<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Business News - [PHI Feature]Business]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/businessen-usMon, 22 May 2017 21:02:34 -0400Mon, 22 May 2017 21:02:34 -0400NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Penn Lands $9.2M Grant to Study Concussions]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 16:55:18 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Penn+concussions.PNG

Penn Medicine was awarded a $9.25 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to study the underlying mechanisms of concussions — and help uncover potential new treatments that could improve recovery for patients.

The grant was awarded to a team of researchers led by David F. Meaney, a Penn professor and chairman of bioengineering in its School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Dr. Douglas H. Smith, the director of Penn’s Center for Brain Injury and a professor of neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine.

The interdisciplinary project will involve a “data-driven look” at what happens to the brain during and after concussion. The goal of the researchers is to better understand the nature of concussions by looking at their impact across many scales in the brain, including “neural circuit connectivity, multiple cell types, blood flow, and the importance of the blood-brain barrier.”

“In particular, we hope to decipher how the brain can re-route signals to bring its network back on line after a concussion,” Smith said.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



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<![CDATA[Mall Restaurant Owes Nearly $500K In Taxes: Report]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 13:07:16 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/taxdayGettyImages-511757628.jpg

A family-owned restaurant, a 20-year mainstay in the Cherry Hill Mall, has reportedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Bistro at Cherry Hill, which serves Italian and American dishes, owes roughly $470,000 in unpaid taxes to New Jersey, plus another $40,000 to the IRS for wage and payroll taxes, and just over $4,000 to authorities in Pennsylvania, according to the Courier Post.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



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<![CDATA[Fields Out at Ford; New CEO Hackett Known for Turnarounds]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 18:32:45 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17142634127676.jpg

The job of Ford's new CEO won't be easy: He will have to shore up the 114-year-old company's traditional auto business, but also invest in self-driving cars and other projects that could one day make that business obsolete.

Ford thinks Jim Hackett is up to the task. The 62-year-old former chief executive of office furniture maker Steelcase was named to the post Monday, just three days after former CEO Mark Fields told the company he wanted to retire.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said Hackett is a visionary who can help Ford modernize and become more nimble. He served on Ford's board from 2013 to 2016 and became the head of Ford's mobility unit in March of last year.

Hackett said Ford does many things well but has trouble handling complex strategy questions. He plans to assemble a small executive team that can communicate plans clearly and make decisions quickly. That's a contrast with Fields, who was a product of Ford's bureaucratic culture and had 20 people reporting to him.

"The biggest challenge I had (at Steelcase), and I will have here, is to have everybody see the future. They can see their opportunity in that. And secondly, that it's our right to win, and we don't have to cede that to anybody, Tesla or any of them," Hackett said Monday during a news conference at Ford's world headquarters. "I love that challenge because I know how to do that."

Hackett led Steelcase for 20 years. He is credited with transforming the company, in part, by predicting the shift away from cubicles and into open office plans. In the process, he cut thousands of jobs and moved furniture production from the U.S. to Mexico.

Hackett also served as the interim athletic director at the University of Michigan from 2014 to 2016. In that role, he lured star football coach Jim Harbaugh and negotiated a $174 million deal with Nike. Bill Ford said those two jobs showed Hackett can be successful in different environments.

"He's really a proven transformational thinker," Ford said. "He's not just a futurist. He's a very good operational leader."

Erik Gordon, a law and business professor at the University of Michigan, questions whether Hackett's past experience will be enough to steer Ford through a volatile global auto market. Steelcase earned $3 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year. Ford earned $152 billion.

"I think he's going to have to prove himself," Gordon said. "The fact that he was probably the most successful CEO in the office furniture business doesn't mean he is automatically going to be a successful CEO in an industry that requires technical knowledge."

But Scott Cook, the founder and executive chairman of Intuit who has known Hackett for a decade, said Hackett's skills transfer to any industry. At Steelcase, he said, Hackett studied how people were using the furniture and designed new products based on his findings. The car industry needs that kind of thinking as it moves toward a world in which self-driving shuttles could replace personal automobiles.

"Lots of people can manufacture well, but manufacturing the same old products will get you the same old results," Cook said. "You hire a Jim if you want to learn to manufacture what people will want next."

Hackett and Bill Ford praised Fields, who was one of the architects of the company's turnaround a decade ago. More recently he led Ford to a string of strong earnings, including a record pretax profit of $10.8 billion in 2015.

Bill Ford insisted Fields was not fired. Hackett said the two have plans to go to a Michigan football game.

Fields resurrected Ford's luxury Lincoln brand and grew sales in China. His bet on using aluminum for Ford trucks paid off in better fuel economy and strong sales. Fields opened a Silicon Valley office to hire talented young researchers and scout promising startups. Last week, he announced that Ford would cut 1,400 white-collar jobs in the U.S. and Asia by September to trim costs.

But investors worried about Ford's sliding U.S. market share and product decisions. While Fields was focused on a new performance division and the $450,000 GT supercar, important bread-and-butter products like the Fusion sedan and Escape SUV grew dated. Ford has lagged behind rivals in bringing long-range electric cars to the market.

And the company cannot pivot quickly. Subcompact SUV sales are booming in the U.S., and Ford sells them overseas, but Ford doesn't plan to bring its subcompact EcoSport here until next year. And the much-anticipated new Bronco SUV won't be out until 2020.

Fields also had trouble articulating the company's vision of the future. Ford has invested $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup, and has said it wants to have an autonomous vehicle on the market by 2021. But those moves have been eclipsed by competitors such as Fiat Chrysler, which is making self-driving minivans with Waymo, Google's self-driving car division.

"We had a lot of internal turmoil," said Richard Bazzy, who runs a Ford dealership in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs. "People weren't sure what direction we were going."

As a result, Ford's stock price sagged. Electric car maker Tesla Inc. even passed Ford in market value earlier this year. The company's stock price has fallen almost 40 percent since Fields became CEO in July 2014.

Ford's shares jumped 2 percent Monday to $11.10.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned investors that the executive move could be a sign that Ford is facing further earnings risk. The company expects to earn a pretax profit of $9 billion this year, down more than $1 billion from 2016.

Krisher reported from Detroit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Oil Company Watches Over Pregnant Polar Bear Under Bridge]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 16:20:30 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/polarbear_alaskaoil_1200x675.jpg

A pregnant polar bear seeking to dig her maternity den chose an unlikely spot: a snow drift along a bridge leading to an artificial production island off the north coast of Alaska.

As a threatened species, polar bears are entitled to peaceful pregnancies and the operating oil company, Hilcorp Alaska LLC, took vigorous measures to make sure that happened. In consultation with federal wildlife authorities, Hilcorp restricted traffic on the causeway, monitored the den and kept things mostly quiet until mother and cub emerged three months later.

"The bear, wherever she decided to den, she's the emphasis," said Christopher Putnam, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supervisory biologist.

Polar bears are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act because climate warming is melting their primary habitat, sea ice. Short of action that effectively addresses Arctic warming, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Polar bears don't hibernate, but pregnant females create maternity dens to shelter newborn cubs. If a nursing mother is disturbed, she can abandon a cub. Upward of 50 percent of cubs don't survive their first year.

Oil companies working near known denning areas scout for bears using airplanes equipped with infrared cameras that detect bears in dens.

"Typically they pick locations that are away from oil field infrastructure," said Beth Sharp, Hilcorp's habitat and wildlife specialist, who has worked on Alaska's North Slope for nearly two decades.

A Hilcorp security officer in December spotted a hole in a snow drift along the 1.5 mile- (2.4 kilometer) causeway leading to Endicott Island, a production island about the size of 34 football fields.

The hole looked like a den entrance, but Sharp was skeptical. Workers borrowed an infrared camera from the company fire department to take a photo inside the snow drift.

"There was a bear-shaped lightbulb as clear as could be," Sharp said.

Hilcorp and the Fish and Wildlife Service worked out a plan to minimize disturbance. Workers on their way to Endicott were shuttled by bus instead of individual pickups. Hilcorp parked a heavy-duty snow-removal truck. Non-essential traffic stopped.

Advocacy group Polar Bear International and Brigham Young University, which are collaborating on a long-term denning study, monitored the den with a remote camera system.

Mother and cub stepped out of the den on March 18. They spent two weeks around the den, eventually marching off to sea ice to hunt for seals.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers say south Beaufort Sea polar bears increasingly use land for maternity dens as sea ice conditions change. That could mean more cases of polar bears giving birth near oil field infrastructure, Putnam said.

"We don't know if it's a trend, but that's why we have these plans," Putnam said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ford to Invest $350 Million in Michigan Plant]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 13:54:08 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fordfactory_1200x675.jpg

Ford is pumping $350 million into a plant outside of Detroit where a new transmission for fuel-efficient vehicles will be built.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said Friday that the investment in the Livonia Transmission Plant is expected to create or keep 800 jobs. Some jobs are expected to be added this year, but most will be filled over the next two years.

Upgrades to the Livonia facility are part of more than $2.25 billion in investments in the state announced this year by Ford Motor Co.

Ford says the advanced transmissions provide better fuel efficiency and performance.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Workers Suffer Fainting Spells, Dizziness: Report]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 21:48:15 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-479833756-Musk.jpg

Workers at Tesla's car factory in California have been fainting, experiencing dizziness and even having seizures, often requiring medical attention.

The symptoms have led to more than 100 calls for ambulances since 2014, according to incident reports obtained by the Guardian newspaper, which first reported the story Thursday.

Company CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that workers are "having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs," but he also said he cared deeply about their health and well-being.

In a blog post published Sunday, the company said: “Tesla's safety record is much better than industry average, but it is not enough.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[US Dollar Surges After Traders Speculate on Trump ]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 15:48:09 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/stockmarketsgeneric_1200x675.jpg

The U.S. dollar suddenly surged against the British pound and other currencies Thursday after the reemergence of former FBI Director James Comey saying Trump never asked to end the probe, reported CNBC.

The month old CSPAN video was interpreted as former FBI Director James Comey saying he was never pressured to end an FBI probe.

However, in the video, Comey is answering a question specific to the U.S. Attorney General or "senior officials at the Department of Justice," not President Donald Trump.

However, multiple traders said this was the trigger for the move higher in the dollar, as well as the Dow Jones industrial average, which hit a new high for the day shortly after the initial currency move.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Roger Ailes, Fox News Founder and Political Strategist, Dies]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 17:08:02 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ailes-GettyImages-142710763.jpg

Roger Ailes, the communications maestro who transformed television news and America's political conversation by creating and ruling Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted last year for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, according to his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. He was 77.

Ailes died after a fall at his Palm Beach home on May 10 caused bleeding on the brain, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office said. Ailes fell in his bathroom, hit his head and was bleeding profusely. He was taken to a hospital by attending paramedics, the Palm Beach (Florida) Police Department said.

A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump, Ailes displayed a mastery of modern messaging early in his career. Then he changed the face of 24-hour news when, in 1996, he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN and other TV outlets they deemed left-leaning.

That October, Ailes flipped the switch on Fox News Channel, which within a few years became the audience leader in cable news. Ailes branded the network "Fair and Balanced" and declared he had left the political world behind, but conservative viewers found a home and lifted prime-time commentators Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity to the top of the news ratings.

"He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better," Hannity tweeted on Thursday.

Fox News and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch called Ailes "a brilliant broadcaster (who) played a huge role in shaping America's media over the last thirty years" in a statement.

"He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted," Murdoch said. "Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recalled Ailes' influence on the nation's politics from the late 1960s to now.

"Roger Ailes was a genius at politics and the news media. His advice to Presidents Nixon and Reagan was historic and helped elect both," Gingrich tweeted.

"The history of cable television will have a very big chapter on Roger Ailes. Without his success at Fox News Trump could never have won."

Others laid the nation's political dysfunction and inability to find common ground at his feet, creating the atmosphere for Trump to succeed.

"It's a very complicated story," said Gabriel Sherman, author of the Ailes biography, "The Loudest Voice in the Room." ''He is in some ways a genius and in some ways tragic. His quest for power consumed him."

By mid-2016 Ailes still ruled supreme as he prepared to celebrate Fox News' 20th anniversary.

But in little more than two weeks, both his legacy and job unraveled following allegations by a former anchor that he had forced her out of Fox News after she spurned his sexual advances. The lawsuit filed on July 6 by Gretchen Carlson quickly triggered accounts from more than 20 women with similar stories of alleged harassment by Ailes either against themselves or someone they knew.

Reportedly, a key witness was Megyn Kelly, the network's superstar personality, whose voice was conspicuously missing in the chorus of women and men at Fox News who spoke up on behalf of Ailes. Their defense did little to staunch the widening scandal. Despite Ailes' staunch denials, 21st Century Fox corporate head Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, determined that Ailes had to go. The announcement was made on July 21.

The allegations went beyond just Ailes: In April, reports that the network had settled lawsuits with five women who alleged sexual harassment against network star Bill O'Reilly led to his firing. Three other executives also lost their jobs.

Rumors of sexual improprieties at Fox News and by Ailes in particular weren't new. Sherman's 2014 biography reported numerous unflattering anecdotes, including an allegation (denied by Ailes) that he offered one female employee extra money if she would have sex with him.

Before Carlson's bombshell legal action, Fox's roaring success and enormous earnings (with some estimates that it accounted for nearly a quarter of the parent company's profits) insulated Ailes from any suspicion as well as from his past scrapes with the Murdoch sons over who he would report to.

His dismissal was a headspinning downfall and a breathtaking defeat for Ailes, a man who all his life seemed to be spoiling for a fight and was used to winning them.

Ailes was a brawler. And even when he was on the winning side of a battle, he positioned himself as the defiant outsider going toe-to-toe with his bullying nemeses. Brash, heavyset and bombastic, he was renowned for never giving in, for being ever confrontational with a chip on his shoulder and a blistering outburst at the ready.

When he founded Fox News Network, Ailes' stated mission was to correct for the sins of a media universe that was overwhelmingly liberal. Pledging fairness from his employees shortly before the network launched, he was typically tough talking: "Will they hit it every time? Hell, no. Will they try? Hell, yes. Will we be criticized? Hell, yes. Do I care? Hell, no."

As usual, he had defined the enemy (in this case, his media critics and other presumed foes) before they could define themselves. It was his crowning principle.

This attack-dog style served him well when, at 27, Ailes wrangled a job with Nixon, then vying for a political comeback in the 1968 presidential race.

"Mr. Nixon, you need a media adviser," Ailes declared (according to Sherman's biography).

"What's a media adviser?" asked Nixon.

"I am," replied Ailes, having fashioned the job on the spot.

Nixon, whose run for the White House had been dealt a blow eight years earlier in a televised debate against his camera-ready rival John F. Kennedy, was a challenge Ailes eagerly accepted at a moment when, as he realized better than most, TV could make or break a candidate. Concluding that viewers would never warm to Nixon, nor would the media establishment, Ailes struck a winning formula by packaging him in comfortably staged TV town-hall meetings as a man whose intelligence the audience would respect.

The remainder of Ailes' career would draw on various blends of showmanship, ruthless politics and an unmatched skill for recognizing TV's raw communication power before his opponents did, and harnessing it better.

Born in Warren, Ohio, on May 15, 1940, Roger Eugene Ailes described his working-class upbringing with three words: "God, country, family."

Afflicted with hemophilia, he spent much of his early years housebound in front of, and fascinated with, television, and after graduation from Ohio University landed an entry-level position at a TV station in Cleveland that had just started a local talk and entertainment program starring a has-been former big-band singer named Mike Douglas.

Ailes went to work as a production assistant on "The Mike Douglas Show" and rose in its ranks (at 26, he was named its executive producer) along with its rising fortunes as it went into national syndication and moved to Philadelphia.

It was there in 1967 that he and Nixon crossed paths in a meeting that changed both their lives.

After jumping ship from the "Douglas" show to help steer Nixon to the White House, Ailes spent more than a decade as a communications consultant to corporations and Republican candidates. And as a sign of his versatility, he also became a theater producer, with a hit off-Broadway musical, "The Hot L Baltimore," in the early 1970s, and a network boss, helping start Television News Incorporated, a short-lived right-wing TV service funded by conservative brewing magnate Joseph Coors, that seemed to presage Fox News by a quarter-century.

Ailes returned to presidential politics in 1984 by helping President Reagan recover from his disastrous opening debate with Democratic opponent Walter Mondale.

And in 1988, he orchestrated the media campaign for Vice President George H.W. Bush's presidential bid. It was a campaign widely seen as being no less nasty than it was successful.

One indelibly comic image that led to Bush's victory was a commercial that appropriated footage of opponent Michael Dukakis riding in a military tank looking foolish in a bulbous helmet. Even more explosive anti-Dukakis commercials featured a black felon, Willie Horton. Designed to play on voter fears of Democrats' supposedly soft-on-crime policies, those commercials, while effective, were widely condemned as racist. Ailes denied responsibility for them, though many of his critics were loath to believe him.

Within a few more years, he claimed he had sworn off politics.

In 1993, he joined NBC to run its cable business network, CNBC. He was credited with boosting CNBC's ratings and putting that troubled NBC subsidiary in the black. Meanwhile, he created another network, the talk-and-advice-oriented America's Talking.

"I've gotten over all the cynicism of politics," Ailes told The Associated Press in 1995, although, during that same period, Ailes moonlighted as executive producer of the syndicated TV show that starred right-wing radio sensation Rush Limbaugh.

Then, in January 1996, Ailes resigned from NBC after America's Talking was sacrificed to free up channel capacity for the company's cable-news venture, MSNBC.

Within weeks, Ailes had jumped to what was then known as News Corp., and by fall he launched Fox News Channel against a pair of seemingly indomitable rivals: three-month-old MSNBC, the network with which his former employers replaced his America's Talking channel, and cable-news pioneer CNN.

Even so, by 2002, Fox News had sealed the deal as ratings leader, dominating cable-news competition and tying his rivals in knots in both daytime as well as prime time, where he deployed a murderers' row of hosts led by Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

Ailes helped make a hot property out of Glenn Beck, and signed a virtual salon of former-and-future GOP big names who found a welcoming platform for party talking points.

Other hires included Gretchen Carlson, who came to Fox News from CBS News in 2005 and was dismissed when her contract expired on June 23, 2016, and Megyn Kelly, an attorney-turned-TV-journalist who joined the network in 2004 and a decade later was arguably the network's biggest marquee name.

From the start, Ailes steadfastly denied any political bias or agenda on the part of his network, whether in its message or its personnel. Politics, schmolitics: "I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings," he told The AP in 2011.

Propelled by Ailes' "fair and balanced" branding, Fox News successfully targeted viewers who believed the other cable-news networks, and maybe the media overall, displayed a liberal tilt from which Fox News and Fox Business Channel (which he launched in 2006 against his former business network, CNBC) delivered its audience with unvarnished truth. Thus did he leverage the public's distrust for the media while positioning his networks as the anti-media news-media alternative — and he their upright overlord.

"My first qualification is I didn't go to Columbia Journalism School," he boasted to The New York Times in January 2010, and added, "There are no parties in this town that I want to go to."

Though ratings continued to soar, in later years Ailes' power was challenged. He seemed incapable of stopping Donald Trump's rise as the GOP's top contender for the 2016 election. In an early televised debate, Fox network moderators, notably Kelly, besieged Trump with sharp interrogation about his experience, his policies and past comments about women. But the real estate mogul's candidacy was undamaged as he lobbed insults at Kelly and her network for what he labeled unfair treatment.

By summer 2016, Ailes and Trump had seemingly reached detente, with Fox News climbing on the Trump bandwagon and vice versa. It was ironic, then, that Ailes was ousted only hours before Trump accepted the GOP nomination for which Fox had helped pave the way.

With Ailes' sacking, Rupert Murdoch, the parent company's executive chairman, became interim boss of Fox News and Fox Business Network until a successor could be found. But Ailes had been so identified with the brand since its inception that many, both insiders and audience members, were left hard-pressed to envision Fox News without him.

In the meantime, the network's talent lineup took a hit as Kelly left for NBC News and O'Reilly was fired.

Ailes is survived by his third wife, Elizabeth, who had worked for him at CNBC as vice president of programming, and their son, Zachary.

Associated Press writer Terry Spencer in West Palm Beach, Florida, contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Companies Stashing Bitcoin in Anticipation of Cyberattacks]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 08:11:47 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/bitcoins.jpg

Companies are stockpiling bitcoins in preparation of future "ransomware" attacks, which have grown exponentially over the past few years, NBC News reported. 

According to cybersecurity experts and firms, about a third of British companies in 2016 retained a cache of digital monies as part of a strategy to "regain access to important intellectual property or business critical data." 

They keep Bitcoin on hand — which currently exchanges for about $1,800 per unit — because government agencies don't necessarily have a fix for institutions once hackers have taken hold of their files, and its cybercriminals' preferred payment method.

The most recent cyberattack, known as "WannaCry," took hundreds of thousands of computers' data files hostage unless users paid a $300 to $600 ransom via Bitcoin.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Jr., Dubai Business Partner Discuss 'New Ideas']]>Thu, 18 May 2017 06:10:05 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17107692439758.jpg

Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Dubai and met a billionaire business partner in the city-state, discussing "new ideas" as the Emirati's real estate firm still lists possible plans for future joint projects while Trump's father is in the White House.

The Trump Organization has said it won't make new foreign deals while Donald Trump serves as America's 45th president. That didn't affect the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai's opening in February, while a previously planned Trump-branded golf course designed by Tiger Woods is still being built nearby.

Both projects are being built by Dubai's DAMAC Properties, owned by Emirati billionaire Hussain Sajwani. His company has paid the Trump Organization's subsidiaries between $1 million to $5 million for the projects, according to a U.S. Federal Election Committee report submitted in May 2016.

Sajwani's Instagram account posted a picture Tuesday night showing him with Trump, who now runs the Trump Organization with his brother Eric, at a table covered in a spread of Middle Eastern food and a plate of French fries.

"It was great having my dear friend and business partner Donald Trump Jr. over for lunch," a caption with the photo read. "Discussing new ideas and innovation always make our meetings even more interesting."

