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Feb 18, 2014

Mondelez details margin progress amid investor pressure

BOCA RATON, Florida (Reuters) – Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sought on Tuesday to convince investors that it can increase profit margins in the coming years despite volatile emerging markets, days after a second activist investor disclosed a stake in the maker of Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies.

Mondelez reported a string of disappointing quarterly results since it was split from Kraft Foods Group (KRFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in October 2012. Investors have called on the company to slash costs as the packaged food industry struggles to offset tepid global demand, volatile emerging market economies and changing consumer tastes.

Feb 13, 2014

Whole Foods says competition cooling sales, shares tumble

By Lisa Baertlein and Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Competition is cooling Whole Foods Market Inc’s (WFM.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) red-hot run, and the largest U.S. organic and natural food retailer stunned investors on Wednesday by cutting its 2014 sales forecast for the second time in three months.

Shares in the chain dropped 7.4 percent to $51.35 in extended trading.

Whole Foods has for years defied the U.S. consumer spending slowdown that has sent Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Kroger Co (KR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and other grocers scrambling to convince shoppers to spend more.

Feb 11, 2014

McDonald’s looking to heat up U.S. sales with breakfast, coffee

LOS ANGELES, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Raymond Tremblay, a loyal
McDonald’s Corp customer from Los Angeles, thinks the
fast-food chain sells tasty food at reasonable prices and he
cannot think of a quick fix that would help end the company’s
disappointing U.S. performance.

“I know it’s there and it’s always good,” Tremblay, 46,
said of McDonald’s. “Maybe we just kind of take it for granted.”

Feb 6, 2014

Coke’s bet on Green Mountain seen putting SodaStream into play

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Coca-Cola Co’s (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $1.3 billion investment in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (GMCR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) puts pressure on at-home soda leader SodaStream International Ltd (SODA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to bolster its position through a partnership or merger with the likes of a PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) or Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc (DPS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Coke’s deal to buy 10 percent of the popular Keurig one-cup coffee brewer and exclusively sell Coke products on its upcoming cold drink machine is fueling speculation that the world’s largest soda company could eventually buy the rest of Green Mountain, spurring other deals in the sector, analysts said.

Feb 5, 2014

Coca-Cola takes $1.25 billion stake in Green Mountain

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc, maker of the popular Keurig single-cup coffee brewer, said on Wednesday that the Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) had bought a 10 percent stake in it for $1.25 billion and would help launch Green Mountain’s planned cold drink machine.

Shares in Green Mountain (GMCR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) soared 40.7 percent to $113.81 in extended trading, while those of its likely new rival, SodaStream International Ltd (SODA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), tumbled 10.6 percent to $32.01.

Feb 4, 2014

KFC parent Yum monitoring bird flu in China

Feb 4 (Reuters) – KFC parent Yum Brands Inc said it
is monitoring the return of bird flu in its top market of China,
and while it has not seen a meaningful impact on national sales,
hard hit areas have experienced some softening in demand.

“Same-store sales results haven’t been quite as strong in
some of the areas where reported cases of flu have been more
pronounced,” Yum Chief Financial Officer Patrick Grismer said on
Tuesday on a conference call with analysts.

Feb 3, 2014

KFC parent Yum says no bird flu hit to China sales

Feb 3 (Reuters) – KFC parent Yum Brands Inc on
Monday reaffirmed its 2014 profit and said a resurgent bird flu
in China had not hurt national sales in its top market.

Shares of Yum jumped 4.7 percent to $69.26 in after-hours
trading.

Yum forecast earnings per share growth of at least 20
percent for 2014. Many analysts had worried that the recent
return of bird flu, which helped hammer demand for chicken in
China last year, would hit Yum’s business hard.

Jan 30, 2014

Traffic jump boosts Chipotle restaurant sales, stock soars

Jan 30 (Reuters) – Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc on
Thursday said an increase in customer visits contributed to
bigger-than-expected growth in quarterly sales at established
restaurants, and its shares rose nearly 10 percent in extended
trading.

The fast-growing burrito chain said sales at restaurants
open at least 13 months, a closely watched gauge of industry
performance, rose 9.3 percent during the fourth quarter, better
than the 6.7 percent expected by analysts, according to
Consensus Metrix. Most of the restaurant sales growth came from
increased traffic, Chipotle said.

Jan 30, 2014

Activist Barington calls for split of Darden chairman, CEO roles

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Barington Capital Group called on Darden Restaurants Inc’s (DRI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) directors to split the chairman and chief executive roles as the activist investor lobbies for what it calls value-creating changes at the parent of Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

“We believe that the board should immediately appoint an independent chairman” to protect shareholder interests, James Mitarotonda, Barington’s chairman, president and CEO, said on a conference call on Thursday.

Jan 29, 2014

Starbucks promotes CFO to new post in e-commerce push

LOS ANGELES, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp
Chief Executive Howard Schultz on Wednesday said he was
promoting Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead to the new
position of chief operating officer, allowing Schultz to focus
on expanding the coffee shop chain’s e-commerce business.

Alstead will take over oversight of the brick-and-mortar
shops, where traffic rose 4 percent during the quarter that
included the holiday season. Starbucks also saw a record $1.4
billion loaded onto gift cards during that quarter.

    • About Lisa

      "Lisa writes about restaurants and grocery stores. She is based in Los Angeles and previously has covered computer software, Internet companies, video games, prescription drugs and municipal bonds."
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