Everything Really Is Awesome for Lego; Southwest Gets Grounded; Target’s Earnings Hit and Miss;

Everything is awesome…

Image courtesy of ArtJSan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ArtJSan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Lego Movie movie might have been very rudely snubbed at this year’s Oscars but that didn’t stop Lego CEO Joergen Vig Knudstorp from belting out the hit tune “Everything Is Awesome” to reporters recently.  That’s because for him everything really is awesome. The privately held Danish company released its yearly earnings report and the consensus is that Lego is in demand. My basement, however, could have told you that. Demand in China, Russia, France, etc is only getting stronger and this year’s release of “The Lego Movie,” which earned a staggering $468 million, helped propel that awesome demand precipitously upward. Lego’s profits were 15% higher this year hitting about $1 billion. I can truly say I contributed considerably to that figure. Revenue for the company came in at $4.3 billion and move over Mattel because Lego has become the number one toy company in the world. There’s also a Lego Movie sequel in the works set to be directed by Rob Schrab with a 2018 release date. But if the Oscars snubs Lego again, it’ll have to answer to the forces of Ninjago, not to mention Batman,  whose Lego movies are set to be released in 2016 and 2017.

Yeah…that could be a problem…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Everything is not awesome over at Southwest as the airline had to ground 20% of it’s fleet. In case you were wondering that is about 128 of its planes. Apparently Southwest missed inspections and immediately notified safety regulators, according to an airline spokesperson. How very diligent of them. Eighty flights bore the brunt of this gaffe but fear not intrepid traveler, as the FAA and Southwest have figured out a way to get those flights up into our friendly skies until all the aircraft can get properly inspected. How very reassuring.  In case you were still wondering, the part of the aircraft that requires immediate inspection on all these airplanes is the backup hydraulic system. It helps control the aircraft…in the event of a  main system failure. Awesome. The bulk of inspections ought to be completed by now and if you happen to be on one of the few remaining aircraft that have yet to be inspected? Well, then have a nice flight.

Oh Canada!

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Target reported its earnings this week and the good news is that it lost $2.6 billion. That amounted to a loss of $4.10 per share. It’s good news because it’s a one-time loss from closing up shop, literally, on its disastrous foray into our neighbor to the north. But if you take into account that Canada is now officially off the Target grid, then you can calculate that the mega-retailer actually pulled in $1.50 a share. Which is really great news because analysts only thought that the retailer would gain about $1.46 per share. So you see, there is a bright side here. Somewhere. Sort of. Listen it’s not Canada’s fault. Canadians are really lovely people. Some of my best friends are Canadian. But they just didn’t appreciate all those empty shelves at their 133 stores, not to mention some annoying pricing discrepancies – among other issues, mind you. But back on our turf, Target’s sales increased to $21.8 billion – almost $2 billion more than last year, Canadian failure and all.

Advertisements

Swiss Market Offers Up Fascism With Coffee; GM Earnings Put the Brakes on Recall Issues; Airline Industry Earnings Show No Signs of Ebola

How do the Swiss say “Oops”?

Image courtesy of amenic181/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of amenic181/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Migros, a major Swiss supermarket, is having a bad, embarrassing week. All because of some coffee cream containers. Except they weren’t just any coffee cream containers, unless of course you’re used to seeing Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini gracing food packaging. “Usually the labels have pleasant images like trains, landscapes and dogs,” a spokesperson said. Yeah. Just not today. I guess someone’s getting fired. Migros called it an “unforgivable blunder” when customers began to complain about the portraits of murderous fascists glaring back at them faces as they poured cream into their coffee. Migros, however, is blaming a subsidiary that designed the series of 55 motifs that ended up in scores of restaurants, cafes and kiosks.

Recall debacle? What recall debacle?

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite its disastrous mess of a year, thanks to its ignition switch recall, auto company GM still managed to crank out some insanely impressive earnings. Apparently the U.S. and China are either very forgiving or willing to look past the all company’s scandals and recalls because strong sales in those regions helped GM rake in $1.38 billion or $0.81 per share. Those numbers are nearly double the $698 million $0.45 per share earnings the company hauled in last year at this time. Over 880,000 GM vehicle were sold in North America alone. Russia and Europe weren’t feeling the love for the US car company but no worries because worldwide the company sold close to 2.5 million vehicles. But it’s those trucks I tell you, that consumers are totally digging as GM carries a 24% market share of those babies.

You are free to roam about the cabin…

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Their passengers may not always be healthy but their profits sure are. Indeed the airline industry as a whole has been seeing solid earnings across the board and it’s not their lucky stars they can thank but rather the price of fuel, which as I mentioned yesterday has been going down. JetBlue, Souhwest and United Airlines all rocked their earnings announcements. Even American Airlines added another record quarter of  $942 million, way over the $289 million it pulled in last year at this time. The airline also reported a staggering $11.1 billion in revenue. Considering my awful experiences on American Airlines, those numbers are nothing short of miraculous. As for Ebola scaring off travelers? Well, it’s not. ‘Nuff said.

 

Southwest Goes Global (Almost), Chrysler Goes Up and Hormel Goes For More Protein

Going (more) places…

Image courtesy of ping phuket/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ping phuket/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Southwest is headed even more south…and west. The airline made its first flights today to Jamaica, the Bahamas and Aruba, as part of its new venture to go international. Plans for flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic are also in the works. This was all part of the plan when the airline bought AirTran back in 2011 to expand and take over its routes. Southwest has been struggling to compete with other airlines like JetBlue. Its traffic grew a very miniscule 1.4% this year. Even though Southwest is the largest carrier of passengers within the United States, it’s but a blip compared to its fellow carriers who soar high above international waters. If you’re looking to book your next trip across the pond with Southwest, you’re going to have to wait a while…a really long while as Europe, Asia and South America have yet to become amongst its destinations.

Increasing-ly popular…

Image courtesy of sattva/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sattva/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chrysler is having better luck (and sales) than GM these days (but then again, who isn’t?). The third largest US automaker just came out with earnings and reported a 9% increase in sales. In fact, it was the auto company’s best June since 2007, which is a mighty feat considering the company had filed for chapter 11 back in 2009. The company, which is a subsidiary of Fiat, saw a particularly nice 28% sales increase from its Jeep brand and an even nicer 113% sales increase from its Fiat 500L. Unfortunately, Chrysler’s own brand dropped 12%. But at least it’s not experiencing issues like GM, who once again, announced yet another recall of 8 million vehicles and barely broke even in its earnings.

Rich in protein…

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nothing says hip, cool protein like Spam and milk. That’s just what you were thinking, right? With a winning combo like that it’s no wonder Hormel Foods (HRL) just plunked down $450 million to buy CytoSport, maker of the very muscular Muscle Milk. Hormel, which in addition to its Spam line also makes foods like chili and Skippy Peanut Butter, feels it wants to attract a younger demographic that’s like totally into its protein consumption and well…Spam just wasn’t doing the trick. Apparently, the younger generation wants their protein through a straw. With Muscle Milk, Hormel will have a cool hip brand that younger people can totally dig. Wall Street will dig the purchase as well since CytoSports, which also makes powders and bars, is expected to pull in a very wholesome and hearty $370 million.