Week's Winners and Losers: YouTube Brags, MySpace Nags
YouTube -- Winner
It's been two summers since Psy uploaded the official "Gangnam Style" video to Google's (GOOG) YouTube. It blew up as a global single later in the year. This week, it surpassed 2 billion views on YouTube.
It's a notable achievement for the South Korean pop music star, but it's also a big deal for YouTube. After all, the milestone shows how popular YouTube is as a video-sharing platform. Most folks may have tired of the video and the song ages ago, but clips live on forever in cyberspace. YouTube just validated itself again.
MySpace -- Loser
Speaking of bringing pop stars to life, MySpace -- yes, that MySpace -- turned heads this week by sending out old photos posted years ago to the emails of folks with dormant accounts.
MySpace had its moment in the sun before giving way to Facebook (FB), but the social networking dinosaur now jointly owned by Specific Media and pop icon Justin Timberlake, is struggling to regain its relevance. Sending old pics to folks that have moved on may seem like a clever tactic given the popularity of Throwback Thursday, but it comes off desperate at best, and creepy at worst.
Panera Bread (PNRA) -- Winner
Panera became the latest eatery to climb onto the organic food bandwagon this week. The chain of bakery cafes revised its food policy, moving to do rid its menu of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives by 2016.
It's a smart move for Panera. Growth at the former quick-service darling has been slowing lately, with analysts targeting top- and bottom-line growth in the mid-single digits. Anything it can do to beef up its profile with the growing number of consumers angling for natural foods will only help.
Walmart (WMT) -- Loser
The world's largest retailer held its annual shareholder meeting on Friday. Activists threatened to stage a protest, arguing that Walmart isn't paying a living wage.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%However, the reason Walmart falls short is because it stocked area Walmart stores with stockholder-specific merchandise. We're talking about T-shirts, cups, and and caps with "Walmart SHAREHOLDER" imprinted on them.
They're selling for just $6. This is Walmart, after all. However, after a rough run during which the retailer has posted five consecutive quarters of same-store sales declines, is stakeholder pride really something that's going to be on display?
Five Below (FIVE) -- Winner
When you have to sell everything in your store for $5 or less -- hence the Five Below moniker -- it's understandable to be concerned about the bottom line. I mean, you can't even stock those $6 "Walmart SHAREHOLDER" T-shirts until the unsold swag becomes an overstocked closeout. (You know it probably will.)
However, Five Below is bucking the trend among thrift havens, which are generally struggling to draw shoppers. It saw its net sales soar 32 percent, powered by healthy expansion on top of a 6.2 percent increase in comparable-store sales. Don't mark down this markdown specialist.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook, Five Below, Google (C shares) and Panera Bread. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google (C shares) and Panera Bread. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.