Tag: Walmart

Walmart’s $3B Jet buy hurting Amazon? (Wall Street says nope); a Humana DOJ loss could be Louisville’s gain; and Baxter Avenue Theatres plans big upgrades

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:28 p.m.

Amazon vs. Walmart
Amazon’s stock (blue) rose and Walmart’s stock (red) fell today on the Jet deal.

AMAZON: Walmart’s $3 billion bet on discounter Jet may reinvigorate growth in its online shopping business, which has slowed in recent quarters even as Amazon’s overall sales have rocketed above $100 billion annually (CNN). Wall Street’s not holding its breath; Amazon’s stock rose a smidge and Walmart’s fell a bit by the time trading closed at 4 p.m. ET (Google Finance).

Jet logoEarlier today, news emerged that Amazon’s office has been searched by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission over its dealings with merchants who sell goods through the retailer, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. The antitrust agency is looking into whether Amazon sought deals with sellers that gave it more favorable conditions over other e-commerce companies in one of its biggest foreign markets. It wasn’t immediately clear when the JFTC inquiry took place (Bloomberg).

The retailer’s shipping costs are skyrocketing, underscoring why it just unveiled its first branded Prime Air cargo plane. Amazon’s shipping expenses soared 43% vs. a year ago during the first half of the year. In 2013-2015, those costs were rising 29% to 32% annually. This year, it’s already on track to spend nearly $6 billion on shipping.

Amazon logo“Bottom line,” says ZD Net, “Amazon has no choice but to become more efficient than UPS and FedEx. If Amazon can use its own air fleet to even come close to its shipping vendors, it’ll potentially save billions of dollars simply by cutting out the middleman.”

Here’s a time-lapse video showing the new Prime Air Boeing 767 being readied for its debut this weekend at the annual Seafair air show in its corporate hometown of Seattle; more news coverage about Prime Air.

Amazon and UPS are both big employers in the Louisville area; UPS has 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub, and Amazon employs 6,000 at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville.

KINDRED has just filed its detailed quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The hospital and nursing giant reported strong earnings on Thursday (SEC document).

HUMANA could lose its Justice Department battle to win approval for the insurer’s proposed $37 billion merger with Aetna, but Louisville’s economy could wind up a winner — if the history of GE Appliances’ auction is a guide (WDRB).

In other news, the Baxter Avenue Theatres is adding powered reclining chairs and a full bar to the seven-screen Highlands complex at Mid-City Mall, an approximately $500,000 upgrade that will start in October (Insider Louisville).

Louisville employer stocks jump again, as post-Brexit investor confidence rises; the Dow soars 285 points; and Walmart hits Amazon with free-shipping trial

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 6:18 p.m.

Brexit umbrealla
Clouds are parting.

Those employers’ shares closed higher today, as overall U.S. stocks clawed back half the ground lost after Britain’s surprise vote Thursday to quit the European Union. It was the second rally in two days on Wall Street, which had been rattled since Friday by uncertainty over the so-called Brexit. Britain’s stock market also has recouped losses in the same stretch, although other major markets in Europe and Asia have yet to bounce back fully, according to The Associated Press.

The three major U.S. stock indices all closed higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed 285 points, or 1.6%; the S&P 500, 35 points or 1.7%, and the Nasdaq, 87 points or 1.9%, according to Google Finance.

Here are today’s closing prices for the 10 employers tracked by Boulevard:

In non-Brexit news:

AMAZON: Walmart today launched a free 30-day trial of ShippingPass, its two-day shipping program to all U.S. consumers, as the world’s biggest retailer ratchets up the competition with Amazon’s Prime subscription service. ShippingPass costs $49 a year, half as much as Amazon’s $99 (Reuters and press release). Also today, Amazon slashed prices up to 50% on newly released, full-featured, unlocked Android smartphones for Prime members (company website). Amazon employs 6,000 workers in the Louisville area, at distribution centers in Jeffersonville, and in Bullitt County’s Shepherdsville.

KINDRED: Senior Vice President John Lucchese sold 4,341 shares for about $11.39 a share today for a total $49,000, the company said in a Form 4 regulatory filing (SEC document). Kindred shares closed this afternoon at $11.43, up 5%.

GE: U.S. regulators rescinded stricter oversight of the company’s finance arm, GE Capital, after saying the conglomerate had made changes that significantly reduced its threat to U.S. financial stability (Wall Street Journal). Its former residential home appliance business, now owned by Haier Group, employs 6,000 workers in Louisville.

John Yarmuth
Yarmuth

In other news, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville has once more donated his entire congressional salary — $174,000 — to charity, making good on a campaign promise when he was first elected a decade ago. The 17 recipients include three arts and humanities groups: Louisville’s Fund for the Arts, Louisville Orchestra, and the Muhammad Ali Center (WDRB).

