Retail: Walmart shows sales gains
Walmart this week posted one of its largest quarterly sales gains in a decade, said Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal. The retailer had the wind at its back thanks to “tax reform, SNAP payments in January, and a surge in toy sales after Toys R Us closed.” But the 4.2 percent increase was even better than Wall Street had anticipated, with increased visits to stores and “a much higher jump in the average amount spent.” Online sales also met the company’s aggressive expectations, up 40 percent for the full year, “driven by the expansion of its online grocery pickup services” to nearly half of Walmart’s 4,600 U.S. stores. Walmart is the first major retailer to report holiday results.
Aerospace: Airbus kills super-jumbo A380
Airbus has pulled the plug this week on its A380 super-jumbo passenger jet after a little more than a decade, said Sylvia Pfeifer in the Financial Times. Launched to take on Boeing’s 747, the double-decker A380 “was billed as a plane of the future.” Passengers loved the roominess and amenities, but “airlines proved reluctant to commit to a four-engine aircraft” that needed to fly at its full 550-seat capacity to be efficient. Airbus finally confirmed it would stop production in 2021 after Emirates, its main customer, drastically cut its orders.
Media: Digital passes traditional advertising
Digital advertising is expected to exceed traditional spending on TV, radio, billboards, and print this year, said Ashley Rodriguez in Qz.com. A big drop in Yellow Pages spending will tip traditional ads below 50 percent of the ad market, according to a report released this week by eMarketer. “Advertisers are moving those dollars online.” Spending on digital ads is predicted to rise to about $129 billion, with Google and Facebook together taking 60 percent of that. Meanwhile, Amazon’s ad business is expected to grow by 50 percent.
Trade: China tariff deadline extension likely
President Donald Trump gave his firmest indication yet that he would push back the deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, said Jeff Mason and David Lawder in Reuters.com. Trump has insisted he will raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent if a trade agreement is not reached by March 1. But as negotiations between the two countries continued this week, Trump “emphasized that progress was being made” and that the deadline was not a “magical date.”