Retailers, consumers and prices
At some point — usually in the middle of the night during the umpteenth feeding/diaper change of their child’s young life — most parents think they have come up with the greatest idea EVER that could revolutionize baby and child care.
Huggies wants to give the most inventive moms a bit of a financial boost. Just in time for Mother’s Day, the diaper brand and parent Kimberly-Clark have set up a grant program called MomInspired. The goal is to give away up to $15,000 to each woman with a great idea for a baby product.
The seed capital could help entrepreneurs grow their ideas into businesses.
There are about 10.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States and women are starting businesses at nearly twice the rate of men, Kimberly-Clark Chief Marketing Officer Tony Palmer noted, citing data from the Center for Women’s Business Research. However, it is still men who get the vast majority of the venture capital funding that is already out there.
“There’s this huge unmet need for seed capital for women,” Palmer told Reuters.
Check out the latest quarterly earnings to size up.
Williams-Sonoma reported a better-than-expected profit on lower costs and strong holiday sales, and the home goods chain said it sees sales and earnings rising for the year.
The operator of the Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma chains, which won many shoppers in the holiday season by offering more lower-priced home decor items, also boosted its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent.
Kimberly-Clark, which already launched separate versions of its Depend disposable underwear for incontinence for men and women, is updating the line again in April. This time, it hopes to boost sales with pricier products for consumers who still want to wear real underwear, or at least look like they are doing so.
The new Depend variety packs look more like traditional underwear and are packaged more like the cotton underwear often sold in packages. That way, perhaps shoppers who buy them — with a suggested price of $5.99 to $6.99 for a pack of six — will not feel as embarrassed, Kimberly-Clark asserts.
If it were up to Kimberly-Clark, women would be a lot more open about an issue few people care to discuss out loud. Care to guess what we’re talking about?
The maker of Poise undergarments has gotten Whoopi Goldberg to start a conversation about what it calls “light bladder leakage.” The condition affects one out of every three women, according to Kimberly-Clark, but few are open to discussing it.
If anyone knows about the demand for flu-related products, it’s Kimberly-Clark Chairman and CEO Thomas Falk.
Falk’s company sells everything from Kleenex tissues — which aren’t seeing such hot sales as people have fewer sniffles — to N95 respirator masks, which are a top seller right now.
Check out this morning’s lineup of quarterly results.
Meanwhile, cigarette makers Philip Morris International and Reynolds American topped expectations and raised their full-year forecasts.
McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, posted a higher quarterly profit that beat analysts’ expectations.
It also said April same-store sales were trending at least as strong or better than first-quarter sales in every part of the world.
Consumer Reports is watching your behind.
The magazine, which rates everything from televisions to coffee, has taken on toilet paper and found that shoppers could save up to $130 a year by switching brands.
Consumer Reports rated Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, which costs 29 cents per 100 sheets, best for strength and softness, but said that store brands Kirkland Signature (Costco) and White Cloud (Wal-Mart) offer the most performance for the price of 12 to 15 cents per 100 sheets.
Tony Palmer has been rallying Kimberly-Clark to try out new campaigns since he became its first chief marketing officer in late 2006. He even put together a commercial that he shows to staff, featuring the company’s Cottonelle brand. While we cannot show it here, we did see it at the Promotion Marketing Association’s annual integrated marketing conference this week. Let’s just say a guy swings from a fire hose and then lands uncomfortably on his bottom. The tag line: “If you’re not nice to your ass, you’re an ass.”
No, consumers will not see that commercial. Palmer just uses it to get marketers to take more risks. Huggies is now a little edgier with its advertisements, including a “geyser” of urine splashing around when a father removes his son’s diaper.
McDonald’s posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, boosted by strong overseas sales. Coach also reported a higher-than-expected profit, helped by higher sales at stores in North America and Japan.
But the impact of a weak U.S. consumer and a weak U.S. economy was clearly on display as the earnings report began to roll in this week.