TIME Whole Foods

Whole Foods Sales Hurt By Overcharging Allegations

Inside A Whole Foods Market Inc. Store As Profit Tops Estimates
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

They didn't climb as much as Wall Street had hoped

Allegations that Whole Foods Market locations in New York City overcharged for prepackaged foods dragged down sales in the final weeks of the retailer’s latest quarterly results.

Shares in Whole Foods badly dipped in after-hours trading on Wednesday as the company’s results for the third-quarter ended July 5, as well as outlook commentary for the current sales period, fell short of expectations.

It is interesting to note that same-store sales growth dramatically slowed in the days after Whole Foods generated negative press attention after a New York City Department of Consumer Affairs report released the results of an investigation that alleged stores in the area listed improper weights on prepackaged foods, resulting in overcharges. Whole Foods executives later issued an apology.

Same-store sales for the first 10 weeks of the third quarter were up 2.6%, but growth slowed to just 0.4% in the final two weeks of the quarter. In the first three weeks of the current fourth quarter, a period that ended July 26, same-store sales still only rose a slim 0.6%.

Overall, sales totaled $3.63 billion for the latest period, with profit of 43 cents a share, both rising from last year but not reaching the levels analysts had hoped for. Whole Foods also said it sees 7% sales growth for the fourth quarter, while analysts had projected a 10% increase.

Whole Foods has felt some competitive pressure of late as explosive demand for natural and organic food products has led other retail rivals to increase their shelf space for those items. And Whole Foods perennially needs to combat the perception that its prices are too high, which has led to the unflattering nickname “Whole Paycheck.”

In a notable pivot, Whole Foods earlier this year announced plans to launch a new chain of lower-priced stores for people that can’t afford its premium and organic food. The store concept, meant to target millennial shoppers, should have five stores running in the second half of next year with plans to double the amount of locations in 2017. Whole Foods currently operates 424 stores, so the less-costly chain will only provide a fairly minimum boost to overall sales in the initial years.

“We are really excited about the progress we have made with securing real estate in markets where there is high demand for both quality food and value in a convenient format,” said Jeff Turnas, president of the new concept, called 365 by Whole Foods Market. The first opening will occur in Los Angeles.

MONEY Food & Drink

5 Great Things That Beer Does for America

Assembly Line Worker in Brewery
Cavan Images—Alamy

Hey beer: Thanks! Love, America.

The 2015 edition of “Beer Serves America,” a report prepared for the Beer Institute lobbying group, has just been released to highlight all of the wonderful things that beer does for you. Or rather, what the beer industry does for all of us, including employing millions of people and generating billions in economic output.

Here are five factoids from the report demonstrating how much brewers and the beer industry do for America, based on 2014 data:

5,825: Increase in number of Americans who worked in breweries in 2014 vs. 2012.

49,570: Number of Americans directly employed by brewers and beer importers.

1.75 million: Total number of jobs generated by America’s beer industry, including farmers, distributors, wholesalers, and bar and restaurant workers; researchers estimate that each brewery job generates approximately 34 additional full-time jobs.

$48.5 billion: Tax revenues generated from beer sales and beer workers.

$252.6 billion: Estimated economic output of the entire beer industry in America, representing 1.5% of U.S. GDP.

As impressive as the data seems, it’s worth noting that the figures aren’t necessarily all on the rise. The overall economic output contributed by beer last year is up only slightly from 2012, when it was estimated at $246.6 billion, according to a previous Beer Institute report. Because GDP was lower in 2012, beer contributed a higher percentage (1.6%) of the country’s economic output that year. What’s more, the Beer Institute reported that the industry generated more than two million jobs and contributed $49.2 billion in taxes in 2012, meaning that there was actually a decline in both categories by 2014.

Overall, beer sales in the U.S. have been flat or down slightly over the past several years. The general trend has seen mass-market brands like Budweiser flag, while craft beer sales have soared, with the net result being just a 0.5% increase in beer sales in 2014.

The Beer Institute report acknowledged “a dramatic shift away from less expensive products to more expensive local and ‘craft’ beers in bars and restaurants.” Yet instead of praising small brewers and the craft segment for their success, the report curiously passes onto them some of the blame for the drop in beer-related employment: “Consumers purchase smaller volumes of these higher priced beers than they do of less expensive domestic light lagers and pilsners, suggesting that fewer employees are required to serve beer in a given bar or tavern.”