DAMAC did not respond to a request for comment about the meeting. However, recent regulatory filings made by the company suggest possible future plans with the Trump Organization.

DAMAC mentioned the Trump Organization in a prospectus for a sukuk, a type of Islamic bond, launched in April on the NASDAQ Dubai exchange. That filing noted DAMAC's "product expansion also includes branding arrangements with ... the Trump Organization." It also listed plans for a "luxury boutique hotel to be operated by the Trump Organization" at DAMAC Hills, a massive development of villas and apartment buildings in Dubai's desert that surrounds the newly opened Trump golf course.

Similar language had been included in previous regulatory filings by DAMAC, but its presence in documents after Trump's election suggests the real estate company is keeping its options open. Days before becoming president, Trump had told journalists that DAMAC had offered the Trump Organization $2 billion in deals after his election, something DAMAC also confirmed.

Meanwhile, a quarterly earnings filing Monday made by DAMAC's holding company listed a newly created subsidiary called Trump International Golf Club LLC, in which it described as holding a 100 percent legal and economic interest. The UAE-based entity lists its principal activity as being the "golf club," without elaborating.

The Trump Organization has no new deals in the works in Dubai, company spokeswoman Amanda Miller said Wednesday. The company declined to answer other questions.

DAMAC's first-quarter net profits of $240 million were down 16 percent compared to last year's $285 million. The lower profits come as weak global oil prices squeeze Mideast countries, whose citizens form about half of DAMAC's clientele.

DAMAC's managing director also resigned Thursday, the company said in a regulatory filing. It offered no reason for his departure.

Experts have raised concerns that existing Trump business abroad could run afoul of the so-called "emoluments clause" of the U.S. Constitution. That clause bars public officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments and companies controlled by them without the consent of Congress. Already, a liberal-funded watchdog group has filed a lawsuit citing the clause.

Others criticize Trump family members for traveling with Secret Service details while on private business trips, something afforded to them as direct relatives of the president.

While in Dubai, Trump also gave a commencement speech Sunday at the American University in Dubai, a private university founded in 1995 that has some 2,700 students. The university did not announce Trump would be making a commencement speech on its website ahead of time.

"When I look back on what my father did in this past election, and the risk he took, to me I'm far more impressed with the fact that he tried than by the fact he actually won," Trump said in the 14-minute speech. "For a billionaire to step away from an amazing life and spend $75 million to go up against an incredible Republican field and then go up against one of the great political machines ever assembled... to do that was amazing."

"We believed in his message and not necessarily the contrived message that was put out there in the media," he added.

The university did not answer repeated emails and telephone calls asking if Trump received any payment for his speech. Security guards turned away an Associated Press journalist at the university's gate Wednesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Cisco to Cut 1,100 More Jobs Amid Worse-Than-Expected Outlook]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 19:28:18 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/CISCO_AP_16229651180299.jpg

Cisco announced Wednesday that it will be cutting 1,100 employees as part of its expanded restructuring plan.

The new job cuts come only months after the enterprise technology company cut 5,500 jobs — seven percent of its workforce, as CNBC reported. 

The announcement came as the company reported better-than-expected earnings for the fiscal third quarter, but worse-than-feared forward guidance. Shares fell more than 5 percent after hours.

Cisco said last year it plans to reinvest the savings from its restructuring plan into "key priority areas such as security, IoT, collaboration, next-generation data center and cloud."



Photo Credit: AP Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Stocks Suffer Worst Day of the Year Amid White House Chaos]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 16:14:02 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/wall-street-sign.jpg

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday as investors digested the latest news out of Washington, with the Dow Jones averagine about 370 points lower, Goldman Sachs contributing the most losses, CNBC reported.

The broader S&P 500 and Nasdaq also lagged, dropping 1.8 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

Stocks had rallied all year in part because of hope for lower corporate taxes. But "an impeachment proceeding would blow the market away," former General Electric CEO Jack Welch told CNBC.

"This is clearly Washington-driven," said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management. "It's a lot like 1998-99, when the market had to deal with the [Monica] Lewinsky scandal."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Mega Wawa Coming to Busy City Corner]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 14:02:07 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/198*120/MArket+East+Wawa.JPG

It was, as Dan Killinger described with a dash of irony, another one of those "worst kept secrets" in Philadelphia.

Killinger was joking about Wawa Inc. leasing space at East Market, a mixed-use project that National Real Estate Development along with several partners are developing on the former Girard Square at 11th and Market streets. Killinger is managing director at the real estate company and joined officials from Wawa to formally announce Wednesday morning that the retailer famous for its hoagies and coffee leased 6,196 square feet at 1199 Ludlow St., the corner of 12th and Market streets. The convenience store is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

It has become a bit of a parlor game to figure out where Wawa is locating its next convenience store in Philadelphia. Last October, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported that Wawa was set to open a store at East Market as well as in the former I. Goldberg space at the corner of 13th and Chestnut streets. The speculation over where Wawa is going to open highlights the company’s popularity as well as its dedicated following. Its push into Center City has been embraced by the masses.

“We couldn’t be happier Wawa is taking a front-row seat at East Market,” Killinger said. Read more on the plans on PBJ.com.


For the latest business news from around the Philadelphia region, check out the Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Rendering by BLT Architects]]>
<![CDATA[Lucky Charms to Give Away Boxes with Marshmallows Only]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 13:45:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/luckycharms.jpg

General Mills is holding a contest to give away 10,000 boxes of Lucky Charms filled with only marshmallows.]]>
<![CDATA[Target's First-Quarter Profits Jump Nearly 8 Percent]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 13:08:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/target.png

Target's first-quarter profit rose almost 8 percent as attempts to turn its business around appear to be gaining some traction. Sales at established stores fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, but the decline was less than expected, and online sales surged 22 percent.

While the good pieces of news sent shares up more than 2 percent in midday trading Wednesday, CEO Brian Cornell still needs to find a way for Target to thrive in the face of intense pressure from Amazon and Wal-Mart. One of Target's key problems is that customer traffic declines extended into the first quarter and the amount shoppers put in their baskets also dropped. And Target also is still struggling with groceries and essentials, which drive shoppers to the store.

"While we are pleased that our first-quarter financial performance was better than expectations, our results are not where we want them to be and we have much more work to do," Cornell told investors. He noted that results have been volatile week to week since Christmas.

Facing those challenges, Target had announced plans in February to remodel more than a third of its 1,800 stores over the next three years, speed up its expansion of small-format stores, bolster online operations, and launch new brands.

The company will also use stores as local distribution hubs — using the backroom storage areas to also house goods bought online directly to homes, or held there to be picked up by shoppers. Target is now using about 1,000 stores for direct shipping in a bid to match Amazon's free, two-day delivery available to its Prime customers.

With those measures in place, Target said it expects profits to start growing again in 2019 after taking a hit of $1 billion this year.

Cornell had said Target wants to return to more consistent low prices on essentials to deepen loyalty among shoppers, a shift from the temporary discounts it had been promoting. That might look like it's taking a page from Wal-Mart's playbook. But Cornell said Target is focusing on exclusive brands and the experience customers have in stores as well. Target said it launched a new ad campaign focused its convenient and low-price assortment of everyday items late in the first quarter.

All traditional stores have struggled as Amazon and other online retailers draw shoppers away. Under Cornell, Target had cut costs, revitalized its fashion and home decor sections, tested smaller formats, and expanded online services. But Cornell found those efforts were not paying off.

As Target works to rebuild, Wal-Mart is expected to post another quarter of higher customer traffic and increased same-store sales Thursday as its efforts to merge online sales with its vast number of stores click. Wal-Mart had warned in 2015 that stepped-up investments in stores and in its employees would hurt profits. Those investments appear to be paying off. Traffic and sales are solid at stores as a renewed emphasis on low prices has lured shoppers back.

Target said it's been seeing significant market share gains across clothing, including women's, children's and swimwear. And Cornell told reporters that Target is benefiting from other companies closing stores. He estimates that $45 billion to $60 billion in sales are up for grabs.

The company is also testing a program called Restock that lets its REDcard customers order household essentials like laundry detergent, paper towels and peanut butter and have them delivered to their homes the next day. The service, being tested with employees for now, is similar to Amazon Pantry. It will be expanded to customers in the Minneapolis area this summer.

Target had quietly raised its free shipping threshold to $35 from $25 this month, going in the opposite direction of Wal-Mart and Amazon.

For the quarter ended April 29, Target earned $681 million or $1.23 per share. Adjusted earnings came to $1.21 per share, well above the 91 cents per share that Wall Street had expected according to FactSet. Revenue fell 1.1 percent to $16.02 billion, but still beat analyst projections of $15.62 billion.

Comparable-store sales fell 1.3 percent, but that was better than the 3.7 percent decline analysts had expected.

Target shares gained $1.15 to $55.67, but they're still down more than 24 percent for the year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dubai Firm Wants to Haul 'Up for Grabs' Icebergs to Gulf]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 09:12:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/223*120/antartida-mitos-006.jpg

A Dubai firm's dream of towing icebergs from the Antarctic to the Arabian Peninsula could face some titanic obstacles.

Where many see the crumbling polar ice caps as a distressing sign of global warming, the National Advisor Bureau Limited sees it as a source of profit, and a way of offsetting the effects of climate change in the increasingly sweltering Gulf.

The firm has drawn up plans to harvest icebergs in the southern Indian Ocean and tow them 5,700 miles away to the Gulf, where they could be melted down for freshwater and marketed as a tourist attraction.

"The icebergs are just floating in the Indian Ocean. They are up for grabs to whoever can take them," managing director Abdullah al-Shehi told The Associated Press in his Dubai office. He hopes to begin harvesting them by 2019.

It is perhaps no surprise that the idea would originate in Dubai, which is already famous for its indoor ski slope, artificial islands and the world's tallest building. But the plan to harvest icebergs faces a wide array of legal, financial and logistical hurdles — and environmentalists are less than thrilled.

The firm would send ships down to Heard Island, an Australian nature reserve in the southern Indian Ocean, where they would steer between massive icebergs the size of cities in search of truck-sized chunks known as growlers. Workers would then secure them to the boats with nets and embark on a yearlong cruise to the United Arab Emirates.

The company believes that, as most of the icebergs' mass is underwater, they would not melt significantly during the voyage. Al-Shehi said each iceberg would hold around 20 billion gallons of fresh water that could be harvested without costly desalinization, which currently provides nearly all of the Gulf region's water.

Masdar, a government-backed clean energy firm in the United Arab Emirates, is exploring new technologies to meet the country's water needs. The United Arab Emirates' Energy Ministry issued a statement this week denying "reports" that an iceberg was in the process of being imported, without specifying the reports to which it referred.

Al-Shehi said his project is a private initiative and that he would seek government approval once his firm completes its feasibility study. He declined to share the company's cost estimates, and said it has not carried out an environmental impact study.

Robert Brears, the founder of the climate think tank Mitidaption, has studied the feasibility of Antarctic ice harvesting and estimates the project would require an initial outlay of at least $500 million.

The challenges begin at Heard Island, where Australia strictly limits access in order to preserve the area's rich ecosystem of migratory birds, seals, penguins and fish, which could be disrupted by large ships. Antarctica itself is subject to global treaties that mandate environmental regulations and ban mining and military activities.

Even if the firm secures the necessary approvals from multiple governments, the wrangling itself could prove daunting.

"There are thousands and thousands of icebergs drifting around and they can move without warning," said Christopher Readinger, who heads the Antarctic team at the U.S. National Ice Center. "Storms down there can be really brutal, and there's really not anyone that can help."

The interagency group uses satellites and floating sensors to track large icebergs in order to warn fishing and science vessels. One of the icebergs it tracked last month was twice the size of Manhattan.

Antarctica holds 60 percent of the world's freshwater, frozen in an ice shelf that sheds nearly 1.2 trillion tons of icebergs a year , according to NASA. The ice loss is accelerating as global temperatures warm.

In the Arctic, Canadian "iceberg cowboys" use rifles to blast off chunks of icebergs that are later sold to wineries, breweries and vodka distilleries. A Norwegian company sells 750ml bottles of melted iceberg for $100 each.

But iceberg wranglers off Antarctica would find a leaner herd. "It's the driest ice in the world," Brears said. "You could melt a lot of this ice and get very little water from it."

Environmentalists meanwhile point to simpler measures that could be taken to address climate change in the Middle East, like drip-irrigation, fixing leaks and water conservation.

"This region is the heartland of the global oil industry, it will be at the forefront of experiencing these massive, insane heat waves, and there's only one way to avoid this — reducing emissions and keeping all fossil fuels in the ground," said Hoda Baraka, spokeswoman for the climate advocacy group 350.org.

Green investment groups are unlikely to finance the iceberg project, said Charlotte Streck, director of the consultancy firm Climate Focus. She says the project is "an exceptionally futile and expensive way" to solve the Gulf's water woes __ and "seems to run counter to all ideas of climate change adaptation."

Al-Shehi is undeterred, and insists the project will have no impact on Antarctica or any other natural environment. The whole process, he said, "will be a drop in the ocean."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Outage Jolts Starbucks Customers at Some Stores]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 15:02:35 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/511143580-Starbucks-generic.jpg

Customers at some Starbucks shops hit a snag Tuesday while trying to fill up their coffee cups, CNBC reported

Registers were knocked offline by a technology update that was being installed overnight, the coffee chain said. 

Starbucks said the glitch was affecting "a limited number of locations" in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday morning.

"The stores will remain open during this time and, as always, our partners are prepared to take care of our customers to ensure they have the best experience possible," the company said. 

Reports on Twitter showed some patrons scoring free cups of joe at affected locations.

By the afternoon "virtually" all store were in the clear, a spokesman told The Associated Press. 




Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Teen Clothing Retailer Rue 21 Restructuring Under Chapter 11]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 12:36:22 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/rue21.JPG

Pennsylvania-based teen clothing retailer rue21 is restructuring and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection about a month after announcing it would close roughly 400 stores to focus on online sales.

The company announced last month that it is shuttering the stores, leaving it with more than 700 stores in 48 states.

The company based in Cranberry, north of Pittsburgh, announced Tuesday that its bankruptcy filing accompanies agreements with lenders to restructure some debt and obtain more capital.

The company says it could wind up closing more stores before it emerges from bankruptcy in the fall.

A federal bankruptcy judge must approve the Chapter 11 plan which includes up to $175 million in financing from various lenders. That money will help the company pay employees, vendors and honor gift cards.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[How to Stay Safe If an Active Shooter Comes to Your Job]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 10:57:09 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/active-shooter-training-GettyImages-567382253.jpg

Active shooter scenarios are unpredictable but now more and more businesses want to be prepared.

One security consulting firm said inquiries about what to do have surged after recent workplace tragedies in South Florida and across the United States.

"Unfortunately, because of these incidents, our workplace violence consulting program has skyrocketed," said D.C. Page, with Andrews International.

Page, a senior vice president for the security consulting firm, says Andrews International works with businesses by assessing their security risks and educating employees.

"Be prepared. It’s something you have to think about and its part of our culture right now. So, corporations need to build that into the fabric of the business and the everyday workplace," said Page.

According to research, in 2012, there were 463 workplace homicides. Eighty-one percent were the result of a shooting.

The basic advice has three main components: run, hide or fight.

  • Run if you can, get out of the building as quickly as possible
  • Hide, and use a piece of furniture to secure a door shut
  • Fighting is the last resort, but grab something like a fire extinguisher or other object to help defend yourself

"We get down to the granular levels so employees understand their environment first," Page said. "That’s the most important part. They have some kind of plan in their mind as to what they would do, where the exits are and things like that. And, then the run-hide-fight scenario."

Companies like Andrews International not only provide consulting, but also security guards who are trained for active shooters.



Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Ford to Cut Jobs as Sales Level Off, Stock Price Lags]]>Wed, 17 May 2017 15:52:37 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fordmotorcompanyfeuerherd.jpg

Ford is getting leaner as it faces an onslaught of challenges, from slowing U.S. sales to high-tech challengers to its own disgruntled shareholders.

The 114-year-old automaker said Wednesday it is cutting 1,400 non-factory jobs in North America and Asia Pacific. The company will offer voluntary early retirement and separation packages to around 10 percent of its salaried workers in departments such as sales, marketing and human resources. It expects the actions to be complete by the end of September.

The cuts are the biggest to Ford's U.S. white collar staff since 2007, when 7,200 workers took voluntary buyout packages.

In an email to employees, Ford said it wants to strengthen its core business and invest aggressively in new opportunities. "Reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible also remain part of that work," the company wrote.

Ford isn't the only automaker looking to slim down. Last month, General Motors Co. Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said GM was considering cuts to its white collar staff in order to rein in costs.

Ford's problems aren't entirely unique. After seven straight years of growth, U.S. sales are starting to slow down, which will hurt automakers' profits. Sales in Asia are volatile and not as profitable. Turbulence in other markets, like South America, hasn't helped.

Automakers are also investing heavily in self-driving cars and other new technology. Ford, which has promised an autonomous vehicle by 2021, bought a shuttle service and invested $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup. Such investments may not pay dividends for years, but automakers can't risk being left behind by non-traditional rivals like Google and Uber.

But some of Ford's problems are of its own making. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas says Ford should consider exiting unprofitable vehicle lines, like small cars, or markets, like India.

Ford's U.S. sales are down in part because it doesn't have offerings in popular segments like subcompact SUVs and midsize pickups. And Ford hasn't kept up with rivals in the electric car market. GM's Chevrolet Bolt electric car, with 238 miles of range, went on sale last year; Ford is working on an electric SUV with 300 miles of range, but it's not due out until 2020.

Ford also recently embarked on an expensive, 10-year plan to remake its Dearborn campus.

Ford's offer will be open to around 15,300 workers, including 9,600 in the U.S., 1,000 in Mexico, 600 in Canada and 4,141 in Asia. The company says it will release more details to employees in June.

Certain areas of the business won't be targeted, including Ford's product development and credit divisions. Factory workers and white-collar employees in Ford's plants won't be affected. Ford also isn't likely to cut jobs in its emerging businesses, such as its research center in Palo Alto, California. Ford said last August it planned to double its Palo Alto staff, which would mean hiring more than 100 researchers and engineers.

Jonas said he was impressed with Ford's decisive action to cut jobs, but he still thinks Ford stock is overvalued. He has a $10 price target on the shares.

Ford's shares dropped 2 percent to $10.72 in afternoon trading.

Ford's stock price has fallen nearly 40 percent in the three years since Mark Fields became CEO. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told investors at the company's annual meeting last week that he's as unhappy as they are about the decline.

"We're frustrated, but our business is performing well. We're making investments for both today and tomorrow, and I believe that's the right thing to do," he said.

Barclay's analyst Brian Johnson, who has a $15 target on the shares, said Ford's stock has suffered because the company isn't making splashy moves, like GM's investment in Lyft or Fiat Chrysler's tie-up with Waymo, Google's self-driving car unit.

But Johnson said Ford has a solid strategy and is making quiet moves that could pay off, like introducing a plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle in Europe.

There was no immediate comment from President Donald Trump, who has needled Ford about taking jobs to Mexico but celebrated the company's U.S. investments.

Ford has been hiring steadily in the U.S. since the recession as vehicle sales roared back to reach record highs. Ford hired more than 15,000 factory workers between 2011 and 2015. In March, it hired 400 engineers from BlackBerry Ltd. to work on connected cars.

But in other regions, it has taken the same strong medicine it's now taking at home. Ford offered voluntary buyouts to hundreds of European salaried workers last year as it worked to get that region back to profitability.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ford Plans to Slash Global Workforce by 10 Percent: Report]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 09:32:57 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ford-GettyImages-467038616.jpg

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford Motor Co. is planning substantial job cuts in order to boost profits and raise its stock price.

The newspaper says the cuts would target salaried employees and would reduce Ford's global headcount by an equivalent of 10 percent.

Ford didn't confirm the report Monday night.

In a statement, the company said it's focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency. But Ford said it hasn't announced any job cuts and won't comment on speculation.

Investors are concerned that U.S. sales are peaking and Ford's market share is slipping.

Ford's shares have lost more than a third of their value since Mark Fields became CEO in 2014. Electric car maker Tesla Inc. recently surpassed Ford in market value even though it sells far fewer vehicles.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[How Much Student Loan Debt do Philadelphians Owe?]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 18:26:43 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/student+loan+debt+philly.PNG

Philadelphians carry a median student loan debt of $19,678, according to a report released Wednesday by personal finance site WalletHub.

The study looked at adults over the age of 25 who have a bachelor's degree in nearly 2,000 cities, and ranked them by comparing the median student loan debt with their median earnings, since student loan debts are "more unsustainable in some places than others," according to the report.

Philadelphia landed in the 76th percentile of all the cities, based on the ratio of their median loan balance compared to the median earnings of those with a bachelor's degree, $45,287, of 43.45 percent.

The list was topped by smaller cities, mostly in the South and Midwest, where median loan debts are almost as high as their median salaries.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Briana Jackson, Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Penn Names New Leader for Abramson Cancer Center]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 13:14:03 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Penn+Abramson+Cancer+Center.PNG

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has found its new leader in-house.

Dr. Robert Vonderheide, a professor in cancer research at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and a noted expert in immunotherapy, was promoted to the director post after serving as the cancer center’s associate director for translational research and executive director of its translational centers of excellence program for more than a decade.

He will begin his new role as director on July 1. He succeeds Dr. Chi Van Dang, who was director of Abramson Cancer Center since 2011. In December he accepted a new job as scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer research in New York City.

“Dr. Vonderheide’s career at Penn has been marked by continuous innovation in areas that were scarcely a possibility in the field when he arrived here in 2001,” said Dr. J. Larry Jameson, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Uptown Beer Garden Returns for 3rd Year]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 12:51:32 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bar-PBJ-Opening.PNG

Teddy Sourias — the restaurateur behind popular Philadelphia bars Bru Craft & Wurst and U-Bahn — is back for the return of his Uptown Beer Garden. New additions include exclusive beer and expanded seating.