$1.7B deal to sell Middle East Hut-KFC franchiser collapses

A news summary, focused on on big employers; updated 1:31 p.m.

YUM: A proposed $1.7 billion deal to sell a majority stake in the Middle Eastern franchise rights-owner of Pizza Hut and KFC to a local group of businessmen has been scrapped. Kuwait Food Co. had been up for sale for years, but talks to sell failed amid a diminished appetite for large transactions in a region where low oil prices have dented investors’ confidence (Wall Street Journal).

GE logoGE picked Boston for its new headquarters, but not before the border state of Rhode Island made its case by comparing itself favorably on labor costs. The average R.I. tech worker makes $93,000 per year vs. $109,000 in Massachusetts, state officials said. Gov. Gina Raimondo told The Providence Journal that the state’s final offer to GE was more than $100 million and “competitive” with the Massachusetts package. Providence and New York City were among the finalists before GE chose Boston in January. (Boston Globe).

In other news, over the past four years, the Louisville police have logged more than 9,200 calls for service from six area Walmarts, 33% more than the next-highest location, seven area Kroger stores (WDRB).

In Brown-Forman’s first family, an exceptional tale of beating the odds for 150 years

Boulevard focuses on news about some of Louisville’s biggest employers, nonprofits, and cultural institutions. This is one in an occasional series about them.

The spirits and wine company best known for its Jack Daniel’s, Old Forrester and Korbel brands is one of Louisville’s most storied companies. George Garvin Brown, a young pharmaceuticals salesman, started it in 1870 with $5,500* in saved and borrowed money.

Nearly 150 years later, his fifth-generation descendants sit on the board of directors, which George Garvin Brown IV chairs. And the company employs 4,000 people worldwide, with 1,000 in the Louisville area at the headquarters at 840 Dixie Highway and elsewhere.

Garvin Brown IV
Garvin Brown IV

The Browns control the company through their majority ownership of the voting Class A shares — a stake worth more than $10 billion, making them America’s 20th most-wealthy family, according to Forbes magazine. The Browns and the company are major supporters of Louisville cultural institutions, including the Speed Art MuseumFrazier Museum, and Actors Theatre.

The family’s hold on Brown-Forman is exceptionally rare in American business. More than 30% of all family-owned companies survive into the second generation, according to the Family Business Alliance. But the numbers dwindle rapidly after that: Just 12% make it to the third generation, and a slim 3% survive to the fourth and beyond. With the ascension of three new fifth-generation Browns to the board of directors Thursday, Brown-Forman is now firmly in fifth-generation hands.

To be sure, there are other resilient families. Just last month, Walmart announced a third generation member — Helen and Sam Walton’s grandson, Steuart Walton — was joining the board. The Mars family still owns their candy company, 105 years later. And the Sulzbergers are grooming a fourth generation to run The New York Times.

But other clans are struggling: The Redstones are now embroiled in a jaw-dropping battle over a $40 billion empire that includes Viacom and CBS. A family fight over the future of the Al Schneider real estate fortune has pit sisters against sisters. And we all know about the collapse of the Bingham family’s media holdings amid third-generation infighting in the 1980s.

In Thursday’s reshuffling of the board room, the Browns hope to avoid that fate.

Papa crooks nab 600-lb. store safe, and Schnatter’s chopper noise ticks off neighbors

A news summary focused on big employers; updated 8:33 a.m.

John Schnatter
Schnatter

PAPA JOHN’S: Two super-strong thieves were caught on video dragging a 600-pound safe with $1,300 from a Papa John’s in Edinburgh on Monday, leaving police baffled (Mirror). CEO John Schnatter‘s frequent helicopter trips to and from his property in tony Anchorage have caused enough noise for some neighbors to write complaint letters to the city (WDRB). (Terrific story, BTW!)

AMAZON: Walmart is testing a two-day shipping subscription service and building a regional delivery network as the retail giant takes on Amazon (Wall Street Journal).

KFC launches program in India to fight childhood hunger (Times of India).

GE has signed a three-year contract to be exclusive appliance provider for developer Perry Homes of Houston (Business First).

HUMANA: Aetna doesn’t have any plans to leave Obamacare exchanges in 15 states — and may, in fact, expand; Aetna has agreed to buy Humana for $37 billion (Wall Street Journal).

In other news: Walmart and its charitable arm have donated more than $22 million to Kentucky non-profits in the past fiscal year (WDRB). A candy store will open May 23 in the former Why Louisville space on Bardstown Road (WDRB, too).

With revenue down, CafePress’ CEO has a turnaround plan; shares closed yesterday at $3.13, dead even, but down 33% from a year ago (Business First). U.S. stock futures were poised to open up as oil prices traded near 2016 highs (CNBC).