Sad Times for a Retail Icon!

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This week, J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection after a prolonged decline over the past 20 years, becoming the latest and largest retailer to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the industry. Questions: How many employees does this affect? When and where did the company start? How many stores does the company have… Read more »

Money for Climate Change

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Jeff Bezos announced on Instagram today that he is giving about 7.7% of his $130 billion net worth to launch the Bezos Earth Fund. Questions: According to the article, what role did Amazon employees have in this move? How much in total dollars is he committing? By 2040, what is Amazon’s pledge? Source: Harrington, R…. Read more »

The $3 idea goes away

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The San Francisco-based company that sold most private-label essentials without branding is closing. Questions: Why did they decide to close? Based on the article, how many people were employed at Brandless? How much did SoftBank invest in this company’s concept? When did Brandless start selling its products in major retailers’ physical stores instead of online-only?… Read more »

A four-day work week at fast-food and other restaurants

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According to BusinessInsider.com, Shake Shack¬†has rolled out a four-day workweek for managers at a third of its locations. Questions: What other chain restaurant CEOs interviewed in the article see labor as its biggest challenge? What other benefits are being tested by some chains to retain and attract good employees? Discuss. What is the domino effect… Read more »

The End of Another Department Store Icon

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According to the New York Times, the end of Barney’s, the famed department store, involved executives crisscrossing the globe, all-night strategy sessions, last-minute alliances, and attempts to sway public opinion. However, all these attempts led to bankruptcy. Questions: What happened to Barney’s in bankruptcy court? How many full-time employees will be affected? Gene Pressman, a… Read more »

No bailout for you!

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According to Business Insider, hundreds of thousands of tourists have been left stranded after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to grant the collapsed travel firm Thomas Cook a bailout of ¬£150 million, or about $186 million. Questions: Explain Johnson’s idea of a moral hazard. How large is the Thomas Cook fleet of planes and… Read more »

Goldman Sachs has a plan – but is it a good one?

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Goldman Sachs has a plan to combine five investing teams into a single alternatives unit. This plan has been doubted internally and has led to interesting drama within the firm. Questions: Who is Goldman’s CEO who announced this plan? Why is this move important to outside investors? Why is the debate centering around Goldman’s two… Read more »

An Age of Trust and Undying Loyalty

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According to the New York Times, Sears may be struggling to survive after filing for bankruptcy in October, since its rundown and empty stores symbolize a has-been company that failed to adapt. But across the country, legions of former Sears workers like Mr. Atwood, a retired truck driver, gather regularly to reminisce about their long… Read more »

The Age of the Employee-less Company

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During most of the 20th century, companies bringing in the most money also employed the most people. This article looks at a new paper from the Brookings Institute about the new age of ghost companies. Questions: 1. The article mentions Walnart as one of the five largest companies in 2012 that had 100,000 people employed… Read more »

Frauds in Small Family-owned Wineries

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There have been a number of examples of wine-related crimes in recent times. In the wine industry, the most trusted employee could be the person least suspected of committing fraud. This article details some of the most recent frauds in the wine industry. Questions: 1. What types of fraud are highlighted in the article? 2…. Read more »