Sourias and his restaurant group Craft Concepts Group at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, will open Uptown Beer Garden, the 9,000-square-foot beer garden at 1735 JFK Blvd. that first made its debut in 2015.

Hours will be Mondays and Tuesdays, 5-10 p.m., and Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. until midnight.

Last year's iteration added more seating and expanded the bars, and this year Sourias has added even more.

“Uptown Beer Garden drew big crowds and exceeded even our wildest expectations last year,” Sourias said. "This year, we wanted to go big or go home — with expanded food, drink and beer offerings."

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Kory Aversa]]>
<![CDATA[Philly City Council Votes to Replace Wells Fargo]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 12:31:52 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wells+Fargo+City+Council.PNG

Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to approve legislation to remove Wells Fargo as the bank handling the City’s $2 billion payroll. The legislation would authorize the city treasurer’s office to enter into an agreement with Citizens Bank to handle those services at the start of the next fiscal year in July.

The bill was amended to include Citizens’ community development plan to develop initiatives for low to moderate income families, individuals and minority small businesses. A companion bill would allow for a transition period in which Wells Fargo would continue as the City’s depository until December 31, 2017.

“Though we understand its business decision, Wells Fargo is certainly disappointed that the City of Philadelphia has decided to move payroll processing to another financial institution,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.

Wells and its predecessor banks had the payroll account for decades. The San Francisco-based company, which is the region’s largest bank by deposits, noted its millions of dollars worth of community partnerships in Philadelphia in terms of donations and sponsorships to nonprofits and major events, as well as offering millions in loans and investments in support of affordable housing, community service, and economic development.

The bills formally reported out of council’s finance committee last month.

Wells Fargo will maintain the remaining $1 billion in business with the city outside of payroll, as that work was not scheduled to be up for bid. In addition to Wells, Citizens beat out PNC Bank, TD Bank, Bank of America, Santander Bank and U.S. Bank in a request for proposal.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Courtesy Wells Fargo]]>
<![CDATA[Atlantic County Municipalities to See Tax Hike]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 12:16:12 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Atlantic+City+Line+AN.PNG

Nearly every community in New Jersey's Atlantic County will see a jump in taxes this year as part of an effort to return $12.5 million to Atlantic City for its successful tax appeals and to offset the millions in PILOT money Gov. Chris Christie promised the county yet never came about.

The Press of Atlantic City reports all but Atlantic City and Port Republic will face tax increases this year.

Atlantic City is an exception, the newspaper reports, because legislation on the PILOT program, which allows casinos to make installment payments of $120 million over a decade in lieu of property taxes, removed the gaming properties from the city's ratable base.

Among the unknowns is whether the city’s settlement with Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which cut the amount it owes to the casino by $93 million, will also reduce the county’s refund to Atlantic City, [county Administrator Jerry] DelRosso said.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Busniess Journal. 



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone, Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Harley-Davidson and Urban Outfitters End T-Shirt Fight ]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 19:33:27 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Harley+davidson+urban+outfitters.jpg

Shoppers won't be seeing the Harley-Davidson emblem in Urban Outfitters any more.

The iconic motorcycle company has agreed to drop its lawsuit against Urban Outfitters, according to Women's Wear Daily, so long as the Philadelphia-based retailer never again sells merchandise that bears any symbols that resemble Harley's logos.

To read the full story, click here


For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Half-Billion Windows 10 Devices, But PC Slump Stunts Growth]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 18:30:08 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Microsoftsurfacenotebook_1200x675.jpg

Microsoft's latest version of Windows is faring better than its maligned predecessor, but the software's growth is still stunted by a shift away from personal computers.

Windows 10 is now running on a half-billion devices nearly two years after its release, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella disclosed Wednesday during the software maker's annual conference for applications programmers.

That figure is up from 400 million eight months ago, but far short of Microsoft's goal of putting Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by 2018. The Redmond, Washington, company had already acknowledged it won't reach that goal in time.

Windows 10 represents a comeback for Microsoft after the colossal flop of Windows 8, whose ill-conceived designed deepened a decline in PC sales and contributed to the departure of Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer.

Although it has been easing recently, the PC slump still hasn't ended.

People are increasingly connecting to digital services, checking email and performing other computing tasks on devices powered by Apple's iOS and Google's Android instead of Microsoft's Windows. That's one the prime reasons Microsoft has been eclipsed by both Apple and Google in the technology industry's pecking order after dominating throughout the 1990s.

Microsoft tried to piggyback on the trend by expanding into smartphones, but those attempts have mostly flopped. It's the reason Microsoft cites for failing to meet its 1 billion goal in time. Its Surface tablet has done better, but even that product has hit rough patches. Microsoft blamed disappointing Surface sales for a revenue shortfall in its most recent years.

As consumers have embraced smartphones, Microsoft increasingly is building its products with business and government agencies in mind, said Gartner analyst Ed Anderson.

But Microsoft is still hoping to win over consumers with its digital servant, Cortana, a rival to Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.

Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled an internet-connected speaker featuring Cortana in a partnership with Samsung's Harman Kardon. Microsoft also announced Wednesday that both Intel and HP plan to implant Cortana in upcoming devices, but didn't provide any further details.

Microsoft encouraged programmers Wednesday to design applications that help Cortana do whatever people might want. Both Amazon's Echo and Google's Home devices are striving to do the same thing.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Shakes Up Board as Key Sales Figure Falls Again]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 17:38:20 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Whole+Foods.png

Whole Food Markets on Wednesday announced a shakeup of its board and named a new CFO as it works to turn around its struggling business, which has seen seven straight quarters of same-store sales decline.

Keith Manbeck was tapped for chief financial officer, effective May 17, CNBC reported. Most recently, Manbeck was senior vice president of digital finance, strategy management and business transformation at Kohl's.

Meanwhile, the grocer also named five new independent directors to its board, effective immediately, and tapped Gabrielle Sulzberger as its chair.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Federal Government Records $182.4 Billion Budget Surplus]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 14:48:07 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/treaaurydept1200x675.jpg

The federal government ran the second highest monthly surplus on record this April as tax revenues were pushed higher by a change in the deadline for corporate tax payments.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that the surplus for April totaled $182.4 billion, the second largest surplus after a record $189.8 billion surplus set in April 2001.

The government generally runs surpluses in April reflecting the annual tax deadlines. This year's surplus was inflated because of a deadline change that allowed corporations until April to make their final tax payments for last year. The deadline had previously been March.

Through the first seven months of the current budget year, the government is running a deficit of $344.4 billion, down 2.4 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the full budget year, which ends on Sept. 30, will decline 4.6 percent to $559 billion. That would compare to a 2016 deficit of $585.6 billion.

The CBO's deficit estimate is based on current law remaining unchanged. President Donald Trump has called for a program of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and increased government spending in such areas as the military and repairing the nation's aging infrastructure.

The CBO has not been able to project how much impact Trump's proposals will have on this year's deficit or in future years because so far the administration has not released its full budget outline. That document is expected to come out later this month.

For the first seven months of this, revenues total $1.93 trillion, up 0.6 percent from the same period a year ago. Spending totals $2.27 trillion, up 0.2 percent from the same period last year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Snap Plunges on First Earnings Report as Public Company]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 17:41:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/snapchatonwallst_1200x675.jpg

Snap, parent company of social media site Snapchat, reported quarterly financial results for the first time on Wednesday, posting revenue that missed estimates and slower-than-expected user growth.

Shares plummeted more than 19 percent in after-hours trading.

Since its initial public offering in early March, Snap has faced an uphill battle to convince Wall Street it can make money with advertising, even with Facebook and Google dominating the market.

While its $3.9 billion initial stock sale in early March was the largest U.S. IPO in more than two years, the company has consistently reported huge losses.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Fires Back at Wal-Mart, Lowers Free Shipping Minimum]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 09:02:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_93380942358.jpg

Amazon has lowered its free shipping threshold from $35 to $25, undercutting Wal-Mart by $10 and escalating a battle between the the e-commerce giant and the largest big-box retailer, CNBC reported.

Earlier this year, the Seattle-based company reduced its minimum order amount required to qualify for free shipping — for non-Prime members — to $35 from $49, price tracker BestBlackFriday first reported.

Amazon did not officially announce the decrease, but its website now reads that online orders of $25 or more are eligible for free 5-8 days shipping on eligible items.





Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's '8th Wonder of the World' Sells for Fraction of Cost]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 06:55:50 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Trump-Taj-Mahal-Casino.jpg

Donald Trump wrote "The Art Of The Deal," but it was Florida's Seminole Indians who made a truly amazing deal to buy the opulent casino built by the man who is now president.

The Trump Taj Mahal, the Atlantic City casino that the real estate mogul built for $1.2 billion in 1990, went for 4 cents on the dollar when it was sold in March. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday revealed the price that billionaire Carl Icahn got from Hard Rock International for the shuttered casino: $50 million. The sale was publicized at the time, though the purchase price wasn't.

Trump, now the nation's 45th president, dubbed the Taj Mahal "the eighth wonder of the world" when it opened. He cut most of his ties with Atlantic City in 2009, though he retained a small stake in its parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, in return for the right to use his name.

At the end, Trump had no ownership interest at all: His stake was wiped out last year when Icahn acquired Trump Entertainment Resorts from bankruptcy. Icahn and Atlantic City's main casino workers' union were unable to agree on a new contract to restore health insurance and pension benefits, and the union went on strike in July.

In October, Icahn shut the casino down, saying he saw no way to make a profit from it, and lamenting losses of $350 million on it.

Icahn retains ownership of the former Trump Plaza casino, which shut down in September 2014.

Hard Rock, which is owned by Florida's Seminole Indian tribe, plans to reopen the Taj Mahal in 2018 after scrubbing it of its minarets and ubiquitous mentions of Trump. Hard Rock says it plans to spend $375 million on a renovation that will draw on the world's largest collection of music memorabilia. Hotel guests will even be lent Fender electric guitars to play in their rooms.

Aside from seeing an opportunity in a market that seems to be stabilizing following the closing of five of its 12 casinos since 2014, the deal makes sense in another way for Hard Rock: The firm has partnered with Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural on plans for a casino resort in East Rutherford, just outside New York City, if New Jersey voters ever amend the state Constitution to allow casino gambling beyond Atlantic City. (A referendum to allow it was soundly defeated in November).

Though new legislation will presumably be written for the next attempt at casino expansion, last year's rules gave owners of existing Atlantic City casinos first crack at one of two new licenses that would have been created had the ballot measure passed. With its ownership of the former Taj Mahal, Hard Rock would be well-positioned for a run at a northern New Jersey casino license.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Buffett Faults United, But Sticks With Airlines Investments ]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 21:03:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/warrenbuffet_1200x675.jpg

Warren Buffett said Monday that United Airlines bungled the case of the passenger dragged off a plane last month, and he criticized the CEO's handling of the incident.

Buffett also said airplanes "may become like cattle cars," but that's because a significant number of passengers will put up with crowding in exchange for cheaper fares.

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is United's largest shareholder and has large stakes in other big U.S. airlines, said the recent spotlight on poor customer service in the airline industry doesn't change his investment strategy.

After the market closed Monday, United reported that passenger traffic in April rose 7.4 percent, compared with a year ago. That beat Delta's 1.6 percent gain but fell short of Southwest's 8.4 percent increase.

Most of those tickets were bought before the April 9 incident on a United Express plane in Chicago. United has not discussed whether the fallout has affected bookings since then.

According to FactSet, Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 9 percent of United Continental Holdings Inc., a stake worth nearly $2.2 billion at Monday's closing share price of $74.98. Berkshire is also the top shareholder at Delta, No. 2 at Southwest and No. 3 at American.

Buffett said on CNBC that the bloody removal of a 69-year-old passenger from a plane was obviously "a terrible mistake." He criticized CEO Oscar Munoz, who first gave a vague response, then defended his employees and blamed the passenger before giving a contrite apology.

"I kind of wonder whether Oscar had actually seen that (video) when he made the response," Buffett said. "If so, it was a bigger mistake by far."

Buffett said a CEO's natural tendency is to first defend his employees, but that should not have been the case if Munoz had seen the video. United declined to say when Munoz first saw the video. The CEO has said his early response was insensitive.

United issued a statement saying it appreciated Buffett's perspective and has announced policy changes to improve customer service.

Buffett said "it's bad" when airline executives get hauled before Congress, as Munoz and others were last week, but said the strategy behind his airline investments remains unchanged.

The financier said air travel has become "unbelievably safe" and that full planes are making the airlines profitable — even if that causes "a fair amount of discomfort."

"They may become like cattle cars, but ... a significant percentage would rather be treated that way and fly for X than have far more legroom, two abreast, all kinds of things, and travel for X plus 25 percent," he said.

High average occupancy has kept prices from rising, Buffett said. He also was skeptical about Congress imposing new regulations on the airlines, saying that would push fares higher.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Startup Expanding Event Series]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 06:47:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Philly+start+up+moving.jpg

Tiffanie Stanard wants to talk.

The founder of Stimulus, a startup aimed at making it easier for small-to medium-sized organizations to find sponsorships and funding, plans to spark a six-city virtual conversation on May 15th as part of her efforts to spur leaders in the startup and small-business space across the U.S. to share experiences and opportunities.

The discussion, to be held at the new Microsoft Reactor where Stimulus is the startup in residence, will connect entrepreneur community organizers based in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. during simultaneous events that focus on how tech can be used to link cities together.

Stanard said she wants to facilitate a cross-country discussion about how organizations and businesses – especially minority- or women-owned ones – can access resources; expand to other cities that may have far different rules and regulations from their own; and learn from each others’ successes and failures.

At least two of the organizations participating in the upcoming #Connect2Resources event are planning their own expansion into Philadelphia, including Boston’s Venture Cafe Global Institute in Boston and Her Corner, a D.C.-based accelerator for women-owned small businesses.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Sinclair to Buy Tribune Media, Expanding Its Local TV Reach]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 16:06:28 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-51472633-1280.jpg

Sinclair Broadcast Group, already the nation's largest local TV station operator, wants to be even bigger.

The company announced Monday that it will pay about $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and its 42 stations, which includes KTLA in Los Angeles, WGN in Chicago and WPIX in New York. Chicago-based Tribune also owns stakes in the Food Network and job-search website CareerBuilder.

Sinclair has 173 stations, including KENV in Salt Lake City, KOMO in Seattle and WKRC in Cincinnati. The Tribune deal, plus other pending acquisitions, will give it a total of 233 stations, putting distance between it and rival Nexstar Media Group, which has 170.

Sinclair said it may have to sell some stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission rules, although the FCC has recently loosened rules related to media ownership. Sinclair is also in the process of buying Bonten Media Group, which owns 14 stations, for $240 million.

In all, Sinclair said its stations will reach 72 percent of all U.S. households with a TV once the Tribune and Bonten deals close.

Jeffrey McCall, a media studies professor at DePauw University in Indiana, said buying Tribune will give Sinclair more power to negotiate better deals with cable companies and national advertisers. Adding Tribune's stations will also expand Sinclair's reach into major cities that it didn't have a presence in before, such as New York and Chicago.

"It makes them a bigger boy on the block, so to speak," said McCall.

Public interest groups, however, opposed the deal. Public Knowledge, which is typically against media consolidation, said Monday that the deal will reduce "viewpoint diversity" and contribute to the "homogenization of broadcasting." It asked the Department of Justice and FCC to reject the deal.

Late last year, Sinclair had to defend itself against news reports that it made a deal with Donald Trump's presidential campaign for favorable coverage in its newscasts. In a December statement , Sinclair said that it had no such deal with Trump's team and that it had given both him and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton "the same opportunities to be interviewed by our local anchors on a regular basis."

On Monday, Sinclair said it will pay about $43.50 in cash and stock for each share of Tribune, an 8 percent premium from Tribune's closing price of $40.29 on Friday. The Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company values the total transaction at $6.6 billion, when debt is included.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. fell 85 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $36.10 in afternoon trading Monday. Shares of Tribune Media Co. rose $2.07, or 5.2 percent, to $42.36.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Constitution Center, Historical Society Collaborate]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 16:07:56 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PBJ+New+Exhibit.PNG

National Constitution Center and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania have joined forces for a new exhibition.

The Constitution Center and Historical Society on Thursday opened "American Treasures: Documenting the Nation's Founding," an exhibition highlighting the founding era and includes drafts of the U.S. Constitution like Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson's handwritten drafts.

The partnership was announced Wednesday night during the historical society's Founder's Award Gala that honored author and musician James McBride.

The exhibit is located in a newly constructed exhibition room at the Constitution Center intended for displaying the rarest founding documents in American constitutional history, according to the Historical Society.

The Founder's Gala marked the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the National Constitution Center.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: National Constitution Center, Luis Quevedo]]>
<![CDATA[Punching in Past 65: Older-Worker Rate Highest Since 1962]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 00:00:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/seniorcitizencomputer_1200x675.jpg

More Americans age 65 and over are still punching the clock, and the last time the percentage was this high was when John F. Kennedy was in the White House.

Last month, 19 percent of Americans age 65 and over were still working, according to government data released Friday. That's the highest rate since 1962, and it caps a long trend higher since the figure bottomed out at 10 percent in 1985.

As America grows older and as life expectancy gets longer, some workers keep heading to the office because they like it and still feel engaged. But many others are continuing to work for a simpler, darker reason: They can't afford not to.

More than a quarter of workers age 55 or older say they have less than $10,000 in savings and investments, according to the latest retirement confidence survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Perhaps because of slim nest eggs, nearly a third of workers in that age group say they expect to work until at least 70, if they retire at all.

Older workers still heading for jobs may also be the lucky ones. Many older Americans would like to work but say they can't find a job, whether because they lack the skills or because employers are looking for someone younger. The unemployment rate for workers age 65 and over was 3.7 percent last month. That's a tick higher than its median over the last 30 years, though it's down from earlier this year.

The numbers may rise still higher, critics say.

Congress this past week voted to overturn a federal rule designed to help states give more workers access to retirement savings plans.

Several states have been pushing to create their own plans to get more workers into plans like a 401(k) that automatically deduct savings from each paycheck. Low-income workers tend to have much less access to savings plans through their jobs.

Republicans and players in the investment industry, though, argue that the state-run plans could end up being much more expensive than imagined and would water down safeguards in place to protect investors.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Not Your Mom's Tupperware Party - Making Money on Facebook]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 09:43:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/facebook38.jpg

The #NBC10Mornings Team is exploring the business and job-hunting aspects of social media and how using devices can impact your health. Here's some conversations with people making a living off of online social platforms.

When Kristy O'Connor started out as a Realtor in 2010 she says "I didn’t know what to do, so I kept putting myself out there on Facebook."

O’Connor, who works for Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media, Delaware County, uses the popular social media platform to sell houses in Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks counties.

The number of people like O'Connor who make their living off of their social media feeds is on the rise.

NBC10 had the opportunity to speak with four people making money, even their living, through Facebook.

In O'Connor's case, a friend contacted her through Facebook looking for a Realtor, and from there her business “took off.” Now her clients range from friends to strangers.

O’Connor said all of her clients she’s “either met through people I know or through friends who have shared my things on Facebook. It’s not just selling a house – I’ll post tips or market trends.”

When it comes to houses, O’Connor said, “I’ll get a lot comments but also a lot of private messages from people who have seen my post. People will buy the house from first seeing it on Facebook. It does garner a sale.”

"My business selling real estate becomes a very social thing. I use Facebook to keep in touch with former clients of mine. It really creates this all-inclusive relationship with customers," O’Connor said. "My clients are the best!”

Victoria Pilat, a New York-based consultant and fashion retailer for Lularoe, agreed that using Facebook really helps reach clients.

Lularoe is a company that, rather than selling in stores, sells their items through direct marketing. Pilat buys the products wholesale and sells them at retail price from home. She helps those who want to sell as well have parties, whether at home or online through Facebook.

“Some people live further away or they think their house is too small, it’s definitely easier to do an online party,” Pilat said.

Right now, she is working with Caitlin Thompson, who wants to host her own Lularoe party online.


Thompson explained how it’s done, “You get invited into a group, and they’ll either do album sales or sometimes they’ll do live sales through Facebook Live. You can just comment on the picture or the video and that’s how you claim it. It’s kind of like a Tupperware party but online.”

Both Pilat and Thompson explained that there are benefits to having a party at home. The buyers get to see what they’re buying up close, they can interact in person and they can buy what they want on the spot and then go.

However, they both said that online parties can be more successful because you can reach more people.

“People from other states who want to participate wouldn’t have been able to come in person,” Pilat said.

Thompson said she thinks "that online is really appealing. It’s at everyone’s own convenience. Items are available for purchase the entire day.”

Pearl Glam owner Janie Algeri agreed that online selling is more convenient.

As a mother of three kids, she said, "I can do the videos from home without having to host, and it’s make your own hours – I can do it after the kids are in bed. At the beginning my husband was doubtful, but now it’s like, ‘I can’t believe it’s doing so well.’”

Algeri is from Connecticut and started Pearl Glam last October. Pearl Glam is now her income. Pearl Glam sells pearls found in oysters from Japan. Algeri opens up the mystery oysters that someone bought online. “I basically do most of the party on Facebook live,” Algeri said.

You can also buy pendants or jewelry to go with the pearls from Pearl Glam.

While Facebook seems to be working well, with some shows reaching 30,000 viewers, Algeri says she is “still learning the ropes of Facebook. Facebook changes their algorithms a lot. You have to keep what you have new and fresh.”

She revealed her plans to start doing bath bombs with the pearls inside.

“The live feeds are what get the most hits and views right now. There’s hundreds of thousands of people watching (April) the giraffe, so there has to be something to it,” Algeri said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Feds Probe Uber's Use of Fake App to Stymie City Inspectors]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 14:49:37 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ubergeneric_1200x675.jpg

The Justice Department is probing allegations that Uber used phony software to thwart city officials looking at whether the ride-hailing company was following local regulations.

The city of Portland, Oregon, said in an April audit report that it was notified of the federal inquiry by the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco. Portland says it is cooperating. Uber and the U.S. Attorney's Office both declined to comment.

Reuters and other news outlets have reported that the investigation is a criminal probe currently before a grand jury.

