General Mills Inc.
Companies that sell and make what we eat are battling for consumer loyalty as inflation sends prices higher. Sales jumped at Cheerios maker General Mills as more people look to save money eating at home, while profit fell roughly 16% at eatery chain
Darden Restaurants Inc.
The parent of Olive Garden has been hesitant to pass on higher costs for food, beverages and labor to its customers. General Mills shares gained 5.7% Wednesday.
Meta Platforms Inc.
Big Tech wants to get a little smaller. The Wall Street Journal reported that social-media giant Meta plans to cut expenses by at least 10% and started quietly nudging out employees. Meta, Facebook’s parent, is reorganizing departments and giving affected employees a limited window to apply for other roles within the company, with the reductions expected to precede deeper cuts. Meanwhile,
unit Google is also scaling back its spending and has required some employees to apply for new jobs if they want to stay at the company. Meta shares lost 2.7% Wednesday.
Ford Motor Co.
Ford’s production is shifting into a lower gear. The auto maker on Monday warned that parts shortages and higher costs from suppliers will weigh on its earnings, as supply-chain disruptions continue to hinder the industry. Ford said it expects to have about 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles in inventory at the end of the quarter that are awaiting parts and can’t be delivered to dealerships. It also has delayed deliveries of certain vehicles because it didn’t have the blue oval badges that go on them and the nameplates that specify the model, the Journal reported Friday. Ford shares dropped 12% Tuesday.
Coty is freshening up its skin-care business. The owner of Lancaster and Kylie Skin brands expects to double its sales of the products in three years, as it homes in on consumers in China. The beauty company has rolled out brands and targeted new markets in the country, where Chief Executive
said it is already winning over consumers to its skin-care lines. Coty said higher sales growth will lead to stronger gross margins, despite rising costs and persistent pressure from inflation. Coty shares gained 3.2% Wednesday.
An activist investor is shopping the idea of new leadership to Kohl’s. Ancora Holdings Inc. aims to force out the beleaguered retailer’s chairman and chief executive, saying in a letter to Kohl’s board that Kohl’s needs new leadership after a slow pandemic recovery, falling profits and a scrapped potential sale to Franchise Group Inc. Like other department stores, Kohl’s struggled to keep up with discount and fast-fashion chains even before the spread of Covid-19 upended the industry. Kohl’s said in August it increased promotions to clear excess inventory, and expects sales to decline by a range of 5% to 6% this year. Kohl’s shares fell 3.5% Thursday.
FedEx is charging more as it carries less. The delivery giant on Thursday said it plans to raise shipping rates by an average of 6.9% across most of its services starting in January amid a global slowdown in business. FedEx and rival
raised shipping rates by an average of 5.9% for 2022—the first time in eight years that either went above 4.9%. Carriers are now stuck with excess capacity after cargo owners shipped holiday goods early and inflation weighed on consumer demand. The company’s quarterly earnings report also showed profit fell 20% from a year earlier. FedEx shares declined 3.4% Friday.
Moderna is trying to boost supplies of its new Covid-19 booster. Some U.S. pharmacies and other providers are offering the new shot only from
SE, after a production issue at a contract manufacturer caused a shortage of Moderna’s latest vaccine offering. Some pharmacies and other vaccine sites have either canceled appointments or stopped scheduling new appointments for people seeking the Moderna booster. Moderna said the supply of its shot could improve within days, after the Food and Drug Administration this week cleared the release of about 10 million doses that had been held up. Moderna shares edged 0.6% lower Friday.
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