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• The JM Smucker Co. said yesterday that higher costs have hurt its profitability and that it needs to raise retail prices on some foods.

The Wall Street Journal writes that “Smucker has been trying to reshape its business as well-established brands—like Crisco oil and Pillsbury cake mixes—struggle with sales declines. Like other food makers, Smucker has invested in adapting its brands to consumers’ demand for fresher, more natural food. But the persistent declines in certain areas of the grocery store continue to weigh on Smucker.” And, like many of its brethren, Smucker says that it has faced “higher costs for producing and transporting … products as certain ingredients and freight expenses rise.”

Supermarkets, however, have been resistant to higher prices because of a need to be price-competitive in an increasingly cutthroat environment.

• The Chicago Sun Times reports that McDonald’s, looking to cut operating expenses by $500 million by the end of next year, plans a round of layoffs at US regional offices, though it has not yet been specific about how many and when.

“I recognize that change is difficult, and that eliminating layers within our organization means some employees will ultimately exit our system,” says McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski.

Ironically, the Sun Times writes, “The news of the layoffs comes after McDonald’s officially opened its corporate headquarters in the West Loop earlier this week.”
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