Consumer Business Recap: Disney HATES Junk Food, Starbucks HUGE News

Marriott (NYSE:MAR) Chairman Bill Marriott reports to Bloomberg that his company plans to hire as many as 10,000 employees in the United States and open 150 hotels this year, in the face of worries over the stalled U.S. recovery and the European debt crisis. The hotel chain agreed to acquire Gaylord Entertainment last week, and now plans to make further purchases, with Southeast Asia as a major target for new hotels.

Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) robust set of nutritional standards will restrict the number of advertisers who can air their ads on its networks that are heavy in children’s programming. However, with an eye towards possible lost revenue, Disney admits that only advertisers that promote ‘the very worst brands of junk food’ can expect to be limited.

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Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shares (along with those of its peers) move down on its big news Tuesday, that it will diversify into a larger food market, following its acquisition of La Boulange. Investors seem worried that SBUX’s new orientation is long term in nature, and that the company’s is moving into new territory that is known to be very competitive. On the other hand, shares of rivals (and quasi-rivals) Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA), Einstein Noah Restaurant (NASDAQ:BAGL) and Caribou Coffee (NASDAQ:CBOU) move lower as the possibility that a beefed-up Starbucks menu might take some of their market shares, sinks in.

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) CEO Ron Johnson had quite a bit to say at the Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference, where he seemed to fully pull back from his earlier new strategy of standard prices and no sales initiatives. However, Johnson is still promoting the idea of a significant rebound, once sales bottom out and the now ongoing promotions kick in. In addition, he explained that JCP is in the middle stage of a three-step process, through which it will morph into a metro-area based retailer which will competes with Macy’s, Kohl’s, and others. In the meantime, the historic retailer will still offer sales and promotions in an overall regime of more stable pricing.

Shares of U.S. Airways (NYSE:LCC) move up modestly in the face of its announcement that its load factor dropped 0.9 percent to 5.5 billion revenue passenger miles. Though relatively trivial, any negatives in the airline sector this week seem to go viral.

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