Posted by Neal Lipschutz
on April 21, 2010
, United States
If you are looking for unusual economic indicators to give you a view of what’s happening in the ‘real’ U.S. economy, try this one: Starbucks Corp. just reported traffic growth in U.S. stores.
So what, you say? So it’s the first time that has happened in three-and-a-quarter years, The Wall Street Journal just reported.
The company has all sorts of internal reasons for this positive news, the Journal reported. Better customer service and a customer loyalty program and more.
But I think there’s maybe a bit of macroeconomy in there too. If people are feeling a tad more secure about their financial status and future (the stock market’s helped, too) they might be more willing to make the regular trip to Starbucks.
I know some coffee addicts might not consider Starbucks or no Stabucks an economic-dependent decision, but surely it is somewhat discretionary at least to much of the Starbucks faithful.
If the name Jason Ader sounds familiar, it should – especially if you followed gaming and lodging companies back in the mid-1990s. Back in the day, the now 42-year-old Ader was a star equity and high-yield analyst for Bear Stearns (named among Institutional Investor’s top research analysts a number of years.) He left Bear Stearns long before it blew up. But before he moved on, he forged some strong business relationships. So Ader, and two former Bear investment bankers (Daniel Silvers and Joseph Weinberger, both 33), are playing a key role in the formation of a new real estate investment trust designed to invest in the ultra-distressed hotel business.
The REIT, Reunion Hospitality Trust (perhaps the reunion of the three Bear guys?), has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $250 million of stock. It intends to use proceeds of the offering to buy assets or debt of distressed hotel companies.
It’s that time of year – when thoughts turn to interminable summers with the kids. Or, if you’re a kid, painful summers with the ‘rents. Our kids, ages 11 and 13, never wanted to go to camp during the years we traipsed around the world. Now we’re back and they’re game for camp. And so our younger child will attend a day camp for gamers. The elder, a clarinetist, will attend overnight music camp in upstate New York. Truth be told, I’m a bit embarrassed about letting our little boy devote hot summer days to designing computer games – it would be more parentally responsible to sign him up for a summer of swimming and archery. But the little guy doesn’t enjoy those types of activities; he DOES love computer gaming. We’ll make an effort to get him to the local pool each afternoon after eight hours of creating, and slaying, virtual monsters. Colleagues who are into this stuff say they’re envious of the three week-long courses we’ve signed our son up for: “RPG Game Design-Graphic Art Hybrid;” “Game Creation-Arcade & Platform”; and “3D Game Design-Role Playing Games.” The stage mother in me hopes he will emerge from the experience as a budding Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
Posted by Neal Lipschutz
on September 11, 2009
, United States
The regular season of the National Football League got under way last night and even the wildly popular spectator sport apparently is not immune from the deep and broad recession settled upon the U.S.
Because of its limited season (eight regular season home games per team) it’s not unusual for even mediocre teams to run off season after season of sell-outs and even have a waiting list of eager fans willing to pay top dollar for season tickets when they become available.
But not this year. And less than full stadiums affect football fans who never intended the expensive and arduous trip to the stadium, but planned on the better view and more relaxed atmosphere afforded by giant LCD TV screens in lounge-worthy living rooms.
Sean Gregory, writing on Time.com, (click here for story) notes that since 1973 the NFL has a blackout rule that states a game wouldn’t be shown on TV in the team’s home market if the stadium was not sold out three days before the game (usually on Sunday).
Posted by Rick Stine
on July 24, 2009
Part Of The Fortune Brands Portfolio
So, which of these three businesses have held up best in our recent tough economic times?