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Walmart CFO on the U.S. consumer: ‘Still looks pretty good to us’

“Another interesting development, from a macroeconomic perspective, is that Walmart reported a rise in inventory growth” writes D C for marketwatch.com. Biggs said the consumer “still feels pretty good to us.” “You see all the numbers that we see — wages are still pretty good, unemployment rates low, gas prices are down year-on-year,” he said.The December retail-sales numbers reported by the government may have panicked financial markets, but the largest U.S. retailer isn’t sweating it.Walmart WMT, +3.68% on Monday reported that U.S. comparable-store sales in the January-ending quarter were up…

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Consumer sentiment surges higher than expected after government shutdown ends

“The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 95.5 this month from 91.2 in January, preliminary data showed” writes unknown author for cnbc.com. The consumer sentiment data indicate that personal consumption expenditures will remain the strongest sector in the national economy in 2019, Curtin pointed out.”The assessment of current conditions was the second lowest since 2016, though the expectations read was significantly improved, back to levels seen in 2018. Source: cnbc.com

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News Stocks 

General Mills to close California yogurt making facility as part of restructuring

“The company expects the restructuring to be completed by the end of fiscal 2021” writes Reporter Editor for marketwatch.com. The expenses will also include about $105 million in exit and project-related costs, primarily asset write-offs.The consumer foods company said it expects to incur about $130 million in expenses, including $25 million in severance costs, as part of the restructuring, which will focus on consolidating production and “optimizing” labor, logistics and manufacturing operations. Source: marketwatch.com

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Economists skeptical over stunning December decline in retail sales

“The Commerce Department on Thursday said retail sales slumped 1.2% at the end of 2018, marking the biggest decline in nine years” writes Jeffry Bartash for marketwatch.com. Many economists don’t believe it. “There’s no denying retail sales are weaker, but they are not this weak,” asserted chief economist Richard Moody of Regions Financial.Moody regularly tells investors to ignore preliminary retail sales figures because they are so often heavily revised. Source: marketwatch.com

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U.S. retail sales post biggest drop in nine years in December

“In December, online and mail-order retail sales dropped 3.9 percent, the biggest drop since November 2008, after increasing 2.8 percent in November” reports businessinsider.com. December’s sharp drop in core retail sales suggested a moderation in the pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter.The December retail sales report was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended on Jan. 25.Data for November was revised slightly down to show retail sales edging up 0.1 percent instead of gaining 0.2 percent as previously reported.No date has been set…

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Consumer companies prove resilient in China

“You can find more concise stories like this on the WSJ City app” reports marketwatch.com. Signs that there is still hope for growth in China have helped prop up Japanese stock prices after China worries sparked sharp falls late last year.China’s factories are trimming investment, but consumers are still spending more on some luxury and everyday items. Source: marketwatch.com

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Inflation flatlines in January thanks to lower gas prices, CPI shows

“Another closely watched measure of inflation that strips out food and energy rose 0.2% last month” writes Jeffry Bartash for marketwatch.com. The numbers: The cost of consumer goods and services were unchanged in January largely thanks to falling gas prices, another sign inflation poses little threat to the economy right now.Real or inflation-adjusted wages rose 0.2% in January to bring the yearly increase to 1.7%.What’s more, the increase in the cost of living over the past 12 months slowed to 1.6% from 1.9%. Source: marketwatch.com

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Citigroup’s consumer bank is trying to jumpstart revenues, and it thinks its 28 million US credit-card customers are a golden opportunity

“Citigroup is trying to jumpstart revenues in its retail-banking business, and it thinks the company’s 28 million US credit-card customers represent a golden opportunity” writes Alex Morrell for businessinsider.com. Citi’s consumer bank, especially in the US, has been the focal point of frustrations amid stubborn revenue and deposit growth and efficiency that lags competitors.Sign up here for our weekly newsletter Wall Street Insider, a behind-the-scenes look at the stories dominating banking, business, and big deals.The strategy for converting those credit-card customers involves, in part, rolling out new digital products and…

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News Platforms 

Fawry partners with PI Technologies to link Sales Buzz app with its FMCG platform

“The Sales Buzz application is used by more than 30,000 sales representatives in consumer goods companies in Egypt, Fawry FMCG platform currently serves 96,000 Fawry merchants and consumer goods companies” writes Daily News Egypt for dailynewsegypt.com. Fawry, the Egyptian e-payment solutions company, signed a partnership with PI Technologies company in order to link its Sales Buzz application with Fawry FMCG, the recent-established platform for merchants and consumer goods companies.Mohamed Okasha, the managing member of Fawry, stated that the partnership aims to develop and provide expert solutions for consumer goods companies…

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How Global Brands Can Respond to Local Competitors

“But these global consumer power brands are losing ground to smaller brands in Indonesia, India, China, and Brazil” reports hbr.org. Although large incumbents owe their scale to big brands, to win in the future they will need to build hybrid portfolios that include small, focused, local brands alongside their big global brands.Big global brands in the $1.2 trillion consumer-packaged-goods industry are facing a competitive wake-up call in some unlikely places: China, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.To support their newly complex portfolio, big incumbents need to put global assets at the service…

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