Reformulated Diet Pepsi hits store shelves
A revamped Diet Pepsi without aspartame is popping up on store shelves. So will people start flocking back to the soda? PepsiCo says its new Diet Pepsi should be available nationally this week. In response to customer feedback, the company said earlier this year that it would replace the aspartame in the drink with another artificial sweetener that has less baggage. The rollout will test the theory that the sweetener is to blame for fleeing customers, or if other issues might be at play. Sales of traditional diet sodas have been falling.
Gap's 2Q outlook falls below expectations
Gap Inc. is still struggling. The San Francisco-based retailer issued a second-quarter earnings forecast that's below Wall Street analysts' estimates, as it struggles to overhaul merchandise at its namesake brand that hasn't appealed to shoppers. The results were also dragged down by West Coast delays and foreign currency fluctuations. The earnings outlook comes as the retailer, which also operates Old Navy and Banana Republic, saw a sales shortfall in the quarter. It also posted a 3 percent drop for a key revenue measure for July. Analysts expected a 2.3 percent decline, according to Thomson Reuters.
Ford runs short of steel frames for F-150
Ford Motor Co. is scrambling to find enough steel frames to keep up with demand for its bestselling F-150 truck. The automaker reportedly has hired a second supplier, Tower International Inc., to build the frames for the redesigned aluminum-bodied truck, which is produced at plants near Kansas City and Detroit. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the frame's main supplier, Mexico-based Metalsa SA, was having trouble building enough of the parts to keep pace with production needs.
Columbia House parent files for Chapter 11
The company that once offered to sell you eight CDs for 1 cent has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after almost 20 years of falling sales. The parent of the Columbia House music and DVD clubs said Monday it plans to sell its Columbia House DVD Club business, which sells recorded movies and TV series directly to consumers, through a bankruptcy auction. The reasons for the bankruptcy read like a history of the changes that have swept through the entertainment industry and retail over the last two decades.
Snapchat's Travel Mode limits data use
An update to Snapchat gives users more control over how much mobile data the entertainment app sucks up. Snapchat can be an expensive habit, at least in terms of how much cellular data it consumes. Opening Snapchat usually starts an automatic download of a library of photos and videos, and top users open the app dozens of times a day while on a cellphone network. Now, the Los Angeles company is offering a feature called Travel Mode that downloads content only when a user taps on it. Travel Mode can be activated in the settings menu of the updated app.
'Fantastic Four' bomb could cost Fox $60M
21st Century Fox may lose as much as $60 million on "Fantastic Four," the superhero reboot that flopped in theaters this weekend, according to FBR & Co. The film, based on comic-book characters licensed by Fox, was hammered by critics. It was the first Marvel movie in three years not to open in first place, according to Rentrak. Fox has slipped to fourth place this year at the domestic box office, after leading all studios in 2014. "Fantastic Four," directed by Josh Trank, opened Friday and produced $25.7 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend. That compares with a $56.1 million opening weekend for the 2005 version.
CVS settles over painkiller prescriptions
CVS Health has agreed to pay $450,000 to the federal government to settle allegations that several of its Rhode Island retail pharmacies filled forged and invalid painkiller prescriptions. The agreement is the culmination of a two-year investigation by U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha's office and the Drug Enforcement Administration's Office of Diversion Control into several of CVS' retail pharmacy locations. The DEA's Diversion Control offices routinely review pharmacies across the country looking for violations of the Controlled Substances Act, said Jim Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Providence. CVS has denied wrongdoing.
United to create unit for regional ground ops
United Airlines said it will create a subsidiary to handle customer service and behind-the-scenes functions at smaller airports it serves with United Express regional jet service. Currently, those functions, including gate agents, ramp workers, baggage and cargo handling, are outsourced to other companies. The new wholly owned subsidiary, called United Ground Express, will begin service this fall at select airports, including its new service from Kalamazoo, Mich., beginning Dec. 9. The move is similar to ones made by United's competitors, including American and Delta.
Russian recession deepens as oil prices drop
Official government figures show that the Russian economy was 4.6 percent smaller in the second quarter than the same quarter the previous year in the wake of plummeting oil prices and Western sanctions. The sharp quarterly decline is more than double the 2.2 percent contraction recorded in the previous quarter. The Russian economy is in recession for only the second time in President Vladimir Putin's 15 years in power as a result of the slump in oil prices, the country's main currency earner, and Western sanctions over Moscow's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.
Ford to assemble Ranger pickup in Nigeria
Ford Motor Co. said it will assemble the Ranger pickup in Nigeria starting in the fourth quarter of 2015 as part of its expansion in the Middle East and Africa, where the small truck is popular. The Ranger is built and sold around the world with the notable exception of North America. The last U.S.-built Ranger rolled off the line in St. Paul in December 2011. Elsewhere, the next-generation truck is a strong product; global sales increased 40 percent in 2014. Ford builds the pickup in South Africa, Thailand and Argentina.