GREYBALLING THE OVERSEERS
Uber's software — nicknamed "Greyball" — identified regulators who posed as riders while trying to collect evidence that Uber's service was breaking taxi laws. Uber allegedly served up a fake version of its app to make it appear the undercover regulators were summoning a car, only to have the ride canceled.

Portland officials began investigating Uber after the New York Times disclosed the existence of Greyball in March. "The city of Portland was notified by the United States Attorney of the Northern District of California that Uber is the subject of a federal inquiry," the audit report stated.

In the audit report, the Portland Bureau of Transportation found that Uber tagged 17 rider accounts with Greyball, 16 of which were government officials. Uber used the software to "intentionally evade" city transportation officers between Dec. 5 and Dec. 19, 2014, the report said.

The company pulled out of Portland on Dec. 21, 2014, but returned late in April of 2015. After that, the audit found no evidence that Uber used Greyball, the report stated.

"Finding no evidence of the use of Greyball or similar software tools after April 2015 does not prove definitively that such tools were not used. It is inherently difficult to prove a negative," the report said.

BEYOND PORTLAND
The Justice Department probe apparently isn't limited to Portland.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia Parking Authority confirmed Friday that the agency had been contacted by Justice officials who asked about software that helped Uber evade inspectors.

"Other than that I can't go into any detail," said the spokesman, Martin O'Rourke. The authority regulates taxicabs and ride-hailing services in the city in addition to parking.

According to a December legal settlement with Uber, Philadelphia authorities had figured out that inspectors were being blocked from Uber rides.

Under one provision of that agreement, Uber was required to reinstate accounts associated with credit-card and telephone numbers the authority believed were blocked "as a result of (Uber's) enforcement activities," a reference to the Greyball system.

SHADES OF GREYBALL
Uber said in an April 21 letter to the city that its own investigation indicated that Greyball was used "exceedingly sparingly" in Portland. The company said it removed all Greyball tags in Portland back in April 2015 and has not used them since.

Uber has acknowledged it used Greyball to counter regulators working with the company's opponents to entrap its drivers. It was part of a broader program called VTOS, shorthand for "violations of terms of service," that Uber says it developed to protect its service.

"This program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service — whether that's people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret 'stings' meant to entrap drivers," Uber said.

Less than a week after Greyball was exposed, Uber said it stopped using the software.

The company's cat-and-mouse game with regulators is just one example of Uber's aggressive tactics in its battle with the heavily regulated taxi industry. Uber has built a rapidly growing company valued by its investors at more than $60 billion — but one that is nevertheless frequently accused of bending the rules.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds Consumer Complaints: Contractor Complaints]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 09:16:19 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NBC10_Responds_Consumer_Complaints__Contractors.jpg

Harry Hairston and the NBC10 Responds Team hear plenty of complaints about people doing work on homes in the region. Here are some tips for when you need a contractor.]]>
<![CDATA[New York City Cafe Says Starbucks Stole Its Unicorn Drink ]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 09:18:50 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/511143580-Starbucks-generic.jpg

A Brooklyn cafe that created a "Unicorn Latte" is accusing Starbucks of "overshadowing" its health-conscious drink with the sugary Unicorn Frappuccino in a new lawsuit.

The End, in Williamsburg, started selling its Unicorn Latte in December and has had a trademark on the drink name pending since January.

Starbucks launched the Unicorn Frappuccino in April as a limited-run item, and it enjoyed considerable media attention.

Both drinks are similar in that neither contains coffee, though they are on the opposite spectrum of healthy consumption. The End says the Unicorn Latte is made from ingredients like dates, ginger root and algae. The lawsuit says Starbucks' drink is made from milk and artificial sweeteners.

The cafe is seeking unspecified compensation and a public apology.

A spokesperson for Starbucks says the lawsuit is without merit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Pledges $1 Billion Boost to US Manufacturing ]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 19:28:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/188*120/apple-GettyImages-516837044.jpg

Apple plans to start a $1 billion fund to create more advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States, company CEO Tim Cook told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer on Wednesday.

As CNBC reports, the fund fits into Apple’s efforts to promote and create jobs within its own sector and within its own company. The fund's creation also comes amid President Donald Trump’s ongoing promises to bring lost manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

Cook said he hopes the investment will spur even more job creation.

"By doing that, we can be the ripple in the pond. Because if we can create many manufacturing jobs around, those manufacturing jobs create more jobs around them because you have a service industry that builds up around them," he said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's Growing Cash Stash Spurs Talk of Huge Acquisition]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 23:57:02 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-539934868-cropped.jpg

As Apple's stash of cash grows, so does the possibility that the world's most valuable company will use some of the money for a huge acquisition that would expand its empire beyond iPhones and other gadgets.

The company currently holds more than a quarter-trillion dollars it could use to go shopping. So far, the guessing game has primarily focused on possible targets such as Netflix and Tesla Motors. Either deal could make sense, given Apple's long-running interest in providing a TV service to consumers and its more recent work on self-driving cars .

But in recent months the takeover talk has swirled around whether Apple might do something even more dramatic by making a bid for Walt Disney Co.

THE MOUSE AND THE APPLE

Such a combination would create the world's first company worth $1 trillion. Beyond that, an Apple-Disney marriage would unite some of the world's most successful brands in technology and entertainment — a list that includes the iPhone, iPad, Mac computer, Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel.

"If there's a deal out there that would strike fear in the hearts of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, this could be it," RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a recent research report assessing the logic of an Apple-Disney combination.

Apple doesn't discuss specific companies that it might buy, but it's exploring far and wide, according to Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri. "We are looking at every size of acquisition, so we will see how it goes going forward," Maestri told The Associated Press in a Tuesday interview.

Disney hasn't given any inclination that it's looking for a buyer, but publicly held companies are required to consider all takeover offers. Buying Disney would be expensive. Daryanani estimates that Apple would have to pay $157 per share, or about $250 billion.

TREASURE CHEST

Apple is one of the few companies — if not the only one — that could pay that sum out of its pocket. The Cupertino, California, company ended March with nearly $257 billion in cash and marketable securities, according to numbers released Tuesday with Apple's earnings report for the January-March quarter.

That's up from $233 billion a year ago, and the figure is expected to keep growing as Apple piles up more profits from the iPhone, iPad and Mac, as well as the applications and services that feed those devices. In its latest quarter, Apple's earnings climbed 5 percent to $11 billion while revenue also rose 5 percent to nearly $53 billion.

In recent years, Apple has used a large chunk of its cash to provide its shareholders with extra income. The company disclosed plans on Tuesday to raise its quarterly dividend by more than 10 percent to 63 cents per share, marking the fifth increase in five years. Apple also has spent $151 billion buying back its own stock since 2012.

Doing a mega-deal would be a major departure for Apple, whose largest acquisition to date was its $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics in 2014 that helped launch its music streaming service.

THE SLOWING SMARTPHONE

But Daryanani and other analysts believe Apple may need to make a pricier acquisition to lessen the company's dependence on the iPhone at a time when smartphone sales have been slowing.

IPhone sales edged up 1 percent in Apple's latest quarter, extending a recovery from an unprecedented downturn last year.

But many investors remain concerned that Apple has become too vulnerable to the ups and downs of the smartphone market, mostly because the company hasn't been able to come up with another hit product since the 2011 death of its co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Apple's last big success, the iPad, came out in 2010, but sales of the tablet have been declining for more than three years.

Meanwhile, the iPhone accounted for nearly two-thirds of Apple's revenue in the past quarter.

The Trump administration may give Apple another reason to mull a major acquisition, given earlier promises to lower U.S. taxes on overseas corporate cash brought back to the U.S. Should that tax cut happen, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company will consider bringing back most of the more than $230 billion it now keeps in foreign countries, making it easier to finance a blockbuster deal in the U.S.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Gabrielle Lurie/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Microsoft Takes Aim at Google With Laptop, Slim Windows]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 16:57:52 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/microsoftnewlaptop_1200x675.jpg

Microsoft is taking aim at Google as it introduced a Surface device for students and slimmed down Windows for the classroom.

The new Surface Laptop is the first Surface device without a detachable keyboard. Microsoft says the new laptop will have up to 14.5 hours of battery life, compared with 12 hours for the MacBook Air. The Surface Laptop will come out on June 15.

The laptop runs Windows 10 S, a streamlined version of the ubiquitous operating system. It will run only software downloaded from the Windows Store, a limitation that Microsoft touts as a security benefit. Microsoft's previous effort at a slimmed-down Windows, Windows RT, wasn't popular because it wouldn't run older programs unavailable in the Windows Store.

The laptop comes at a rough time for the Surface line, which Microsoft blamed for the small revenue shortfall in its latest quarterly report. And it's a clear effort by Microsoft to step up competition with Google and its inexpensive Chromebooks in the classroom, where the latter has made major inroads .

Microsoft said new education PCs running Windows 10 S will start at $189, a bit more than the cheapest Chromebooks. The Surface Laptop, though, will start at $999, the same as the MacBook Air.

Among Microsoft's other education announcements:

— Microsoft is adding a coding feature to Minecraft Education, the offshoot of its wildly popular creator game. Called "Code Builder," the feature combines Minecraft with learn-to-code tools such as Tynker and a new one from Microsoft called MakeCode.

— A classroom version of Microsoft Teams will let students (supervised by their teacher) chat and work together online. In classroom group chats, students can listen to guest speakers, interact and even send emojis and GIF images. If it gets too rowdy, teachers can mute individual students or the whole class, or delete individual comments. Microsoft hopes the tool will serve as a digital hub for classrooms, where teachers can personalize learning and communicate with students and their parents.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[In New Book, Ivanka Trump Gets Serious About Women at Work]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 10:30:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ivankatrump_1200x675.jpg

Ivanka Trump's first foray into self-help writing came in 2009 with "The Trump Card," a breezy compilation of workplace advice, stories about her dealmaker dad and a hefty dose of celebrity namedropping.

But in her second book, released Tuesday, Trump has gone from sassy to serious.

"Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success" offers earnest advice for women on advancing in the workplace, balancing family and professional life and seeking personal fulfillment. She is donating the proceeds to charity and has opted not to do any publicity to avoid any suggestion that she is improperly using her White House platform.

It's natural that Ivanka Trump's thinking would evolve. Now 35, she is married and has had three children since she wrote the first book. She has also embraced advocacy for women, first at her fashion brand and now at the White House as an unpaid adviser.

She stepped away from executive roles at the Trump Organization and her fashion brand before joining her father's administration, though she still owns the brand, which has prompted criticism from ethics experts that she could profit from her rising profile.

A look at her advice from both books:

WORKPLACE TIPS
THEN: Trump offers advice on technology — "check your BlackBerry or iPhone only on the quarter hour" — and warns against "loose-lipped, ill-considered emails." She gives negotiating tips, such as "be aware of your physical presence" and "understand that people ask for more than they expect to get." She talks about networking and building a brand, based on her jewelry line experience.

NOW: Trump also discusses how to juggle career and family and live a more purposeful life. She encourages readers to think about how they personally define success, and talks about setting goals, seeking mentors and establishing boundaries. She writes: "Long term, we aren't remembered for how late we stayed at the office, how many buildings we developed or deals we closed."

TIME MANAGEMENT
THEN: Noting she was always looking for an "edge," Trump said that "as long as I can remember, I've been in the habit of coming into the office on Sundays." She added that while she didn't expect employees to follow suit, "you'd be surprised at how quickly your employees will fall in line behind you when you set this kind of example."

NOW: In a chapter called "Work Smarter, Not Harder," she says that when she became a mother she realized that she needed "to set healthier boundaries for myself and stick to them." She encourages seeking accommodations at work, like asking for flextime or working remotely. "Divorcing ourselves from the reality that we all have full lives isn't useful or sincere."

GETTING PERSONAL
THEN: She dishes about growing up as Donald Trump's daughter. Michael Jackson — at the time a Trump Tower resident — apparently attended a performance of the Nutcracker in which she danced as a child. Another memory: attending a Mike Tyson fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with her father and watching him try to calm an angry crowd after Tyson knocked out his opponent in 91 seconds.

NOW: There is less colorful insight, but Trump does share a few family moments, such as practicing her speech for the Republican National Convention with her three children on the couch. Trump, who converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, discusses observing the Jewish Sabbath from sundown Friday to Saturday night, saying it is "important to unplug and devote that time to each other."

GUEST STARS
THEN: Focusing on business success, Trump includes short essays from a variety of executives, featuring record producer Russell Simmons and Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. A guest writer she probably wouldn't include in the new book: former Fox News Channel executive Roger Ailes, who resigned last summer following allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances against women, which he has denied.

NOW: Trump looks more to academics and experts on women in the workforce, in addition to celebrities and politicians. She quotes Anne-Marie Slaughter, who five years ago wrote a popular essay in The Atlantic magazine on why she left a job in the State Department during President Barack Obama's administration to spend more time with her family, and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who wrote the book "Lean In," urging women to take charge of their careers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Behind the Scenes: Victory Brewing]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 08:12:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020627786_1200x675_936189507733.jpg

NBC10's Matt DeLucia takes a behind the scenes look at Victory Brewing Company in Chester County.]]>
<![CDATA[BBQ PayDays? Weird Candy Flavors Heading Your Way]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 09:15:55 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/HSY-Summer-PressRelease-Image_v02-A%5B6%5D-%281%29.jpg

Hershey's is debuting a new line of candy that involves barbecue, key-lime pie, cheesecake and other foodie favorites, Today reported.

The Pennsylvania-based candy company announced this week that it is rolling out a "Flavors of America" line of limited edition candies and chocolate bars inspired by popular summer destinations. Some of the places inspiring the flavors include New York, Florida and California.

The new chocolate bar choices include strawberry-flavored Kit Kats, cheery cheesecake Hershey’s bars and BBQ-flavored PayDay bars. Honey-roasted Reese’s peanut-butter cups are also included in the mix, along with coconut-almond Hershey’s kisses and key-lime pie and orange cream pop Twizzlers.



Photo Credit: Courtesy The Hershey Company]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Manco & Manco Readies New Pizza Shop as Owner Preps for Jail]]>Tue, 02 May 2017 06:53:56 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/210*120/e32ec3c362b446049066d609a597b753.jpg

Manco & Manco is a month away from opening its latest Ocean City, New Jersey pizza joint in a former Strand movie theater along the boardwalk – a milestone overshadowed by owner Charles Bangle's upcoming stint in prison, set to begin in September.

Known for the Strand marquee – even after the theater shutdown, the new Manco & Manco location is set to have its own eye-catching sign, a retail shop, a 210-seat restaurant, and a private party space.

Yet an attorney for Bangle and his wife Mary, who was sentenced to three years probation in the couple's $1 million tax evasion case, previously said the location could be in jeopardy should Bangle report for his 15-month prison sentence, according to Philly.com

“If the project is not completed, it could spell the ruin of this company. It could have an effect on many people: employees, the community, even the government,” [Laurence] Shtasel said then. Read more on PBJ.com.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Shares Rise After Trump Talks of Breaking Up Big Banks]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 16:31:40 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tru4AP_171015770945192.jpg

President Donald Trump said Monday he is "looking at" breaking up some of the nation's biggest banks, returning to a campaign promise that he'd since seemed to have put on the back burner.

Major averages slipped as the news broke, then rebounded, while government bond yields hit their highs of the day, CNBC reported.

Bank stocks rallied, with investors taking a win-win view: Breaking up the big banks would open business opportunities for smaller institutions, while the large Wall Street firms would be worth more as separate entities than they are combined.

"The theory has always been the sum of the parts is worth considerably more than the whole," said analyst Dick Bove, vice president for equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets.



Photo Credit: AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Fox News Co-President Bill Shine Is Out ]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 16:55:12 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/shinAP_17121692766357.jpg

Fox News Channel said Monday that co-president Bill Shine is out, the latest high-level departure at a network beset with charges of harassment and discrimination that have already claimed founding CEO Roger Ailes, leading personality Bill O'Reilly and a top financial executive.

Shine was not accused of any direct wrongdoing. But the longtime Ailes lieutenant was considered vulnerable because of claims that he looked the other way as charges of toxic workplace behavior piled up, with some believing that the network would never truly be able to move on without him and other Ailes loyalists.

His leadership experience learned at Ailes' feet was considered invaluable for the top-rated cable network, and Shine had been named co-president with Jack Abernethy upon Ailes' departure. Abernethy, who has spent much of his time at Fox working with Fox-owned broadcast stations and not the news channel, remains. Fox also said that it was promoting two other executives, Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, into more prominent newsroom roles.

In a memo to Fox News staffers, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of parent company 21st Century Fox, said "sadly, Bill Shine resigned today. I know Bill was respected and liked by everybody at Fox News. We will all miss him."

"Fox News continues to break both viewing and revenue records, for which I thank you all," Murdoch wrote. "I am sure we can do even better."

When New York magazine wrote last week that Shine was possibly in danger, it prompted Fox's Sean Hannity to leap to his defense on Twitter. Shine began working at Fox with Hannity, whose show is the only remaining prime-time program of Fox's long-running powerhouse prime-time lineup following O'Reilly's firing and Megyn Kelly's departure to NBC News.

If Shine was leaving, "that's the total end of the FNC as we know it. Done," Hannity tweeted last week. He had no immediate reaction on Monday.

Ailes and O'Reilly have denied the harassment allegations made against them. One of the women who accused Ailes, Julie Roginsky, also blamed Fox's management for trying to cover up for him in a complaint made to New York City's Human Rights Commission.

She said that in a meeting in December, Shine told her he didn't believe the allegations against Ailes until recently. Her lawsuit alleges that Shine and other Fox executives "kept Ailes's conduct secret and enabled it."

A lawsuit that accuses Fox's fired former comptroller, Judith Slater, of racial discrimination, is now up to 13 plaintiffs. Slater denies the charges, but the lawyer who represents the people claiming discrimination has called for Fox to clean house of its management.

Attorney Douglas Wigdor on Monday called Shine's departure "long overdue." He's got his eye on more, specifically naming Fox's top lawyer, Dianne Brandi, as someone who looked the other way while Slater's behavior continued. Fox has denied the allegations against Brandi.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Can't Decide Where to Eat? Local Entrepreneurs Launching App]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:59:47 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/game+plan+app.png

When Josh Hoffman was an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, one of the most annoying things he dealt with on a daily basis was deciding where to eat or go out with friends or his roommates. He's created an app for that.

After operating their app in beta mode since fall 2016, Hoffman and his team at GamePlan are ready to officially launch it into the spotlight with the goal of solving the pain groups of people may go through when deciding where to eat and drink.

Hoffman, who grew up in the Conshohocken area, spent the past few years banding together the current team behind GamePlan, a consumer app and restaurant-and-bar promotion platform that helps groups of people decide where to eat and drink using collaborative technology.

The company will officially launch the app on Monday, May 1, after operating in beta mode with more than 300 users for testing and feedback purposes.

"We built a collaborative technology that I have yet to see anywhere else," Hoffman said.

To read the full story, click here. 



For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 




Photo Credit: GAMEPLAN]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Hand-Rolled Ice Cream Shop to Open in South Jersey]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:32:44 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sweet+charlies+ice+cream.PNG

A Philadelphia-born hand-rolled ice cream concept is making its way across the Delaware River to set up shop in South Jersey.

Kyle Billig was only 18 years old when he first founded his company, Sweet Charlie's, a hand-rolled ice cream shop offering Thai-inspired ice cream rolls, back in 2015.

Billig and older brother Jacob opened the first location in early 2016 at 711 Walnut St. in Washington Square West, and followed that up a few months later with a branch in Rehoboth Beach, Del. A third location in Rittenhouse Square will open in early May, a spokesman said.

A fourth location is slated to open this year in South Jersey at 128 Kings Highway, the main street of Haddonfield that is also home to food and drink operators like Saxbys, Animo Juice, Angelo's Pizzeria, among others.

Sweet Charlie's will replace Hanna's Gourmet Spices.

The Haddonfield outpost is scheduled to open in the first week of June. The 1,000-square-foot location will have seating for 10 to 15 people. It will also have outdoor seating.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Sweet Charlies]]>
<![CDATA[Hardware Giant Promises Hundreds of Jobs]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:28:55 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Ace+HArdware+Shower+Head.jpg

Ace Hardware is opening a northeastern U.S. distribution center in eastern Pennsylvania, that will create more than 200 jobs.

The $20 million, 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse will be in Bethel Township, near Fredericksburg. It will replace smaller facilities in Prince George, Virginia; Baltimore; Portland, Maine and Pittston, which is also in Pennsylvania. The center will service Ace stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The center is about a mile from Interstates 78 and 81. 

Ace says the new center will create 208 new jobs and enable the company to retain 60 jobs it already has in Pennsylvania.

The center should open in the first quarter of next year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Plan to Turn Shuttered Casino Into Water Park Falls Through]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:47:43 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/edt-AP424990904650.jpg

For the second time in as many years, a deal to convert a shuttered Atlantic City casino into a water park has dried up.

Florida-based TJM Properties said Thursday a deal to sell former Atlantic Club casino to a group of local investors is off. The company says the group, led by investor Ronald Young, failed to meet a Monday deadline to have its financing secured.

In March, Young announced a $135 million deal to buy the shuttered casino and transform it into a family-friendly hotel anchored by an indoor water park.

"We were a little annoyed they would make an announcement like that without making sure they had their financing," said Dale Schooley, TJM's director of acquisitions.

But he said the company has numerous potential buyers for the property and hopes a new deal will be reached soon.

"We showed the property four times last week, and we have two more parties interested," Schooley said. "We're very excited at the level of interest in this property."

Young told The Associated Press he intends to make a renewed bid to buy the property from TJM.

"This is not over," he said. "I'm meeting all this week and next week to make a deal to go back and get The Atlantic Club. I'm not quitting. I'll do whatever it takes to make this deal."

That might entail seeking some sort of public support, he added.

Young said he gave himself too little time to complete the purchase.

"I made a bad decision to sign a contract to close a deal in 60 days," he said. "Try to close on a house in 60 days."

