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Top Headlines - part 72

Ikea Set to Speed-Up Expansion In China

Ikea Set to Speed-Up Expansion In China

BUSINESS

  • Ikea has nine stores in China, will now open three stores per year
  • Higher expansion pace than last few years forecasted going forward
  • Ikea focused on sustainability, with solar panel installations in California stores

Leading global furniture retail Ikea Group is set to open more stores in China to capture growth in the world's second-largest economy, with the goal to off-set dependence on the declining European market. Currently, Ikea depends on Europe for 80% of its sales, but expansion into China would permit the furniture company to reduce dependence on Europe, and cut prices by 1.5% by end 2011.

Sales for Ikea in China alone are growing at a faster rate than the entire company, Ohlsson added. Ikea currently has nine stores in China, and over the next few years, will begin expansion by opening three stores per year. The Swedish furniture giant will also continue to hire staff, after adding 4,000 new employees in 2010 alone.

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Free Checking Accounts – Soon A Thing of the Past?

Free Checking Accounts – Soon A Thing of the Past?

FINANCE

  • Free checking accounts offered by US banks down 20% to 45%
  • Banks are under financial constraints and trying to compensate
  • Denver and Miami lead nation in overdraft fees

Will free checking accounts soon become obsolete? Amid panic of a renewed economic crisis, pressure on US banks has cut free checking accounts down to 45% from 65% last year, a recent study by Bankrate.com revealed.

This year, non-interest checking accounts cost customers nearly $4.40 per month on average, compared with around $2.50 last year.

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UK Voices Reservations About EU Commission Financial Tax

UK Voices Reservations About EU Commission Financial Tax

FINANCE

  • EU tax on financial transaction would raise $80 billion a year
  • 80% of revenue from financial tax would come from London
  • G20 heads propose 50% Greek debt write-down

The UK opposes a tax on financial transactions that the EU Commission hopes to levy on member countries of the EU to bring in close to $80 billion on an annual basis from 2014. The financial tax proposed involves a 0.1% charge on inter-institutional deals involving one or more EU-member players. A 0.1% rate of tax would apply to derivative contracts.

The UK’s sanction is necessary before the tax can be imposed throughout the EU. The UK is not blocking the financial tax in and of itself but wants it to be introduced across the board.

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Macy’s Holiday Hiring to Make a Merry Christmas for Jobseekers

Macy’s Holiday Hiring to Make a Merry Christmas for Jobseekers

ECONOMY

  • Macy’s to hire 78,000 seasonal staff, 4% more than 2010
  • Macy’s forecasts 4% to 4.5% sales increase in Q3 and Q4
  • Kohl’s and JC Penney holiday hiring on a par with 2010

Retailer Macy’s is to hire 78,000 holiday workers, 4% more than the 2010 holiday season, encouraged by rising sales figures. The company forecasts a year-on-year increase of between 4% and 4.5% in same-store sales for the last two fiscal quarters this year, partly boosted by sales around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Workers will be based at department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and also support the retailer’s online business at its warehouses and call centers. Though this staffing measure is primarily a seasonal measure, the company says certain positions may well lead on to permanent positions. Macy’s is a big employer, with 170,000 workers, mostly employed on a full-time basis.

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Real Estate Update: New Home Sales Hit 6-Month Low

Real Estate Update: New Home Sales Hit 6-Month Low

ECONOMY

  • New home sales fall 2.5% to annual rate of 295,000 units
  • Median price for new homes down 8% to $209,000
  • Midwest the only region reporting growth, sales up 8%

New home sales in the US fell to the lowest point in six months, hitting close to 2.5% for a yearly total of 295,000. The median new home price for August 2011 fell almost 8% from the same month last year, marking a drop unseen since July 2009.

After the most dramatic fall in prices in a two-year period, homebuyers are seeking the cheaper option of buying distressed homes or previously owned homes with lower prices due to foreclosures.

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Amazon’s New Kindle to Test iPad Supremacy

Amazon’s New Kindle to Test iPad Supremacy

BUSINESS

  • Amazon soon to unveil new iPad challenger
  • New Kindle will function as both e-reader and tablet PC
  • Device expected to retail for around $299, close to production cost

Amazon.com is preparing for the launch of the latest version of its Kindle, which experts predict may provide the biggest challenge yet to Apple’s iPad. The new Kindle is expected to be unveiled on September 28 at an Amazon press conference in New York. The e-book device will also function as a tablet PC, featuring a new interface and a high-definition LCD touch screen, GreenCrest Capital Management analyst Anupam Palit told Bloomberg.

Amazon’s links with various multimedia partners will enable the Seattle-based e-commerce giant to load up its Kindle with e-books, music and video content, which may give it the edge in the tablet market that the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion failed to produce.

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PepsiCo Sees Power in Combined Business

PepsiCo Sees Power in Combined Business

BUSINESS

  • PepsiCo creates new marketing initiatives: Global Snacks Group and Power of One Americas Council
  • PepsiCo aims to expand global influence in snack and beverage industries
  • Groups to be led by John Compton, CEO Americas

Already a leader in the global soft drinks market, PepsiCo has created two new marketing initiatives: the Power of One Americas Council and the Global Snacks Group.

The Power of One Americas Council aims to expand the company’s complementary beverage and snack businesses in North, South and Central America, further building its global brand. While coordinating the food and beverage systems, the Power of One Americas will also examine different areas of both industries, including packaging, marketing, sales, office operations, distribution and manufacturing.

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iPhone 5 Looks Set For October Release

iPhone 5 Looks Set For October Release

BUSINESS

  • October 4 mentioned as possible date for launch of new device
  • Rumored issues with touchscreen could cause delays
  • Talk of cheaper devices to combat Android

After months of speculation and rumor, it is starting to look increasingly likely that Apple will launch the iPhone 5, the latest version of its successful smartphone, at some point during the month of October.

Whatever date is finally chosen, this will be the first major product launch for Apple under the leadership of Tim Cook, who took over as CEO of the firm when Steve Jobs stepped down last month. The event will also almost certainly be held on the company's home turf, in the Town Hall auditorium of its Cupertino campus.

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First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delivered, 3 Years Off Schedule

First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delivered, 3 Years Off Schedule

BUSINESS

  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner carbon design slashes fuel costs by 20%
  • Japan’s All Nippon Airways pays $200 million for Dreamliner
  • Boeing receives 820 Dreamliner orders, including 55 from ANA

Boeing has delivered its first 787 Dreamliner to Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) for $200 million, three years later than its original due date.

Boeing has received just over 820 Dreamliner orders to date. ANA is to use its recent delivery for domestic flights before venturing toward international flights. Though it uses only 80% fuel flying similar distances in relation to the Boeing 767, the Dreamliner outflies the Boeing 767 by more than 50%.

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Nintendo Unveils New Games, Share Price Still Fails To Rise

Nintendo Unveils New Games, Share Price Still Fails To Rise

FINANCE

  • Dramatic price cut for 3DS games device saw sales increase by 260% in August
  • New titles said to lack “wow” factor needed to turn company fortune around
  • Casual gamers now often content to play on their mobile phones

Nintendo Co., home of the Super Mario character, has launched a series of new titles that, the Japanese company claims, is among the biggest ever seen by the video games industry.

However, it was not enough to impress investors. The announcement failed to rally the firm’s share price, which has fallen by more than 45% since January this year.

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