Retailers, consumers and prices
To paraphrase William Shakespeare, would a nurdle by any other name still be a nurdle?
For those who don’t know, a nurdle — a wave-like gob of toothpaste applied on a toothbrush — is at the center of a trademark lawsuit filed by consumer product company Colgate-Palmolive against rival GlaxoSmithKline.
Colgate sued Glaxo, which owns the Aquafresh brand, seeking a court order that its packaging for Colgate toothpaste does not infringe trademarks held by Glaxo, which had filed a trademark application for the nurdle design.
Glaxo loves the word so much that it even created Nurdle World, the home of Milky, Lilly and Billy (pictured above). To wit: “Nurdle World helps children (and parents) understand more about healthy gums, strong teeth and fresh breath, while having fun,” the company said on the web site.
Check out the smorgasbord of quarterly earnings in the consumer sector.
Among the many companies to report earnings on Thursday were P&G, Burger King, OfficeMax, Colgate, Fortune Brands, Bunge, Kellogg, Safeway and Mead Johnson. As usual, there was something for investors of all stripes.
P&G, for example, posted a better-than-expected profit, helped by its biggest volume gain in more than four years. That would please the optimists.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has rained on the U.S. consumer goods parade.
His government’s decision this month to devalue the Venezuela bolivar promises to hurt the profits of many leading U.S. consumer products makers this year even as they seem to be turning a corner.
On Friday, Newell Rubbermaid said the devaluation – which basically creates a two-tiered system that sells U.S. dollars for 4.3 bolivars in one market, and a separate parallel market where the greenback is going for about 6 bolivars- would shave 4-5 cents per share off of its 2010 earnings, sending its shares down.
Check out signs that consumers are getting more comfortable with spending and, at times, even splurging.
Estee Lauder reported a far better-than-expected 62 percent jump in quarterly profit and boosted its full-year forecast as consumers began to splurge on cosmetics after a year-long slide in sales. Results were helped by strong growth in Asia, new products, and a better-than-expected performance in airport stores and in the United States.
Check out consumer-related companies Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, OfficeMax, Domino’s Pizza and Sally Beauty Holdings all posting better-than-expected quarterly profits despite weak consumer demand.
P&G and Colgate surprised Wall Street on Thursday, as their efforts to hike prices and cut costs helped offset weaker demand in the recession. Both companies, which are rolling out new products to entice thrifty consumers back to stores, forecast sales growth for the year, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures.
The reports largely showed that the companies are finding successful ways to navigate the consumer spending slowdown and the commodity price surge that has raised their cost of doing business.