The Atlantic Club was the first of four Atlantic City casinos to close in 2014. They were joined last October by the Trump Taj Mahal, which was bought last month by Florida-based Hard Rock International and is due for a summer 2018 reopening.

The failure of Young's deal marked the second time in less than two years that a deal to convert The Atlantic Club into a water park had dried up.

In January 2016, a deal to sell the property to Endeavor Property Group fell through. Endeavor AC, a property company based in Ambler, Pennsylvania, had announced plans in 2015 to convert the Atlantic Club into a non-casino resort with an 81,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor water park. Plans also called for conference and event facilities, a family entertainment center, new restaurants and retail space along the Boardwalk.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Draft Brings Business Boom to Center City]]>Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:46:57 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NFL_Draft_Brings_Business_Boom_to_Center_City.jpg

Some businesses are cashing in on the NFL Draft tallying double the receipts they normally have for a Thursday.]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Ad Boycott Could Spell Trouble for Alphabet's Google]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:11:40 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/youtube_generic_1200x675.jpg

YouTube's inability to keep big-brand ads off unsavory videos is threatening to transform a rising star in Google's digital family into a problem child.

It's not yet clear whether a recent ad boycott of YouTube will be short-lived or the start of a long-term shift away from the video service — one that could undercut Google's growth and that of its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc.

Alphabet's first-quarter results, released Thursday, provided few clues. Major advertisers didn't start pulling their money from YouTube until the three-month period was nearly over.

The company's earnings rose 29 percent to $5.4 billion while revenue climbed 22 percent to $24.8 billion. Shares surged nearly 5 percent, to $933, in Thursday's extended trading.

CLOUD OVER YOUTUBE

But the fallout from the YouTube boycott is likely to be felt through the rest of this year. Skittish advertisers have curtailed their spending until they are convinced Google can prevent their brands from appearing next to extremist clips promoting hate and violence.

"There is no entity in the world that is more risk averse than a senior marketing person," says Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University in New York. "They don't want to go with a media choice that presents problems for a brand, and they don't have to because they have many other choices."

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told analysts during a Thursday review of the first quarter that the company has had "thousands and thousands" of conversations with advertisers as YouTube takes steps to protect their brands. "We are evolving overall to a better place," Pichai said.

At another point, he assured analysts that YouTube is still experiencing "extraordinary" growth without providing specifics.

Even if YouTube continues to lose advertisers, it won't leave a huge dent in Alphabet's earnings. That's because marketers are expected to keep feeding the company's golden goose — Google's dominant search engine. Ads appearing alongside the billions of search results Google churns out each day still generate most of Alphabet's revenue even as it expands into other fields.

But ad spending has been accelerating at a rapid pace on YouTube over the past two years as brands sought to connect with its audience of more than 1 billion people. Now it looks like things might taper off.

TAKING THE GLOSS OFF

Before the boycott began, YouTube's ad revenue after subtracting commissions was expected to rise 26 percent this year to $7 billion, based on estimates from the research firm eMarketer. Alphabet doesn't disclose YouTube's finances.

Advertisers began to flee YouTube last month, after The Times in London and other media outlets turned up evidence that their brands were appearing alongside clips promoting terrorism and racism.

The findings alerted advertisers that YouTube didn't have adequate technology or staffing to shield brands from some of the appalling material that gets posted on a site that receives 400 hours of video per minute.

"This is an ostrich situation where the ostrich just pulled its head out of the sand," says Harry Kargman, CEO of Kargo, which helps manage ad campaigns on mobile devices.

FLIGHT OF THE BRANDS

At one point, about 250 advertisers were boycotting YouTube. (Some also stepped back from a related system that Google operates to place commercials next to videos on outside websites.) The list included big-spending marketers such as PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, and Volkswagen.

It's unclear how many, if any, of those have returned to YouTube since Google promised to hire more human reviewers and upgrade its technology to keep ads away from repugnant videos.

Both Verizon and AT&T, two companies that are trying to expand their own digital ad networks to compete with Google, told The Associated Press that they are still boycotting YouTube. FX Networks confirmed that it isn't advertising on YouTube either. Several other boycotting marketers contacted by AP didn't respond.

TEMPORARY HIT OR PERMANENT SCAR?

Even if advertisers return, Kargman predicted they are unlikely to spend as much as they once did. "It's going to be a slow burn as brands quietly shift their spending away," he said. "There are now questions about the quality of video on YouTube in the long term."

Investors, however, apparently aren't too worried so far. YouTube's financial contributions remain a fairly small part of a company expected to generate $87 billion in revenue this year, after subtracting ad commissions.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney estimates the reduced spending on YouTube and Google's ad network for video on third-party sites could reduce Alphabet's net revenue by $300 million, to $1.5 billion, this year.

Some of that spending could shift to Facebook, Mahaney said, although the social network is facing its own challenges trying to block live videos of violence that appall viewers and advertisers alike.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Southwest Airlines Will Stop Overbooking Flights]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:31:45 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/southwest-airlines-new-livery-01.jpg

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines plans to end the common industry practice of overbooking flights - an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United's reputation with the flying public.

Last year Southwest bumped 15,000 passengers off flights, more than any other U.S. airline. Carriers said they sometimes sell more tickets than there are seats because often a few passengers don't show up.

Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman, added Thursday that with better forecasting tools and a new reservations system coming online next month the airline will no longer have a need to overbook flights.

In a CNBC interview Thursday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said "I’ve made the decision and the company’s made the decision that we’ll cease to overbook going forward."

Kelly said the last thing that the company want to do is "deny a customer their flight. We’re going to work very hard to eliminate as many pain points for travel ... as possible."

Kelly was asked on an earnings conference call if the move could impact Southwest's results. He said ending overbooking would have a minor impact on revenue but gave no figures.

Chief Financial Officer Tammy Romo said doing away with overbooking would reduce costs -- airlines compensate passengers for giving up their seats -- which would offset some of the revenue hit.

Overbooking flights then rebooking passengers to free up space is legal—the Department of Transportation has general guidelines about overbooked flights and how to compensate barred passengers. Europe has a different set of rules.

U.S. airlines bumped 40,000 passengers last year, not counting those who volunteered to give up their seats. United booted 3,765.

On Thursday, United announced 10 policy changes stemming from the incident, including an increase in the incentives offered to overbooked passengers up to $10,000.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines]]>
<![CDATA[Airport Hopes to Expand in Time for Amazon Holiday Rush]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:24:59 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/amazon+generic.jpg

A Pennsylvania airport that is part of Amazon's effort to build its own air cargo system is racing to build more space for the online retailer before the holiday shopping crunch.

The Allentown Morning Call reports officials agreed Tuesday to hire engineers to design an additional cargo plane ramp at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. They hope to have it built before the Christmas rush starts in November.

The airport currently has space for five cargo planes at a time, but two spots are reserved for FedEx. The three others are often filled by Amazon planes.

Ultimately, the airport officials would like to double cargo capacity, but hope that a sixth spot can get them through the holiday season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[China Rumors Rife as Gas Restrictions in N. Korea Drag On]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:05:08 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/northkoreagasstation_1200x675.jpg

An acute shortage of gasoline in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang that has sparked price hikes and hoarding is raising fears of potentially crippling pain at the pumps if things don't get better soon — and driving rumors that China is to blame.

The shortage, which is extremely unusual if not unprecedented, began last week when signs went up at gas stations around the city informing customers that restrictions on sales would be put in place until further notice. With no indication as of Wednesday night of when the restrictions might be lifted — or why they have been imposed — drivers continue to scramble to fill up their tanks and whatever other containers they can find.

Prices, meanwhile, have shot up. They had been fairly stable, typically at about 70-80 cents a kilogram, but on Wednesday at least one station was charging $1.40. Gasoline is sold by the kilogram in North Korean filling stations. One kilogram is roughly equivalent to one liter, so a gallon at the station costs about $5.30.

China supplies most of energy-poor North Korea's fuel, and in lieu of official explanations, rumors are rife that Beijing is behind the shortage. The concerns are adding to a tense and uncertain mood on the Korean Peninsula since U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office with repeated calls for Beijing — Pyongyang's economic lifeline — to get tough on North Korea, which has responded with counterclaims Washington is pushing for a nuclear war.

Though trade between North Korea and China appears to be solid, and possibly even growing, there are indications Beijing has been quietly tightening enforcement of some international sanctions aimed at getting Pyongyang to abandon its development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Limiting the oil supply has been openly discussed in Beijing as one option. Whether that is actually happening is unclear.

David von Hippel, a senior associate with the Nautilus Institute who specializes in energy and environmental issues, said supplies of crude oil and oil products would drop markedly without Chinese imports. But he stressed other factors could just as well be involved.

"The shortages and price rises being seen may be due to a combination of factors, including both actual shortages of products, more products being routed to other users — specific ministries, key factories, or the military, for example — and, or, more product being placed into government storage facilities," he said in an email. "I do not have a sense, at present, of which of these options, and in what combination, is the driver for the price rises and sales restrictions."

But two days after the restrictions were announced, North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency carried an unusually acerbic, and even threatening, editorial denouncing "a country around the DPRK," an obvious if not explicit reference to China. DPRK is short for North Korea's official name — the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The DPRK's nuclear deterrence for self-defense ... is by no means a bargaining chip for getting something," the commentary said, adding that if "the country" keeps applying economic sanctions "while dancing to the tune of someone ... it may be applauded by the enemies of the DPRK but it should get itself ready to face the catastrophic consequences in the relations with the DPRK."

It is unclear whether the gas shortage has affected North Korea's military, state ministries and major projects, all of which get priority access to the state-controlled supply. But the North this month has staged a huge military parade, unveiled a sprawling high-rise residential district and on Tuesday conducted its biggest-ever live-fire air, land and sea military drill. It is also believed to be prepared to conduct what would be its sixth underground nuclear test.

Several chains of gas stations are operated under different state-run enterprises — some, for example, are operated by Air Koryo, the national flagship airline — and prices can vary.

North Korea gasoline customers usually purchase coupons at a cashier's booth to fill up. Leftover coupons can be used on later visits until their expiration date. A common amount for the coupons is 15 kilograms (19.65 liters or 5.2 U.S. gallons).

The number of North Korean gas stations has grown steadily in recent years, mainly in Pyongyang, provincial capitals and along major highways. Pyongyang traffic has gotten significantly heavier since Kim Jong Un assumed power in late 2011. The greater number of cars, including swelling fleets of taxis, has been seen as an indication of greater economic activity.

Many of the vehicles are used for business purposes, such as transporting people or goods.

"When I last visited in 2005, they were filling up our bus with gas rations from buckets," said Curtis Melvin, a researcher at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and a contributor to the 38 North website. "Things have definitely changed."

Melvin added that the growth of an actual domestic market for gasoline has made it possible to see when there is a problem, since prices are posted at the gas stations, making trends publicly trackable. There is also less rationing than in the past.

If the apparent shortages are being caused by China, he said, the most likely explanation would be that less fuel is flowing across the border via pipeline.

Such a slowdown or stoppage would have an immediate impact on prices and would take time to compensate for by ships, trucks or trains. The primary place for North Korea pipeline storage tanks in China is in the border city of Dandong. But it was also not clear if North Korean tankers were picking up as much fuel as usual.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mexico Can Slap Trade Sanctions on US: Word Trade Org.]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:04:29 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-51163450.jpg

Mexico's tuna industry has been harmed by U.S. "dolphin-safe" labeling rules, the World Trade Organization ruled Tuesday, saying the country can seek retaliatory measures worth hundreds of millions of dollars after the yearslong dispute.

Mexico's economic damages from the labeling rules amounted to $163 million a year, a third of the $472.3 million it had asked for, the decision said. Mexico has previously said it planned to impose the sanctions on imports of U.S. high-fructose corn syrup.

The Mexican government issued a statement saying it would "immediately ask the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body for authorization to suspend benefits" and also begin an internal process of targeting imports from the United States.

Mexico's statement said its tuna industry meets "the highest international standards for the protection of dolphins and sustainability."

Mexican officials has insisted for years that U.S. laws discriminated against their tuna, and that other countries didn't face the same level of scrutiny and enforcement.

The complaint, which dates back to 2008, was sparked by U.S. rules insisting that any Mexican tuna sold in the U.S. must have a “dolphin-safe” guarantee, meaning that no dolphins were killed in the process of catching the tuna.

At the time, Mexico said it cut dolphin deaths to minimal levels but the U.S. continued to treat its fishing industry unfairly.

In 2013, the U.S. changed its rules, but the WTO said that Mexico was still being discriminated against, Reuters reported. The U.S. changed its rules again in 2016, expanding the tougher restrictions to all countries.

Tuesday's decision by the WTO is based on the U.S.'s 2013 "dolphin-safe" tuna labeling rule. The WTO is expected to issue its final report on the 2016 rule change in mid-May.

If the WTO decides the new changes no longer penalize Mexico's fishing industry, America’s southern neighbor would have to end its retaliations against the U.S., according to Reuters. 

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office said it was "disappointed" by Tuesday's ruling.

"Regrettably, the WTO Arbitrator's decision does not take into account the United States' most recent dolphin-safe labeling updates and dramatically overstates the actual level of trade effects on sales of Mexican tuna caught by intentionally chasing and capturing dolphins in nets," the office said. "We will continue to monitor the situation and closely consult with Congress and stakeholders about next steps."

The decision comes amid already strained U.S.-Mexico relations. President Donald Trump has made repeated called to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement, threatening to terminate the deal if his goals are not met in a rewrite.

Separately Tuesday, the Trump administration intensified a trade dispute with Canada, announcing plans to impose tariffs averaging 20 percent on imported softwood lumber.

NBC's Danielle Abreu contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Chipotle Reports Payment System Was Hacked]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:25:55 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/chipotle9.jpg

Mexican fast food chain Chipotle announced Tuesday that its customer payment system had been breached, CNBC reported.

In a statement on the company's website, Chipotle said it detected "unauthorized activity" on the system. Officials are focusing on credit card transactions that occurred from March 24, 2017, to April 18, 2017.

The restaurant added that the breach has been stopped and additional security measures have been added, though the investigation is ongoing. Chipotle encouraged customers to monitor their card activity.

The announcement came as Chipotle reported better-than-expected sales in the first quarter on Monday.



Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Touts 'Flying Car' Project]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:58:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/uber-file.jpg

Uber is taking to the skies with its next project — "flying cars" — even as all eyes are on its problems on the ground.

On Tuesday, the embattled ride-hailing company announced plans for an on-demand network of electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It wants to test a network for such vehicles by 2020.

The company says its partners in this Elevate initiative include real estate companies, aircraft manufacturers, electric vehicle charger makers and the cities of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

Uber's Jeff Holden says urban aviation "is a natural next step for Uber."

Uber has been reeling from executive departures and accusations of sexual harassment at its workplace. Results of an internal investigation are expected in May.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[New Walmart Bringing Hundreds of Jobs to South Jersey]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:46:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Walmart-Sign-CAGettyImages-535060101.jpg

A new Walmart promises to bring hundreds of jobs to South Jersey.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that the new Egg Harbor Township Walmart is looking to fill 300 job openings. Walmart has opened a temporary hiring center in the Merrill Lynch and AMI Medical Complex on Hingston Avenue to help process potential employees. (Click here to apply online.)

Company officials say new employees will begin training in June. The Walmart is scheduled to open late summer.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: File-Moment Editorial/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[BurgerFi to Open Temple University Location]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:56:06 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/BurgerFi+PBJ.PNG

The "better burger" concept BurgerFi is continuing its Philadelphia expansion with the opening of its first on-campus college location through a franchise agreement with Aramark.

BurgerFi, established in 2011, first launched in the Philadelphia market in February 2014 across the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Reading Terminal Market. It's located next to the Panera Bread.

BurgerFi's name was meant to reflect the company's involvement in the “better burger movement," according to the company, using Angus beef and higher quality ingredients.

Three years later, the chain will open its next Philadelphia outpost in Temple University's newly renovated Howard Gittis Student Center food court. BurgerFi signed a franchise agreement with Aramark, which will operate the location, the casual burger company recently announced.

The Temple University location will be BurgerFi's first on-campus college location, according to the company, which has set an opening date of August 2017.

To read the full article, click here. 

 


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: BurgerFi]]>
<![CDATA[Volkswagen to Pay $2.8 Billion in US Diesel Emissions Scandal]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:06:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_154035651379.jpg

A federal judge has approved a $2.8 billion criminal penalty against Volkswagen for cheating on diesel emissions tests.

District Judge Sean Cox approved deal and fine — the largest ever levied by the U.S. government against an automaker — negotiated by VW and the Justice Department during a Friday hearing in Detroit. The announcement comes six weeks after the German automaker pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

VW admits that nearly 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road.

Separately, VW is paying $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and spending $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation. Seven employees have also been charged.

U.S. regulators confronted VW about the software after West Virginia University researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions. Volkswagen at first denied the use of the so-called defeat device but finally admitted it in September 2015.

Even after that admission, company employees were busy deleting computer files and other evidence, VW's general counsel Manfred Doss acknowledged to Judge Cox.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bebe Is Closing All 175 of Its Stores]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:35:45 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/bebe5.jpg

Bebe expects to close all of its brick-and-mortar locations by the end of May, the clothing retailer said in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The chain had previously said it was committed to closing 21 locations, which represented roughly 12 percent of its total outlets, CNBC reported.

The move comes amid speculation that the company plans to transition to an online-only model.

Bebe didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Alcoa Moving Headquarters Back to Pittsburgh]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:43:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/185*120/Alcoa+Pittsburgh.JPG

Alcoa Corp. is moving its global headquarters — but very few jobs — back to Pittsburgh, where the 129-year-old company had been based until moving to New York City in 2006.

Alcoa has maintained offices in Pittsburgh and 10 of the 15 employees at its New York headquarters will move to western Pennsylvania effective Sept. 1, spokeswoman Joyce Saltzman said Thursday. The other five workers at the New York office will telecommute.

Alcoa already has 205 employees in Pittsburgh who share a building with Arconic, a spinoff created when Alcoa split its mining, refining and aluminum businesses in November from businesses that make aluminum parts for aerospace, automotive and other industries.

Alcoa also plans to close offices in Richmond, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Chicago, as well as Milan and Geneva in Europe; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Beijing.

Combined, the moves should save the company about $5 million a year.

"We are taking every opportunity to streamline Alcoa to reduce complexity," said Alcoa Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey.

The administrative consolidations are "another step in our drive to be a more competitive, operator-centric Company, with smaller corporate overhead, focused on profitable and successful operations," Harvey said.

Alcoa also has about 40 employees and contractors at its Technical Center in Upper Burrell Township, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, and 70 more contractors split time between the tech center and the offices on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

When Alcoa made the move to New York, the company had about 60 workers there and 2,000 in the Pittsburgh area.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Alcoa's move back to Pittsburgh is "another testament to the growing strength and attractiveness of the region for business."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? Flying Car to Go on Sale]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:01:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/flyingcar2017_1200x675.jpg

It may not be quite like the Jetsons, but for over a million dollars you too can soon fly around in a car.

A Slovakian company called AeroMobil unveiled on Thursday its version of a flying car, a light-framed plane whose wings can fold back, like an insect, and is boosted by a hybrid engine and rear propeller.

It will be available to preorder as soon as this year but is not for everyone: besides the big price tag — between 1.2 million and 1.5 million euros ($1.3 million-$1.6 million) — you'd need a pilot's license to use it in the air.

"I think it's going to be a very niche product," said Philip Mawby, professor of electronic engineering and head of research at the University of Warwick.

Several companies are working on flying cars, either like Aeromobil's two-seater that needs a runway, or others that function more like helicopters, lifting off vertically. But not many companies are seriously looking at marketing these vehicles anytime soon, Mawby said.

"The technology is there... The question is bringing it to the market at an affordable cost, and making it a useful product."

Among the big questions is how to control the air traffic if there are hundreds of such vehicles zipping through the air. There is no control except for traditional aircraft, notes Mawby.

So while vehicles like the AeroMobil could be used for recreational purposes by people who have a large piece of land, flying cars are unlikely to become a mass market reality anytime soon, he says.

The AeroMobil has a driving range of about 100 kms (62 miles) and a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph). When flying, its maximum cruising range is 750 kms (466 miles), and it takes about three minutes for the car to transform into a plane.

"You can use it as a regular car," said Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of Aeromobil, at the unveiling in Monaco. Though it is not legal — yet — to take off from a highway.

The previous AeroMobil 3.0 prototype made news in 2014 when it was presented in Vienna, but no test-flight took place then. It crashed during a test flight in Slovakia in 2015 with its inventor Stefan Klein on board. He escaped largely unharmed.

Charlton reported from Paris. Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[MasterCard Rolls Out Cards With Fingerprint Sensor]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 11:07:55 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/MasterCard-34123792165_e987246927_o.jpg

MasterCard is testing payment cards with fingerprint sensors in South Africa and hopes to roll it out to the rest of the world by the end of the year, the company said Thursday. 

The technology works in the same way as it does with mobile phone payments: users must have their finger over the sensor when making a purchase. Upon cardholders' registration, their fingerprint is converted to an encrypted digital template. 

Tech experts have said that while using fingerprints is not foolproof, it is a "sensible" use of biometric technology, the BBC reported.

"Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security," Ajay Bhalla, president ofenterprise risk and security, said in a press release. "It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."

The biometric verification can only be used for in-store purchases. Online and other so-called "card not present" transactions will still require further security measures, according to the BBC. 



Photo Credit: Courtesy MasterCard]]>
<![CDATA[Green Initiatives of Top Companies ]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:00:25 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT+Earth+Week+Companies+THUMB.jpg

In honor of Earth Week, NBC looked at 5 of the most valuable companies to see what kind of green initiatives they are engaged in.]]>
<![CDATA[How Dangerous Air Bags Can Find Their Way Into Used Cars ]]>Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:02:19 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/usedcargeneric_1200x675.jpg

A Nevada crash that nearly killed a young woman has exposed a hole in the government's efforts to get dangerous Takata air bag inflators off the road: There's nothing that prevents the devices from being taken from wrecked cars and reused.

