Briefs: An overhaul at Honda; Amazon.com is now in fashion
●● Honda began a major and unexpected overhaul, starting in the C-suite. The Japanese auto giant announced the retirement of eight top executives, including Chairman Fumihiko Ike. The company is also shaking up its product-development process, creating positions to supervise designs. Plagued by waves of recalls, Honda said it has been introducing models too quickly. ●● Starbucks revamped its loyalty program to tie rewards to the amount customers spend rather than how often they visit, spurring an outcry. Starbucks said the tweak is partly meant to prevent customers from gaming the system by asking baristas to ring up items separately. ●● Amazon.com quietly took a step into the fashion business. The Web retailer is selling at least 1,800 products including clothing and handbags under seven private labels with boutique-sounding names such as North Eleven and Lark & Ro. The strategy is in line with earlier moves to add a publishing arm and sell house-brand electronics. ●● Beyond the PR fallout from waves of sick customers, Deutsche Bank said Chipotle Mexican Grill suffers from menu fatigue. In a note to investors, bank analysts said Chipotle would struggle to win back customers, in part because it hasn’t changed its menu much in two decades; the only big addition was the tofu sofritas in 2014. ●● Airbus has announced it will increase production to meet demand from carriers. The company expects to deliver more than 650 jets this year, compared with the 635 it moved in 2015. Airlines are using cash freed up by falling fuel prices to stock up on new, fuel-efficient aircraft.
recalled five of its candy bar brands in 55 countries after finding a piece of plastic in a Snickers bar packaged in a Netherlands plant.
Delinquencies on subprime auto loans have reached their highest level since 2010—worrisome news for banks, carmakers, and the economy at large.
“Facebook at 1.6 billion users is a really tough comparison bar.” ——Executive chairman and former Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley discussing Silicon Valley valuations