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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: What Landing?

Apr 10, 2024 09:49AM ● By Donna Walker

CFOs' Outlook For Economy Improves In First Quarter 2024

Financial decision-makers notably increased their expectations for real GDP growth in 2024, according to the results of The CFO Survey, a collaboration of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta.


In the survey, which closed on March 8, CFOs also note an increase in labor-replacing automation.


CFOs revised upward their expectations for real GDP growth over the next four quarters to 2.2 percent, from 1.7 percent in the prior survey and 1.4 percent a year ago.


Moreover, the probability respondents assign to negative year-ahead economic growth fell to 10 percent, from 31 percent during the second half of 2022.


Alongside stronger GDP growth expectations, using a scale from 0 to 100 to rate their optimism about the overall U.S. economy, CFO optimism increased to 61, its highest level since 2021Q2.


Officials said the pick-up in overall optimism is widespread, cutting across firm size and industry.


“CFOs have improved their economic outlook amid stronger realized growth in the U.S. economy,” said Atlanta Fed economist Brent Meyer.


Meyer added, “Firms still face many challenges, including a tight labor market and persistent pricing pressures, but there is less concern over a downturn in economic growth compared to previous quarters.”


CFO optimism about their own firm’s financial prospects, which stands at a level of 69, increased slightly from last quarter.


At the same time, over half of firms expect their price growth in 2024 to remain above pre-COVID norms, suggesting that for many firms, pricing pressures remain above what they consider normal.


The business spending picture has improved from historically low levels.


The share of firms that increased spending (excluding capital expenditures) in the past three months rose to 47 percent, an increase of 4 percentage points from last quarter’s survey, though this remains far lower than the 66 percent that noted increased spending in a survey conducted this time two years ago.


For capital expenditures, the share of firms planning investments also edged higher since last quarter.


In a special question, more than half of respondent firms report implementing software, equipment and/or other technology to automate tasks previously completed by employees.


Among those firms that automated tasks over the last 12 months, close to 40 percent noted that automation caused them to either slow the rate of hiring new employees, decline to fill open positions or lay off employees.


The CFO Survey is issued by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta.

HanesBrands, Duke University Extend Long-term Apparel Partnership

HanesBrands (NYSE:HBI), the world’s largest supplier of collegiate fan apparel, announced a five-year extension of its apparel partnership with Duke University.


The partnership renews HanesBrands exclusive rights to sell Duke’s fanwear in the mass retail channel.


Duke is one of more than two dozen schools that have exclusive mass retail partnerships with HanesBrands, including Florida State, Penn State, the University of Michigan, Clemson University and Auburn University.


In addition, more than a dozen leading universities have primary apparel partnerships with HanesBrands, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University and the University of Georgia.


“Passion for the Blue Devils runs deep in HanesBrands’ home state of North Carolina as well as nationally, and we’re proud to continue to support and engage their faithful fanbase,” said John Fryer, HanesBrands president of Licensed Sports Apparel.


Fryer added, “This is our longest extension to date with Duke, and it’s testament that our partnership is helping to grow their market among loyal fans, alumni and students.”


The partnership extension with HanesBrands was completed in conjunction with the university’s exclusive licensing agent, CLC.


In addition to Champion and Hanes, the eco-forward Alternative Apparel brand and ComfortWash brand are also included in the company’s collegiate apparel program.

Chicken Salad Chick Opens First Company-Owned Restaurant In South Carolina

Chicken Salad Chick, the fast-casual chicken salad restaurant concept, is growing again in South Carolina, opening its first company-owned location in the state.


Located at 4087 Julep Way in Aiken, the newest restaurant is one of the first businesses to open in the redeveloped Aiken Mall site and will welcome guests with a convenient drive-thru.


Officials said the Aiken community can join the grand opening Wednesday, April 24; the first 100 guests that morning will win free chicken salad for a year.


Chicken Salad Chick first came to the nearby Augusta market in 2016 and has three locations in the area.


General Manager and Aiken resident Mark Meeks has been serving the local community for the past two years in Augusta. 


As part of the pre-opening Friends & Family events in Aiken, Chicken Salad Chick will support Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS), to help support the mission of providing meals, clothing and other assistance to neighbors in need. 


Through the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation, the company also raises funds for organizations throughout the year to fight childhood cancer and support local food banks and food-related charities.


For more information on giveaways and specials, go to

Attorney General Kicks Off Financial Literacy Month With New Resources for South Carolinians

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson recognized April as Financial Literacy Month, a month dedicated to promoting the importance of financial literacy and financial education.


State officials said Wilson is committed to providing resources to empower South Carolinians to make important decisions on saving and investing, as well as protecting citizens from financial fraud. 


Wilson kicked off the month by announcing that free resources for South Carolinians are available on the office’s website,, to download, as well as to order for distribution.


The booklets provide helpful and concise information on a variety of financial topics, including an investment guide for military families; making informed decisions when starting a new job; starting financial life together as newlyweds; and working with financial professionals.


A booklet outlining the red flags of some prevalent financial frauds and action steps that investors can take to protect themselves is also available. The resources are available in English and Spanish.


The South Carolina Investor Guide is also available for order or download at


Officials said the guide was written to help all investors—beginning and experienced—understand the principles of investing to make effective financial decisions. 


Organizations, educators, and citizens may order copies of any of these resources by emailing the Securities Division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office at [email protected] or by calling 803-734-9916.


The Securities Division can also provide a speaker to present educational information to help South Carolinians increase their knowledge and understanding of investing, including ways to help avoid investment fraud.


Speaker requests can be made at

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