CEOs Talk About Their 2015 Outlook

As they head into 2015, U.S.-based CEOs wonder if the economic glass is half-empty or half-full both in the United States and around the world. And for the first time since the Great Recession, their collective expectations for the New Year tip toward steady growth and a smoother path for doing business despite lingering questions about the strength of economic recovery.

A.J.-KhubaniStores Need Stuff to Sell
A.J. Khubani, CEO, TeleBrands

We’re looking very strong for 2015 because of our product lineup, which includes the Pocket Hose and the SpinMop. We also have a bunch of new products launching in December 2014 that will be a kickoff, including a software cleanup product called WinCleaner. The entire category of direct-response merchandise will do well, but I think we’ll pick up share. Most of our merchandise is sold in brick-and-mortar stores, and retailers are looking for stronger products.

Also, the economy seems to be improving, just using the stock market as a predictor. I don’t expect major progressions or sudden jumps in the economy but rather to continue on the slow-growth path we’ve been on, which is probably healthier. We sell to 100 countries around the world, too; and when the U.S. does well, it means the rest of the world does well.

My biggest concern is that TV viewership continues to decrease every year. But it’s mostly young people dropping off, and our biggest market is 40-year-olds and up.

Headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, the nation’s largest direct-response TV seller of consumer goods had 2013 revenues of more than $1 billion.

Kevin-KlockGlistening Gullets
Kevin Klock, CEO, Talking Rain

We’re really bullish on our growth. Usually, with a brand of this size, by now you’ve saturated the category. However, there’s so much category opportunity remaining for us, including convenience stores, which now are only 6 percent of our retail sales—but should be significantly higher. And we’ve gone against competitive threats and we’re winning.

We’ll continue to see a steady decline in consumption of carbonated soft drinks. But more interesting is how high can the energy-drink category go? For a long time, consumers drank soft drinks for two purposes: as a pick-me-up and as refreshment. Energy drinks are capturing those looking for alternatives for a pick-me-up, and we’re capturing those looking for refreshment.

We also see a great opportunity to go global. There’s a tremendous amount of money but not a lot of places for companies to put their cash. Yet, my concern will always be the consolidation of distribution in our industry. You look out there and see that it’s getting more and more consolidated; you’ve got Monster Energy now, for instance, moving into the Coca-Cola system. That further reduces the opportunity for small companies to expand their availability.

Headquartered in Preston, Washington, the company is best known for selling its Sparkling Ice beverages and had 2013 revenues of more than $400 million.


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