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Welcome to a new week. Amazon always looms large in ecommerce, but it is especially present in this week's calendar. The company is holding an advertising-focused conference in New York, then plans to report earnings for the quarter that included Prime Day on Thursday.
Amazon joins a hefty list of tech and consumer goods companies reporting quarterly results to investors, while the US government will deliver key a host of economic data ahead of next week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve, including the latest numbers on GDP and inflation.
Through it all, many will be asking two key questions: What's the state of the American consumer heading into the holidays, and how is the economy holding up during a bout with 40-year-high inflation?
Here’s a look at the calendar:
Amazon Ads unBoxed 2022: At this three-day conference in New York, Amazon will announce new advertising solutions, talk innovation, present insights from industry leaders and hold educational sessions. Speakers include leaders from Amazon Ads, Publicis Media, Kantar, Wendy's and more. Oct. 25-27
Consumer Confidence: The Conference Board releases its October data on consumer attitudes, spending plans, and expectations for issues such as inflation, and interest rates. The index showed improvement in September. Tues., Oct. 25, 10 a.m.
New Home Sales: The US Commerce Department releases data on September’s new home sales. This measure, which is watched closely by home & garden retailers, reached a five-month-high in August. Wed.Oct. 26, 10 a.m.
Retail Inventories: The US Commerce Department will release data on retailers’ stock at a time when many are working through a glut of goods that are mismatched to demand following supply chain issues. Wed., Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m.
Gross Domestic Product: The US Bureau of Economic Analysis will release the measure of overall US economic activity for the second quarter, including a look at sales and prices. The first quarter measure showed a contraction of 1.6%, raising recession fears. Thurs., Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.
Durable Goods Orders: The US Commerce Department releases data on manufacturer orders for goods that have a shelf life of three years or more. Thurs., Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.
Personal Income Expenditures: The US Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its monthly report on consumer spending, income and prices. This index contains the inflation measure preferred by the Federal Reserve. Fri., Oct. 28, 8:30 a.m.
Tues., Oct. 25: 3M, Alphabet, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Mattel, Visa, Skechers, UPS
Wed., Oct 26: Sleep Number, VF Corp., Meta
Thurs., Oct. 27: Amazon, Shopify, Apple, Columbia Sportswear, Twitter, Overstock, Pinterest, Mastercard, Keurig Dr. Pepper
Friday, Oct. 28: Newell Brands, Church & Dwight, Colgate-Palmolive, Sanofi
Trending in Economy
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.