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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Refreshing quarterly earnings

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pepsi1Check out the strong earnings results from several companies in the consumer sector.

PepsiCo reported a rise in fourth-quarter earnings in line with expectations, stronger-than-expected sales and maintained its full-year outlook. The maker of Pepsi drinks and Frito-Lay snacks said the volume of snacks sold rose 1 percent, while beverage volume fell by the same amount.

The company, which also owns Tropicana, Quaker and Gatorade, also said it still hopes to complete its $7.8 billion acquisition of its two largest bottlers by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, interactive toy maker LeapFrog posted a fourth-quarter profit that handily beat analysts’ estimates and it forecast strong revenue growth for the year. Apparel manufacturer VF Corp, whose brands include Wrangler, Lee and Vans, rang up a better-than-expected profit on strong demand for outdoor wear, and AutoNation, the largest U.S. auto dealership group, also beat expectations.

LeapFrog CEO’s mea culpa

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CHINA-SAFETY/Since U.S. President Barack Obama has begun owning up to his mistakes, the top dogs at some U.S. companies are giving mea culpas a try.

Take LeapFrog Enterprises’ Chief Executive Jeff Katz, for example.

In an interview with Reuters, Katz admitted that the toymaker had not been fast enough or deep enough with its discounts in the fourth quarter, which included the holiday sales season. The result? LeapFrog posted a 24-percent drop in quarterly sales and a wider loss for the period.

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