Meanwhile, a report also released this week by the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers’ interests, points out just how quickly the craft brewing market continues to grow—and how many people it directly employs.

“As of June 30, 2015, 3,739 breweries were operating in the U.S, an increase of 699 breweries over the same time period of the previous year,” the report states. “Additionally, there were 1,755 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.”

TIME Fast Food

KFC Has Totally Reinvented the Chicken Bucket

Yes, the chicken bucket

Pictures are forever. And now so is that time you regret eating an entire family-sized bucket of chicken by yourself.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary in Canada, KFC has introduced the “Memories Bucket,” a Bluetooth-enabled bucket of fried chicken that can also print photos from your smartphone. As the bucket states, all you have to do is “Snap. Select. Send. Share.”

This is probably best for those of you who look inexplicably gorgeous when you eat. Luckily for the rest of us, BGR has reported that there’s no word of the Memories Bucket being available to the general public, so we can continue to shamelessly eat our beloved greasy chicken without fear of those moments being immortalized.

This isn’t the first time Yum! Brands, the company that owns KFC, has combined food and technology. Earlier this year, Pizza Hut (another Yum! Brands food chain) released a Blockbuster Box in Hong Kong that allows customers to create a makeshift film projector using just a pizza box and a smartphone.

TIME Retail

See Converse’s First Chuck Taylor Redesign in Almost 100 Years

Converse Chuck Taylor Shoe

Good luck spotting the difference on the outside

Converse unveiled newly redesigned iconic Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers last week, the first change to rock the classic shoe in 98 years.

Converse President and CEO Jim Calhoun predicted that the Chuck Taylor All Star II would usher in “not just a new sneaker, but a completely new way of thinking.” In reality, the shoe may leave shoppers wondering what exactly has changed.

The All Star patch is “fully embroidered,” for starters, and the eyelets now come in “monochrome matte.” So much for the exterior.

ConverseChuck Taylor II

Converse wisely reserved the biggest changes for the interior, upgrading the materials in an attempt to give wearers a more comfortable fit. The cushioning has been updated to Nike Lunarlon sockliner, a trademark foam technology developed by Converse’s parent company, Nike. A snugger, padded collar and a redesigned tongue were designed to reduce slippage. A perforated “micro suede” liner enhances breathability.

“The expectations of kids is that things will be broken in, ready to use, super comfortable, super functional from the minute it leaves the store,” Calhoun said in an interview with Fortune.

TIME Retail

Amazon Is Now Worth More Than Walmart

Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images A picture shows the logo of the online retailer Amazon dispalyed on computer screens in London on Dec.11, 2014.

Its shares were up by double digits in after-hours trading

Amazon’s market cap has risen past Walmart’s in after-hours trading Thursday after it posted earnings that topped estimates.

On Thursday afternoon, Amazon’s shares were up nearly 17% as of 4:30p.m. EST to $563 per share from $482 at the market close.

The boost put the e-commerce giant ahead of Walmart by market cap: Amazon’s market cap stands at approximately $250 billion versus Walmart’s at around $230 billion, according to Quartz.

Amazon posted profit during the second quarter of 19 cents a share on $23.18 billion in revenue, according to CNBC. But Wall Street expected the site to actually lose 14 cents a share on $22.39 billion in revenue.

Amazon Cloud sales also surged during the quarter and were up 82% year-over-year.

Walmart is still the world’s largest company by revenue, and recently topped the Fortune Global 500.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com


A Huge Percentage Of Etsy Sellers Are Women

Inside Etsy Inc.'s DUMBO Headquarters Following Company's IPO
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Employees arrive at Etsy Inc. headquarters in Brooklyn.

But just one-third of U.S. businesses are run by women.

Take a look through the names of Etsy store owners online and you’ll notice something cool: They’re nearly all run by women. In fact, 86% of Etsy businesses have female owners, according to a report released by the company.

Meanwhile, just one-third of businesses in the U.S. are run by women, according to the Los Angeles Times. Brooklyn-based Etsy reported that 56% of sellers have a college degree and have an average household income of $56,180.

The median age of the sellers is 39 and over a third are less than 35-years-old.

“When you think of an entrepreneur, who do you picture?” asks Althea Erickson, Etsy’s global policy director, in a blog post announcing the report. “I don’t immediately picture my neighbor, who sews baby quilts at her kitchen table on evenings and weekends, and drops off packages at the post office during her lunch break. Yet that last image is very much the picture of an Etsy entrepreneur.”

