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Category >> In the News
Feb 23

The Effect of Department Stores’ Falling Sales

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You’ve heard that “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”  In the case of department store sales, it is true. Woolf Street posted a chart that helps us visualize their predicament. (See chart below.) In 2004 retail store sales surpassed department store sales, and the trend has accelerated. Clearly this trend is not going to be reversed.

Jan 26

Amazon and Uber: Big Business without Profit

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When I was in international trade, we quoted business on an extremely thin margin.  An old joke went something like this:  “We may lose a little on every shipment, but we’ll make it up on volume.” Sometimes following a strategy of low pricing with little or no profit may be wise.  In the shipping business for example, if you land a large airfreight account at no profit; you are often able to negotiate lower rates with airlines. While you may not make money on your big account, you’re improving the margin on other business.

Dec 12

Future Cities Face Bankruptcy

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A recent article in the New York Times ( ) highlighted the plight of many American cities that are struggling to pay future retirement benefits as promised. The theme of the article was Dallas, Texas. This city, one of the fastest growing cities in America, will be unable to pay future benefits as promised. The difficulty has been that for generations, cities have promised future benefits for retirees rather than raising their wages.  Within the next decade these bills come due.

Nov 16

Medicare Payment Changes May Affect You

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A number of years ago I supervised the care for my mom. I sensed that some doctors didn’t really want to take care of her.  I shared this with a friend who was a physician. He told me that many doctors don’t like taking care of older Medicare patients for two reasons.  First, they prefer to take patients they can make better. My mom had emphysema. The doctors weren’t able to cure her condition, only manage symptoms. The second issue he shared had to do with payment. Physicians don’t get paid a lot through Medicare. They don’t like giving full service for partial pay from Medicare.

Oct 17

Protecting Customers

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From time to time I pick on McDonald’s for some of their business practices. However, this week I feel I should give them a shout out as they have taken a very wise step to protect customers from internet pornography at their restaurants.