Consumer Business Review: General Motors Volts, McDonald’s on Warning

Following its record sales of 2,289 Chevy Volts in March, General Motors (NYSE:GM) now plans to resume its production of the hybrid, according to a UAW official. This word comes a week earlier than had been expected.

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Despite the fact that comparable-store sales at Burger King slipped by 0.5 percent in 2011, Bill Ackman calls McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) “enormously bloated” during a conference call promoting his deal to take his company public. Burger King’s weak 2011 performance was revealed in its own 10-K.

Promoting interest in the 2012 London Summer Olympics is on the minds of NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) leaders, as they plan to begin 67.5 hours of coverage of team trials in late April. The team trials coverage will extend into prime time, a clue to the importance NBC places on the Games, for which it spent $4.4 billion for the rights of coverage through 2020.

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Management of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) expects the U.S. economy to weaken, as CEO Gary Kelly reports plans to keep capacity constant this year and even into 2013. To that effect, Kelly commented that “We definitely want to grow this airline…but not until we are hitting our profit targets and have an outlook that really supports that.”

More woes for Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), as a Barclay survey reveals that its online prices averaged 4.2 percent higher than those of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and that is just for starters. The survey further reported that Best Buy can boast lower prices on 4 percent of products, while Amazon sports better prices on 54 percent of its merchandise. If that were not enough, the report has it that Best Buy offers free shipping on fewer items, and is not as competitive on taxes as its rivals. All this has S&P threatening to place the company’s debt into junk status, and a meeting between the rating agency and BBY management is expected before final determination goes forward on the matter. Until the meeting Best Buy is on a credit watch with a BBB rating. Shares fell Wednesday as the story unfolds.

Investing Insights: Wal-Mart Reveals Easter Spending Data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lawson at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at