Twinkie hoarding begins
The Twinkie has become a hot property since Hostess Brands, the 85 year baker of iconic treats, was forced to file for bankruptcy on Friday. According to the Wall Street Journal, Hostess was forced to close all of its factories on Friday, causing job losses for 18,500 employees. More than 30 brands, including Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, will all be disappearing. The bankruptcy was primarily caused by a failure of the unions to compromise on benefits, thus closing the entire company down. Hostess products have been flying off the shelves in various locations. A box of Twinkies is listed on eBay with an opening bid of $10,000, but no offers have been made. No problem, Twinkies have no expiration date.
Financial Stability Board seeks to regulate non-banks
A report by the Financial Stability Board released on Sunday indicates that $67 trillion of shadow banking occurred last year. This amount is larger than the total economic output of the 20 countries included in the study. CNBC indicates that the FSB, an agency created by the top 20 economies, seeks to regulate the shadow banking. Shadow banking generally includes hedge funds and private equity companies. It can also include investment funds, money market funds and firms that lend bonds to banks. The US share of the shadow banking has declined in recent years while the European portion has increased.
Sandy rebuilding efforts boost Lowe’s
One of the benefactors of Hurricane Sandy is Lowe’s, the retailer that sells home improvement supplies. CNBC reports that Lowe’s reported a higher quarterly profit with sales rising 1.9 percent to $12.1 billion. Analysts expected $11.9 billion. Lowe’s still expects total sales for the fiscal year to be flat.
Chinese arrest 73 in fake luxury bag bust
Working in conjunction with the US authorities, the Chinese police have arrested 73 people for manufacturing and exporting fake purses copying international luxury brands including Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Coach and LVMH brands. Reuters reports that more than 20,000 counterfeit bags have been confiscated and 37 illegal sites have been closed. The gang had manufactured and sold more than 960,000 bags. In April, the US had put China, along with Russia, on a list of countries with the worst records of preventing the theft of copyrighted material and intellectual property. China insists it is serious about tackling the problem.
“Call of Duty” game sets sales record
The newest Call of Duty game launch has generated $500 million in worldwide retail sales in the first 24 hours of its release. This is the fourth year in a row that Activision Blizzard’s game has been the biggest entertainment launch of the year. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s stock is up 2.8 percent, trading at $10.86 per share. The stock is down 12 percent this year so far. The new game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, has topped last year’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”, which sold $400 million in its first weekend. Life to date sales for the series have topped the “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” series,the two most successful movie franchises of all time.
Most successful US retail stores
USA Today, in a report created by RetailSales, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm, lists the 9 most successful retail stores in the U.S. The most successful retail store by a wide margin is Apple. The second most successful store is Tiffany’s, followed by Lululemon and then Coach. Following at number 5 is Michael Kors and then Select Comfort. Numbers 7, 8, and 9 are represented by True Religion, Vera Bradley and Birks and Mayors, respectively. The measure of success is rated by the highest sales per square foot, based on 12 months of sales. Apple’s rate of sales is $6,000 per square foot compared to Walmart or Kmart who have sales rates of lower than $100 per square foot. Tiffany, the number two store, is far behind Apple with only $3,017 of sales per square foot.
Holiday flavors become increasingly eclectic
As the holidays roll in, companies take advantage of the season to create rather bizarre flavors to reflect the holiday spirit. According to USA Today some of the more exotic flavors include the following: Red Robin’s Gingerbread Shake; Chapstick’s chocolate truffle, Burger King’s Gingerbread Cookie Sundae, and Baskin Robin’s turkey shaped ice cream cake. Jones Soda is offering Gingerbread, Pear Tree, Candy Cane and Sugar Plum soda. Starbuck’s continues to offer its Peppermint Mocha (yummy). McDonald’s will be offering its McRib with a special holiday twist. And let’s not forget Pringle’s now available in Cinnamon and Sugar, White Chocolate Peppermint and Pumpkin Pie Spice. How is that for an eclectic potato chip?
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.