business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

CNBC reports that almost two and a half years after the city of Philadelphia imposed soft drinks and other sweetened beverages - at the rate of 1.5 cents per ounce - sugary drink sales there actually have dropped 38 percent … Beverage sales inside Philadelphia’s city limits dropped by 51% but were partially offset by an increase in sales just outside the city, resulting in a net decrease in soda sales of 38% in the area, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found.”

The story notes that “supporters argue soda taxes can discourage people from indulging in sugary drinks, possibly helping curb obesity, diabetes and other diet-related conditions. Critics say governments should not dictate what people drink, and raising the price in one city will simply cause people to shop elsewhere.”

Supporters no doubt read this story and are happy. Critics, on the other hand, are unhappy. But lobbyists … well, I’ll bet they probably are deliriously happy, because stories like these will prompt companies to write bigger and bigger checks to try to prevent similar taxes from occurring elsewhere.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that McDonald’s Corp. has decided to “let franchisees decide which breakfast items to serve all day, part of an effort to simplify operations as wait times have grown and traffic has stalled.

“The burger giant saw sales rise in the U.S. after putting breakfast items on sale all day in 2015, one of its biggest operational changes in years … Making Egg McMuffins and hash browns all day alongside Big Macs and McFlurry shakes … complicated restaurant operations, contributing to longer wait times that are now challenging the company’s performance, according to analysts.”

Now, the story says, same-store sales in the U.S. have “cooled as competitors improved their breakfast offerings.”
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