Planet Business

Too few Barbie dolls and flavoured whiskies, not enough snow, and the ‘Sunifesto’ explained

Image of the week: Snow no show

Good news for New York this week as the predicted “Snowmageddon”, hyped as a “potentially historic” snowfall, managed to bypass the city and hit Boston, New England and other parts of the US northeast instead. This Fort Green Park, Brooklyn, restaurant may have been “open” for business, but the chances are there weren’t too many customers about given the precautionary cancellation of transport services and dire media warnings that New York is set to enter the kind of Ice Age last seen in The Day After Tomorrow. Over on the Business Insider website, the scathing headline read: “There Is Basically No Snow In New York – But, Absurdly, The Entire City Is Shut Down.” Photograph: Reuters/Stephanie Keith

In Numbers: Barbie blues

38 Percentage decline in the share price of Mattel Inc, the maker of Barbie dolls and Fisher-Price toys, over the past 12 months. The company said farewell to chief executive Bryan Stockton this week.


6 Percentage drop in fourth-quarter sales at Mattel as it endured a flop Christmas and its fifth consecutive quarterly slump.

86 Average number of Lego bricks held by individual humans, according to estimates by the Danish company, which last year overtook Mattel as the largest toymaker in the world.

The Lexicon: The Sunifesto

The “Sunifesto” is The Sun’s “vision for a better Britain”. The Rupert Murdoch-sponsored punifesto was unveiled on its pages on Tuesday, alongside a collage of apparent Sun readers and the surprising words “We haven’t yet decided which party we will support before the vote in May.”

Ha! Nice try keeping us in suspense. Apparently what Murdoch – sorry, Sun readers – really want is an in/out EU referendum, an end to the Human Rights Act, an obligation upon migrants “to speak out against extremism”, private-sector intervention in the NHS, more vocational training “over meaningless degrees”, more “conviction politicians”, an end to wind-farm “dreaming” and an acceptance that “nukes” are a vital deterrent – a vital deterrent to what, the manifesto doesn’t say.

Getting to know: James McNerney

It's been a good week for James "Jim" McNerney, the American chief executive of Boeing, which reported a 19 per cent soaring in fourth-quarter profits. Its flagship aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, is finally beginning to live up to its name. And while defence budgets have been squeezed, the US Congress has put in a nice order for 15 of the company's "Growler" electronic warfare jets. McNerney's fans say he "righted the ship", to borrow a metaphor from another mode of transport, when he took over Boeing in 2005 after two military procurement scandals. His critics complain that the 65-year-old former GE executive and 3M chief executive is a numbers guy who doesn't love the smell of jet fuel as much as he should.

The list: Flavoured whiskey Flavoured whiskeys are all the rage. Indeed, you don't have to be an alcohol purist for the very concept of flavoured whiskeys to inspire rage. Beverage sector analysts are already predicting that their proliferation will soon lead to "flavour fatigue" among drinkers, but in the meantime, here are some of the delights on the market.

1 Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey A pioneer in the category aimed at younger drinkers and women. Sales are going rather smoothly for owner Brown-Forman.

2 Jim Beam Red Stag A black cherry-infused bourbon, not to be confused with Cherry Coke (which would probably work okay as a mixer).

3 Paddy Bee Sting A flavoured Irish whiskey concoction courtesy of Pernod Ricard.

4 Fireball Cinnamon Whisky One of the fastest-growing spirits brands in the US, produced by the company Sazerac.

5 Peach-flavoured Canadian Mist "A lively blend of peaches, vanilla, spice and subtle whisky notes," apparently. Do not overstock.