Karina Dorado's trachea was punctured by shrapnel from an inflator in an otherwise minor crash in Las Vegas on March 3. She was rushed to a trauma center, where surgeons removed pieces that damaged her vocal cords. She is still being treated for neck injuries.

Dorado, 18, is among nearly 200 people injured or killed by the inflators, which can explode when the chemical propellant inside deteriorates. What's different about her case is how the inflator wound up in her 2002 Honda Accord in the first place.

Dorado's father, Jose, bought the car for her in March of last year so she could get to and from her job at a customer service call center, attorneys for the family said Wednesday. The family did not know the car's history, including that it had been wrecked in Phoenix and declared a total loss by an insurance company in 2015, the attorneys said.

According to AutoCheck, a service that tracks vehicle histories, the car was given a salvage title, repaired and resold in Las Vegas last spring.

Engineers from Honda inspected Dorado's car after the crash and traced the serial number from the blown-apart inflator to a 2001 Accord, which had been covered by a recall but never had the inflator replaced.

Honda spokesman Chris Martin said the air bag in the 2001 Accord must have been removed by a salvage yard, or perhaps stolen. Somehow it ended up at the shop that repaired the car eventually bought by the Dorados.

It's perfectly legal under federal law for air bag assemblies or other parts subject to recall to be pulled out of wrecked cars and sold by junkyards to repair shops that may not even know the danger.

No government agency monitors the transactions. In addition, no states appear to have laws against the reuse of recalled parts.

"What there should be is a program that prevents old air bags from being recycled," said Michael Brooks, acting director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

Carfax, another auto history tracking service, said it is unknown just how many cars are sold each year with salvage titles, but they number in the thousands.

At least 16 people have been killed by Takata inflators worldwide and more than 180 injured. The problem touched off the biggest automotive recall in U.S. history, with 69 million inflators recalled. About 100 million have been recalled globally. Takata has been fined and faces lawsuits, and it could be driven into bankruptcy.

Kent Emison, an attorney for the Dorado family, said that given the huge size of the Takata recall, millions of inflators are probably still in use and unaccounted for by authorities.

"People are not going to know until it's too late that they have a defective Takata air bag," he said.

The inflator that nearly killed Dorado was among the most dangerous made by Takata. In testing, inflators taken from older Hondas had a 50 percent chance of blowing apart, prompting the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue desperate pleas for people to get them replaced.

Unlike most other air bag makers, Takata used the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the bags in a crash. But the chemical deteriorates over time when exposed to heat and humidity, causing it to burn too fast and blow apart a metal canister.

Attorneys for the Dorado family said they are trying to find out where Jose Dorado bought the Accord.

"It's a tragedy that shouldn't have happened," said Billie-Marie Morrison, another family attorney. "You would think in today's age with communication technology these types of things should not be allowed to happen."

Morrison said she doesn't know if the elder Dorado checked the Accord's vehicle identification number in a government database of recalled vehicles to see if it had any unfixed recalls.

Had he checked, he would have been given a false sense of security: The NHTSA website says the car has zero outstanding recalls. Honda said that before the Phoenix wreck, the previous owners had the air bag inflator replaced twice under recalls.

The federal government has no authority over used car sales and cannot stop air bags from being resold, a NHTSA spokeswoman said. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators said it knows of no states that prohibit salvaged parts from being reused, though some require parts to be inspected to make sure they aren't stolen.

Honda's Martin said the automaker has a program to buy up air bags made by Takata. In the past few years it has purchased 60,000 to take them out of circulation, he said.

Karina Dorado still has a hole in her trachea that is covered by a collar and will have to be repaired later, Morrison said. She is starting to get her voice back, but it's very raspy and she will probably need speech therapy, the lawyer said.

Brooks said people should be suspicious of cars with salvage titles because there is no way of knowing where the parts came from or the quality of the repair work. Although some are safe, stolen or counterfeit parts can be used, he said.

"There are just so many questions that are impossible to answer," he said. "I would always recommend buying something that has no crash history if you can."

 

Krisher reported from Detroit.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emirates Cut US Flights After Trump Travel Ban Effects]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:00:04 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/emiratesplane_1200x675.jpg

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, slashed its flights to the United States by 20 percent Wednesday, blaming a drop in demand on tougher U.S. security measures and Trump administration attempts to ban travelers from some Muslim-majority nations.

The Dubai government-owned carrier's decision is the strongest sign yet that new measures imposed on U.S.-bound travelers from the Mideast could be taking a financial toll on fast-growing Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the U.S.

Dubai was one of 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by a ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard U.S.-bound flights.

Emirates' hub at Dubai International Airport, the world's third-busiest, is also a major transit point for travelers who were affected by President Donald Trump's executive orders temporarily halting entry to citizens of six countries.

The latest travel ban suspended new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and froze the nation's refugee program. Like an earlier ban that also included Iraqi citizens, it has been blocked from taking effect by the courts.

Emirates said the flight reductions will affect five of its 12 U.S. destinations, with the first cutbacks starting next month.

"The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S.," the carrier said in a statement.

Emirates does not provide financial data for its U.S. operations or individual routes, but said it had seen "healthy growth and performance" there until the start of the year.

Since Trump has been in office, however, there has been what it called "a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across all travel segments."

It said it is responding as "any profit-oriented enterprise would" and will use the capacity freed up by the culled routes elsewhere on its network.

The Americas region, which also includes routes to Canada and Latin America, accounted for 14 percent of the $22.75 billion in revenue Emirates pulled in during the fiscal year through the end of March 2016.

Emirates' half-year profit fell 75 percent to $214 million in the last period the company has disclosed, through last September — before the U.S. election. Executives cited increased investments including aircraft purchases and the repayment of bonds, and said a "bleak" economic outlook in many parts of the world was reducing travel demand.

Robert Mann, an aviation consultant in Port Washington, New York, said business travel between the U.S. and the Middle East has clearly been hurt by the ban on gadgets, while the attempted visa bans have put a damper on leisure travel from the countries targeted.

"Neither factor is a good thing for the Middle Eastern carriers who are primarily affected," he said.

The cuts will reduce the number of U.S.-bound flights from Dubai to 101, down from 126 currently.

Twice daily Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle will fall to once a day. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared to five per week.

Andrew Lannon, a Canadian attorney based in Dubai, arrived in Fort Lauderdale for vacation on an Emirates flight Wednesday and said passengers had to check their electronics, which made the 18-hour flight difficult because he couldn't work.

Passengers were then told upon landing they would have to wait on the plane for an hour while their bags were checked, but were then let off after 20 minutes, Lannon said, adding that it took another hour for most passengers to clear customs.

Kevin Mitchell, head of the Business Travel Coalition in the U.S., said all the Gulf carriers are probably losing business because of the security measures and attempted travel bans, and that will hurt consumers.

"For consumers it means higher prices, fewer choices, less connectivity," Mitchell said.

Like its smaller Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Emirates has ramped up its U.S. presence and recently launched a new service to Newark via Athens.

Several big U.S. carriers and their pilot unions have bristled at the Gulf airlines' U.S. push, accusing them of flooding the market with capacity while receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies.

Emirates and its Gulf rivals deny the allegations.

Despite a vigorous lobbying and public relations campaign, the U.S. carriers were unable to persuade the Obama administration to block further expansion by Gulf airlines. But U.S. airline executives made a personal pitch to restrict their access during a White House meeting with Trump earlier this year.

Jill Zuckman, a spokeswoman for the "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies" campaign opposing more U.S. routes for the Gulf carriers, was quick to seize on Emirates' decision.

"The fact is, market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly. It is well known that the Gulf carriers, including Emirates, lose money on most of their flights to the United States and are propped up by billions of dollars in government cash," she said.

The U.S. travel industry, already fretting that the ban on travelers from a number of Muslim-majority nations is affecting foreign travel generally to the United States, expressed fresh concern after Emirates' announcement, however.

"The aftermath of 9/11 taught us that we can't take either global understanding or U.S. market share for granted," said Jonathan Grella, executive vice president the U.S. Travel Association. "Every limiting security message needs to be offset by a sincere welcome to legitimate, lawful travelers."

 

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy in Washington, David Koenig in Dallas and Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale contributed reporting.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Closing]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:08:57 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/storesclosing.jpg

Some major retailers, struggling to compete with online companies, have been forced to close brick-and-mortar locations. Here are some of the biggest names affected by the change in consumer habits.]]>
<![CDATA[SNL Time Zone Shift Pays Dividends With Big Boost]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:46:38 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/166*120/SNLFALLONAP_1200x675.jpg

NBC's decision to air a live version of "Saturday Night Live" in every time zone has paid immediate dividends.

The network's telecast last weekend, with host Jimmy Fallon, musician Harry Styles and with Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy delivering their hit impersonations of Donald Trump and Sean Spicer, was seen by 7.87 million people, or 21 percent more than the previous week's telecast, the Nielsen company said.

For the first time, NBC decided to air the show live from New York in the Mountain and Pacific time zones — then repeat it in the show's customary 11:30 p.m. time slot. Nielsen did not immediately have exact numbers on how much this decision boosted viewership. But counting both airings, overnight ratings among young viewers in the two Western time zones more than doubled over the previous week's telecast.

Among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic last week, "Saturday Night Live" had more viewers than all prime-time shows except "The Big Bang Theory" and "Empire."

It has been a banner year for NBC's comedy institution. When people who record the show and watch within a week are counted in, the typical "Saturday Night Live" edition is seen by 10.9 million people each week, Nielsen said. That doesn't even count the way many people view late-night comedy these days, through clips spotted online.

The television viewership is up 29 percent over last year and, NBC said, is the show's best season since 1993-94.

The show typically does well in election years. What makes this season different is the audience has remained strong after the election, fueled by Baldwin's indelible Trump impersonation and McCarthy's instant-classic take on the president's press secretary.

CBS won the week in prime-time, averaging 6.6 million viewers. ABC had 4.5 million, NBC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and the CW had 900,000.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.33 million in prime-time. Boosted by the NBC playoffs, TNT had 1.66 million viewers, HGTV had 1.47 million, MSNBC had 1.466 million and ESPN had 1.31 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.61 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.56 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.2 million.

For the week of April 10-16, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.89 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 10.31 million; "Stayin' Alive: Grammy Salue to the Bee Gees," CBS, 10.31 million; "The Voice" (Monday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 9.88 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 9.43 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.06 million; "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 8.49 million; "Survivor," CBS, 8.32 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.16 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 7.76 million.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[United CEO Says No One Will be Fired for Dragging Incident]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:51:07 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/oscarmunozUNITEDCEO_1200x675.jpg

The CEO of United Airlines says no one will be fired over the dragging of a man off a plane — including himself.

CEO Oscar Munoz said Tuesday that he takes full responsibility "for making this right," and he promised more details later this month after United finishes a review of its policies on overbooked flights.

Company executives said it's too soon to know if the incident is hurting ticket sales.

United has been pummeled on social media — #BoycottUnited is a popular hashtag — and late-night television. Through Tuesday afternoon, its shares had fallen 4.3 percent since Flight 3411, wiping out nearly $1 billion in market value, although several other airline stocks declined in the same period.

After the market closed Monday, United reported a $96 million first-quarter profit, down 69 percent from a year earlier largely because of higher costs for fuel, labor and maintenance. The revenue picture was looking better — evidence was growing that after two years of falling average fares, United will be able to push prices higher this year.

On a conference call to discuss those results, Munoz started by apologizing again for the April 9 scene on a United Express plane at Chicago's O'Hare airport. David Dao, a 69-year-old Kentucky physician, was bloodied and dragged off the plane by Chicago airport officers who had been summoned by United employees when Dao wouldn't give up his seat. The three officers have all been suspended.

Munoz and other executives vowed to treat customers with dignity, and said that what happened to Dao will never happen again.

Munoz's early statements on the incident were widely criticized. He initially supported employees and blamed Dao, calling him "disruptive and belligerent." On Tuesday, he was asked if the company ever considered firing anyone, including management.

"I'm sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally," said Munoz. He noted that the board of United Continental Holdings Inc. has supported him.

"It was a system failure across various areas," Munoz continued. "There was never a consideration for firing an employee."

Dao's lawyers have taken steps that foreshadow a lawsuit against the airline and the city of Chicago, which operates O'Hare Airport.

United announced two rule changes last week, including saying that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked planes. It is not clear whether United oversold Flight 3411, but the flight became overbooked when four Republic Airline employees showed up after passengers had boarded and demanded seats so they could commute to their next assignment, a United Express flight the next morning.

Some politicians and consumer advocates have called for a ban on overselling flights. Munoz declined to address that or other possible changes until the airline finishes a review by April 30.

Even in normal times, airlines closely — even daily — scrutinize numbers such as advance sales and occupancy levels on planes. Yet United officials said they couldn't measure whether the dragging has affected their business.

"It's really too early for us to tell anything about bookings and in particular last week because it was the week before Easter, that's normally a very low booking period," said United President Scott Kirby. He said that United's forecast for the April-through-June quarter has not changed.

Limited competition at many major airports could blunt any nascent boycott of United. Wall Street analysts have been mostly silent about the Dao incident, perhaps believing that it won't have a noticeable impact on United profits. They did not ask United management any questions about it on Tuesday's call.

Barclays analyst Brandon Oglenski told Munoz that "accidents happen ... hopefully, we can put this behind us." Back in December, the analyst had called United Continental the "most compelling stock" in the airline sector. The consensus estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by FactSet for United's full-year earnings has risen by 3 cents a share since the Dao incident.

Munoz said he has received "a lot of support" from United's high-end customers, although "obviously a lot of people have ideas and thoughts about how we can make things better."

___

David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Hampshire Farm Lets You Do Yoga With Baby Goats]]>Wed, 19 Apr 2017 11:10:25 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/200*120/Screen+Shot+2017-04-18+at+1.40.45+PM.png

The latest fitness trend might just convince some people to slap on yoga pants, especially if they love baby animals.

Jenness Farm in Nottingham, New Hampshire, has gotten a lot of attention after introducing yoga with baby goats as a part of their business a few weeks ago. The tiny goats are let loose while yoga students get into various yoga positions. 

The result is a mix of the relaxed mindfulness that yoga offers and some chaotic cuteness. 

Jenness Farm raises dairy goats for a variety of products, such as goat milk, soaps, and other bath and body items, but visitors have been able to get up-close-and-personal with the animals on their yoga mats for the past few weeks. 

Owner Peter Corriveau said many followers of the farm's Facebook page suggested he offer the yoga class after similar ones have been seen trending in other areas. He has run Jenness Farm since 2001 and knew that his goats would be perfect for the job since he bottle raises them himself.

“Goats are very intelligent and curious,” he said. “Within the first hour of their life they are up and walking around. They are very playful.”

The farm recruited local yoga instructor Janine Bibeau, a frequent visitor of Jenness Farm and a fellow goat-lover. The first few classes have been a big hit and presented a new way to bring in yoga newcomers.

“This is unlike any yoga that I’ve ever taught,” said Bibeau, “you can come into this room feeling tired or sad and you are going to leave a lot more joyous and energetic. After the last class that we taught, my face was sore from smiling the whole time.”

Bibeau has goats of her own, but they are a bit calmer than the hyperactive baby goats that like to jump on top of people while they pose. Her older goats will simply come up and cuddle while she practices her yoga. 

The energetic baby goats are a good representation of how chaotic life can get. Her students are challenged to remain mindful, but of course are encouraged to pet and play with the goats during the class.

Interest in the class has exploded since photos and video from the first few classes have gone viral on Facebook. There is already a long waiting list to get into a class, but Corriveau says that they are working on expanding the yoga area to let more people in at once. 

For more information on goat yoga at Jenness Farm you can visit their website here.

]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Redevelopment Plan for MOVE Bombing Properties Moves Ahead]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:48:16 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/195*120/Move+Houses.JPG

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority selected AJR Endeavors to redevelop three dozen properties that were involved in the infamous MOVE explosion that took place in 1985 and marred a neighborhood, the city and its mayor. 

The effort by the city agency looks to have those properties redeveloped and, though it won’t erase history, it has the potential to set that part of Philadelphia on a new course.

Sixty properties were destroyed in the fiery explosion that killed 11 people along the 6200 block of Osage Avenue and the 6200 block of Pine Street in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia.

It’s been a long road to reach this point. The redevelopment authority condemned and subsequently bought the site. Sixty-one new homes were built, albeit in a shoddy manner. At first, the city attempted to make repairs to the houses, but in 2000 an effort to buy the properties at fair market value was initiated. Read more on the plans on PBJ.com.


For the latest business news from around the Philadelphia region, check out the Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority]]>
<![CDATA[10 Discounts, Deals and Freebies for Tax Day 2017]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:19:17 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tax+day+deals+2017.png

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Last-Minute Tax Day Filing: How to Pay Uncle Sam at the Deadline]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 09:50:07 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tax-form.jpg

Waiting until the last minute to pay your taxes can cost you if you are expecting a refund, since the government hangs on to your money and receives more interest on it. However, if you owe money to the government, that same principle applies to you. Why not wait until the last minute? 

There is no reason not to, as long as your return is postmarked or electronically submitted by April 18, 2017, and your payments are submitted then as well. Extending your deadline to file does not extend your payment time. You are expected to pay the amount you owe, or your best estimate, by the April 18 deadline. 

If you do have to make an estimate, it is usually best to err towards overpaying. Paying too much can always be applied to next year’s taxes, but paying too little requires that you pay interest on the difference – and could expose you to an audit if you greatly underestimate the amount. 

You have four general payment methods from which to choose: 

 

  • Check/Money Order – The classics never go out of style. The IRS accepts checks or money orders payable to the United States Treasury. Include your phone number, Social Security number, and the 1040-V payment voucher (or other voucher as appropriate for the tax form you are submitting). 

  • Credit/Debit Cards – There are six IRS-approved payment processors for credit or debit cards. Links to these vendors may be found on the IRS website here. Debit card charges are usually flat fees ($2.25-$3.95) and credit cards are charged as a percentage fee (1.87%-2%). 

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) – Essentially, this is the reverse of direct deposit. Most e-filing methods require EFW. This has to take place as part of the electronic filing process – you cannot initiate EFW after your taxes have been submitted.

    Check with your financial institution and verify that they allow EFW transactions. If so, they will supply you with the routing number and account number for the account from which you wish to have the funds withdrawn. Do not assume that the routing number on your checks is the correct one – sometimes extra internal routing digits are included, and the numbers need to conform to the IRS standards.

    You will need to supply a contact phone number, Social Security numbers for every filer, and a payment date. You can still choose to have your payment made on April 18, even if your form is filed earlier. 

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) – This is the IRS-run equivalent of EFW. It has the advantage of allowing same-day wiring of funds from your account, and is useful for scheduling regular estimated tax payments for the self-employed.

    EFTPS requires registration with the IRS. It can take five to seven business days to register, so make sure you leave enough time for your registration process to be completed before your payment deadline expires.

 

Electronic methods can be used on all 1040 Series forms, but not all tax forms or taxes can be handled through electronic payments. For details, check the links available on the IRS website here. This page also contains links for businesses to use in electronic payments. 

Should the computer gremlins attack or you spill coffee on your keyboard, you can still pay by phone using one of the IRS-approved credit/debit card processors, or by calling the IRS directly and using EFTPS. 

Choose whichever payment method works best for you, and pay at the last minute with confidence. Just do not forget to make that payment before the deadline, or you’ll have to make a much bigger payment later.

Read More From Our Partners at Moneytips:

 



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<![CDATA[5 Things to Know About Tax Day: Refunds Are Up, Audits Down]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 05:57:58 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/What_You_Need_to_Know_About_Filing_on_Tax_Day_1200x675_668521027966.jpg

Tuesday is Tax Day, that dreaded day when millions of procrastinators rush to fulfill their civic duty by filing state and federal tax returns. 

But for most, it's not that bad. Sure, the forms are complicated and yes, there is math. But tax season also generates about $300 billion in refunds, a significant boost to the U.S. economy. 

Here are five things to know about Tax Day: 

MOST GET REFUNDS 
The IRS so far has processed 101 million tax returns from individuals and about 80 percent have qualified for refunds. The average refund is $2,851, an increase of $53 over last year. 

By the end of filing season, the IRS expects to process 150 million returns. That's after millions file for automatic six-month extensions. 

CHANCES OF GETTING AUDITED ARE SLIM
The number of people audited by the IRS in 2016 dropped for the sixth straight year, to just over 1 million. That's less than 1 percent of filers. 

The last time so few people were audited was 2004. Since then, the U.S. has added about 30 million people. 

The IRS blames budget cuts as money for the agency shrank from $12.2 billion in 2010 to $11.2 billion last year.

But rich people beware. The higher your income, the more likely you are to be audited. Agents audited 5.8 percent of returns that reported more than $1 million in income. 

RETURNS DOWN, REFUNDS DELAYED
Tax season got off to a slow start because the IRS delayed refunds for more than 40 million low-income families as part of the agency's efforts to fight identity theft. 

The delays affected families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. The tax breaks are geared to benefit the working poor, and many families claim both. 

The tax filing season started Jan. 23. But a new law required the IRS to delay tax refunds for people claiming these credits until Feb. 15. 

The delay was designed to give the agency more time to screen the returns for fraud. Throughout the tax filing season, the number of tax returns processed by the IRS has been lower than last year. 

As of April 7, the IRS had received 104 million tax returns and processed 101 million. Both numbers are down about 3.5 percent from last year. 

PEOPLE ILLEGALLY IN US PAY TAXES 
There is a common myth that people in the U.S. illegally don't pay taxes. But data from both the IRS and the Social Security Administration says otherwise. 

Yes, some work in the underground economy. But in 2015, the Social Security Administration estimated that immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally paid $100 billion in Social Security payroll taxes over the previous decade. They paid the taxes even though few will ever be able to collect benefits. 

How does Social Security know when it receives taxes from immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally? One way is by tracking reported wages in which the Social Security number does not match the name the agency has on file. 

Some of these are clerical errors or unreported name changes. But the agency estimates that a majority of the wages come from immigrants who have made-up Social Security numbers or used someone else's. 

