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WHEATIES MAY BE FEELING THEIR OATS OVER JORDAN
Published March 22, 1995
Look for General Mills to "move quickly" with Michael Jordan promotions, writes George Lazarus of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Wheaties' sales have been "soft" in recent months, and according to stock analyst John McMillin, Jordan's return is "just in time" for the brand. For the final quarter of '94, Wheaties retail sales were down 5.7% in units and 4.1% in dollar volume. Wheaties' market share of the $8B ready-to-eat cereal business is a "meager" 1.2% versus 6.5% in the late '60s. "The brand obviously needs help, and perhaps" with Jordan back on the package, Wheaties can increase its market share. Jordan appears in a current Wheaties ad "reflecting product reformulation, but he doesn't have top billing." General Mills will not say, but a new TV ad "totally focused on Jordan and his basketball wizardry would appear to be in the cards." Jordan's return to the Wheaties box mark the 13th time he has been on the front panel. No other athlete has come close to his number of appearances on the Wheaties box. In other Jordan news, Champion Products, a division of Sara Lee, says the company has received orders for more than 20,000 dozen NBA-approved Bulls No. 45 jerseys. Champion is the only firm authorized to produce this jersey by the NBA (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/21). STOCK WATCH: ESPN's "NBA Today" reported that in the period from March 8-20, McDonald's stock was up 2 1/8, General Mills up 2, Sara Lee up 1 1/2, Nike up 7/8, and Quaker Oats up 3/4 (ESPN, 3/21).