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Department stores had a bad 2017. Expect more closures, smaller stores and reinvention in 2018

Most U.S. department stores fared worse than their retail peers in 2017. Companies including Macy’s, Sears and Kohl’s are still trying to reinvent themselves in a new age of retailing. Some of their latest strategies have included opening smaller-format stores, closing less-profitable larger locations and making enhancements to mobile apps. Among other things, 2018 will bring new management for some department stores and inevitably elevated talk of Amazon’s threat. Lauren Thomas | @laurenthomasx3 Published 7 Hours Ago Updated 2 Hours AgoCNBC.com PLAY VIDEO It should come as no surprise that U.S. department stores fared, for the most part, much worse than their other retail peers in 2017. Faced with the rise of internet shopping hubs such as Amazon, the threat of fewer con...

People are ditching Subway, and franchisees expect a wave of store closures — here’s what went wrong

Joe Raedle/Getty Images Subway’s US store count fell by more than 900 this year. Franchisees tell Business Insider that hundreds more stores are in danger of closure and that up to one-third of Subway locations in the US are unprofitable. Subway’s crisis is linked to many factors: changing trends, a disgraced spokesman, internal conflict, and intense discounts. “They can’t just toss a bunch of stuff on random bread products and expect it to impress an increasingly discerning public,” one marketing executive says. Subway is in serious trouble. The world’s largest restaurant chain is being left behind as consumers seek healthier, fresher food and as competitors offer them better options. Franchisees are protesting its promotions, and some are complaining a...

Report: Major companies excluding older workers from job ads on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn

If you’re above a certain age, you may not be seeing job ads from dozens of the nation’s top employers — including Amazon, Verizon, UPS, and Facebook. AGE DISCRIMINATION Report: Major companies excluding older workers from job ads on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn By Monica TorresDec 21, 2017 If you’re above a certain age, you may not be seeing job ads relevant to your interests. That’s according to a new investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times that found that dozens of the nation’s top employers — including Amazon, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, UPS, and Facebook — are using Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn to create recruitment ads that target only younger job seekers.For example, a HubSpot ad explicitly aimed at people aged 27 to 40 appeared on Facebook this November, acco...

Hackers want to crack bank ATM networks – and your nearest cash machine is probably running Windows XP

Hackers can remotely infect an ATM and issue commands to it by hacking a banks network. Cyber attacks against ATMs aren’t new, but until now they’ve mostly required the attackers to have physical access to the target machine in order to compromise it. However, a joint report by Europol and Trend Micro warns how hackers are increasingly targeting bank’s corporate networks in an effort to move across to ATMs and infect them with malware. The fact the machines are basically moneyboxes attached to a Windows PC make them an appealing target for attackers, but the icing on the cake for criminals is how large swathes of ATMs are running on obsolete or unsupported operating systems. “A majority of ATMs installed worldwide still run either Windows XP or Windows XP Embedded. ...

U.S. consumer confidence falls; new home sales hit eight-month low

U.S consumer confidence fell in September and home sales dropped to an eight-month low in August due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, supporting the view that the storms would hurt economic growth in the third quarter. The economy, however, remains on solid ground as other data on Tuesday showed a strong increase in house prices in July. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index declined to a reading of 119.8 this month from 120.4 in August, which was the highest reading in five months. It said confidence in Texas and Florida “decreased considerably.” ADVERTISEMENT The survey showed consumers’ views of the labor market were less upbeat. The share of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” fell to 32.6 percent from 34.4 percent in August. However, the proportion of t...

Bill Gates now uses an Android phone

Windows Phone has been dead for a good year now, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has decided it’s also time to move on. In an interview with Fox News Sunday (spotted by On MSFT), Gates reveals he’s now using an Android phone. While Gates doesn’t reveal the exact model, he does note that it has “a lot of Microsoft software” on it, which could suggest it’s a special Microsoft Edition Samsung Galaxy S8 handset with bundled software. Microsoft started selling the Samsung Galaxy S8 handset in its retail stores earlier this year, and it includes apps like Office, OneDrive, Cortana, and Outlook. Any Android phone also supports these apps, but Microsoft’s customized S8 does suggest the company might continue to offer this for other Android devices in the future. While Gates is switching to And...

