Procter & Gamble faces two new dangers in 2018 amid the stock market turmoil of the past few weeks: rising interest rates and a broader investor sell-off of shares in consumer product makers. P&G's stock has dropped to lows not seen since 2016. Weeks after calling a truce with hedge fund investor and now incoming board member Nelson Peltz, P&G's shares are down more than 12% so far this year.
Target should hold off on plans to cash in on a perceived advantage in toys after the collapse of Toys “R” Us, several of the company’s investors told Reuters, worried that this could eat up capital desperately needed in an Amazon-dominated retail world. When the biggest toy retailer in the U.S. went bankrupt last September, some analysts concluded that Target would be among the biggest beneficiaries.
Coca-Cola is adding two new flavors to its full-sugar core soda line: Georgia Peach and California Raspberry. The Atlanta-based company is also reportedly adding a Green Apple Fanta to its fruit-flavored soda line next year. Coca-Cola said the peach and raspberry flavors are a local twist on the original Coke. They're made with cane sugar and will be available in 12 fl. oz. glass bottles starting this March.
Taco Bell pushed past Burger King in 2017 to become No. 4 restaurant chain in the U.S., with $9.8 billion in sales to BK's $9.3 billion. And with No. 3 Subway's sales sagging, Taco Bell could jump into the top three in 2018, according to research firm Technomic. The rising popularity of Mexican-style cuisine, Taco Bell's low-priced offerings, and the misfortunes of Chipotle Mexican Grill likely helped Taco Bell.
Steve Presley, currently chief finance and strategic transformation officer for Nestle USA, has been named market head and chief executive officer of Nestle USA, effective April 1. He succeeds Paul Grimwood, who will remain with the company as non-executive chairman until May 2019. Presley has held various roles, including vice president of finance and vice president and general manager of premium ready-to-drink beverages.
A record number of independent natural and organic products retailers responded to the Whole Foods Magazine 40th Annual Retailer Survey. They are optimistic: Three quarters (74%) reported that their sales grew or stayed the same last year, and almost all (96%) expect sales to grow or remain stable this year. In addition, 16% said they expanded last year, and 21% plan to expand this year.
Beyond delivery drones and space travel, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also fascinated with time. Namely, a giant solar-powered clock in Texas. Bezos announced in a tweet that construction had begun on a 500-foot tall "10,000 Year Clock," showing a time-lapse, high-speed video of workers putting it together. Bezos described the clock as "designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking.”
Luxury stores had been feeling tremors for several years as shoppers began to search for their Saint Laurent and Balenciaga goods online, but 2017 was a wake-up call. There’s good reason to pursue young shoppers. They are driving the luxury market, which bounced back last year after shrinking in 2016. A study by Bain & Co. said 85% of the growth in the luxury market last year came from consumers age 35 and younger.
In releasing the first event superhero pic featuring a nearly all-black cast, Disney’s marketing team leaned in. In addition to heavy ad buys for sports that deliver big African-American audiences, Disney initiatives included a music tie-in led by rapper Kendrick Lamar — whose Black Panther: The Album from Interscope Records debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart — as well as a stop at New York Fashion Week.
Gap is searching for a replacement for Gap brand President and CEO Jeff Kirwan, who is resigning. The brand has struggled to recapture the magic of its 1990s glory days. Wardrobe basics have evolved, with customers swapping out denim for yoga pants. In recent years, the brand has lost market share to rivals such as H&M and Zara. Old Navy, the company’s budget brand and biggest division by sales, has been a bright spot.