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Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Monday, July 28, 2014 10:00am
Dollar Tree announced on Monday that it is buying rival discount chain Family Dollar for approximately $8.5 billion in cash and stock. The combined company will have 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
The deal promises big cost-savings as operations are consolidated. Both companies have reported earnings that underperformed analysts’ predictions in recent quarters. Family Dollar has also been under pressure from investor/activist Carl Icahn, who has called for the chain to be sold.
During the recession, consumers flocked to these super-discount stores. But now, says economist Chris Christopher at IHS Global Insight, consumers’ balance sheets are improving, and moderate to middle income families may be drifting away from the deepest discounts.
“Wages are starting to gain a bit of traction,” says Christopher. “And in addition, there is a little bit of migration of people from the discount stores to the middle-tier retailers.”
Christopher says the super-discount stores — all of Dollar Tree’s items sell for $1 or less; Family Dollar has a wider range of goods reaching slightly higher price-points — can’t raise prices very much. So their margins are being squeezed as inflation starts to pick up at the wholesale and retail level.
Monday, July 28, 2014 7:00am
More on the news that Dollar Tree will purchase Family Dollar for $8.5 billion, and what it means for both businesses moving forward. Plus, Nissan is hoping to turn over a new Leaf; While the company most likely loses money on its electric car, it hopes that it will see profits in the longrun. Also, the Muslim American community adds billions to the U.S. economy, especially during Eid Al Fitr, which follows Ramadan. So why haven't marketers caught on?
Monday, July 28, 2014 6:00am
On Monday, the nation gets a new secretary for the department of Housing and Urban Development.
Julian Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio, and HUD has served as an economic backstop during the financial meltdown.
“HUD is very important for people who are in some sort of credit recovery,” says Mark Goldman, who teaches real estate at San Diego State University.
And some expect big things from Castro because he served as a mayor; a political office known for hands-on, take-charge kinds of leaders.
“So they are proactive people once they get into federal office,” says Sheila Crowley is president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
But she says even the best leadership can’t bypass Congress.
“When you’ve got programs that are being starved, it’s just very hard to make progress,” says Crowley.
Monday, July 28, 2014 6:00am
Nissan reports its second quarter earnings on Monday. The company has been one of the pioneers in the electric car business with its Leaf. The Leaf is one of the most critically acclaimed electric cars out there, but the business model is still up in the air.
"The cost of those batteries is still too high," says David E. Cole, founder of AutoHarvest. Estimates put the batteries between $10,000 - $16,000. They also need to be replaced every 10 years or so. Nissan is offering Leaf owners replacement batteries for $5,500, which means the company is probably losing money on those batteries.
"Everybody’s working on these batteries," says Cole. "A variety of different technologies are being explored, but the cost has just not come down the way we would like to see it."
In fact, Nissan is probably losing money on every Leaf it sells. Still, it could pay off.
"People criticized Toyota for years for losing money on every Prius it sold," says John O’Dell, senior editor for fuel efficiency and alternative vehicles at Edmunds.com. "And now Toyota makes a ton of money on every Prius it sells, and it also dominates the hybrid market because it was willing to invest with losses into a long term strategy."
O’Dell estimates electric cars won’t catch on in a mainstream way for another five years.
Monday, July 28, 2014 6:00am
Venmo is an app that allows users to exchange money easily with the click of a few buttons, which makes it particularly useful when it comes to everything from going to the movies to splitting the dinner check. The app is also a kind of social network, where both the parties involved in a transaction and the purpose of that transaction can be publicly available, sometimes in humorous ways. Freelance writer and author Chiara Atik recently published an article in Medium’s “Matter" on the topic.
One of the major issues with using more established platforms to see what people are doing is that users are pretty savvy at this point to social media — they know not to post about things they don’t want publicly consumed. However, Venmo currently exists outside of that frame of mind.
“Because Venmo has this utilitarian aspect to it, people are a little bit looser,” Chiara said.
Even so, money has the power to be a large window into how people interact.
Said Chiara, "It’s a snippet of people’s relationships with each other."
However, as with Facebook and other social networks, this period won’t last. Once enough people are using the app — especially parents — most users will likely make their transactions private.
March 20, 2014