PM – Philip Morris (PM) Gains From Pricing Power, Hurt by Cost Woes

Philip Morris International Inc. (PM Free Report) looks well-positioned due to the strength of its smoke-free products. Solid pricing power has also been working well for the company amid cost inflation and low cigarette volumes.

These factors were witnessed in the first quarter of 2023, wherein management stated that it expects a top-and-bottom-line recovery in 2023, which is likely to be more weighted toward the second half. For 2023, Philip Morris expects net revenues to increase by nearly 7-8.5% on an organic basis.  For the full-year 2023, the company expects adjusted EPS in the band of $6.10-$6.22 compared with the $5.98 reported in 2022.

Excluding currency movements, the adjusted EPS is envisioned in the band of $6.40-$6.52, suggesting 7-9% growth from the year-ago period figure. For the second quarter of 2023, the company expects organic top-line growth in the high single digits.

Key Upsides

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is progressing well with its business transformation, with smoke-free products generating 34.9% of the company’s net revenues in the first quarter of 2023. PM is well-placed toward becoming a majority smoke-free company by 2025. To this end, the company’s IQOS, a heat-not-burn device, counts among one of the leading RRPs in the industry.

These next-generation devices are backed by substantial scientific insights and research. Philip Morris expects such advanced and high-quality products to aid adult smokers in switching from traditional cigarettes to smoke-free options. In the first quarter of 2023, revenues from smoke-free products (excluding Wellness and Healthcare) jumped 14% (or up 2.6% on an organic basis) to $2,710 million. In the first quarter of 2023, net revenues from the Wellness and Healthcare segment rose 30.3% (or 37.9% on an organic basis) to $86 million.

In the quarter, PM witnessed continued strength in IQOS performance, along with pricing power. Total IQOS users at the end of the first quarter were estimated at roughly 25.8 million (of which nearly 18.5 million had switched to IQOS and stopped smoking). For 2023, management expects heated tobacco unit (HTU) shipment volumes of 125-130 billion units. Management expects net revenues of about $300 million for the Wellness and Healthcare segment for 2023.

Moving on, Philip Morris has been benefiting from its strong pricing power. Though higher pricing might lead to a possible decline in cigarette consumption, it is seen that smokers tend to absorb price increases due to the addictive quality of cigarettes. Higher pricing variance was an upside to the company’s performance (mainly due to increased combustible tobacco pricing) in the first quarter of 2023.  Pricing is likely to remain a driver in 2023, wherein pricing variance is expected to be 6-7%.

Cost Concerns

Philip Morris has been battling cost-related headwinds for a while now. In the first quarter of 2023, the adjusted operating income tumbled 10.7% on an organic basis due to elevated marketing, administration and research costs, an adverse volume/mix and escalated manufacturing costs, partly compensated by favorable pricing variance.

The adjusted operating margin contracted 5.8 points on an organic basis due to cost headwinds, including global inflationary pressures on the cost of sales (mainly hurting the combustible tobacco business), supply-chain hurdles associated with the transition to ILUMA, the overall inflation of operating costs and the phasing of various investments and other costs.

Management expects certain margin pressures in the first half of 2023. In 2023, the adjusted operating margin on an organic basis is likely to decline 50-150 basis points due to persistent global inflation, transitory effects related to the ILUMA roll-out and additional growth investments. Apart from these, Philip Morris expects increased net interest costs of around $200 million in 2023 compared with the 2022 levels.

However, robust pricing actions and smoke-free portfolio strength are likely to keep working well for Philip Morris amid headwinds.

Shares of PM have declined 6.8% in the past three months compared with the industry’s drop of 7.5%.

Solid Staple Stocks

Some better-ranked stocks are Lamb Weston (LW Free Report) , Conagra Brands (CAG Free Report) and General Mills (GIS Free Report) .

Lamb Weston, which operates as a frozen potato product company, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). LW has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 47.6%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Lamb Weston’s current fiscal-year EPS suggests an increase of 116.8% from the year-ago reported number.

Conagra Brands, which operates as a consumer-packaged goods food company, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. CAG has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.2%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Conagra Brands’ current fiscal-year sales and earnings suggests increases of 7.1% and 16.5%, respectively, from the year-ago reported numbers.

General Mills, a food and beverage product company, currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). GIS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 8.1%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for General Mills’ current fiscal-year sales and earnings suggests growth of 6.3% and 7.4%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figures.

