November 25, 2014

 

In a world of Amazon and e-readers, there’s just not much room for independent bookstores. Over the past five years, mom and pop bookshops have seen revenues decrease by an average of 3.2 percent annually. But not every company in this discouraging industry is feeling the squeeze. In fact, the Dallas-based retailer Half Price Books is growing at a rate of five stores per year. Revenues rose from $50 million in 1995 to $240 million in 2013, remarkably avoiding Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 18, 2014

Thanks to increased domestic production and a period of relative market stability, gas prices have been dropping across the country. Still, no matter how low the price at the pump goes, fueling up with compressed natural gas will almost always be a better value. Those who own a vehicle that can run on the alternative fuel pay an average of $1.70 less per gallon than those who use standard petroleum. Of course, not many people out there own a natural Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

This video reveals some of the unpleasant origins behind the world’s most common products and highlights the importance of understanding supply chains.

 

Questions:

  1. Have big companies improved work standards in their supply chains?
  1. Should consumers be involved in making sure supply chains are managed humanely?

From We the Economy

 

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November 13, 2014

 

When it comes to innovation in business, creating a viable and valuable product is just the first step. After all, the arrival of the portable MP3 player made many companies stand up and take notice of this revolutionary device. One of those firms was Apple, who soon came to dominate the market with the iPod. Although the signature MP3 player was released later than its competitors, the product’s dependability and stylish design quickly allowed it to capture the bulk Continue reading

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November 6, 2014

By the end of the year, mobile advertising spending will eclipse the amount of money that companies spend on old media like radio and newspapers. This historic shift shows just how far smartphones and tablets have come after less than a decade of existence. In contrast, newspapers have been in circulation for centuries while radio has been a media fixture for nearly 100 years.

Analysts estimate that companies will invest nearly $18 billion in mobile ads this year while newspapers Continue reading

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November 2, 2014

Although it’s been more than six years since the start of the Great Recession, many in the restaurant industry have failed to adjust to the “new normal” created by the downturn. In fact, visits to U.S. restaurants have fallen by a staggering 1.3 billion since 2008. As American eateries become desperate for business, many have turned to gimmicky menu items to drum up interest. From Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to the $100 “Never Ending Pasta Pass” at Olive Garden, restaurants Continue reading

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October 31, 2014

The multi-billion dollar home goods company Procter & Gamble produces hundreds of items, but the iconic business owes much of its success to just one brand. More than 135 years ago, James Norris Gamble led a team that created a vegetable oil-based soap with a distinctly white hue. The color presented the company with the perfect brand name, Ivory, while the item’s ability to float provided a unique selling point. What’s more, Gamble advertised the bar of soap as being Continue reading

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