business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

USA Today reports this morning that PepsiCo plans to roll out three varieties of its soda sweetened with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup - Pepsi Made With Real Sugar, Pepsi Vanilla Made With Real Sugar, and Pepsi Wild Cherry Made With Real Sugar.

The move is seen as being tied to a desire to inject some energy - and new sales - into a category that has seen sales declines in recent years.

• The Los Angeles Times reports that CVS Caremark has struck a deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), agreeing to pay $20 million "to settle charges that it misled investors and used improper accounting techniques to artificially boost its financial earnings" during the third and fourth quarters of 2009.

CVS Caremark says that it is not admitting any wrongdoing by writing the check.

Yeah. Because people always write $20 million checks because of lack of guilt. This is one of those weird constructs that I hate - people and companies that insist on saying things that seem demonstrably absurd.

• The newest National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) monthly Consumer Fuels Survey says that "consumer optimism remains steady in April, a period in which the ongoing spring transition to summer-blend fuel usually increases gas prices and reduces optimism. While gas prices increased nearly another dime over the past four weeks, 44% of consumers remain optimistic about the economy, the same figure as March.

"Last year, consumer optimism dropped 5 percentage points between January and March, when gas prices peaked. This year, optimism increased from 43% to 44% since the beginning of the year, despite a 25-cent increase in retail gas prices since January."
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