RAVE – In honor of Memorial Day, Pizza Inn Announces Partnership with Wounded Warrior Project and Introduces “Raise a Glass to Freedom” Promotion

Year-Long Collaboration Kicks Off with Americana-themed Collectible Drinking Glasses, Available Memorial Day through July 23rd

DALLAS, May 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Pizza Inn, America’s Hometown Pizza Buffet, today announced a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to raise funding and awareness for programs that help America’s injured veterans achieve their highest ambitions. The relationship officially kicks off with an eight-week in-store promotion, titled “Raise a Glass to Freedom,” that encourages Pizza Inn customers to purchase collectible drinking glasses honoring the American spirit. The promotion runs from Memorial Day, May 29, through July 23.

Experience the full interactive Multichannel News Release here:

CEO of Pizza Inn’s parent company, RAVE Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: RAVE), Brandon Solano said, “We’re proud to partner with Wounded Warrior Project to provide free, life-changing programs and services to America’s injured veterans and their families. This year-long partnership allows us to come together for the greater good of our community.” He adds, “Pizza Inn has been bringing people together since 1958. We are a hometown brand that wants to take our customers back to a simpler time when everyone came together at the local buffet to enjoy a family dinner alongside their neighbors. Today, as we remember those who have lost their lives in service to our country, we can come together to support an organization that truly honors the veteran community.”

Each of the four limited edition glasses are priced at $1.50, and are available during consecutive two-week windows, with fifty cents from the sale of each glass donated directly to WWP. A limited number of glasses has been produced so all four are available only while supplies last.

Mottos on the collectible glasses were selected to represent the broader culture of brotherly love and unity. They focus on all Americans joining in camaraderie, demonstrating cooperation, and coming together for a cause everyone can support. Pizza Inn describes the meaning of each glass’s motto as follows:

  • Glass 1: “United We Stand” – As depicted in the image of the U.S. Marines jointly planting an American flag atop a hill on Iwo Jima, all Americans are stronger together.
  • Glass 2: “We Can Do It!” – Starring Rosie the Riveter, who represents the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, taking on entirely new jobs to replace male workers who joined the military. It was an effective call for our country to come together for the greater good.
  • Glass 3: “We the people” – Pizza Inn believes the Declaration of Independence was truly inspired and it has been a remarkably resilient blueprint for our country throughout the past 247 years. Its first line declares that we are united as a country and as a people.
  • Glass 4: “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible” – Pizza Inn promotes that we are all profoundly related as humans and as Americans. We are one nation, one people, and our belief in a God of each individual’s understanding gives perspective, hope, and ultimately love for ourselves and others.

“We are grateful for Pizza Inn’s commemoration of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and for their commitment to honoring and empowering wounded warriors,” said Brea Kratzert Todd, WWP vice president of business development. “This support helps Wounded Warrior Project provide free, life-changing programs and services in mental health, career counseling, long-term rehabilitative care, and policy advocacy to warriors and their families.”

Pizza Inn will continue to garner support for WWP throughout the year with several campaigns planned to engage people who live and work around its restaurants.

Unlike typical buffets or pizza shops, Pizza Inn crafts its pizzas with house-made dough, made from scratch each morning. Every pizza is made with high-quality ingredients, including 100% house-shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese, freshly chopped garden vegetables, and a myriad of traditional and unconventional toppings. They also offer traditional pastas, and unique desserts, as well as a robust, all-you-can-eat fresh salad bar, with a plentiful array of house-cut ingredients, popular toppings, and six different dressings, including house-made ranch.

For more information, please visit and to learn more about franchising opportunities visit

About Pizza Inn 
Since 1958, Pizza Inn’s popular pizza buffet and friendly service have solidified the brand as America’s hometown pizza place. Unlike your typical buffet, Pizza Inn built a reputation for using house-shredded 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese, fresh ingredients and house-made signature sauce. This, combined with its small-town vibe, are the hallmarks of its restaurants that feature signature pan pizzas, chocolate chip ‘pizzerts,’ pasta dishes, salads and innovative creations that reflect today’s customer cravings. The brand continues to thrive with new menu innovations, including its popular NYXL pizza. Follow Pizza Inn on Instagram @pizzainn and to learn more about franchising opportunities visit

About RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc.
Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group [NASDAQ: RAVE] has inspired restaurant innovation and countless customer smiles with its trailblazing pizza concepts. The Company owns, franchises, licenses and supplies Pie Five and Pizza Inn restaurants operating domestically and internationally. The Pizza Inn experience is unlike your typical buffet. Since 1958, Pizza Inn’s house-shredded 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese, fresh ingredients and house-made signature sauce combined with friendly service solidified the brand to become America’s favorite hometown pizza place. This, in addition to its small-town vibe, are the hallmarks of Pizza Inn restaurants. In 2011, RAVE introduced Pie Five Pizza, pioneering a fast-casual pizza brand that transformed the classic pizzeria into a concept offering personalization, sophisticated ingredients and speed. Pie Five’s craft pizzas are baked fresh daily and feature house-made ingredients, creative recipes and craveable crust creations. For more information, visit, and follow on Instagram @pizzainn and @piefivepizza.

