Business quiz! Shares of Walmart fell – and later recouped most of their losses – after the retailer: a) said it will close all 10,500 of its stores on Aug. 1 “to give our hard-working employees a well-deserved mental-health day”; b) changed its slogan from “Save Money. Live Better” to “Spend More Money. Live the Same” to reflect the impact of surging inflation; c) cut its full-year profit outlook for the second time in 2022 as it marks down prices of clothing and other general merchandise to reduce bloated inventories. Answer: c.
In the old days, if you wanted to get some exercise you went for a run or rode your bike. Now, you have to wear a $500 smartwatch that monitors your heart rate and blood-oxygen levels like some patient in the ICU. Or maybe you don’t. Shares of Garmin dropped after the device maker said revenue in its fitness segment – which includes running watches and cycling computers – plunged 34 per cent, hit by weaker demand for the gadgets after a pandemic-induced sales boom. With high inflation, rising interest rates and a strong US dollar also hurting Garmin’s results, the stock has hit the wall.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (STAR)
Given that Chipotle’s menu prices are higher than other fast-food chains’, you might think it would be getting hammered by rising inflation and slowing consumer spending. Nope. “The low-income consumer definitely has pulled back their purchase frequency,” CEO Brian Niccol said on the company’s conference call. “Fortunately for Chipotle … the majority of our customers are a higher household income consumer.” Helped by higher prices to offset rising ingredient costs, Chipotle’s same-store sales surged 10.1 per cent in the second quarter as earnings per share leaped 40.2 per cent. That calls for a double-steak burrito with a drink and a side of chips and guac … for just $29.90.
Bad news for kids: There could be a candy shortage this Halloween. Good news for Hershey investors: It doesn’t seem to be affecting the company’s financial results. Even as supply chain disruptions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have made it harder to obtain cocoa, edible oils and other ingredients, the confectionery giant hiked its profit and sales forecasts this week thanks to price hikes and resilient demand for its chocolates and candies. With Hershey’s stock rising more than 50 per cent over the past two years, investors are enjoying some sweet returns.
Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! After tumbling more than 80 per cent from its high, Shopify’s stock has tried to right itself several times, only to fall flat on its face again. The latest setback came after the e-commerce software company laid off about 10 per cent of its work force, or roughly 1,000 employees, as the pandemic-fueled boom in online shopping fades faster than it expected. Shopify had gambled that the shift to e-commerce would “permanently leap ahead by five or even 10 years,” CEO Tobi Lutke said. “It’s now clear that bet didn’t pay off.” You don’t say.
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