Amazon goes “brick and mortar”

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In an unusual move, Amazon opened a storefront bookstore in Seattle’s University Village mall. Questions: 1. What are the characteristics of the books sold in the “brick and mortar store”? 2. In addition to books, what other products does the store carry? 3. What do you see as the costs and benefits of this new… Read more »

All Day Breakfast

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In an email to franchisees, McDonald’s US President Mike Andres called the all-day breakfast launch a success. However, this article points to a survey of U.S. franchisees that disagree. Questions: 1. Why are McDonald’s franchisees saying that the all-day breakfast launch has been a nightmare? List the reasons and rank them according to your opinion… Read more »

What’s going on with Walmart stock?

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The four members of the Walton family controlling more than half the shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had $11 billion of their combined net worth evaporate Wednesday as shares of the retailer plunged on a lower earnings outlook for the coming fiscal year. Questions: 1. Who are the four Waltons that the article is talking… Read more »

“A Very Dangerous Process”

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Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of Daraprim,a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating malaria and toxoplasmosis. Questions: 1. What are the causes of price increases for drugs like Daraprim? 2. What is the past controversy associated with Martin Shkreli, the founder and chief… Read more »

Oh The Times They Are A-Changing!

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Month after month, McDonald’s has shared that once again same-store sales have dropped in the United States. The routine has become so consistently depressing that the company decided to quit sharing monthly performance data altogether this past March. Questions: 1. How many stores will McDonald’s close this year and what percentage more was that than… Read more »

Buffett’s New Move

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Warren Buffett is paying a hefty price for the biggest bet of his career as his Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) has agreed to buy Precision Castparts Corp (PCP.N), valuing the maker of aerospace and other parts at $32.3 billion. Questions: 1. According to the article, Berkshire’s new deal joins a foray of companies within other… Read more »

Innovation, Price Fixing, or Rotten Apples?

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Recently, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling whereby Apple was determined to be the leader of an industrywide conspiracy among book publishers. Their goal was to raise prices of digital books. Questions: 1. When was the original case brought? 2. What were the damaging words in the case and who are these attributed to?… Read more »

Another Bubble?

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Airbnb’s latest financing round is being led by private equity firm General Atlantic, and includes Hillhouse Capital Group, a Chinese fund manager, and Tiger Global Management, which just led a big $80 million financing for Postmates. The deal is expected to be officially announced today, Monday, June 29. Questions: 1. What is a “private IPO”?… Read more »

Shaking up Pricing

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Because the costs of health-care are rising, along with higher insurance deductibles and co-pays, the way medical services are being delivered is changing. unlike hospital ERs and urgent care centers, retailers, such as grocery and drugstore chains, who operate in-store clinics are displaying pricing information upfront for consumers paying cash. Questions: 1. What are the… Read more »

New Study on Hospital Costs

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Twenty of the 50 U.S. hospitals that charge the most for their services are located in Florida — and all but one of them are for-profit, according to a study released Monday. Questions: 1. Which facility is at the top of the list for charging the most and how many times more do uninsured patients… Read more »