About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.

Media Contact:
Cozette Phifer, PhifeR PR
[email protected]
Ph. 602.469.3199

SOURCE Pizza Inn

JWN – Nordstrom likely to post bigger loss due to weak demand, Canada exit: earnings preview

Nordstrom, Inc (NYSE:JWN) is likely to report a decline in revenue and earnings for its fiscal first quarter when it reports after the closing bell on Wednesday, May 31.

According to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, the department store chain’s revenue for the quarter is expected to be about 13% lower at $3.11 billion, while its loss will widen to $0.12 per share from $0.06 in 1Q 2022. 

Nordstrom flagged a decline in full-year 2023 revenue of 4% to 6% when it released its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings in March as it wound down its Canadian operations and due to the positive impact of a 53rd week on fiscal 2022. 

Closing shop in Canada would enable the retailer to simplify its operations and further increase its focus on driving long-term profitable growth in its core US business, CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a statement at the time. 

Still, its 1Q results are expected to reflect the significant impacts of decelerating demand trends, with the tough economy reducing consumer spending in lower-income groups, according to Zacks. It also noted that higher markdowns as it tries to maintain inventory levels have weighed on gross margin. 

Countering that, boosting eCommerce and digital networks, supply-chain channel improvement, and marketing efforts have resulted in gains in Nordstrom’s digital business, with improved traffic across Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, as well as increased utilization of the Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store service.

Its mobile app has also been performing well. Alongside these, Zacks said the integration of into is anticipated to have contributed to the company’s top line in the to-be-reported quarter.

Contact the author at

KWE – KWESST To Feature “Ready now” Rapid, Agile Tactical Digitization at CANSEC 2023, May 31-June 1, Ottawa, Canada to more than thirty visiting countries

Integration and exploitation of digital information at the tactical edge including

  • Team Awareness Kit (TAK) integration
  • Tactical Digital Fires System (TDFS)
  • Command and Control On The Move (C2OTM)
  • Next-generation Battlefield Laser Detection System (BLDS)
  • Portable multi-function Electro-Magnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) device

Ottawa, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – May 29, 2023) – KWESST Micro Systems Inc. (TSXV: KWE) (TSXV: KWE.WT.U) (NASDAQ: KWE) (NASDAQ: KWESW) (“KWESST” or “the Company”) today announced that at CANSEC 2023, May 31st and June 1st, Ottawa, it will be featuring its capability to rapidly integrate and exploit digital information for the dismounted and mounted soldier, including Team Awareness Kit (TAK) integrationTactical Digital Fires System (TDFS) and Command and Control On The Move (C2OTM), all vital aspects of soldier modernization for survivability and effectiveness on the battlefield of today and tomorrow.

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“KWESST is a key enabler of rapid digitization at the tactical edge as NATO forces everywhere ready themselves for the modern battlefield,” said David Luxton, Executive Chairman of KWESST. “This entails integration of sensors and soldiers into the TAK (or any) battlefield management system for shared real-time situational awareness among and between partner forces at the level of the dismounted and mounted soldier, including video feeds from drones and other Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets.”

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Other featured capabilities will be KWESST’s modern Tactical Digital Fires System (TDFS) that extends digitization to indirect fire weapons like mortars for rapid deployment and precision fire, with no modification to weapons or ammunition, all integrated into TAK, as KWESST has done for the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Modern warfare also requires small, mobile distributed command centres for survivability vs. large, fixed headquarters of the kind seen in the Afghanistan conflict. KWESST’s Command and Control on The Move (C2OTM) software-based solution can quickly integrate disparate third-party communications equipment into a common system on the fly, as recently demonstrated to the Canadian Armed Forces. KWESST has various initiatives like this in play now with NATO nations.

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Survivability on the modern battlefield also requires Electronic Warfare PhantomTM (EW) at the tactical edge. KWESST’s “PhantomTM Electro-Magnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) device provides multi-function capability as a portable tactical EMSO device a portable electronic decoy, spectrum analyser, jammer, and EW trainer.

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This kind of digitization capability also bridges KWESST’s counter-threat systems like its advanced Battlefield Laser Detection System (BLDS) to counter the growing threat of weaponized lasers and laser designators against ground personnel. BLDS detects, identifies, and locates all variants of lasers in the battlefield for mounted or dismounted forces. KWESST is currently delivering this system to an overseas NATO customer and is in discussions with another major NATO country to integrate BLDS into an electro-optical armored vehicle package for near-term deployment.