Also, the IRS has issued more than 20 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to foreigners.

The ITINs are supposed to be used by foreigners who have some form of U.S. income, and therefore owe U.S. taxes. However, the tax agency believes that many of them are used by people who are working in the U.S. illegally. 

TAX DAY ISN'T MUCH OF A DEADLINE IF YOU'RE DUE A REFUND
The IRS doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, there is no penalty. 

But it doesn't make much sense to file late if you are owed a refund. And beware - if you have unpaid taxes, the late fees add up quickly. 

The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent of your unpaid tax bill for every month, or part of a month, you are late. It kicks in on April 19. In general, the maximum penalty is 25 percent of your original tax bill. 

There also is a penalty for failing to pay your tax bill, separate from the penalty for failing to file at all, but it's much smaller. That's because the IRS wants you to file a return even if you don't have enough money to pay your bill. 

The failure-to-pay penalty is 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes for every month, or part of a month, you don't pay.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

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<![CDATA[How to File for an Extension on Tax Day]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:40:48 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tax+forms.jpg

The tax day deadline is here but don't worry if you're not ready to file your taxes. 

You may file an extension with the IRS that gives you up to six more months to file your taxes — but you gotta do it today and still have to pay. Filing an extension will spare you from late filing penalties — 5 percent of the amount of tax you owe for each month or partial month past the April 18 deadline. The extension is automatic — you do not have to send any justification or reasoning like "I have 5,000 wadded-up receipts crammed in a shoebox." 

To file an extension, fill out IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return” and submit it before the April 18 filing deadline. The form and instructions are available at your local IRS office, online here, or through any e-filing service. 

The form is quite simple, requiring your Social Security Number for identification (and your spouse’s if you are married and filing jointly) along with your best estimate of your tax liability and the amount you are paying. Note the important distinction: an extension to file does not mean an extension to pay. You are still expected to pay the amount of taxes that you owe even though the exact amount is unknown. You still have to pay interest on any underpayment, and potential penalties apply if you pay less than 90 percent of your tax bill. 

You can file Form 4868 electronically or as a paper form. E-filings must be submitted by midnight local time on April 18; paper forms must be postmarked by April 18. The instructions for Form 4868 will tell you where to mail your paper copies, as well as outlining your payment options if you expect to owe. You will receive a confirmation when your e-filed extension is approved, but with a paper filing, you are only notified if the extension is rejected.

How can an automatic extension be rejected? That generally happens when the basic information does not match up, although your extension may be rejected if you grossly underestimate the amount of tax that you owe. A simple error like transposing numbers on your SSN or a mismatching address that was not updated with the IRS will keep your extension from being accepted. Notification in either case makes e-filing a safer option for extensions. 

Extensions may also be granted under special circumstances such as military service in a combat zone (See IRS Publication 3, “Armed Forces’ Tax Guide”), or if you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and meet certain criteria (see IRS Publication 54, “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad”). 

Unless you live in one of the seven states that have no state income tax, you will also need to file a state tax extension. The procedure for filing state tax extensions varies by state, so contact your state tax agency to verify the rules. Some states grant a six-month extension automatically, others require that you file a request. 

Just as with your federal return, you still have to pay your best estimate of the state taxes that you owe. If you can do so, it is best to err on the overpayment side. You will avoid any underpayment penalties and can receive a refund when you do file your state taxes. 

Filing an extension can bring you peace of mind and keep you from making potentially costly tax mistakes. However, if possible you should plan to file your taxes on time next year and avoid the guesswork of how much you owe in taxes. Modify your filing and tracking system so that next year it consists of more than a shoebox full of wadded-up receipts.

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Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NASA's 1st Live 360-Degree Rocket Launch Feed Hits Snag]]>Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:49:29 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2017-04-18+at+11.46.01+AM.png

For the first time, cameras provided live 360-degree video of a rocket heading toward space. But the live feed appeared to skip the actual launch.

NASA provided the 360 stream Tuesday as an unmanned Atlas rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with a capsule full of space station supplies.

But viewers of the YouTube stream saw the rocket on the ground one second, then a fiery speck high in the sky the next.

Users on Twitter responded to NASA's tweets to report the issue. "Lag basically meant the rocket was there, and then it was gone," one wrote. Another said, "Yay! YouTube showed me its loading circle right when the countdown started. Missed the whole launch."

A spokeswoman for NASA confirmed there was a technical issue with the feed, and that engineers are trying to fix it.

"We believe that the cameras captured it," said Alison Knox at the Kennedy Space Center.

A subsequent statement from NASA noted the difficulties with the video feed as well as interest from around the world in the "emerging technology."

"This is the first time that this has ever been attempted and while the 360º would have been a unique look at launch, we still have incredible video of today's successful liftoff of the Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station from multiple other cameras that provide a variety of views. We will review today's 360º setup and endeavor to bring this new perspective of a rocket launch to everyone in the future."

The four fisheye-lens cameras capturing the launch were located at the periphery of the pad, about 300 feet from the rocket. A computer in a blast-proof box stitched together the images for a full, in-the-round view. There was supposed to be about a minute lag time.

It was shown on NASA's YouTube channel.

"It's great, I mean, to be able to get in there and experience that 360-degree view," said Vern Thorp, a program manager for rocket maker United Launch Alliance, ahead of the launch. Combining that with virtual reality goggles, "it really gives you a new perspective that we've never been able to do  before," he said at a Monday news conference.

United Launch Alliance has released 360-degree video of two previous launches, but later — not live.

Orbital ATK, one of NASA's main delivery services for the International Space Station, opted to use an Atlas V for this supply run from Cape Canaveral versus its own smaller, Virginia-based Antares rocket in order to haul up more items. The supply ship is known as the Cygnus after the swan constellation, and in this case has been named the S.S. John Glenn.

Glenn became the first American to orbit the world in 1962 — launching on an Atlas rocket — and the oldest person to fly in space in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery. He died at age 95 in December. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month.

"It's an honor to launch the spacecraft which has been named in memory of John Glenn," Thorp told reporters. Given that Glenn flew on an Atlas rocket and Tuesday's rocket is an Atlas, "I feel like we're bridging history."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NASA/YouTube
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<![CDATA[Rue21, Pa. Based Teen Retail Company, Closing 400 Stores]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:18:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/rue21.JPG

Teen clothing retailer rue21 is closing nearly 400 stores nationwide as it focuses more on its online business.

The privately-held company, based in Cranberry, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, still has more than 700 stores in 48 states.

The company in a Facebook post called the decision to close the stores "difficult but necessary."

In western Pennsylvania, the company is closing stores at the Cranberry Mall; the Grove City Premium Outlets; the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage; the Indiana Mall; the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer Township; and the Tanger Outlet Center near Washington, Pennsylvania.

The company didn't say how soon the stores will close.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Google Street View
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<![CDATA[Buyout of Atlantic City Firefighters, Cops Not an Option]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:22:53 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Atlantic-City-Police-Car.jpg

Early retirement packages to entice dozens of Atlantic City police officers and firefighters to leave their jobs would cost at least $23 million – a price tag that, combined with other points of contention, has resulted in confusion over whether the buyouts are still on the table.

Three South Jersey lawmakers recently issued a joint statement calling the buyout options "the best way, the fair way" to right-size the police and fire departments without compromising public safety, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

To read the full story, click here.

 


 

For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal

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<![CDATA[Drove for Uber? Rented Out Your Home? Here Are Some Tax Tips]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 18:16:45 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17010694953288.jpg

If you're driving for Uber or renting out a room through Airbnb to make some extra cash, don't forget — you likely need to pay taxes on what you earned, even if it's a part-time gig.

Unlike full-time jobs, where taxes are automatically withheld from every paycheck, it's usually up to freelance workers to keep records and put aside money to eventually pay the IRS. And since the IRS considers on-demand workers to be self-employed, it also helps to keep track of expenses that can help reduce your tax bill.

Here are some tax tips for those working as part of the on-demand economy:

NO FORMS DOESN'T MEAN NO TAXES

You may not receive a form at the end of the year listing everything you earned. That doesn't mean you can skip paying taxes. You may owe the government on what you earned and could get in trouble if you don't pay.

Those earning money through on-demand apps such as Uber or Lyft need to report the income on a Schedule C form, says Fred Slater, a certified public accountant and principal at MS 1040 LLC in New York. And if you used Airbnb or other home-renting sites to bring in income, use Schedule E.

Any money you made is easily traceable since transactions take place online. "You'd be nuts not to report it," Slater says.

PAY TAXES EVERY QUARTER

Typically, you'll need to pay taxes every three months throughout the year. Making those payments can prevent you from having to send one big sum to the IRS at the end of the year. Known as estimated tax payments, they're due on April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. The IRS website has more information on estimated taxes and how to figure out how much you need to pay. It's at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estimated-taxes.

If you have a separate full-time job that already deducts taxes out of your paycheck, the IRS says you can ask your employer to increase your tax withholdings to also cover on-demand gigs. You would need to give your employer a W-4 form and indicate how much more to withhold, according to the IRS.

KEEP TRACK OF EXPENSES

Much of what you spend for on-demand work can be used to reduce your tax bill. If you're driving your car for Uber or Lyft, for example, car washes, fuel costs and auto repairs can be deductible, says Frederick Towles, an accountant at The Towles Group Inc. in Uniondale, New York. But you'll need to keep records of what you spend throughout the year. And also keep track of the miles you drive getting to a customer and during the ride, says Towles. Mileage tax deductions for businesses were worth 54 cents per mile driven in 2016, according to the IRS.

RENTING YOUR HOME

You don't need to pay taxes if you rented out your house for less than two weeks. But you will owe them if you rented it out for 15 days or more throughout the year. You may be able to deduct some expenses to lower your tax bill, such as mortgage interest, repairs or utilities used while it was rented out, so make sure keep track of those payments.

MORE HELP ONLINE

Last year, the IRS posted a tax guide for on-demand workers with links to forms, calculators and videos. Find it at: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/sharing-economy-tax-center.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chester County Distillery to Expand into Center City ]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 20:18:22 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/191*120/bluebird+distillery.JPG

A Phoenixville, Pa.-based craft distillery is getting the Center City treatment with the opening of a retail location to let consumers, who haven't made the drive to the Chester County distillery, get their hands on its products.

Jared Adkins founded Bluebird Distilling in June 2015 after working for major companies like Pepsi and Nestlé, and a stint in the beer world.

The distillery became the first craft spirit distillery in Chester County, according to the company, the products of which are now available in 140 restaurants throughout the Philadelphia area.

The next step of its expansion strategy for 2017 includes a physical presence location through a pop-up tasting bar and retail shop at The Shops at Liberty Place in Center City.

Located at the 17th Street entrance of The Shops, experts said this move bodes well for the company and its potential permanent presence in Philadelphia.

Set to open in late May, the tasting bar and retail shop will take over the space vacated by an outpost of Brown Betty Dessert Boutique, a local woman- and minority-owned bakery, which last year closed its doors after more than a decade in operation to pursue wholesale opportunities.

To read the full article, click here


 For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[11-Acre Parcel Opening on the Schuylkill River in Bala Cynwd]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 18:27:26 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/schuylkillriver.JPG

For the last 17 years, Sean McCloskey has been patiently plotting a more than $50 million mixed-use development on an 11-acre site along the banks of the Schuylkill River where the former Pencoyd Iron Works Inc. plant operated. Finally, he is now the closest he has ever been to getting his project out of the ground.

McCloskey’s Penn Real Estate Group anticipates breaking ground later this year on the first phase of Pencoyd Landing, which will include a public square, two hotels, a restaurant as well as an already renovated building that once served as Pencoyd’s headquarters but is now occupied by the real estate company McCloskey runs with business partner Donna Glavin. The first part of the project to be constructed is a 123-room Marriott Residence Inn. The other hotel will follow at some point and be about the same size but more upscale. McCloskey said he has lined up an operator for it but declined to disclose who it is. 

Between 1999 and now, Penn Real Estate has been assembling parcels, conducting environmental remediation, installing infrastructure such as stormwater management systems and retaining walls as part of its effort to bring Pencoyd Landing to fruition. “Our objective is to encourage people to visit the river not only from Philadelphia but from around the world,” McCloskey said. “We are re-imagining and re-purposing this part of the waterfront for the first time since 1852.”

To read the full article, click here


 For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Jeremy Haas, SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[Comcast Spends $1.2 Billion to Improve Wireless Service]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 17:13:32 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Comcast+center.jpg

Comcast spent a total of $1.2 billion to purchase airwaves made available through an FCC auction after buying $1.7 billion in wireless spectrum and selling $481.6 million of its own broadcast rights.

The Philadelphia-based company announced the results of its participation in the FCC's Broadcast Incentive Auction on Thursday. It was the third largest purchaser of spectrum behind T-Mobile, which spent $8 billion and Dish Network which spent $6.2 billion.

The auction was designed to shift rights to use the wireless spectrum from public television stations that underuse the airwaves and have alternative broadcast options to wireless carriers that can put it to use boosting their mobile and wireless networks.

To read the full details of the purchase, click here.


 

For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal

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<![CDATA[AC Boardwalk's 350-Foot Vertical Coaster Gets NJ Boost]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 09:22:01 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/polercoaster+pbj.jpg

New Jersey will help pay for a major amusement ride to come to Atlantic City where the former Sands casino used to sit.

The Press of Atlantic City reports the New Jersey Economic Development Authority agreed Thursday to pay nearly 28 percent of the project's $138 million cost.

ACB Ownership LLC plans to build the ride, called the Polercoaster, near the Boardwalk site once occupied by the Sands before it was torn down in 2007.
The newspaper says the $38.4 million state subsidy will be used to reimburse certain taxes for the project.

The 350-foot-high vertical ride is expected to be open for summer 2019. Construction could begin next month.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

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<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Vacation Club Trouble]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:45:20 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020297052_1200x675_921210947806.jpg

NBC10 Responds and Harry Hairston help a woman who regrets signing up for a timeshare while on a tropical honeymoon.]]>
<![CDATA[Lower Merion Officials Mull Expanding Cynwyd Trail Network]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:42:38 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Lower+Merion+Cynwyd+Trail.PNG

Lower Merion officials greenlighted an upcoming report on the expansion of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail network, as supporters of the trails look to add more routes that will connect the Main Line with areas in Fairmount Park.

Building the trail so it stretches past the Bala Cynwyd Regional Rail station and crosses into Philadelphia by traversing City Avenue are some of the expansion aims, according to Main Line Media News.

The proposed trail would run along the tracks from the Cynwyd station for about one-half mile, continue under the Union Avenue Bridge and then joining with Philadelphia midway under the City Avenue bridge between Conshohocken State Road and Bala Avenue.

A member of the Lower Merion Planning Commission explained that the proposed new trails could lead users to the Please Touch Museum or the Mann Music Center.

To read the full story, click here.

 


 

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons ]]>
<![CDATA[Philly's 'The Roots' Developing Children Shows for Amazon]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 21:17:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17047695357425-the-roots.jpg

The legendary Roots Crew is not just for late night television anymore.

The Grammy-winning hip-hop group that hails from Philadelphia announced a new deal with Amazon for two children's programs – one is a live-action kids show, the other a cartoon with the working title South Street Sounds, according to multiple reports.

The Roots first rose to fame in the 1990s, releasing multiple albums including Things Fall Apart and Illadelph Halflife.

The group continued to see success in the music industry with the release of several more records, and then in 2009, The Roots became the house band for Jimmy Fallon's late night program. The band stayed on with the SNL alum when he became the host of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Now the group is teaming up with Amazon to create the two new streaming children's programs.

 To read the full article, click here


 For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[JC Penney Postponing Store Closures, Liquidation Sales]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 16:26:27 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages_450830623.jpg

J.C. Penney announced it has postponed the liquidation sales and closure dates for the 138 stores it plans to shutter this year after seeing an increase in sales, the company told CNBC exclusively.

"Ever since the company announced its store closure list, those stores have seen better-than-expected sales and traffic," J.C. Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila told CNBC.

The liquidation will now begin May 22 instead of April 17 as originally scheduled. The new closure date of July 31 is about six weeks later than J.C. Penney originally planned.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tn. Upscale Restaurant Coming to Montco]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:23:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/J.Alexander%27sPNG.JPG

The King of Prussia Mall area will be getting a taste of a Nashville, Tenn.-based company's wood-fired cuisine next year.

Restaurant company J. Alexander’s Holdings on Monday announced it's signed leases for two new restaurants in the country, one of which would be a concept called J. Alexander’s in King of Prussia, Pa.

The other restaurant is a concept called Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, which will open in Troy, Mich.

Both restaurants are currently scheduled to open in 2018. The King of Prussia restaurant will be the first Pennsylvania outpost for the brand.

J. Alexander's Holdings owns 44 restaurants in 15 states, operating as J. Alexander's, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, and Lyndhurst Grill.

In King of Prussia, the new J. Alexander’s restaurant will be located at 265 Mall Boulevard across the street from the King of Prussia Mall. Plans call for the restaurant to include about 9,800 square feet of space with seating for more than 220 guests, according to the restaurant company.

To read the full story click here.

______________________________________________________________

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Larry Falke | Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[These Airlines Have the Worst Records for Bumping Passengers]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 16:31:01 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-157241910.jpg

Despite United Airlines' high-profile blunder in yanking a passenger from a full flight, the odds of getting bumped from your next flight on a U.S. carrier are very small, CNBC reported.

But a lot depends on which airline you choose to fly.

Faced with slim profit margins on each ticket sold, the airline industry routinely sells some seats twice, based on the odds that some passengers won't show up.

Some airlines apparently do a much better job of calculating those odds than others, based on a review of Department of Transportation statistics on what the industry refers to as "denied boardings."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Good News, Procrastinators: Tax Deadline Pushed to Tuesday ]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 12:42:38 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/169*120/IRStaxes_1200x675.jpg

The usual April 15 deadline to file for IRS tax forms falls on Saturday this year. That would normally push the deadline to Monday. However, Monday is a holiday in the District of Columbia, so by law, the filing deadline is extended until Tuesday.

Monday is Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia. It marks the day in 1862 in which 3,100 slaves living in Washington were freed.

All the states that usually have an April 15 deadline have delayed their filing date as well. A handful of states have later deadlines.

The IRS has already processed 101 million individual returns and has issued $229 billion in refunds. The average refund is $2,851.

The tax agency said Thursday that nearly 40 million taxpayers have yet to file their returns. Taxpayers can request an automatic six-month extension.

But there is no extension for paying your tax bill. If you owe additional taxes, they are still due Tuesday.

"With the tax deadline approaching, taxpayers shouldn't panic. The IRS has many options available to help people as they finalize their tax returns or if they need to get extra time to file," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

As last-minute filers rush to finish their taxes, their chances of getting audited have rarely been lower.

The number of people audited by the IRS in 2016 dropped for the sixth straight year, to just over 1 million. The last time so few people were audited was 2004. Since then, the U.S. has added about 30 million people.

The IRS blames budget cuts as money for the agency shrunk from $12.2 billion in 2010 to $11.2 billion last year. Over that period, the agency has lost more than 17,000 employees, including nearly 7,000 enforcement agents. About 80,000 people work at the IRS.

In 2016, the number of people audited by the IRS dropped by 16 percent from the year before. Just 0.7 percent of individuals were audited, either in person or by mail. That's the lowest audit rate since 2003.

The higher your income, the more likely you are to be audited. The IRS audited 1.7 percent of returns that reported more than $200,000 in income. Agents audited 5.8 percent of returns that reported more than $1 million in income.

Both audit rates were steep declines from the year before.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Phillies Top MLB in Operating Income: Forbes]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:56:43 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/dz-cbp.jpg

The Phillies had the highest operating income of any of the 30 MLB teams last season, according to data compiled by Forbes.

The Phils' operating income, which is essentially cash brought in vs. cash paid out (more specifically, earnings after expenses but before interest and taxes) was $87.7 million. The Cubs were next at $83.8 million. The Tigers were last at minus-36.4 million.

Factors in the Phillies' high figure are the size of their market, their lucrative TV deal and their relatively low 2016 payroll. The Phils spent about $92 million last season; 24 teams spent more, and the MLB average was $129.4 million.

The Phillies also experienced the third-highest percent change in value -- up 34 percent to $1.65 billion, according to Forbes. Only the Blue Jays (44 percent) and Marlins (39 percent) gained more value.



Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media Turns Consumers Into Whistleblowers: Analysis]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:58:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/generic+cell+phone1.jpg

Look out, Corporate America. Customers armed with smartphones and video cameras are watching when you screw up.

The viral video of a ticketed passenger dragged forcefully off a United flight is only the latest example of bad behavior exposed in the age of social media.

In February, Uber came under fire after a driver posted video of CEO Travis Kalanick berating him. Earlier, a Comcast technician was shown in a video sleeping on a customer's couch, and an audio recording chronicled one man's herculean efforts to drop Comcast service; they are among the embarrassing customer complaints that ultimately forced improvements. FedEx had to respond after video showed a driver carelessly throwing a package with a computer monitor over the front gate. Beyond the corporate sphere, smartphone videos of police brutality have prompted protests and investigations.

Not long ago, such incidents might have gotten a mention on the local news at most, and quickly disappeared. But smartphone cameras and social media have democratized information and shifted power to consumers. Companies can no longer sweep complaints under the rug.

"That's something a lot of companies just don't get," said Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communications at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. "Companies still operate as if they can hide things and make believe something didn't happen."

REWRITING THE PLAYBOOK
Companies can't eliminate embarrassing gaffes entirely, but can learn from past blunders to minimize the damage.

It starts with training. Employees need to be ready to react when a situation gets dramatic — and companies should emphasize that anything employees do could be recorded. That's especially true for transportation, fast-food and other companies with a lot of employees who interact directly with large numbers of customers.

Running through hypothetical scenarios helps.

"Have a couple things planned, what we should do if 'x' happens and what we should do if 'y' happens," said Lakshman Krishnamurthi, a Kellogg School of Management marketing professor.

