"Choiceful" Usage By CEOs Hits Record In Earnings Calls To Describe Consumer Slowdown 

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Nov 21, 2023 - 02:55 AM

Corporate executives in the US, including those from Walmart to McDonald's, have found a new favorite word to characterize the slowdown in consumer spending: "choiceful."

Data from the Bloomberg Document Search function shows the number of times "choiceful" was mentioned in third-quarter earnings calls hit a record high of 22, nearly double from 12 in the second quarter.

CNBC first reported the word choice by corporate execs, pointing out how Walmart CEO Doug McMillon described consumers as "choiceful" when referring to their reduction in spending.  

McMillon also spooked investors by warning, "In the US, we may be managing through a period of deflation in the months to come." 

Meanwhile, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski used the word to describe the pricing of menu items in these uncertain times:

"I think certainly, given the inflation that the market has experienced, that we've experienced over the last year, really more than a year, we've tried to be very choiceful and disciplined on how we have executed those price increases. And the good news is, we continue to lead on affordability. We continue to lead on value for money. We've seen no deterioration in our advantages there. We are holding those up."

Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren CEO Patrice Louvet told investors earlier this month, "I think that's what consumers are looking for right now as they are more choiceful." 

Corporate execs are concerned that the all-mighty consumer, whose spending drives the economy, is reaching a breaking point. 

In September, Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson was very blunt when he warned, 'the consumer is falling off a cliff.'