U.S. new home sales drop for third straight month in December at Reuters. “The Commerce Department said on Monday new home sales slipped 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units last, with sales in the South dropping to more than a one-year low.” Read more
Walmart is raising starting hourly wage to $12 at 500 stores at AP via USA Today. “Walmart Inc. raised its starting pay to $11 an hour in early 2018. That still lags other rivals like Target. In 2017, Target announced a plan to raise starting hourly wages to $15 by the end of this year. Target’s starting wage is currently at $13 per hour.” Read more
China coronavirus: Hong Kong medical experts call for ‘draconian’ measures in city as research estimates there are already 44,000 cases in Wuhan at South China Morning Post. “University of Hong Kong academics on Monday estimated that the number of patients in Wuhan had reached 43,590 by Saturday, including those in the incubation stage of the virus, which causes pneumonia. Mainland authorities have put the number of confirmed cases across the country at about 2,800 as of Monday, with the death toll at 81.” Read more
…J&J scientific officer ‘pretty confident’ they can create coronavirus vaccine as outbreak widens at CNBC. “But Dr. Paul Stoffels said it could take up to a year to bring it to market. Stoffels said that J&J needed to start from scratch on this vaccine, much like how it operated in the Zika outbreak.” Read more
Safeway owner Albertsons seeks IPO amid woes over underfunded pensions by Josh Kosman at NY Post. “Albertsons…is locked in a battle over a group pension plan covering some 50,000 supermarket workers in the Washington, D.C. area…The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union…claims Safeway in its 2012 and 2016 worker agreements included a guarantee to cover one-third of all pension losses in the group plan — beyond its obligations to Safeway employees. That would amount to roughly $565 million.” Read more
Grocery Delivery Goes Small With Micro-Fulfillment Centers by Jennifer Smith at Wall Street Journal. “Micro-fulfillment centers provide another, potentially less costly option. Takeoff Technologies Inc.’s 10,000-square-foot systems, for example, cost around $3 million and can be up and running in about four months, said Chief Operating Officer Laura Scott. The centers hold some 15,000 different products and require about a dozen workers to operate, including some manual picking.” WSJ subs.
**A message from Sweets & Snacks Expo. Save the date: May 19-21, 2020 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Your year starts here. Website/Register
How Under Armour Lost Its Edge by Julie Creswell & Kevin Draper at NY Times. “The fashion cycle moved away from them. They stayed true to their muse, performance footwear and apparel,” said Matt Powell, an analyst with the NPD Group. “But that’s just not where the business is. Right now, it’s all about fashion and athleisure.” Tiered subs.
American Dream has been open for 3 months. Are people going to the mega-mall? by Allison Pries at NJ Advance Media. “…if its first three months in business are any indication, American Dream is proving the nay-sayers wrong. The long-awaited mega-mall in the Meadowlands has seen more than 790,000 visitors since it opened its doors three months ago this weekend…much lower than the 100,000 visitors per day that Triple Five projected for the center when it’s fully open. But, right now, only 8% of American Dream is operating.” Read more
Hundreds of Amazon employees protest company PR policy by speaking out about climate change by Monica Nickelsburg at GeekWire. “More than 340 workers criticized Amazon’s contribution to climate change Sunday in a Medium post, violating corporate PR rules that prevent employees from discussing company business without approval.” Read more
Cities Prepare for the Worst as Food Stamp Cuts Near by Lola Fadula at NY Times via MSN. “To the Trump administration, record low unemployment and steady economic growth mean there is no time like the present to nudge people off federal assistance. Around 40 million people access the food-stamp program each year, nearly 3 million of them able-bodied, without children. Of those 3 million, around 2 million do not work.” Read more
American Households Waste Nearly A Third Of Their Food, Study Finds by Ben Renner at Study Finds. “…higher-income households generate more waste on average. Households with healthier diets that include more perishable vegetables and fruits also tend to waste more food. “It’s possible that programs encouraging healthy diets may unintentionally lead to more waste,” Jaenicke explains.” Read more
Atari to open video game-themed hotels across the U.S. by Chris Morris at Fortune. “…will result in eight or more Atari-themed hotels around the U.S., the first of which breaks ground in Phoenix, Ariz. later this year, CEO Fred Chesnais tells Fortune. Planned features for the hotels range from arcade bars to fine restaurants, with a smattering of augmented and virtual reality tech in between. Select locations will also feature e-sports studios…” Read more
Coronavirus sparks Starbucks, McDonald’s closures in China
Walmart reaches agreement on 810-megawatt wind project
‘The new rule of thumb is $3 million’ saved for retirement
Clayton Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” has passed away
What famous retailers looked like when they first opened
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