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TREND WATCH

<i> Items were compiled and edited by Grassroots Research</i>

A roundup of business developments spotted by other publications. Items were compiled and edited by Grassroots Research, a unit of the San Francisco money management firm of RCM Capital Management. Some Like It Cold: Coca-Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble hope that Americans will take a clue from Europeans and Japanese and make iced coffee the next big soft drink. Coke’s Georgia-brand iced coffee is a major player in Japan but has yet to be introduced in the United States. Nestle is the only big company with a product on the U.S. market; its Nescafe Mocha Cooler is being tested in Massachusetts and Florida. Otherwise, the market has been left to three smaller brands with fair distribution: Jamaican Gold, P’nosh and New York Express. If these three take off, watch for the big players to move in. Atlanta Constitution, St. Petersburg Times

Specialized Clinics: In response to the past decade’s dropping occupancy rates and shortened hospital stays, hospitals are establishing programs designed to differentiate themselves so that they can attract patients even before they are sick. In the next decade, industry watchers expect the trend toward niches to continue, with shifts as the population ages. Clinics with the highest profit potential over the next 10 years include cancer treatment, neurosurgery, orthopedics/joint replacement, rehabilitation, laser surgery and occupational medicine. Some of the less profitable are expected to be obstetrics, alcohol treatment and eye surgery. Miami Herald

Playing in the Dirt: The gardening industry has grown at a steady 6% annually the past few years, to $16.3 billion last year, and the upscale end of it is positively shooting up. Companies such as Kinsman and Smith & Hawken, which sell through catalogues, are growing by leaps and bounds. Kinsman reports sales increases of 25% the past six months on items such as a $33 watering can. Philadelphia Inquirer

Go Cargo: In the early 1980s, American Airlines sold off the last of its all-cargo jets to concentrate on becoming the nation’s largest passenger airline. Now American has shifted its attention back to cargo shipping, which slipped to $220 million in 1986 from $315 million in 1984. With more than 500 aircraft and about 2,400 flights daily, it is positioned to increase its share of the business; tonnage is already up 30% over last year. Dallas Morning News

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Batting Spree: As the popularity of baseball-related products continues to soar, Score Board of Cherry Hill, N.J., has gone from $6 million in revenue in fiscal 1988 to $20 million in 1989. Baseball cards, which Score Board buys from makers and resells, represented only about 30% of the total, the rest from selling memorabilia on cable shopping networks. They include signed bats, jerseys and balls. In addition, the company is expanding into other sports, including hockey and pro wrestling. Philadelphia Inquirer


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