Consumer Confidential: McRib is a hit, Netflix goes Disney, Wal-Mart cuts Sunday pay
-- The results are in: Fast-food fans like their McRibs. McDonald's says sales at outlets open at least a year rose 4.8% in November, helped in the U.S. by the popularity of the limited-time-only McRib sandwich. The McRib promotion ran nationally for only a few weeks, although some individual restaurant owners may have extended the promotion until the end of the month. The McRib, which consists of a ground pork patty, pickles, onions and barbecue sauce on a roll, was first introduced in 1981. It is available year-round in Germany but has only been offered occasionally in this country. I guess absence makes the stomach grow fonder.
-- Netflix has unveiled a family-friendly deal allowing the company to stream ABC and Disney TV programs to online subscribers. Netflix says its contract with Disney-ABC Television Group includes prior season episodes of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers and Sisters," as well as every episode of "Lost," "Ugly Betty" and "Scrubs." The Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" also is among the shows offered, as well as ABC Family's "Greek" and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." In addition, subscribers will have access to TV movies that aired on the Disney Channel and ABC Family, including the popular "High School Musical" and its sequel. New episodes will hit Netflix at least 15 days after they air on television for the first time.
-- Sign o' the times: Wal-Mart says it will stop paying staff an additional $1 an hour for working Sundays. The move, which takes effect next year, applies only to workers hired after Jan. 1. Since taking over almost two years ago, Chief Executive Mike Duke has pledged to slash overhead at the world's largest retailer. Operating expenses rose to about $80 billion last year, Wal-Mart says, partly because of health benefits. So I suppose they'll be the next thing to go.
-- David Lazarus
Photo: The popular McRib sandwich helped push sales higher at Mickey D's. Credit: McDonald's