As dollar-format stores multiply, same-store sales increases will become harder to achieve, according to a new report from Retail Forward, a consultancy based in Ohio. The report predicts the sector's 10 largest players will open 7,000 new stores in the next four years.
U.S. Commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez intends to open the lines of communications between U.S. businesses and some of the other countries involved in the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement during a trip to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras later this year. Gutierrez likely will be accompanied by a group of 10 to 15 business executives that could include representatives of the food industry.
McDonald's said it would introduce MasterCard International's Pay Pass technology in more than 13,600 stores. The touch-free payment system can reduce wait time up to 18 seconds and also is being used in Yum! Brands stores, 7-Eleven and CVS
Several experts weigh in on possible post-Atkins diet fads, including Prevention magazine deputy editor Amy O'Connor, who says "I wouldn't be surprised if we bounce back to another version of low-fat, which we had in the '80s." Ruth Kava, director of nutrition for the American Council on Science and Health, predicts a high-protein diet, adding "Somebody will come up with something new. There's a lot of creativity out there in Diet World."
After announcing negative results at the end of 2000, Papa John's International distanced itself from Wall Street analysts, cutting back on conference calls. But with performance appearing to be back on track, the pizza chain said it now will hold quarterly calls with analysts.