1. America's inflation problem becomes evident.
Inflation remains historically low, and most of the commodities that sparked the fears (cotton, for example) are significantly down from their highs. Ooops.
2. Retailers will struggle to pass along costs to the consumer
How can you get an "F" for the first and a "B" for this one? Easy. For much of 2011, input costs were actually a major issue. What's more, companies were separated by whether they could pass along cost. Those who could not witnessed an erosion of margins and more selling pressure than their competition.
3. More consolidation is on the way in the consumer goods space.
There were some interesting deals like the movement of the Pringles brand in a $1.5 billion deal, but the area was relatively quiet, except for movement on the other side of the equation, namelyKraftannouncing a split.
4. Kraft under pressure with CEO Irene Rosenfeld on the hotseat.
Speaking of Kraft , Rosenfeld clearly responded to the pressure on her. The split into a domestic grocer business and a global snack company has been viewed as a coup for large activist shareholders in an effort to unlock value. She says she will lead one of the two companies, but that answer will come when the split actually occurs sometime in 2012.
5. Johnson & Johnson makes a comeback.
There was no resounding success for Johnson & Johnson , but that in itself is a victory. For the most part, the negative news flow was much less than in 2010. The children's products are returning to shelves, and the stock has outperformed the broader Dow Jones Industrial Average.