Brand Names Buckle Under
More evidence that branded goods aren't what they used to be. On July 21, Philip Morris confirmed that it would stick with the 40 -a-pack discount on its flagship Marlboro cigarettes. In fact, it's applying the cut, announced two months ago as a limited-time measure, to all its premium-priced cigarettes. A few days before, Procter & Gamble announced cuts of 13,000 jobs, or 12% of the company's work force. Chairman Ed Artzt, announcing the cuts and a $1.5 billion aftertax earnings charge at a rare meeting with financial analysts, said P&G must bring out new products faster and must respond to consumers' increasing demand for value. The plan to lay off workers didn't impress investors, who knocked the stock down 2 3/4 to close at 49 3/4 on July 21.