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These are capabilities available from KWESST today for affordable, future-proof rapid land force modernization projects, leveraging KWESST’s agile expert team of systems, software, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as military veterans. For more information, please visit


KWESST (NASDAQ: KWE) (NASDAQ: KWESW) (TSXV: KWE) (FSE: 62UA) develops and commercializes breakthrough next generation tactical systems that meet the requirements of security forces and personal defense for overmatch capability against adversaries. The company’s current portfolio of unique proprietary offerings includes its unique non-lethal PARA OPSTM system with application across all segments of the non-lethal market, including law enforcement and personal defense. KWESST is also engaged in the digitization of tactical forces for shared situational awareness and targeting with its signature TASCS (Tactical and Situational Control System) for real-time awareness and targeting information from any source (including drones) streamed directly to users’ smart devices and weapons. Other KWESST products include countermeasures against threats such as electronic detection, lasers, and drones. These systems can operate stand-alone or integrate seamlessly with OEM products and battlefield management systems, and all come integrated with TAK. The Company is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with operations in Stafford, VA and representative offices in London, UK and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

For more information, please visit

Contact: David Luxton, Executive Chairman, and Interim CFO,

Jason Frame, Investor Relations:

Forward-Looking Information and Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” and “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian and United States securities laws (collectively, “forward-looking statements”), which may include, but are not limited to: anticipated timing of new CFO announcement, commencement of work with our joint venture partners under the DND contract award, increase of scope of work and revenue of such DND contract, increase in the scope of work and value of the BLDS contract and anticipated impacts on cash flow resulting from such increases. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “is expected”, “expects”, “scheduled”, “intends”, “contemplates”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “proposes” or variations (including negative and grammatical variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Such statements are based on the current expectations of KWESST’s management and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties. Although KWESST’s management believes that the assumptions underlying such statements are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this press release may not occur by certain specified dates or at all and could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting KWESST, including KWESST being unsuccessful in attracting the candidate retained for the position of CFO, the increase in scope of work and value of the DND contract and the BLDS project being less than anticipated, thereby having a lesser positive impact on the Company’s cash flow, KWESST’s inability to secure contracts and orders for its products in 2023 and onwards for reasons beyond its control, overall interest in KWESST’s products being lower than anticipated or expected; general economic and stock market conditions; adverse industry events; loss of markets; future legislative and regulatory developments in Canada, the United States and elsewhere; the inability of KWESST to implement its business strategies; risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in KWESST’s filings with the Canadian Security Administrators and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and many other factors beyond the control of KWESST. Although KWESST has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Except as required by applicable securities laws, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and KWESST undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its respective Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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TSLA – Musk expected to visit China this week, meet officials – sources

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, May 29 (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk is expected to visit China this week, three people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be his first trip to the country in three years.

Musk is expected to meet senior Chinese officials and to visit Tesla’s Shanghai plant, two of the sources said.

It was not immediately clear who Musk would meet and what they would discuss. The people with knowledge of the trip declined to be named as the matter is private.

Tesla and China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reuters reported in March that Musk was planning a trip to China and seeking a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang as early as April, with the exact timing subject to Li’s availability.

China is Tesla’s second-largest market after the United States, and its Shanghai plant is the electric carmaker’s largest production hub.

Musk also owns social media platform Twitter, which is banned in China, although some people access it via virtual private networks (VPNs).

The trip would mark Musk’s first in China since he set the internet abuzz by dancing on stage during an event at Tesla’s Shanghai factory in early 2020.

It would also come at a time when Tesla is grappling with multiple issues, including intensifying competition with Chinese automakers that are exporting their China-made electric vehicles as demand in the world’s largest auto market weakens.

Tesla has not yet given any update on its plans to increase output by 450,000 vehicles a year at its Shanghai plant, although it said in April it would build a factory in Shanghai to produce Megapack energy storage products.

The company has submitted plans to local authorities to expand capacity for producing powertrains at the Shanghai plant to 1.75 million units annually.

China’s state planner has been struggling with a capacity glut in its auto industry with more than 100 players and has been cautions about approving new production capacity.

Musk told CNBC earlier this month that “there are some constraints on our ability to expand in China.” He added: “It’s not a demand issue.”

In the same interview, Musk said tensions between the United States and China “should be a concern for everyone.”

Tesla is building a plant in Mexico expected to produce a lower-cost electric car built on its next-generation platform.

Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Zhang Yan in Shanghai Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.