October 6, 2020

October is usually the month that Halloween store owners look forward to all year round. Adult customers often spend well over $100 on costumes and accessories as they prepare for parties or haunted pub crawls. But with many of these social events now canceled due to the pandemic, Halloween stores are struggling to make up this essential source of revenue. At Lorenzo Caltagirone’s Virginia costume shop, for instance, sales are down 80 percent. “I’ve never been this worried before,” said Continue reading

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September 29, 2020

According to the National Restaurant Association, during the pandemic more than 100,000 restaurants have closed either indefinitely or permanently and millions of jobs have been lost. Experts expect that the nation’s eateries will lose more than $240 million this year and warn that the worst could be yet to come. Along with takeout and curbside business, many restaurants have relied on outdoor dining to drive sales as many customers remain wary about eating inside. With winter on the horizon, however, Continue reading

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September 24, 2020

With audiences largely reluctant to return to the movies, it’s not just theater chains that are struggling to adapt to life during the pandemic. Farmers who supply theaters with popcorn have seen orders for their product almost disappear as retail suppliers have seen sales surge. While Orville Redenbacher, Jolly Time, and Pop Secret have benefited from consumers staying home, the Preferred Popcorn company in Nebraska has millions of tons of unsold kernels on hand.

Preferred Popcorn primarily supplies snack distributors Continue reading

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September 22, 2020

On August 27th, Warner Bros. began gradually releasing the movie Tenet in theaters that had been closed for months due to the pandemic. After more than two weeks on American screens, though, the $200 million film has only earned $29.5 million domestically. As a result, Hollywood studios may hold back on releasing major titles until audiences are ready to return. “You can’t do it. The economics won’t allow you to do it,” said one studio executive. “We can’t give [theaters] Continue reading

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September 18, 2020

In order to assess the state of the economy, analysts often examine how many long-lasting goods are being ordered by retailers and manufacturers. The idea is that companies who are confident enough to stock up on durable goods like appliances and cars are anticipating a consumer base that’s eager to purchase them. This video looks at the durable goods indicator and explains how investors often look beyond it to get a better sense of where the economy is headed.

Questions: Continue reading

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August 13, 2020

In recent years, banks across the country have either phased out coin services or started charging fees for counting change. At Community State Bank in southeastern Wisconsin, for instance, the institution usually charges non-customers a 10 percent service fee for coin counting. But that certainly wasn’t the case a few weeks ago when Community State Bank had to beg people to bring in spare change to offset a coin shortage that has developed during the pandemic. 

In fact, the Continue reading

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August 7, 2020

Airline passenger volume has plummeted by 95 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in revenue in the process. This video looks at how airlines are fighting to survive these unprecedented times by furloughing employees, limiting flight capacity, and retiring old aircraft like the Boeing 747. 

Questions: 

  1. What measures are airlines taking to cut costs during the pandemic? 
  2. What are the potential long term consequences of furloughing employees like pilots?
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August 6, 2020

Global sales of household cleaning products and disinfectants have skyrocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, supplies of some products have become increasingly strained as even the biggest brands struggle to keep up with demand. For example, Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said that the company will not be able to fully stock grocery store shelves with disinfectant wipes until at least 2021. 

Clorox has also been running low on many of its most popular items, Continue reading

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April 16, 2020

With thousands of stores closed around the country, U.S. retailers saw sales plunge by 8.7 percent in March. That represents the worst monthly decline on record as millions of consumers stopped visiting restaurants, bars, and shopping malls due to stay-at-home orders for coronavirus containment. While sales of cars, furniture, and electronics all experienced double digit drops, spending at clothing stores plummeted by more than 50 percent. Manufacturing capacity and oil production also fell to their lowest rates since the end Continue reading

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April 14, 2020

Last week, we looked at how dairy and egg suppliers that primarily work with restaurants are struggling to adapt to a radically changed business environment. And while food companies that service supermarkets are better equipped to deal with the current crisis, many suppliers are now facing labor shortages as an increasing number of employees fall ill with coronavirus. Experts predict that the nation’s food supply chains will be disrupted in the coming weeks, potentially resulting in local shortages of certain Continue reading

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