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Period: July 1, 2014 to July 15, 2014
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

Decorate-Your-Own-Cake Shop Extends The Build-A-Bear Concept To Baking

If this novel entrepreneurial idea catches on elsewhere, it could help spur the sales of baked goods. A start-up bakery/coffee/wine shop in Ladue, Mo., offers customers the opportunity to sit down with friends, family or co-workers and decorate cakes, cupcakes and cookies. It’s a knock-off of the Build-A-Bear concept and it seems to be working so far. The Sweetology provides all the necessary supplies and utensils, including aprons and spatulas, plus workspace at marble-topped tables for adults and kids. Trained coaches – Sweetologists – guide customers in techniques, as well as choices of frosting, fondant, sprinkles and sugary accessories. The cost for a six-inch or nine-inch cake is $48 and $68 respectively, which includes a $10 an hour studio fee.

"Sweetology: Edible entertainment takes the cake", Belleville News-Democrat, July 06, 2014

Survey Results Indicate A Shift In America’s Fast-Food Preferences

Wake up call for the big fast-food chains: Americans don’t think your food tastes very good. A survey of more than 32,000 subscribers by Consumer Reports finds, for example, that hamburger aficionados prefer the fare served at In-N-Out-Burger, The Habit Burger Grill and Culver's over the burgers served at McDonald's. In fact, McDonald’s came in at No. 21 on the list of best-tasting burgers, behind Jack in the Box, Wendy's and Burger King. The best-tasting Mexican food is not served at Taco Bell, either, but at Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Grill (Taco Bell came in at No. 8 on the list). A Consumer Reports editor noted that "more and more, food quality – not just low price – is emerging as a deciding-factor for many Americans”.

"McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC laggards in U.S. fast-food survey", Reuters, July 02, 2014

Wal-Mart Looks to Grow by Embracing Smaller Stores

Wall Street Journal, July 08, 2014

Market News  

Crumbs’ Failure Does Not Signal The End Of America’s Love Affair With Cupcakes

The recent much-publicized failure of the Crumbs cupcake bakery chain sent a shockwave through the retail baking industry, but it doesn’t mean consumers no longer love cupcakes. On the contrary, Crumbs failed because it went public and expanded too fast, and because it had a “suspect” business model. It baked the product in one location (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and shipped it frozen to its 48 stores nationwide. A Philadelphia bakery owner said that involves a “defrost process” that “doesn’t work well”. An NPD Group analyst said Crumbs went bust because of market saturation, high overhead, and high prices ($60 for a dozen). Another bakery owner ventured that Crumbs simply didn't offer enough product variety, like fresh desserts.

"Hold the obits on cupcakes, say local purveyors", The Philadelphia Inquirer , July 11, 2014

Walmart Invites Suppliers Of U.S.-Made Products To Meet With Its Buyers

Walmart has invited more than 500 manufacturers to its Arkansas headquarters to pitch U.S.-made products to sell in stores, clubs and online. The company’s first “Made in the USA” open call is part of the company’s plan to spend an additional $250 billion on products “supporting domestic manufacturing and American jobs” over the next 10 years. The company will increase spending on its current line of U.S.-made goods, source “new to Walmart” U.S. products, and support “re-shoring” of products it buys. The program makes economic sense, according to the company. Changes in energy and automation processes overseas make it more cost-effective and efficient to manufacture consumer goods here.

"Walmart’s First-Ever “Made in the USA” Open Call for Suppliers is Underway", News release, Walmart, July 08, 2014

Target Boosts Digital Strategy With External Hires

Target Corporation has hired three external senior-level executives to manage information technology, e-commerce and digital products. The external hires signal a change in company of hiring from within. The additions are seen as part of an effort to speed up its digital transformation to catch up with competitors. Alan Wizemann will head Target.com and mobile product operations, where he will oversee digital product teams. For the past two years, Wizemann has managed Target’s mobile coupon app Cartwheel. The new hires follow other recent external hires in information security, new business integration and operations, and media and guest engagement.

"Target Appoints Three New Officers, Spanning Information Technology, E-commerce and Digital Product Teams", News release, Target, July 07, 2014

Supermarkets downsize for convenience

Financial Times, July 06, 2014

The Circular Economy

JWT Intelligence, June 25, 2014

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