IN A NUTSHELL: “The current economic slowdown, that hopefully can be blamed on the weather, is widespread.”
WHAT IT MEANS: January can be a cruel month and this year it is especially so. Job gains were mediocre, unemployment claims are above where we would like to see them, retail sales were pathetic and not surprisingly, manufacturers reacted by cutting back production sharply. Industrial production was off moderately in January but only because utilities had to produce massive amounts to heat our homes, offices and plants. Manufacturing output tanked as fifteen of the nineteen industry groups posted declines.
Two major US fast food conglomerates are looking for ways to maximize profits. Selling off several chains that do not fit into their long-range plans are being considered.
Yum Brands is looking for a buyer for their A&W and Long John Silver’s restaurant chains. Yum Brands is concentrating on overseas development and neither Long John Silver’s or A&W have an international presence. That would leave Yum Brands with KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, which all have international locations. A&W and Long John Silver’s have a combined total of 1, 630 locations nationwide.
Wendy’s is looking to sell Arby’s so they can concentrate on Wendy’s development. Wendy’s/Arby’s combined have over 10,000 restaurants. Wendy’s is the larger chain with over 6,500 restaurants. Arby’s is struggling because they tend to be more expensive than other fast food chains and offer less of a dollar menu.
Wendy’s/Arby’s is also the target for a potential takeover bid after receiving an inquiry to buy the chain in June of last year.