|Why 2013 Was a Tumultuous Year for Food and Clothing Businesses|
|By SUSANNA KIM (@skimm)||Dec 12, 2013, 7:59 AM|
The year's most-popular ABC News business stories were chock full of consumer news, with household company names like Hostess and Men's Wearhouse making a blast from the past.
Here are some of the top business stories of 2013:
Micro-blogging site Twitter went public on Nov. 7 with an IPO price of $26. Many investors cautiously refrained from buying shares of the social media company, fearful after Facebook's botched IPO in May 2012. But as of early December, TWTR stock has been trading above $50 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.
In Photos: Twitter's Biggest IPO Money Winners
After Hostess failed to reach an agreement with union workers and filed for bankruptcy in Nov. 2012, fans rushed to grocery stores to stock up on its famous treats like Twinkies and HoHos. But on July 15, 2013, boxes of Twinkies returned to store shelves under new management with the tagline, "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever."
The return of the Twinkie at first raised some eyebrows because its shelf life was extended by 26 days, to 45 days. But new company Hostess Brands LLC said the longer shelf life had been implemented about two weeks before the old company had filed for bankruptcy.
In Sept. 2013, Wonder Bread and three other former Hostess bread products, which had been sold to Flower Foods Inc., returned to store shelves.
In November, a judge ruled in favor of a California town that complained that the odors coming from the factory making Sriracha hot sauce are so strong and offensive that they have to move away while the company crushes chili peppers.
Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled in favor of about 1,466 residents, and granted a preliminary injunction to Irwindale, which filed a lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods Inc., the makers of the popular spicy chili pepper-based hot sauce.
Irwindale's complaint said the odor is a "public nuisance" causing headaches and irritation to eyes and throats, according to the request for an injunction against Huy Fong Foods that it filed in October.
A couple of Louisiana Walmart stores were stuck with the bill after food stamp recipients went on a colossal shopping spree when a power outage temporarily lifted their spending limits, state officials said.
On Oct. 12, police were called to Walmart locations in Mansfield, La., and Springhill, La., as shoppers cleaned out store shelves, dragging multiple carts laden with food.
The EBT system was affected in 17 states, where individuals and households access programs like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other programs.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services' spokesman Trey Williams said the retailers who chose not to use the emergency procedures that limit sales up to $50 per EBT cardholder during an emergency would be responsible for any additional amount spent over eligible benefit balances.
In October, two different African-American customers filed lawsuits against Barneys for racial profiling, after they say they were wrongfully detained and mistakenly accused of shoplifting and credit card fraud.
In November, a class-action lawsuit was filed by actor Rob Brown against Macy's after he was allegedly accused of using a fake credit card.
Barneys and Macy's deny profiling customers by race while the New York City Law Department said it was reviewing the suit claims on behalf of the New York Police Department.
This month, the two department store companies and other retailers drafted a customer bill or fights that prohibit profiling and unreasonable searches.
Shifting leadership and direction at Microsoft In August, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he will retire within the next 12 months, surprising investors just after the company implemented a strategic reorganization.
Ballmer, who was Microsoft's 30th employee, has been CEO since 2000. He oversaw the world's largest software maker's transition away from focusing on PC operating systems to multiple platforms and hardware, such as tablets.
Read More: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Retire
Later in October, major Microsoft shareholders called for founder Bill Gates, the company's largest shareholder, to step down as chairman, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
In June, household name George Zimmer, the founder of Men's Wearhouse, made headlines when the company unexpectedly announced that it was firing the executive chairman.
In response, Zimmer, who established the company 40 years ago, said in a statement that the board had "inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns."
In late November, Men's Wearhouse proposed to acquire Jos. A Bank weeks after it had received and rejected a takeover offer from Jos A. Bank. As of early December, Jos. A Bank was still reviewing the offer from Men's Wearhouse.
Though it seemed like the sky was the limit for electric car maker Tesla Motors after it received a number of awards this year, such as Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year, it hit a few bumps in the road -- mainly three separate well-publicized fires.
Separate fires in Washington state, Tennessee, and in Mérida, Mexico, took place after drivers crashed or hit something in the road, though no driver was injured.
Though Tesla founder Elon Musk has fiercely defended the overall safety record of the Model S, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating the two fires in the U.S.