The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.
Part 1: Managing Restaurant Chain Logistics, Labor, and Growth
This week, reporter Adam Zaki publishes a Q&A with Hofman Hospitality Group’s CFO Christopher Crawley. The California-based restaurant ownership group’s finance leader discusses managing costs in a tight-margin industry, his views on labor and remote work, and how he approaches continuous learning about new technologies. (11/9)
Part 2: This Week
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on November 9 and 10 in San Francisco. According to Yellen, she won’t be “reconstituting Obama-era strategic and economic dialogue with China.” Instead, the meeting will focus on high-priority topics, such as “healthy [economic] competition that requires a level playing field for American workers and firms.” Many American companies have cut back or paused investment in China in the past couple of years, but according to a September U.S. China Business Council survey, 74% of its members say China is still a top-five priority market.
Data on the U.S. trade deficit is due Tuesday, in a slow week for U.S. economic reports. While the deficit has improved since a high of $125 billion in March 2022, part of that is weaker global trade. The International Monetary Fund expects world trade to decline by almost 1% this year. “Friend-shoring” and reshoring are also dragging down the international exchange of goods and services. Economists project a $60 billion deficit for September.
Other economic data reports this week include the Federal Reserve Senior Loan Officer Survey, data on consumer credit, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index.
The ocean freight market is in the news, with global supply chain volatility hurting spot rates and shipping giant Maersk laying off thousands of workers. A CNBC Supply Chain Survey found that many executives aren’t expecting the usual boost from the holiday season. Retailers have been slower to restock, with companies such as Target remaining cautious on their holiday sales outlook. Apple, Estee Lauder, and Remy Cointreau are among the consumer-focused companies that have disappointed Wall Street with their sales guidance lately. More earnings from consumer-facing companies (see below) arrive in the next few days.
The CBOE Volatility Index has pulled back to about 15, but don’t expect a present under the tree from initial public offerings, either. This week, only two U.S. IPOs are on the slate: Biotech Cargo Therapeutics, launching on Monday, plans to raise $300 million, and insurance company Hamilton Group, mostly operating through subsidiaries in Bermuda and Europe, expects to raise $255 million, according to IPO ETF provider Renaissance Capital.
Earnings this week: Uber, Roblox, The Walt Disney Co., Groupon, Realty Income, EBay, KKR, Biogen, MGM Resorts, Tak-Two Interactive Software, Illumina, Tapestry, Warner Bros. Discovery, AstraZeneca, UBS, Becton Dickinson, NXP Semiconductors, Sony, and Wynn Resorts.
Looking ahead: Care to learn more about the interactions between fiscal and monetary policy? The IMF is holding a virtual conference, “Fiscal Policy in An Era of High Debt,” on November 16 and 17. In the corporate finance realm, on November 13 and 14 Financial Executives International holds its annual Corporate Financial Reporting Insights conference. MIT Sloan holds its CFO Summit on November 14, but registration is closed. See our conference and events tracker for more details. — Vincent Ryan
Part 3: Mann Lake’s Shana Rowlette
Shana Rowlette, CFO of the beekeeping supplies manufacturer Mann Lake, discusses the unique challenges of the industry in the final part of this two-part series. Rowlette, who joined the company 12 years ago as its first staff accountant and was named finance chief in 2019, discusses the company’s rapid growth, how the company achieves transportation efficiency, and the importance of beekeeping.
“Yes, we're a business and I want to sell you a product. But we also want to have a large presence in [beekeeping] education, and we want to get more people involved.” (11/7)