• Starbucks Launching Line Of Smoothie-Like Drinks
    Starbucks is adding a line of smoothie-like drinks made with fresh fruit and whey powder throughout its U.S. locations this summer. The flavors developed include chocolate banana and orange mango. The company says they're the first stage of a broader push into healthier drink and food offerings, as well as being a differentiator that cannot be purchased at other fast-food establishments. The company also will begin selling a more-indulgent sweet, icy beverage developed with an unnamed Italian company. That drink will be sold only in select markets, including Southern California. Part of the strategy is to price the drink affordably ...
  • Kraft's New Product Lineup Emphasizes Innovation
    Kraft's 2008 new products line marks the latest round in its mission to move from a manufacturing-focused entity toward one that creates products based on consumer needs. Until recently, Kraft's growth strategy largely revolved around extensions like Jell-O cheesecake snacks. But in presenting some of the 80 new Kraft food products, Bob Becker, SVP/new products for Kraft Foods North America, doesn't mention the word "extension" once. Among the results is Oscar Mayer Beef Franks with no artificial flavors, colors or fillers and now made with more premium meat cuts. Kraft also is migrating the seal-tight packaging with snap-top lids ...
  • FTC Steps Up Oversight Of Sub-Prime Mortgage Marketing
    The Federal Trade Commission will step up its oversight of marketing of sub-prime mortgages and related transactions, according to Lydia B. Parnes, the agency's director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. She says staff is being shifted to help the agency devote more attention to the financial area. "For the past several months we have been questioning ourselves on whether we could have done more," Parnes testified before a panel of the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The FTC doesn't regulate federally chartered banks that make mortgage loans, but it does regulate advertising and marketing by mortgage brokers and ...
  • Wal-Mart Attracting More Affluent Consumers
    Wal-Mart's emphasis on low prices is keeping lower-income customers loyal and attracting more affluent shoppers who usually spend elsewhere, according to Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of the retailer's U.S. division. He hopes to keep those customers once the economy turns around by capturing their imagination with the "store experience." Wal-Mart has worked to shorten checkout times, which Castro-Wright says have improved by a third, and make stores more attractive and cleaner. Wal-Mart is changing displays to make them brighter and draw even more emphasis to low prices that are shown on ever-larger placards. Castro-Wright says the company surveys between ...
  • Lord & Taylor Looking To Travel Overseas; Expand At Home
    Citing possible opportunities in Asia and other markets in North America, Lord & Taylor chairman Richard Baker says the retailer is joining the ranks of U.S. stores looking to expand internationally. The chain also plans to beef up existing stores with better merchandising and renovations. It will, for example, convert 100,000 or more square feet in its Fifth Avenue flagship into a home furnishings department. Baker, also president/CEO of NRDC Equity Partners, which owns Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, says he recently returned from trips to Canada and Mexico. There are "several groups" interested in bringing Lord & Taylor ...
  • P&G Asks Viewers To Vote on Controversial TV Programming
  • Post-It Notes Contest Seeks Unique Uses
  • Cadbury, Hershey Take Center Stage In Merger Rumors
    Both Cadbury Schweppes and Hershey would stand to benefit from a marriage after years of failed flirtations -- particularly in the face of intensified competition from a Mars-Wrigley combination. Hershey has little presence overseas, while London-based Cadbury doesn't directly own chocolate brands in the U.S. Analysts say Mars's bid for Wrigley could spur a round of mergers as companies seek to lower costs by becoming bigger. The global confectionary industry has long lacked a dominant player, and other scenarios are possible. Kraft Foods, which has been trying to expand its international presence could make a play for Cadbury, as could ...
  • Hotels Grouping Guests By Lifestyle; Test Features In-Room Labs
    A test room at the Courtyard by Marriott in Newark, Del., is equipped with everything from waterproof mattresses to the experimental technology of wireless electricity (no plugs) to a specially designed Nintendo Wii game console for travelers. There is also a digital door display that lets guests see who is in the corridor. Marriott isn't the only chain with what the lodging industry calls test rooms or room labs. They help demonstrate what is working and what is not before huge amounts of money are spent on the latest technology. "In the last five years there's been more research ...
  • 'Grand Theft Auto IV' Revs Its Engines
    The ballyhoo for "Grand Theft Auto IV" has been considerably more restrained than last year's over-the-top "Halo 3" debut. Yet when "GTA IV" hits store shelves today, the latest entry in the controversial franchise could be the most lucrative launch in entertainment history -- and one that many people may not even know about. Analysts predict Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games' open-world, action-driving game will easily top last year's record-breaking $300 million, first-week sales of Microsoft and Bungee Studios' "Halo 3" -- and without a similar marketing bonanza. With the launch of "GTA IV" on both the Xbox ...
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