Self-driving technology could aid automaker when it comes to repossession in case of loan defaults. "Although auto loan delinquency rates have been down since the height of the pandemic, Ford applied for a patent to make the repossession process go smoother," per The Drive. The patent, "Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle," describes how the system could "move the vehicle from a first spot to a second spot that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle... move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency," or, if the lending …
Tesla is recalling as many as 362,758 Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y vehicles from the 2016 through 2023 model years. "The recall, announced by NHTSA, has grown out of ongoing discussions between NHTSA and Tesla about the Autopilot and FSD Beta driver support features," per Consumer Reports. "The recall comes on the heels of an advertisement run by The Dawn Project in certain television markets during the Super Bowl in early February." The group is “campaigning to make our communities safer by banning Tesla Full Self-Driving from our roads," according to information on its website.
Chain Store Age
Walmart, Amazon and Costco Wholesale took the top three spots respectively in Deloitte Global’s annual “Global Powers of Retailing 2023 Report,” which identifies the 250 largest global retailers (based on publicly available data for fiscal years ended between July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022). "North America had 79 companies in the Top 250, providing a 47.9% share of global retail revenue," per Chain Store Age.
Food and Wine
Red Lobster is launching its first-ever frozen entree line, which will include coconut-crusted shrimp bites paired with a sweet chili sauce, wild-caught cod breaded with Cheddar Bay Biscuit seasoning, Parmesan-crusted garlic and herb-stuffed shrimp and Cheddar Bay Biscuit Shrimp. This isn't the first time Red Lobster has made its way to grocery store shelves. "The brand already has a successful lineup of mixes, including its Ready-to-Bake Cheddar Bay Biscuits, its gluten-free Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix, and its Honey Butter Biscuit Mix," per Food and Wine.
Consumers are holding onto gift cards worth billions of dollars. "Almost two-thirds of American consumers have at least one unspent gift card tucked away in a drawer, pocket, wallet or purse," per CNN Business. "And at least half of those consumers lose a gift card before they use it, according to a new report from Credit Summit, an online provider of financial advisory services."
Meta is taking a page from Twitter and offering a subscription service, which will give Facebook and Instagram users benefits for a fee. "The perks include algorithmic boosts to posts, human customer service, and added protection from impersonation," per The Atlantic. "Meta’s paid verification follows Elon Musk’s controversial decision last year to include its famous blue check marks in its Twitter Blue subscription package. Not long after Twitter’s decision, Tumblr launched its own paid verification plan, which was initially meant as a joke mocking Musk’s ham-fisted business strategy but ended up increasing the company’s revenue. Netflix is also looking to squeeze extra money out of its …
Brooks, the running brand, broke sales records and ended the year with global revenue of $1.2 billion, up 6% from 2021, with direct-to-consumer sales up 16%. "The strong results come as the running category continues its three-year streak as the footwear industry’s biggest success story," per Sourcing Journal. "Brooks has consistently grabbed market share from industry leaders like Nike and Adidas in the crucial category of women’s performance. And in recent months, even outdoor specialty retailers have leaned into this category to capitalize on growing sales."
Reckitt is voluntarily recalling some 145,000 cans of Enfamil ProSobee Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula due to a possibility of cross-contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that can cause rare but life-threatening infections in newborns. "The company says no illnesses have been reported and all of the batches have tested negative for the bacteria, calling it 'an isolated situation,'" per NPR. "Still, it is urging anyone who purchased the affected product to either dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a total refund."
Chain Store Age
BP is paying $1.3 billion to acquire TravelCenters of America. TA has 281 highway locations in 44 states, principally operating under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. "The locations, which average around 25 acres, offer a full range of facilities for vehicles and fleet trucks, including more than 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and travel stores as well as diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair services," per Chain Store Age. "Around 70% of the company’s total gross margin is generated by its convenience services business."
Its latest U.S. price drops are bringing Tesla’s electric-vehicle prices to a record low. After several price cuts over the past month, Tesla’s Model 3 sedan now sells for $4,930 less than the average new vehicle sold in the U.S., which is the cheapest price Tesla has ever had relative to the typical U.S. vehicle, according to a new Bloomberg analysis. It’s a similar story for Tesla’s more expensive Model Y sport utility vehicle, which started off the year with a $13,000 price drop.