McDonald's will continue to use Ronald McDonald, consumer prices are flat, and the feds are going to keep an eye on General Motors. Here are the top news stories for May 22, 2015.
Feds Still Watching GM
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday it is going to extend its federal oversight of General Motors for one more year. The extension, explained to GM on May 14, requires the automaker to continue to report all safety-related issues to the NHTSA and meet with the agency officials on a regular basis. The renewal of the oversight process allows the NHTSA to review GM’s decision-making and communications regarding safety-related issues. This all is a result of the $35 million civil penalty paid by the automaker following a failure to report a defect in its Chevrolet Cobalt model that led to the recall of nearly 30 million cars.
Ronald McDonald is Still Gainfully Employed
At his first shareholders meeting Thursday, new McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook announced that company mascot Ronald McDonald was going to remain the face of the franchise. “Ronald is here to stay’’ Easterbrook announced. Some shareholders wanted the company to reconsider the use of Ronald McDonald, especially at school functions. Easterbrook said Ronald McDonald is “more confident’’ after an overhaul of his appearance last year.
Gap Announces Sales Drop
Gap Chief Executive Art peck said the company’s earnings guidance for the year remains the same despite poor sales numbers year-over-year. Peck said the Gap stores remain the company’s top priority, although sales at Old Navy are reporting better than at the gap. Gap announced that sales at Gap stores fell 10 percent from the previous year in the last reporting cycle and that was on top of a 5 percent drop last year. At the same time, Banana Republic reported an 8 percent drop in sales at established stores, while Old Navy had a 3 percent increase.
Ireland Could Lead the World
On Friday, voters in Ireland go to the polls to decide whether to allow gay marriage. The referendum is a binding decision backed by all political parties, and also endorsed by the country’s major corporations. Ireland would be the first country in the world to make gay marriage legal by law. Ireland was the last country in Western Europe to decriminalize homosexuality two decades ago. Ireland remains one of the strongest Catholic countries in the world as well, and opponents have expressed concern over parenthood and surrogacy rights for gay couples. But polls indicate the referendum will pass by a good majority.
Consumer Prices, Inflation Numbers In
The Labor Department Friday said U.S. consumer prices moderated in April thanks to weak gasoline prices, but that rising shelter and medical care costs boosted inflation pressures. All of those numbers would indicate the Federal Reserve will eventually raise interest rates later this year. The Consumer Price Index gained 0.1 percent last month after increasing 0.2 percent in March. In the 12 months through April, the CPI fell 0.2 percent, the largest decline since October 2009. The so-called core CPI, which subtracts food and energy costs, rose 0.3 percent.