Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Burger King goes for a pricey $3.26 billion


BURGERKINGCheck out Burger King agreeing to be bought for $3.26 billion.

Burger King is letting itself be bought out by the relatively unknown New York-based private equity firm, 3G Capital, for $3.26 billion, or $24 per share, net of debt.

That is a Whopper (sorry, we couldn’t resist) of a premium – 46 percent – over Burger King’s stock price earlier this week, before all this buyout chatter started.

The price did indeed strike some analysts as rich, considering how poorly Burger King has done compared to “Golden Archrival” McDonald’s in recent years.

Stifel Nicolaus’ Steve West said on Wednesday $23 would be enough for shareholders and Burger King’s current private equity owners, TPG Capital, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Bain Capital Investors. And Deutsche Bank’s Jason West said a price as low as $19 or $20 could make sense.

Check Out Line: U.S. job security growing?


Check out the growing U.S. job security. USA-ECONOMY/JOBLESSCLAIMS

That’s not the same as growing employment, but if you have a job, you may be more likely to keep it.

Planned job cuts announced employers fell to 34,768 in August, down 17 percent from July and the lowest monthly total in more than a decade, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Capital One to offer awards to top college sports programs


capone1Capital One Financial Corp will recognize the top U.S. men’s and women’s college athletics programs in a move to generate fan interest and draw attention to the credit card issuer and bank.

The company, which became a top-tier NCAA athletics sponsor in March, announced the launch of the Capital One Cup, a new program rewarding NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative performance across multiple men’s and women’s sports.

Major League Soccer turns to training clubs’ ticket sales staff


mls1With new teams on the way and attendance rising, Major League Soccer has turned to a league-funded program to train its clubs’ new sales staffers to help drive ticket demand.

The new 45-day training program, dubbed the MLS National Sales Center, got its start last month with the graduation of 10 trainees to jobs with seven clubs. MLS calls it the first ticket sales school owned by a pro sports league.

Check Out Line: Surprise, surprise, a discount retailer is doing well


dg1Check out the strong quarterly profit at discount retailer Dollar General.

The company, which prices most of its merchandise below $10, posted a stronger-than-expected profit thanks to bargain-seeking consumers who spent more per visit. Company executives talked of building sales momentum during the quarter and sales results in the current three-month period were encouraging.

As a result, Dollar General, which has received a boost from high U.S. unemployment rates, raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Starbucks adds spice to Via


schultzviaStarbucks is expanding its Via instant coffee line this autumn with cinnamon spice, vanilla, mocha and caramel flavors.

The move comes on the heels of the Seattle company’s rollout of Natural Fusions, a line of flavored ground coffees, at U.S. grocery stores this summer.

Check Out Line: Burkle tells Barnes & Noble board to grow a backbone


Check out the latest salvo in the nasty battle over struggling bookseller Barnes & Noble.

Investor Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies thinks it’s high time the company’s directors stood up to Leonard Riggio, the chain’s chairman, founder and largest shareholder.

Check Out Line: Jewelry market a two-headed monster


TIFFANYCheck Out how job jitters among the U.S. hoi polloi contributed to a sales shortfall at Tiffany’s.

Tiffany put out stellar second -quarter results, thanks to Asian and European shoppers snapping up its snazzy jewelry and U.S. shoppers shelling out more bucks per transaction. But all in all, U.S. sales disappointed because shoppers are nervous again and apparently can wait to spend $200 on earrings — a sentiment backed by word from the U.S. government that economic growth in the second quarter was less robust than first reported.

Check Out Line: What Signet Jewelers says about how shoppers feel


diamond ringCheck Out how higher end jewelry is helping Signet Jewelers and how its shoppers are getting better about paying their bills.

Signet Jewelers, the parent of Kay Jewelers, reported stellar earnings results on Thursday, which is sort of counterintuitive. Isn’t jewelry a completely discretionary expense you can skip?

Why Carl’s Jr is happier in L.A.


carlshappyHere’s another reason to love L.A.

The city’s downtown business district is home to the only Carl’s Jr restaurants that serve beer.

“We market to the young, hungry male. He’s also thirsty,” said Julie McLean, a spokeswoman for the chain, which has used controversial celebrities like Paris Hilton to push its generously-portioned, indulgent hamburgers.