Category Archives: Economy

Peter Arnell Gives the Fontainebleau a New Look

Peter Arnell, a renowned brand consultant and designer, has played a crucial role in redefining the brand identity of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.  As the Chief Brand and Design Officer for Fontainebleau Development, Arnell was tasked with modernizing the hotel’s brand identity as it approached its 70th anniversary. His work led to the creation of a new logo for Fontainebleau, which was inspired by the marble bowtie motif from the Fontainebleau Miami Beach lobby. This new design element is now integrated across various customer experiences at the resort.

To unveil this updated brand identity, Arnell and his team conceptualized a special event that coincided with the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Collaborating with Countdown Entertainment, they developed an animation that incorporated the new Fontainebleau logo, which was showcased during the midnight countdown. This strategy aimed to introduce the refreshed brand identity to a global audience, linking it with the historic and iconic event of Times Square.

The event featured performances by Paul Anka and Post Malone, representing the hotel’s historical and contemporary cultural relevance. These performances were part of the broader effort to highlight the opening of Fontainebleau Las Vegas and the brand’s ongoing relevance. A special countdown after midnight focused on the Fontainebleau’s 70th anniversary, featuring the new brand identity animation on the Times Square ball, which will remain visible throughout the year.

The Plight of the Unused Gift Card

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans were predicted to spend roughly $30 billion on gift cards during the 2023 Christmas season. While these cards to restaurants and retailers make great gifts, more than $10 billion worth will remain unused.

In 2010, a federal law mandated that a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the purchase date. Certain states have even longer time requirements. And though cards don’t expire quickly, some will accrue fees if they are not used within a year, and cards from stores that go out of business will not be able to be redeemed. So using gift cards soon after receiving them is a good idea. To encourage immediate spending, retailers established National Use Your Gift Card Day, on the third Saturday of January.

What happens to the money on unspent gift cards depends on where you live. Retailers in 19 states are mandated to return the funds to consumers, and money that cannot be returned must be spent on initiatives that benefit the public. According to Misha Werschkul, executive director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, finding the owners of unspent gift cards is challenging. Consumers can search for their name on to see if they are entitled to money from gift cards.

Companies do benefit from those who lost their gift cards or forget to redeem them. In 2022, Starbucks reported over $200 million in revenue in cards that were not cashed in. Consumers who think that using the cards as intended is far better than seeing the money returned to the public should be sure to participate in National Use Your Gift Card Day.

Hershey Looks to Halloween to Boost Chocolate Sales

Hershey, the maker of popular candies like Reese’s, Kit Kat, and Twizzlers, is gearing up for Halloween sales. This year, it appears that customers are shopping for trick-or-treat candy closer to the holiday. Last year, due to supply chain and availability concerns, many customers bought their Halloween candy early. Although it’s too early to predict this year’s outcome, so far, Halloween candy sales have been slower than last year.

As Halloween approaches, Hershey is hoping for a strong performance this weekend to meet its sales targets. In recent years, Halloween has become a critical period for the company, accounting for 25-30% of its annual business.

Hershey is experiencing difficulties on several fronts. Cocoa prices are on the rise, supply chain issues have plagued the cocoa industry, and many consumers are now facing budget constraints and are more sensitive to pricing.

To cater to budget-conscious consumers, Hershey is expanding its presence in dollar stores and discount outlets. They are also exploring the option of selling smaller-sized candies at more affordable prices.

But Hershey executives remain positive that Halloween will bring the candy buying boom that the company needs. Last week, CEO Michele Buck said, “With Halloween next Tuesday, we still have several important selling days to go”.

Summer Air Travel is on the Rise

Air travel may finally be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some experts predicted that rising inflation would keep vacationers close to home, Delta Airlines reports a 17% increase in demand for flights in the quarter that ends in June.

Despite rising fares, according to Expedia, there has been a 25% increase in flight searches for summer trips, and an even larger increase in searches for international travel to Europe and Asia.

Airlines are also feeling hopeful about the return of corporate travel. Now that offices are reopening after the pandemic, business people are once again willing to fly to meetings. This summer, a high percentage of seats are expected to be filled by people traveling for work.

The next challenge for the airlines will be to ensure they are prepared for this increase in travelers. Throughout the past year, the airline industry was plagued with thousands of cancellations due to bad weather and internal issues. To ensure that passengers arrive at their destinations in a timely manner, Daniel Janki, CFO of Delta, said that Delta has devoted time and energy to “ensuring that we have the right resources in the right places with the right level of training.”

C-Suite Exits Reach Highs in 2022

As 2022 comes to a close, businesses are assessing their ups and downs. It is no secret that Fortune 500 companies have had a very difficult year. The result, though, is somewhat unexpected.

Many top executives are leaving their longtime positions. CEOs have made exits from huge corporations, such as Starbucks, FedEx, Disney, Kohl’s, AMC, Salesforce, and more. The bigger problem is what comes next. It’s become clear that many of these entities have never put a succession plan in place. And, with global markets on the verge of entering a recession, the timing for this unpreparedness is less than ideal.

There were reportedly 774 CEO exits between January and June 2022. This is the highest first half total in 20 years, since the Challenger, Gray, & Christmas outplacement firm started keeping track. By the third quarter of 2022, resignations slowed down, but there was another spike of high-profile exits just this month.

Without a succession plan, companies suddenly find themselves racing to find a replacement CEO. Conducting this type of search under such pressured terms usually doesn’t bode well. Investors are hit with a mixture of surprise and fear, and stocks prices can take a toll. When Salesforce’s co-CEO Bret Taylor resigned last week, share sales shot down.

So, what can be done? A popular solution that companies have implemented is reinstating familiar faces. Both Disney and Starbucks brought back their former CEOs, offering reassurance to shareholders.

The long-term remedy, however, is to plan ahead. Public company board members made their voices heard in a recent survey saying that CEO succession plans need to be improved. Investors are also becoming blatantly aware of the impacts, with a reported $1 trillion per year loss in the S&P 1,500 directly related to C-suite exits.

While companies are busy devising goals for the coming year, it will be interesting to see how many truly internalize this pattern and strategize accordingly.