Easter spending is expected to reach $18.2 billion this year, narrowly down from last year’s $18.4 billion. According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, this year is still the second-highest year on record. Eighty-one percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday, and the average expenditure is expected to reach $150 per person, or $2 per person shy of 2017’s record.
On March 13th, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an additional 90-day waiver on Congress’ electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The waiver applies to agriculture-related transportation, which includes drivers who haul agricultural commodities, non-processed food, feed, fiber, or livestock. The original waiver, which was a 90-day waiver that was announced on November 20th, 2017, was set to expire March 18th, 2018.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported its expectations for 2018 net farm income, which included a forecast for a $4.3 billion, or 6.7%, decline to $59.5 billion. At $59.5 billion, this represents the lowest nominal income level since 2006. Similarly, inflation-adjusted, or “real” dollar, net farm income is expected to decline $5.4 billion, or 8.3%, from 2017, which is the lowest real-dollar level since 2002. Net cash farm income, which differs from net farm income by excluding certain non-cash items such as depreciation, is forecasted to decrease $6.7 billion, or 6.8%.
According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 188.5 million people will watch the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles in Tom Brady’s eighth Super Bowl appearance. At $81.17 per person, the $15.3 billion is 8.5% above last year’s $14.1 billion.
System same-store sales decreased 1.7%, consisting of a 1.6% decline at franchise drive-ins and a 3.2% decline at company-owned drive-ins during Sonic Corp’s (NASDAQ: SONC) first quarter of 2018. Despite beating analyst estimates, CEO Cliff Hudson noted, “As expected, our first quarter same-store sales declined modestly versus prior year reflecting continued intense competitive pressure and unfavorable weather.”
Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) issued its first quarter 2018 earnings on Thursday. The world’s largest seed company posted a 17.1% decline in sales in of corn seeds and traits, due to lower volumes in the US and Brazil. Soybean seed and traits sales increased 21.3% during the period. Total seed and genomic sales decreased 4.2% year over year to $1.77 billion, and total sales remained relatively unchanged, increasing just 0.3% to $2.66 billion.
Marine Harvest, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon, announced yesterday that it had entered a share purchase agreement to acquire Northern Harvest, a leading Canadian salmon farmer.
Conagra Brands (NYSE: CAG) issued results today for its second quarter ended November 26th, 2017.
After posting a decline of 3% in company-owned, same-store sales in the 52 weeks ended October 1, 2017, and a system-wide decrease of 1.4% in same-store sales, Jack in the Box (NASDAQ: JACK) has agreed to sell its Qdoba Restaurant Corporation subsidiary to Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO) for $305 million in cash.
On Monday, Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) confirmed recent speculation by acquiring Snyder’s-Lance (NASDAQ: LNCE) for $50 per share in cash, representing a 27% premium to Snyder’s-Lance’s closing price on December 13th and an enterprise value of approximately $6.1 billion.