5 Winners and Losers of the Week in Business

Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean

Companies always think their latest move is going to a brilliant one, but there plenty of times when things don't work out quite as planned. And the usual share of wonders and blunders took place in the business world this week, from the well-timed announcement of a new bar-raising cruise ship to an airline that had to cancel nearly 1,000 flights after a computer outage. Let's review:

Royal Caribbean (RCL) -- Winner

Royal Caribbean introduced the latest addition to its fleet on Tuesday. Quantum of the Seas features some intriguing entertainment options that have never before been available on a cruise ship. Bumper cars, a wind tunnel skydiving simulator, and an observation capsule that takes passengers over the side of the ship as high as 300 feet are some of the ship's unique features.

The ship's initial home port will be in New Jersey, and sailings will commence starting in November of next year.
It may be merely a lucky coincidence, but Royal Caribbean is going public with plans for its new ship at a time when its larger rival -- Carnival (CCL) -- has suffered some horrific and embarrassing incidents.

Royal Caribbean is being opportunistic, and there's nothing wrong with that.

American Airlines -- Loser

Tuesday was a bad day to fly American as a computer network outage resulted in the carrier cancelling 978 flights.

There's never a good time to let down your customers, but American Airlines' mishap comes just as its parent company AMR is wiggling its way out of bankruptcy reorganization with plans to complete its merger with US Airways Group next quarter.

Passengers can't be feeling too confident about their next American Airlines flight, even though the company's CEO says he's confident that the problem won't be repeated.

Starbucks (SBUX) -- Winner

You don't have to be a coffee lover to visit your friendly neighborhood Starbucks. The beverage chain is testing carbonated sodas at some of its Seattle stores.

Sponsored Links

We're not talking about phoning it in with ordinary cola or orange soda. Starbucks is offering spiced root beer, ginger ale, and lemon ale -- and making the fizzy beverages as they're ordered. Starbucks is also offering iced tea and its fruity Refresher energy drink in carbonated form at the test stores.

Some may argue that sugary drinks aren't good for you or that offering handcrafted pop will result in slower service. However, expanding the menu with drinks that broaden the chain's audience sounds like a winning plan.

Electronic Arts (EA) -- Loser

Fans of "The Sims Social" are being evicted. EA announced that it will be shutting down the popular Facebook (FB) game come June. Despite attracting 5 million monthly visitors, apparently it's just not lucrative enough for the game developer to keep supporting.

Developers shutter games that are fading in popularity often, but EA is a brand name outside of Facebook. Its reputation is going to take a hit here as gamers begin to wonder if they should invest their time and in some cases money on EA's other online diversions.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) -- Winner

The burritos are rolling in Chipotle's favor these days.

The "fast casual" restaurant operator posted better than expected results this week. Earnings per share climbed nearly 25 percent to hit $2.45 a share, well ahead of the $2.14 a share that Wall Street was targeting.

Yes, there was a small tax credit in there, but the fast-growing chain of 1,458 restaurants still would've obliterated market expectations.

Chipotle had actually come up short on the bottom line in its two previous quarters, so it was a welcome surprise to see the operator return to its market-thumping ways.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill, Facebook, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Facebook, and Starbucks. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.