2 German grocery chains are preparing to take over the US — and Kroger should be terrified

Customers flock to the opening of a new Lidl store.Business Insider/Hayley Peterson German grocery chains Aldi and Lidl are gearing up for a major US expansion with lower prices than Kroger or Walmart. Kroger’s prices on private label items are roughly 31% higher than those of Aldi or Lidl, according to channel checks done in Virginia and North Carolina by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. The analysts called the gap “surprisingly high” — a dangerous sign for Kroger. Walmart’s prices were about 5.3% higher than the German “hard discount” grocery chains. Aldi has roughly 1,600 stores in the US, while Lidl has 25 locations. Earlier this year, Aldi announced it is aiming to become the third-biggest grocer in the US by 2022 through a $3.4 billion expansion t...

Parched Jordan starts growing vegetables in desert

The Sahara Forest Project near Jordan’s Aqaba aims to produce 130 tonnes of organic vegetables a year Jordan, a water-poor country that is 90-percent desert, on Thursday launched a project to turn its sand dunes into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water. King Abdullah II and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon attended a ceremony to mark the official opening of the “Sahara Forest Project” near the southern port city of Aqaba. In a first stage, the project aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables per year from an area the size of four football pitches. It will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses, a water desalination unit and salt ponds for salt production. The project, whose fu...

Investors are sinking hundreds of millions into a technology that could revolutionize the way we eat

Inside Plenty, a Silicon Valley-based urban farming startup that scored the largest ag-tech investment in history. In the largest agriculture-tech funding round in history, vertical farming startup Plenty attracted $200 millionPlenty will use the investment to build more farms around the worldSome experts say the investment could make the indoor farming industry more viable as a wholePlenty is no ordinary farm. Instead of growing greens outdoors, the farm grows its food on glowing, LED-lit 20-foot-tall towers inside a former electronics distribution center in South San Francisco. The towers don’t require pesticides or even natural sunlight. The technique is called indoor vertical farming, a type of agriculture in which food grows on trays or hanging modules in a climate-controlled, i...

Too much experience is a good thing: the rise of the midlife entrepreneur

Research has found the over-50s are setting up businesses faster than any other age group  Many women start the businesses they have been dreaming of after their children leave home. Photograph: Alamy Suzanne Mountain Thursday 3 August 2017 02.00 EDTLast modified on Tuesday 8 August 2017 09.54 EDT In 2016, my 30-year corporate career in human resources came to an end and, armed with my redundancy package, I started my own coaching business. Little did I know that I was becoming part of a bigger movement, where growing numbers of midlifers have become self-employed.  Suzanne Mountain. Photograph: Kathryn Fell A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that 45% of all self-employed people are now over the age of 50. We’re setting up businesses faster tha...

Wellness at work goes mainstream

From standup comedy classes to free massages – wellness at work goes mainstream It’s not just corporate giants like Google that run impressive wellbeing schemes. Smaller businesses are coming up with innovative ways to keep staff happy  Google employee Andrea Janus uses the mini-putt green on the balcony at the firm’s office in Toronto. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters When it comes to looking after people’s health and wellbeing in the workplace a complimentary bowl of fruit no longer cuts it. The corporate wellness industry is worth over $40bn (£31m) worldwide according to the Global Wellness Institute with companies looking after their workers’ wellbeing in a much more holistic way. Wellness in the workplace: how health initiatives can boost staff productivity Tech giants such as Google a...

10 Business Trends That Will Grow in 2017

Because so many Millennials are in charge of buying decisions, business trends for the upcoming years will change. CREDIT: Getty Images If you haven’t noticed, Millennials have been on the rise. They are now the largest living group according to the Census Bureau. Because so many Millennials are in charge of buying decisions, the world is changing and business trends for the upcoming years will have to cater more to this generation. For an audience that craves success and technology, here are 10 strategies you may want to consider revamping for 2017. 1. Tools for non-technical entrepreneurs to build tech products There are so many people online who are not technically savvy, myself included. But the need to use technology is more than it has ever been before. Because of that, technic...