business news in context, analysis with attitude

More evidence that at least some companies remain convinced that frugality will be a guiding principle for many shoppers throughout the winter, as the Wall Street Journal reports that “Clorox Co. is keeping the price steady on a new improved trash bag that grips the top of the garbage can. Clorox says it wants to highlight the bags' ‘greater value.’

“Similarly, Campbell Soup Co. recently reduced the promoted price of its V8 beverages in some markets to 2 for $5 from 2 for $6. Burger King Holdings Inc. is selling double cheeseburgers for just a dollar.” And these moves are coming at the same time was retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target are fighting online price wars in segments such as books and DVDs.

While there are some “glimmers of recovery,” the Journal writes, conventional wisdom suggests that there will be continuing economic pressures - some of them real, some of them a matter of perception - that will dictate the decisions made by many, if not most, shoppers.

And, the Journal reports, “Bargain-hunting remains the operative shopping mode ... Supermarkets usually benefit during downturns as people turn away from restaurants and buy more food to prepare at home. But coupon-clippers are making it tough to boost margins. Kroger Co., the country's No. 2 supermarket chain by revenue, recently downgraded its 2009 earnings-per-share guidance. ‘Customers are buying more of what they need and less of what they want,’ Kroger chief operating officer Rodney McMullen told investors.”
KC's View: