08/25/2019

News

Off the Charts: Holiday heartbreak for retailers

The holiday season was a brutal one for U.S. retailers, especially department stores and companies that sell luxury products, and companies and investors alike didn’t see it coming. The U.S. economy has been growing at a steady pace, and unemployment is low and consumer confidence is high. That seemed to set the stage for strong […]

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U.S. Labor Market Powers On Despite Growth Concerns

A gauge of layoffs across the U.S. fell last week to the lowest level since 1969, suggesting the labor market remains on solid ground despite concerns of slowing economic growth. Initial jobless claims declined by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 199,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. This marks the […]

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Los Angeles and Other Cities Stash Money to Prepare for a Recession

Los Angeles officials are socking away money for the next recession. The nation’s second-largest city has set aside close to $500 million across several funds to help weather emergencies and financial shocks, said Matt Szabo, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s top budget adviser. It had about $192 million in reserves before the last recession, which officially lasted […]

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As Demand for Small Cars Weakens, More Auto Makers Drop Them From U.S. Lineups

Cheap small sedans and hatchbacks have long been the gateway into the auto market for many generations of American drivers. But demand for these models is shrinking fast in favor of larger, more versatile crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, and more auto makers are dropping them altogether from their U.S. lineups, creating fewer options for budget-minded […]

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Now for the Hard Part: Getting Californians to Buy Legal Weed

A billion dollars of tax revenue, the taming of the black market, the convenience of retail cannabis stores throughout the state — these were some of the promises made by proponents of marijuana legalization in California. One year after the start of recreational sales, they are still just promises. California’s experiment in legalization is mired […]

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Could Tesla Price Cuts Mean Demand Is Slowing?

Tesla made about 9,300 more vehicles than it delivered last year, raising concerns among industry analysts that inventory is growing as demand for the company’s electric cars may be starting to wane. If demand falls, they say, the company will enter a new phase of its business. Like other automakers, Tesla will have to either […]

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Americans continued ugly breakup with passenger cars in November as auto sales decline

Americans continued to abandon passenger cars in November, transitioning rapidly into crossovers, SUVs and pickups as automakers increasingly catered their products to shifting driver preferences. Automakers sold slightly fewer vehicles overall in November, compared with last year, according to analysts’ forecasts, including one from Edmunds.com, which projected auto sales fell 1.3 percent last month, and […]

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Used-Car Sales Boom as New Cars Get Too Pricey for Many

The gap between the price of a new and used vehicle is as wide as it has been in years, pushing an increasing number of consumers to the used-car lot and putting pressure on auto makers to deepen discounts on new cars to keep them competitive. Demand for used cars was unusually strong this summer […]

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North Face headquarters leaving Bay Area; hundreds of jobs affected

The North Face is packing up all that gear and moving its headquarters, along with hundreds of jobs, out of the Bay Area. The outdoor activewear and gear maker’s parent company, VF Corp., announced this week that it is splitting its outdoors and denim businesses into two publicly traded companies. The outdoors operation in Alameda […]

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Supreme Court Rules States Can Require Online Merchants to Collect Sales Tax

States have the authority to make online retailers collect sales taxes, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, opening a new chapter in economic history where e-commerce is treated as a mature player in a marketplace that is no longer defined by trips to the corner store or the shopping mall. By a 5-to-4 vote, the court […]

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Entry-level jobs at stores aren’t as easy to get

Getting a job at a store or fast-food restaurant — often a way into the economy for an unskilled worker — used to be as simple as walking up and down the mall and applying. Now, with store chains closing and laying off thousands of workers, that path is more complicated. The stores that remain […]

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America’s Retailers Have a New Target Customer: The 26-Year-Old Millennial

The biggest single age cohort today in the U.S. is 26-year-olds, who number 4.8 million, according to Torsten Slok, chief international economist for Deutsche Bank . People 25, 27 and 24 follow close behind, in that order. Many are on the verge of life-defining moments such as choosing a career, buying a house and having children.

Companies looking to grab a piece of that business, however, have run into a problem. This generation, with its over-scheduled childhoods, tech-dependent lifestyles and delayed adulthood, is radically different from previous ones. They’re so different, in fact, that companies are developing new products, overhauling marketing and launching educational programs—all with the goal of luring the archetypal 26-year-old.

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Retail Pain Cuts Property-Tax Take

In April, the Indiana Supreme Court handed Kohl’s Corp. a victory when it agreed not to review a lowered property assessment that was awarded to one of Kohl’s stores because of the growing vacancy and dropping values of other shopping centers in its area.

The decision, which translated into a $219,000 refund for Kohl’s, was a sign of the drain to tax revenues resulting from the worsening retail real estate landscape for Howard County, the taxing jurisdiction, as well as other local governments throughout the country.

Retail sales and occupancy rates are falling in many parts of the country, partly due to oversupply of stores and competition with online retail. That has meant lower property values, lower tax collections and—in some cases—less to pay teachers and firefighters.

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California stays on track for 2 million new-car sales in 2017

With light-truck sales exceeding passenger car transactions for the first time in recent history, California’s new-car sales are again expected to exceed 2 million vehicles in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association. CNCDA released its second-quarter 2017 report Tuesday, showing 1.026 million new-car sales in the January-to-June period, down 2 percent year over year. That slight decline was no surprise, as numerous experts have been saying that California’s red-hot auto sales market will slow down throughout 2017. Even so, CNCDA projected 2.05 million new-vehicle sales statewide by the conclusion of this year.

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Robots Are Replacing Workers Where You Shop

Now almost all of Wal-Mart’s 4,700 U.S. stores have a Cash360 machine, making thousands of positions obsolete. Most of the employees in those positions moved into store jobs to improve service, said a Wal-Mart spokesman. More than 500 have left the company. The store accountant displaced last August is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour. “The role of service and customer-facing associates will always be there,” said Judith McKenna, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief operating officer. But, she added, “there are interesting developments in technology that mean those roles shift and change over time.” Shopping is moving online, hourly wages are rising and retail profits are shrinking—a formula that pressures retailers, ranging from Wal-Mart to Tiffany & Co., to find technology that can do the rote labor of retail workers or replace them altogether.

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