda, a Procter & Gamble executive who is expected to eventually succeed William Lauder, scion of the third generation, as CEO. In two generations, the Lauder family has turned a skin-cream line into one of the best-known names in beauty, but cracks surfaced on the family's famously united front as business turned south. A seismic shift occurred less than a year into William's tenure as CEO. For decades, Estée Lauder had used the strength of its brand names to control department-store display space and even the timing ...
  • Will Ferrell's Old Spice Spots Reach Out To Young Men
    Will Ferrell, one of the most tireless--some would say shameless--promoters on Hollywood's A-list, stars in a series of jocular TV spots pitching Procter & Gamble's newest addition to the Old Spice product line, Pro Strength antiperspirant. The spots help raise the profile of Farrell's R-rated "Semi-Pro," while reaching the young male consumers P&G covets. The actor ad-libbed much of the material in the eight ads during a daylong shoot, signing off with such politically incorrect tag lines as "Don't smell like a turtle cage" and "The finest street-legal antiperspirant you can get outside of Mexico that's not poisonous." ...
  • Scorned Customers Drop The Hammer On Marketers
    Scorned customers are turning into vigilantes, arming themselves with video cameras, computer keyboards, and mobile devices to launch their own personal forms of insurrection. Frustrated by the usual fix-it options--obediently waiting on hold with Bangalore, gamely chatting online with a scripted robot--more consumers are rebelling against company-prescribed service channels. Behind the guerrilla tactics is a growing disconnect between the experience companies promise and customers' perceptions of what they actually get. Consumers already pushed to the brink by sliding home equity, job insecurity, and rising prices are more apt to snap when hit with long hold times and ...
  • Meat Quality Scandal A PR Nightmare
    At a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R- Texas) assailed the Humane Society for waiting four months to inform the federal government that it had an undercover video of cattle being abused at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company. His criticism echoed a point made last week by Ed Schafer, the secretary of agriculture. As the meat industry scrambles to recover from the public-relations disaster, Humane Society representatives say that the criticism is misplaced. They say the primary concern of their organization is animal welfare, not food safety. As soon as they had the tape they took ...
  • Starbucks Pledges Perfect Coffee After National Refresher
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