Posts by Chris Nichols

  • Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Rank High on Brand Respect, but Delta Lags

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange8 mths ago

    When it comes to the best-known brands, two big cola sellers garner the most respect in the business world, while an airline and a cigarette maker fare the worst.

    Those findings headline a new survey from CoreBrand, a firm that researches branding and its impact on businesses. By examining companies with which we're all familiar, and asking business people their opinions on how favorably they viewed the firms, CoreBrand created two lists, one identifying corporations that get the most respect and another for those earning the least.

    Leading the way in terms of favorable views were drinks distributors PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO), who tied as the most-respected corporate brands. That is, they combined high recognition with very favorable views.

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  • Krispy Kreme Climbs Anew as Janney Boosts Target

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange8 mths ago

    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) has more than doubled since the start of this year and tripled in the past 12 months, but its sweet glazed treats will be in such demand that the stock has even further gains ahead.

    That's the view from Janney Montgomery Scott, which said the Winston-Salem, N.C., doughnut seller warrants a buy rating and a $26 price target. This is a nearly 63% boost from Janney's previous target of $16 and it's the highest price among Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet. The average is $21.19 and the range, excluding Janney, is $14.70 to $24.

    Following the commentary, Krispy Kreme was up 7.2% to $22.95 in early trading Monday.

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  • Who Pays What in Chain Restaurants? 'Fast Casual' Wins on Rates

    Chris Nichols at Yahoo! Finance8 mths ago

    The debate over pay for fast-food workers isn't going anywhere any time soon, if the group Fast Food Forward has its way. In order to get its point across, the group is pressing for $15-an-hour wages and encouraging industry employees to take to the streets. The movement's Jonathan Westin predicts thousands of workers will protest their compensation this year by walking off the job, while demanding an hourly rate more than twice the federal minimum wage level of $7.25 and 67% higher than the $9-an-hour floor President Obama has advocated. Employee walkouts have already happened in big American cities, such as New York and Chicago -- all this is exactly the kind of thing labor activists like to see in America. But the counter-argument is that fast-food jobs, which by and large do pay well under $10 an hour, aren't meant to be careers. This view maintains that they're intended as a foot in the door for young people and those trying to build a work history. And the detrimental effect is that raising wages significantly at McDonald's (MCD) and Burger King (BKW) would be seen on the menu, potentially pricing out a good portion of the patrons who currently eat fast food for the affordability. We looked at 10 large U.S.-based chains to get a sense of how much they pay employees in common positions, like cashier and store manager, as well as their annual revenue and profits, and the overall labor costs they record, when available. Using data published on, we found sample pay rates from $7.24 an hour for a delivery driver at Yum! Brands (YUM) unit Pizza Hut to $11 an hour for a shift supervisor at Starbucks (SBUX). The highest rates were reported at the so-called fast casual chains -- like Chipotle (CMG) and Panera Bread (New York0) -- where jobs, similar to those available at the larger burger chains, are paying over $8 an hour. (Starbucks baristas earn, on average, $8.79 an hour, the highest non-manager rate on our list.) These restaurants are also considerably more expensive than Wendy's (New York1) or KFC. It's important to remember that these are averages; workers in Boston, the Bay Area or Birmingham, Ala., would expect the local economy to factor into their pay. Also, employee compensation at franchised restaurants is determined by the restaurant’s actual owner, not by the corporate parent. Chains are ranked by U.S. store count, from largest to smallest. MCDONALD'S

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  • Fossil Stock Surges on Profit Beat, Raised Forecast

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange8 mths ago

    Fossil (FOSL) is having one of the best days in its history after the watchmaker topped earnings estimates and offered positive commentary on the future, sending the stock up nearly 19%.

    With a surge of $20.29 to $127.71, the shares were among the top percentage gainers in the U.S. on Tuesday. At its session peak, Fossil reached a 52-week high of $129.25. Volume was heavy, reaching more than four times a normal day's level only two hours into New York trading. While short-covering may have been influencing the upward move — total shares short have edged up in the past month, and shares equaling 7.4% of Fossil's float are sold short — the stronger-than-expected financials were also sparking buyers.

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  • Coach Sinks as Sales Disappoint, More Execs Quit

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange8 mths ago

    Purse and wallet seller Coach (COH) was plunging Tuesday as pressure from competitors such as Michael Kors (KORS) again weighed on its financials. More executive turnover only added to the unease around the New York retailer.

    In recent trading, the stock, regularly a big mover post-earnings, was slumping 7.7% to $53.38. At about 90 minutes into trading, volume was already more than double an average full day.

    Before items, Coach earned 89 cents a share in the fourth quarter, matching estimates. That was where the good news ended. Sales for the period, though up some 6% to $1.22 billion, were short of the $1.24 billion consensus forecast.

    North American sales, covering Coach's biggest market by far, increased 6% to $825 million, but that was around $6 million shy of the Wall Street projection. International revenue of $386 million missed the expectation by about $10 million.

    For fiscal year 2013, net sales rose 7% to $5.08 billion from $4.76 billion the prior year.

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  • Wingstop CEO Targets Chicken Lovers Across the Globe

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange8 mths ago

    It's easy to view the Buffalo wing as a quintessentially American food. But overseas markets are getting a taste of this spicy Western New York creation, and more are on the way to locales across the globe.

    One chain eying diners abroad is Richardson, Texas-based Wingstop. It currently has 18 shops in Mexico, with others in the works for Russia and Singapore. The company's president and CEO, Charlie Morrison, wants his Buffalo wings on your plate no matter where you are.

    He's banking on an aggressive expansion plan to make this happen. The wing seller he oversees opened in 1994, and it currently has 580 restaurants. Five years from now, Morrison wants 1,000, a number he says is well within reach.

    "We're trying to get that perception that it's just an appetizer out of people's minds," he says. Asked whether Wingstop will have an international presence as big as in the U.S. — currently it's in 32 states — he doesn't hesitate: "Absolutely, if not more international than domestic."

    International markets targeted

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  • Most of Us Eat Burgers, but More Often It’s the ‘Better’ One

    Chris Nichols at The Exchange9 mths ago

    Long live the burger, consumers are clearly saying. But evidence continues to mount that just which burger we're talking about is undergoing quite a change at the restaurant level.

    According to data from industry-researching firm Technomic, some 95% of consumers eat a burger at least once a month — and they're getting pickier. Backing what analysts have said and what large chains such as McDonald's (MCD) and Burger King (BKW) have had to start dealing with head on, the fast-casual "better burger" segment, as well as customization options, are driving the sector, the findings of a new report say.

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