December 10, 2014

When Michael Garrity founded CommunityLend in 2010, he thought his company was in a perfect position to capture an untapped market. After all, the 2008 financial crisis made many banks wary of lending too much cash, presenting a golden opportunity to non-traditional operations like CommunityLend. Plus, the company’s peer-to-peer model was the first of its kind in Garrity’s home country of Canada, marking a major advantage for the startup.

Despite these benefits, though, CommunityLend had trouble finding qualified borrowers for Continue reading

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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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October 1, 2014

As people inevitably default on their subprime auto loans, dealers turn to a variety of ways to retain their merchandise, sometimes with hazardous consequences.

 

http://nyti.ms/1qwkB8x

 Questions:

  1. Do regulatory agencies need to clearly define when a borrower is in default?
  1. Should lenders be able to turn off a moving car?

From The New York Times

 

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September 17, 2014

Although nothing in business is a sure thing, few industries are more volatile than apparel retail. In this unpredictable world, it can be almost impossible to guarantee success for a brand. For instance, Target and Kmart spent years dueling for dominance until the former won out with its more upscale marketing. However, long-term prosperity grants no safety net. Abercrombie & Fitch ruled the preppy clothing market for more than a decade, but now sales are falling as younger consumers view Continue reading

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September 14, 2014

Last year the retail chain Staples signed a contract to become the State of New York’s official office-supplies vendor, which looked like quite a coup at the time. After all, the agreement put Staples in direct contact with city halls, schools, police departments and charities across the state. In fact, the company was so desperate to tap this lucrative market that it pledged to sell a number of products for just a penny apiece. While this bold promise helped Staples Continue reading

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September 10, 2014

Walmart became the largest retail chain in the U.S. by offering customers the same low prices every day. As it expanded globally, however, the company found out that not every culture responds to this pricing strategy. For instance, Walmart has had a hard time winning over Brazilian consumers despite opening 550 stores in nearly 200 cities. That’s because most people in the large South American nation are happy to hunt for the best deals at a variety of stores rather Continue reading

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July 15, 2014

The online, indie-driven craft store Etsy is giving their users a chance to sell their wares wholesale to retail outlets.

 

http://nyti.ms/1jFBb61

 

Questions:

  1. What are the major benefits of using Etsy to a firm like Worley’s Lighting?
  1. Do entrepreneurs like Shelli Worley often turn their hobbies into businesses?

From The New York Times

 

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Over the last few years, brick and mortar retailers have come up with some ingenious ways to gather data about the customers who walk into their stores. We’ve taken a look at some of them in past posts on this blog, including one story about “smart” mannequins that observe consumer patterns using cameras in the dummies’ eyes. Although that may skew a bit on the creepy side, it’s important to keep in mind that physical retailers are merely trying to Continue reading

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November 30, 2013

 

People today are becoming less and less dependent on cash, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at most vending machines. More than 40 percent of American adults said in a recent survey that they could go a week without paying for something in cash. Meanwhile, many of the nation’s vending machines continue to accept only bills and coins. This reluctance to change likely led to the vending industry’s 18.3 percent drop in sales between 2007 and 2011. When Continue reading

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