• World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • Who is Responsible for Rising US Credit Card Debt?
  • Take the POLL
  • McDonald's 55-cent US Price Cutting Strategy
  • Coca Cola Expands in the Philippines
  • UK Consumers Want Look-Alike Products
  • Development of Adriatic Coastline in Jeopardy
  • Take the Marketing Insights POLL
  • Share Your Thoughts About the NEWS
  • Last Minute Travel Bargains -- Discounted Air Fares
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  • Part I

    USA -- 60 million households in the USA carry US$6,000 of debt through credit cards, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). More than US$1 trillion was charged by US customers in 1996 on credit cards. Of this, nearly 40% of debt was being "revolved." Outstanding consumer credit has been increasing during the last four years at double digit rates. Consumer groups are voicing opposition over rising debt, because of the sales strategies employed by credit card companies. They cite credit card issuers encouraging consumers to go deep in debt, with marketing tactics that reward those who carry balances, and penalize those who pay in full, according to Ruth Susswein, Executive Director of Bankcard Holders of America (BHA). Moreover, both CFA and BHA were concerned about credit card companies that targeted consumers in lower-middle income brackets.


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    Part II (cont'd)

    From the credit card issuer point of view, Thomas Layman, Chief Economist at Visa USA, said that while rising debt levels are a concern, consumers as a whole have benefited from a higher standard of living as a result of the more widespread issuance of credit that has helped boost demand in the economy.

    True, companies like Visa, MasterCard and American Express offer consumer instant credit and purchase gratification, whose responsibility is it to set spending limits for card holders? The credit card companies? or the card holders, themselves?








      AT 12:00pm NY TIME ON 5/27/99



    • 18 OTHER

    USA -- McDonald's announced last month that it plans to cut prices throughout the fast food restaurant chain and will offer a special 55-cent sandwich promotion, expected to boost sales and traffic. (The average Big Mac price in the US is currently around US$1.90.) This announcement came as a surprise to the industry and consumers, both of whom anticipated Hamburger Price Wars to ensue. However, Wendy's International Inc. and Burger King, in response to McDonald's plans, said that they would not cut prices. Wendy's and Burger King have both pursued value strategies throughout their US restaurants.

    In order for this 55-cent campaign to be adopted, McDonald's is asking for majority approval by franchisees. So far, the metropolitan New York market has declined.

    Part of what makes this "news" so newsworthy is that it is considered important enough to be covered by all major media -- and as a lead story. As the renowned industry trendsetter, and the world's market leader, McDonald's sets the cultural standards in the USA and affects the lives of nearly everyone. In fact, 7% of the US population eats at McDonald's every day.

    McDonald's claims that this Campaign-55 marketing strategy was not aimed at declining market share, and pointed out that their 1996 net earnings were up 10.5% over 1995. However, US domestic operating earnings for the year fell by US$108.3 million, to US$1.14 billion. McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain with more than 15,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

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    MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines unit of Coca Cola announced a US$1.7 billion expansion program aimed at capturing the Philippines' fast-growing soft drinks market projected for the next five years. Last year, consumers drank about 2.2 billion litres of soft drinks; they are expecting a 14-15% increase in sales volume this year. Growth is attributed to a quickly expanding economy and rising consumer income levels among a large population of over 73 million people.

    Coca-Cola's international rival, Pepsi Inc., has only a small market share in the Philippines. The primary competition is from the local soft drinks firm, Cosmos Bottling Corp., which in 1996 increased its market share to 15% (from 7% the previous year). By comparison, Coca Cola maintains a 75% market share in the Philippines. They were the first cola product introduced to the market 70 years ago, under a licensing agreement with San Miguel Corp..

    The new bottling plant will have an annual production capacity of more than 31 million cases intially.

    Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. is a joint venture between San Miguel Corp., the food and beverage conglomerate, and Coca Cola Company (with 70% and 30% ownership, respectively). According to the President and COO of Coca Cola, Douglas Ivester, the Philippines has become one of their most important international markets.
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    TIRANA, Albania -- Economists suggest that if the political climate is not subdued, that an economic crisis could follow. Ongoing violence in southern Albania may jeopardize the country's economic recovery and turn away prospective western investors interested in developing this region and recovering oil and metal deposits from the 170 mile (300km) Adriatic coastline.
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    LONDON, UK -- Store brand look-alike goods are gaining rapid acceptance by consumers in the UK and are increasingly aggravating original trademark holders of the product they are imitating. Look-alike brands are appearing in growing numbers on supermarket shelves in the UK and consumers love them. When consumers compare these familiar-looking store-brand packages with famous brand name products (from cereals to soft drinks), they believe that look-alike store brands are of similar quality, just at a lower price -- and, therefore, a better value for the money. This "copy cat" trend seems to be increasing in the UK despite the increasing prospects of legal issues.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver International offers last minute travel bargains for travelers departing from the USA. You can schedule a last minute meeting or a weekend getaway to selected destinations throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Central America or South America each week and benefit from these discounted rates.

    Through this program, you can fly at discounted rates, as long as you can plan to travel on short notice. These low roundtrip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to:

  • US$225 -- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)

    Chicago (ORD) to:

  • US$258 -- Leon, Mexico (BJX)

    Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to:

  • US$137 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)

    From Miami (MIA) to:

  • US$247 -- Barranquilla, Colombia (BAQ)
  • US$165 -- Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (CUR)

    New York (JFK) to:

  • US$569 -- Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)

    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines for details.]

    To take advantage of these fares, you must depart on Thursday or Friday, April 3-4, 1997. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday. Call 1-800-344-6702 and ask for Net SAAver International Fares to book your flight. Or subscribe to their mailing list for more information.

    You can also read the latest news about Travel & Tourism.

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