Hershey, the US chocolate giant, felt the full force of the NGO spotlight this week amid criticism over its cocoa sourcing. Campaigners said Hershey had fallen behind its rivals on labour and social responsibility and urged the company to do more. On the retail front, Carrefour revealed more detail of its new-look hypermarkets, US grocer Kroger continued to see sales accelerate, while in the UK, Asda saw its market share slip again. Here’s the best of what was said this week:
“Children continue to suffer in slavery as Hershey’s profits soar,” said Paul Hong-Lange, executive director of Oasis USA. “Hershey can and must do its part to end human trafficking on cocoa farms in West Africa” – Oasis USA executive director Paul Hong-Lange on alleged Hershey’s labour rights abuses.
“Recent statements from Asda’s chief executive Andy Clarke show that the retailer has recognised the need to adjust its strategy and we’ve started to see a greater emphasis on quality in the latest advertising campaign” – Kantar communications director Ed Garner on Asda’s slowing sales in the wake of the ‘premiumisation’ trend.
“Carrefour Planet started with interviews and customer data from 50,000 clients. We have had 150 people working on this project now for a year and the result you have seen now in two of the pilots but also the other three that we have opened up in the last couple of months. It is a profound change. All consumer feedback is very, very encouraging” – Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson on the retailer’s new Carrefour Planet outlets.
“The growth in the middle class is very much a long-term story and [inflation] is not going to alter their spending habits” – Nigel Rendell, senior emerging markets analyst at RBC Capital Markets on India’s market potential.
“This is a very important trend. We believe this is a reflection of our Customer 1st strategy, which is designed to reward our loyal customers and not cherry pickers who simply shop various outlets based on the lowest available price” – Kroger president and COO Rodney McMullen on the retailer’s successful second quarter results.
“We anticipate our financial performance in the first half year will be broadly in line with expectations. Going forward, however, as a result of recent intense competitive pressures across all sectors of the market operating profits will be impacted” – Dairy company Robert Wiseman on its grim outlook beyond the first half.
“The terms of the agreement do not provide for either renegotiation or termination in these circumstances. As such, we believe that the agreement remains in full force and effect.” – General Mills on its agreement to make and sell Yoplait yoghurt in the US
The decisions and actions taken throughout the recession – investing in existing stores, in new formats and in multi-channel, and developing strategic partnerships to take our brands to new customers and new areas – are now having an impact at the operating level” – John Lewis chairman Charilie Mayfield on Waitrose’s strong first half results.
“Do you prefer the status quo or do you want directors who are committed to maximising the value of your investment in Casey’s?” – Couche-Tard’s latest open letter to Casey’s shareholders in its attempts to acquire the Iowa-based convenience operator.