Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out Nestle’s waiting game.
It could take years, but analysts in Europe think that Nestle is waiting for the pressure of competing with two confectionery giants on its home turf to eventually melt Hershey’s resolve, letting Nestle buy the Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker.
While Pennsylvania law says the state’s attorney general would have to approve any deal that dilutes the Hershey Trust’s control over the candy maker, analysts think that eventually the trust will have to look at a Nestle bid.
Kraft’s $18.7 billion deal to buy Cadbury will likely put more pressure on Hershey in the United States, where Hershey sells most of its candy. The deal will likely edge Kraft ahead of U.S.-based Mars Inc for world supremacy in the confections market.
Hershey scrambled to come up with a counterbid for Cadbury, the last best chance Hershey had to significantly expand its business outside of the United States, but failed to put an offer together that could trump Kraft.
Seems like the business men who are dealing with the market fallout may be learning something from the fairer sex when it comes using food to boost their mood.
According to a Brand Keys survey, men are reaching for chocolate bars more frequently these days. Every one of the 750 men in the survey, taken Friday through Sunday, said they were eating more chocolate.
Check out the tiny profit at Circuit City.
The electronics retailer surprised investors by not posting a loss in the fourth quarter. The company had a $4.85 million profit, even though sales fell 7.7 percent.
Faced with a push by investor Mark Wattles to oust chief executive Philip Schoonover (pictured), the company is trying to simplify store operating procedures and sell more add-on services like home theater installations and warranties.
But the company is still facing what it calls the worst macroeconomic environment in years. And now that it has completed a store overhaul, the company needs to show it can improve customer service before Circuit City can show some juice.
Also in the basket:
New Nestle CEO faces billionaire’s dilemma
Retailers’ costs rise faster than prices-Carrefour
Signet year profit down, outlook tough
Candid Camera: Trove of videos vexes Wal-Mart (WSJ, subscription required)