“They’re the kind of people that got a lot of compliments on their items and people said, ‘You should sell it,'” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst, to the newspaper. “Etsy provided them a platform for doing so.”

Per Etsy:

76% of Etsy sellers consider their shops to be businesses, and 30% focus on their creative businesses as their sole occupation. This business mindset is also reflected in Etsy sellers’ aspirations—90% wish to grow their sales in the future.

The Etsy report surveyed 4,000 sellers from November 2014 to January 2015. The company says that there are 1.4 million active Etsy sellers around the world.

TIME harley-davidson

Harley-Davidson Is Recalling More Than 185,000 Bikes

Harley Davidson Unveils Electric Motorcycle
Andrew Burton—Getty Images A Harley Davidson Livewire motorcycle.

It's because of a saddlebag problem

Harley-Davidson is recalling over 185,000 bikes in the U.S. due to a saddlebag issue.

The saddlebag can fall off, upping the chance of a crash.

The recall includes models from the 2014 and 2015 years, including the Road King, Street Glide, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Police Road King, Police Electra Glide, and CVO Ultra Limited bikes. Also affected are the 2014 CVO Road King, and the 2015 Electra Glide Ultra Classic Low, Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide, CVO Street Glide, and CVO Road Glide Ultra motorcycles.

The motorcycle company uncovered the issue after sifting through warranty claims, according to the Associated Press. The part will be replaced for free beginning July 27.

In April, Harley-Davidson issued a recall of 46,000 bikes due to a gear issue.

Meanwhile, the company is trying to woo younger consumers in order to boost sales.


GoPro’s Newest Feature Makes it Easier to Livestream Video

The GoPro Mountain Games kicked off in Vail, CO.
Cyrus McCrimmon—Denver Post via Getty Images Chocolate lab ‘Sienna’ wears a GoPro camera at the GoPro Mountain Games in Colorado.

It's powered by Meerkat

GoPro is teaming up with streaming app Meerkat to let consumers broadcast their adventures in real time.

CNBC reports that those who own GoPro3, along with the upcoming GoPro4 update, will be able to connect the product to Meerkat in order to livestream. The move is a bid to compete with Periscope, which is integrated with Twitter for streaming.

Meerkat first announced the plan to work with GoPro at VidCon, a conference for people who make video online, according to CNBC, which also noted that Meerkat and Periscope are facing another competitor in the app streaming space:

There’s also a third player in this race, which is quietly building an army of teen users: YouNow. The start-up says it has 5 million members, and 100 million user sessions monthly. And it’s already bringing in money: Fans can buy virtual goods, with which fans can tip performers they like, or they can spend them to help their favorite broadcasters “trend,” raising their profile on the service. Unlike Meerkat and Periscope, which are looking for a broad audience, YouNow is focused solely on teens.

Fortune published Everything you need to know about the hot new app Meerkat in March.

MONEY online shopping

Amazon Wants to Resurface Your Driveway and Teach You French

Amazon is expanding its Home Services operation, which connects customers with local contractors and small businesses.

Amazon.com is expanding its Amazon Home Services business, a clearinghouse for hiring independent contractors and small businesses. The online retail giant is competing with companies like Yelp and Angie’s List to connect consumers with local businesses Amazon says it has vetted. Among the help you can hire are home improvement contractors, home theater installers, French teachers, and even aerial yoga instructors. Amazon Home Services is already available in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. It’s now opening up in Miami, Houston, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, San Diego, and Washington D.C.


TIME Retail

Hug a Diet Coke Drinker, Because They’re Going Extinct

Diet Coke drinking is down 7%

Diet Coke drinkers are going the way of the dinosaur and BlackBerry users, according to Coca-Cola’s earnings report out Wednesday.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based company said the Diet Coke brand declined 7% over the last three months. That continues a trend of negative Diet Coke growth the company’s been seeing for a decade, TIME reported in February:

But soda drinkers aren’t giving up on the sweet stuff entirely. Coke’s low-calorie Coca-Cola Zero brand is up 6%, almost entirely making up for Diet Coke’s plunge.

It’s hard to tell exactly what’s driving the Diet Coke to Coke Zero shift. Some diet sodas have suffered from speculation over the health consequences of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, causing PepsiCo to remove that ingredient from Diet Pepsi. But aspartame is found in Coke Zero as well as Diet Coke. It could be simply a matter of taste: While Diet Coke has a distinguishable flavor, Coke Zero is intended to taste exactly like regular Coke.

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