On-site employees need to be given more power to respond to avoid escalating an incident, especially one that might be recorded. In United's case, for instance, even if employees were following the rules for seeking volunteers to give up seats, they should have been able to read the situation and increase the financial incentives for volunteers rather than drag a passenger off a flight.

"You need rules, but you need to be flexible and adapt," Argenti said.

BLOCK AND TACKLE
Once a video is out there, the standard PR-crisis response remains the same as it always has: Work swiftly to correct the situation in the eyes of the public.

"Apologize, talk about why it happened, and say it will never happen again," Argenti said.

United CEO Oscar Munoz eventually apologized, but not for two days and after first blaming the customer and airport security. And once a video goes viral, companies have to cede control of the narrative. "When the video is out there, don't try to countermand what the video says," said Herman Leonard, a professor of business administration at Harvard.

In the past, companies had hours or days to respond to a crisis. Now, companies must respond immediately, before a scandal spins out of control on social media.

For example, when Domino's Pizza employees posted a YouTube video of workers defacing sandwiches in 2009, the employees were quickly fired, the store was inspected and the CEO apologized. That helped mitigate some, if not all of the damage.

Similarly, after TV cameras shot video of rats scurrying through a KFC/Taco Bell in Manhattan, parent company Yum closed 10 of its New York City restaurants and hired a leading rat expert to review the company's standards.

LESSONS (NOT) LEARNED
In 2009, musician Dave Carroll had a guitar he checked destroyed during a flight. At first United said Carroll wasn't eligible for compensation, which caused a frustrated Carroll to write a song and book about it, both called "United Breaks Guitars." Carroll's online video of his song was so popular that "Time" named it one of the top viral videos of 2009. It became a business case study of how social media can harm a company's image.

If the lesson from that episode was to be more responsive to customers, United didn't learn it.

"It was 'United Breaks Guitars ,' now it's 'United Breaks People,'" said Richard Levick, a crisis management consultant.

Despite the newfound empowerment from social media, however, consumers have one thing against them: a short memory. They may remember the incident, but brand names fade and consumers will soon move on to the next PR flap, branding consultant Laura Ries said. This limits the changes companies must really make before moving on.

"Soon people won't remember which company was the offender. They'll think, 'Was it Delta, or American? I'm not sure. It was one of the airlines," she said. "People do tend to have short memories. There's going to be another company that has some disaster like this."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Phil Walter/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Airlines Pushing Back on Talk of Banning Overbooking Flights]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:56:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/jessejacksonunitedprotest_1200x675.jpg

With the federal government and a Senate committee looking into the dragging of a man off a United Express flight, the airline industry is beginning to speak up against any effort to bar them from overselling flights.

The CEO of Delta Air Lines called overbooking "a valid business process."

"I don't think we need to have additional legislation to try to control how the airlines run their businesses," Ed Bastian said Wednesday. "The key is managing it before you get to the boarding process."

Federal rules allow airlines to sell more tickets than they have seats, and airlines do it routinely because they assume some passengers won't show up.

The practice lets airlines keep fares low while managing the rate of no-shows on any particular route, said Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for Airlines for America, which represents most of the big U.S. carriers. He said that plane seats are perishable commodities — once the door has been closed, seats on a flight can't be sold and lose all value.

Bumping is rare — only about one in 16,000 passengers got bumped last year, the lowest rate since at least the mid-1990s. But it angers and frustrates customers who see their travel plans wrecked in an instant.

Bumping is not limited to flights that are oversold. It can happen if the plane is overweight or air marshals need a seat. Sometimes it happens because the airline needs room for employees who are commuting to work on another flight — that's what happened Sunday on United Express.

Flight 3411 was sold out — passengers had boarded, and every seat was filled — when the airline discovered that it needed to find room for four crew members.

That eventually led to the video everybody has seen — a 69-year-old man being dragged off the plane by security officers after refusing to give up his seat.

In a series of three statements and an interview, United CEO Oscar Munoz became increasingly contrite. On Wednesday, he told ABC-TV that he would fix United's policies and that United will no longer call on police to remove passengers from full flights.

Politicians have jumped on the public outrage.

On Wednesday, 21 Senate Democrats demanded a more-detailed account of the incident from Munoz. A day earlier, the top four members of the Senate Commerce Committee asked Munoz and Chicago airport officials for an explanation.

"The last thing a paying airline passenger should expect is a physical altercation with law enforcement personnel after boarding," said the committee members, two Republicans and two Democrats. They asked Munoz about his airline's policy for bumping passengers, and whether it makes a difference that passengers have already boarded the plane.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to analyze "the problem of overbooking passengers throughout the industry." He said was working on legislation to increase passengers' rights.

The Transportation Department said it is investigating the incident to determine if United violated consumer-protection or civil-rights laws. It gave few details.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that he asked the Trump administration to suspend airlines' ability to overbook flights. Christie, a Republican, said bumping passengers off flights is "unconscionable." United is the dominant carrier at New Jersey's largest airport, which is in Newark.

Federal rules require that before airlines can bump passengers from a flight they must seek volunteers — the carriers generally offer travel vouchers. That usually works — of the 475,000 people who lost a seat last year, more than 90 percent did so voluntarily, according to government figures.

United said, however, that when it asked for volunteers Sunday night, there were no takers. United acknowledged that passengers may have been less willing to listen to offers once they were seated on the plane.

"Ideally those conversations happen in the gate area," said United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy.

Airlines are supposed to have rules that determine who gets bumped if it comes to that. United's rules, called a contract of carriage, say this may be decided by the passenger's fare class — how much they paid — their itinerary, status in United's frequent-flyer program, and check-in time. United has not said precisely how the four people asked to leave Flight 3411 were selected.

United bumps passengers less often than average among U.S. carriers. In 2016, it bumped 3,765 passengers, or one in every 23,000. Passengers were twice as likely to get bumped from Southwest Airlines. Hawaiian, Delta and Virgin America were the least likely to bump a passenger against his will.

 

 

Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Forbes' Five Most Valuable Baseball Teams]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 15:42:47 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_FORBES_TOP_5_BASEBALL_1-149193940108300001.jpg

Forbes released their 2017 list of most valuable MLB teams. Find out if your team is near the top.
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<![CDATA[Trump Jobs Demands Force Automakers Into Political Conflict ]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 19:28:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-462626845.jpg

President Donald Trump's relentless push for more manufacturing jobs has forced the auto industry into a delicate dance of contradictions in order to keep him happy, tell the truth, and avoid alienating customers in both red and blue states.

Toyota did the waltz with Monday's announcement that it would spend $1.33 billion to retool its gigantic factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, an investment in the heart of Trump country that has been planned for years.

Trump wasn't included in a company statement sent on Friday in advance of the announcement, but Kentucky's governor and both of the state's U.S. senators were quoted. In a paragraph added Sunday evening, Trump claimed credit for the investment, saying it is "further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration."

The company said the Trump quote was added at the administration's request, but the White House said Toyota requested it and pointed to a poll of manufacturers showing record optimism. Later Monday, Toyota said that it had asked the White House for a Trump quote.

Either way, an investment of that size takes years to plan, and Toyota confirmed that it's been in the works four or five years, long before Trump was elected. The company is switching its midsize Camry sedan, long the top-selling car in America, to new underpinnings that make it more modern and fun to drive. Although the investment doesn't add jobs, it sustains 8,200 workers at the plant, which also manufactures the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES 350 cars.

The dealings with Toyota show how businesses — especially automakers whose brands cater to both ends of the political spectrum — must tread carefully when dealing with Trump or other politicians. Depending on their response, they run the risk of angering a president who has authority to regulate their industry or alienating customers who are on both sides of the political divide.

"That's kind of the reality of the situation you're operating in," said Joseph Holt, a University of Notre Dame associate professor who specializes in business ethics and leadership. "I think it's a shame that they have to do this dance, but I understand why they're doing it."

All politicians play the same game as Trump, taking credit for accomplishments they had nothing to do with, said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan. What makes Trump unique is the demand for jobs announcements was done publicly rather than in private conversations, Gordon said.

Many CEOs grudgingly supported President Barack Obama's health care plan even though they disagreed with it, Gordon said.

"With President Trump, the difference is the volume is up to 11 or 12 instead of at 10," he said. "I don't find him to be that different in terms of what he wants credit for, and putting the arm on people to get on his program, other than he does it publicly."

Detroit automakers are in the most precarious position, Gordon said, because they are perceived as more American. Take General Motors. Its Chevrolet brand, with the top-selling Silverado pickup truck, caters largely to America's mid-section, which largely voted for Trump. But GM's Cadillac luxury brand wanted so much to distance itself from the Midwest that it moved its offices to Manhattan, which supported Democrat Hillary Clinton.

If GM either confronts Trump or is continually in his Twitter sights, that could upset the automaker's lucrative customer base in the Midwest. If the company is too supportive, it could hurt GM's efforts to grow Cadillac sales on the mostly blue coasts.

That's why with few exceptions, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have made jobs announcements that largely were in the works long ago, Gordon said.

Because the country is so politically polarized, a social-media fueled PR mistake for or against an issue could touch off a boycott that can quickly hurt a company, Gordon said.

"Now the companies are really under the magnifying glass," he said. "Many customers want to know who you are and what you stand for before they even think about your product."

Holt and others say companies shouldn't allow such deception and would be better off in the long run by not playing politics.

While the Trump administration was showing a commitment to manufacturing with the announcement, it may send a different message to government regulators such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration should there be any problems with a factory, said Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

"Do those agencies feel constrained from enforcing the law because the president has just associated himself with that company or investment?" Weissman asked. "It's just on its face inappropriate."

Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed from Washington.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Fridge Problems Persist]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:32:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/202*120/Kenmore+Refrigerator+Responds.JPG

NBC10’s Harry Hairston helps a Sears customer who has had her refrigerator unsuccessfully repaired not once, or twice, but six times.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[A.C. Moore Opens In Center City Philadelphia]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 06:43:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AC+MOORE+NEW+SOTVO+AM++-+00002507_23212831.jpg

In a major move for A.C. Moore, the arts and crafts chain opened its first urban location in Philadelphia.

The store held its grand opening Tuesday at its new Center City store on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts on Broad Street and opened up at 7 a.m.

Along with arts and crafts products, the new 27,0000-square-foot store will have a multi-purpose classroom.

This week, to celebrate their opening, A.C. Moore will be hosting a different discount for customers each day until Saturday.

Tuesday, April 11th Free $10 gift cards to the first 500 customers

Wednesday, April 12th 60% off any one regular priced item

Thursday, April 13th 55% off any one regular priced item

Friday, April 14th 15% off your entire purchase

Saturday, April 15th 15% percent off your entire purchase

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<![CDATA[Acme Markets Aim to Take Over West Philly Fresh Grocer]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:59:27 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Acme1.PNG

Acme Markets has signed a lease on 34,500 square feet at 4001 Walnut St. in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia and plans to open a grocery store in the space.

The lease was signed with the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to a sushi and noodle bar as well as a guacamole station, the new store will have a Starbucks and sell beer and wine. Acme plans to spend millions of dollars to renovate the space.

The new Acme will backfill space that is expected to eventually be vacated by Fresh Grocer though Penn and the grocery store are in litigation over the lease.

Penn has said that Fresh Grocer did not renew its lease in a timely fashion in accordance with the terms of the lease. As a result, Penn said it notified Fresh Grocer its lease would expire on March 31, 2017, and that it must vacate the store by that date. However, Fresh Grocer, which has operated from the site for the last 15 years, has remains in operation at the site.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Addiction Treatment Center Set to Open in Chester County]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:55:18 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/king+of+prussia+rehab+center.jpg

Recovery Centers of America’s is looking for a CEO to lead it latest addiction treatment center, which is expected to create 200 new jobs on the Main Line.

The King of Prussia company – formed in 2015 by Montgomery County-based real estate developer J. Brian O’Neill – expects to open a new 300-bed facility in Devon at the site of former Devon Manor nursing home.

The addiction treatment center will feature 250 rehabilitation and detox beds, and 42 sober living and outpatient beds within a 200,000 square-foot treatment campus, making it, according to the company, one of the largest drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities in the United States.

For more details on the new facility, click here.


For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[Custom Doughnut Shop, Burger Joint Coming to KOP Town Center]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 18:12:18 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/duck+donuts.PNG

Upper Merion residents and visitors can add customizable doughnuts and chargrilled burgers to the King of Prussia Town Center's growing list of food-and-beverage operators.

The King of Prussia Town Center, developed by Maryland-based JBG Cos., has continued to add more eateries to its roster over the past few months since the first restaurant opened in summer 2016.

Most recently, JBG Cos. signed on three food-and-beverage tenants like California-based MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company.

Two more tenants have signed on to open up Philadelphia-area outposts: Duck Donuts and The Habit Burger Grill.

Duck Donuts is slated to open in July, and Habit Burger is slated to open in October. The Town Center is now 86 percent leased with these additions.

Duck Donuts, which originated in the Outer Banks and is named after Duck, N.C., is known for its made-to-order doughnuts that include 11 coating choices, seven topping choices and four drizzle choices.

To read the full story, click here.

 


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Duck Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Becomes Most Valuable US Automaker]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:42:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-545144512.jpg

Tesla overtook General Motors during trading Monday to become the most valuable automaker in the United States, CNBC reported.

The electric car company sold about 76,000 vehicles last year, a fraction of the 10 million sold the same year by GM.

But Tesla's market capitalization, which is calculated by multiplying the total number of shares by the present stock price, hit about $51 billion, Bloomberg reported. That was about $1.7 billion more than GM, as of 9:35 a.m. ET.

PiperJaffray analyst Alexander Potter said in a note that Tesla has a "captivating impact on consumers and shareholders alike" that will be difficult for competitors to replicate.

Tesla shares rose more than 3 percent to reach a fresh all-time high of $313.73 in midafternoon trading Monday, after receiving the highest price forecast ever issued for the stock by an analyst at a major firm.

The stock closed up over 3 percent at $312.39 per share.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Appeals Court Orders Urban Outfitters to Pay up in Battle ]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 19:20:12 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-535061255.jpg

Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters will pay a Los Angeles fabric manufacturer $530,000 after an appeals court tossed the retailer's case and upheld the decision of a lower court.

Unicolors Inc. said Urban Outfitters infringed on its fabric copyright with the sale of a dress at Free People stores that had a complicated palm frond and feather print, according to the Los Angeles Times, which also said Century 21 is a co-defendant in the litigation.

In a ruling issued earlier this week, California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Urban Outfitters' argument that the lower court relied on an overly subjective analysis of the fabric to reach its decision.

To read the full article, click here


 For more business news visit, Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hunting Park Retail Center Sells for More Than $50M]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 16:58:02 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/shop+rite.PNG

Bakers Centre, a 236,719-square-foot shopping center that transformed a property where Tasty Baking Co. once churned out Krimpets, KandyKakes and Dreamies, has sold for $52.4 million.

Raider Hill Advisors, a private real estate investment and advisory firm located in New York, bought the property at 2800 Fox St. in Philadelphia with the intention of holding it over the long term, said Chris Munley, who, along with colleagues Michael DiCosimo and Jose Cruz of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, arranged the transaction. The seller was a partnership involving Metro Development Co., Carlino Commercial Development and U.S. Realty Associates Inc.

Metro Development bought the former Tasty Cake property, which totals 27.4 acres, for $6 million in 2010 with plans to construct a retail center. Between 2011 and 2015, it built out Bakers Center and among its anchors are ShopRite, Ross Dress for Less and Planet Fitness. At the time of the sale, there was a 10,000-square-foot vacancy.

To read the full article,click here 


 For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Michael L. Mihalo]]>
<![CDATA[Center City Eatery Undergoing Major Renovations ]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 13:12:40 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fuel-exterior-11-480xx1200-675-0-01.jpg

A Center City, health-focused restaurant founded by a South Philadelphia native is undergoing major renovations that includes the ability to use "over-flow space" for additional, exclusive events.

Rocco Cima opened the first outpost of a restaurant concept called Fuel back in 2009 on East Passyunk Avenue. It's since expanded to three additional locations in Midtown Village, University City and Ardmore.

Fuel is pegged as the first café in the United States to offer a full menu with dishes under 500 calories.

Cima — an alumnus of the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in West Philadelphia — is amid renovating the 1,700-square-foot dining room at 1225 Walnut St. in Midtown Village to turn it into what he calls "Fuel 2.0."

The Midtown Village location was the second Fuel outpost to open.

Everything is being stripped down to the basics and will be rebuilt with both cosmetic and some structural changes.

Cima’s hope is it will also be even more inviting for new residents, larger groups, private parties and extended experiences.

The restaurant, after the renovation, will have seating for 72 guests at two-and four-top tables and a community table.

To read the full article, click here.

 


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: FUEL]]>
<![CDATA[Best Seats to Catch a Home Run at Citizens Bank Park]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:57:02 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PBJ+phillies+stadium+home+run.PNG

Fans hoping to catch a home run ball at Citizens Bank Park, where Friday the Philadelphia Phillies are playing the Washington Nationals in their home opener, would be best served sitting in sections 143 or 145.

Those sections, both beyond the left field wall, offer the best cost index for accomplishing such a feat for the best price, according to data compiled by SeatGeek.

The New York company that runs an online event ticket marketplace took a look at every home run hit in Citizens Bank Park over the course of the 2016 season, using ESPN’s home run tracker, and recorded which seating section they landed in.

SeatGeek then combined that data with its internal ticketing database, containing the average price of a ticket in each seating section, to determine which sections are the best deals for Philadelphia fans looking to snare a home run ball.

The project did not extend to foul balls hit into the stands.

To read the full article, click here.

 


For more busniess news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: John George]]>
<![CDATA[US Unemployment Dips to 4.5 Percent, But Hiring Slows]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 18:00:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/203*120/72107381.jpg

U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in March, yet Friday's jobs report still had much to be encouraged about, including a drop in the unemployment rate to 4.5 percent, the lowest in a decade.

Employers added just 98,000 jobs, the Labor Department said. It was barely half the previous month's gain.

Yet unemployment dropped from 4.7 percent, reaching its lowest point since May 2007. While the rate has fallen in the past because of unemployed workers who had given up looking, it happened this time because of a healthy gain in the number of people with jobs.

"Within the disappointing 98,000 net new jobs added, there seems to be a lot more going on beneath the surface, and what is going beneath the surface is mostly good," said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo.

Here are the positive aspects of the report, followed by some parts that were not so hot:

In the past three months, employers have added an average of 178,000 jobs a month. That's much better than March's increase and is closer to the underlying trend, economists said.

That's also just below the average gains of 187,000 jobs a month last year. Hiring should rebound closer to that level in the coming months, economists say.

One reason last month's weak gain was probably a blip is that harsh winter weather in New England and the Midwest most likely hurt hiring in construction, retail and other weather-sensitive industries. Also, construction companies reported huge job gains in January and February, when the weather was unseasonably warm, so they didn't need to engage in their usual spring hiring.

The job gains last month, while tepid, occurred in better-paying industries, such as manufacturing and a category that includes accounting, engineering and other professional services.

Lower-paying fields, such as retail, cut jobs, while a category that includes restaurants and hotels posted a small gain.

And all the new jobs added were full time, the government said. The number of Americans who are working part time but would prefer a full-time job fell.

An alternative unemployment measure, which includes involuntary part-time workers, fell to 8.9 percent, its lowest level since December 2007, when the Great Recession started.

That's down from a peak in 2010 of 17.1 percent.

Yet there were some discouraging signs:

Consumer and business optimism has soared since the presidential election. Many companies eagerly await the tax cuts and deregulation promised by President Trump.

Yet so far, there is little evidence that better sentiment has translated into more hiring, spending or economic growth. Companies are adding workers at the same pace they did last year. And consumers trimmed their inflation-adjusted spending in January and February.

Average hourly earnings climbed 2.7 percent over the past year, not much of a win for workers. And after factoring in inflation in the past year, paychecks are essentially flat.

"Right now, real wages are basically stagnant," said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management. "That's why things like retail sales growth and other indicators for consumer demand have been so anemic."

The situation is even tougher for front-line workers, who account for the majority of all jobs. Their wages have risen just 2.3 percent, so after inflation they have fallen.

The drop in the unemployment rate is good news, but it doesn't mean everyone has benefited. Women made up nearly all those who gained jobs, with the unemployment rate for adult men unchanged, at a still-low 4.3 percent.

Online shopping is taking its toll on traditional retailers who can no longer compete on price or convenience as they once did.

Department and general merchandise stores trimmed 34,700 workers from their payrolls last month. Clothiers let go of 5,800. Amid these job losses, wage growth for retail workers was a paltry 1.1 percent before inflation, far worse than the national average.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Mission Nearly Impossible This Spring: Finding a Home to Buy]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 17:57:21 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17089650204351.jpg

Anyone eager to buy a home this spring probably has reasons to feel good. Job growth has been solid. Average pay is rising. And mortgage rates, even after edging up of late, are still near historic lows.

And then there's the bad news: Just try to find a house.

The national supply of homes for sale hasn't been this thin in nearly 20 years. And over the past year, the steepest drop in supply has occurred among homes that are typically most affordable for first-time buyers and in markets where prices have risen sharply.

In markets like San Diego, Boston and Seattle, competition for a dwindling supply has escalated along with pressure to offer more money and accept less favorable terms.

"Sellers will have the edge again this year," said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Trulia, a real estate data provider. "Homebuyers are really going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as housing choice is concerned."

The intensity of the competition this spring has surprised even sellers like Kathleen Mulcahy, a 37-year-old product manager in Seattle.

Within a week of listing her one-bedroom, one-bath condo, Mulcahy received 21 offers — all above her asking price of $398,000. Most of the offers came with built-in triggers to automatically rise in case a rival bidder sweetened a bid. In the end, she accepted an offer of $500,000 — all cash.

"A lot more than I expected," Mulcahy said.

Yet the changed landscape cuts both ways: Facing higher prices and competition herself, Mulcahy has decided for now to put off buying another home.

"There's very little available, and it's just too expensive right now, so I'm going to wait," she said. "I'll probably rent for two or three years."

About 1.75 million homes were for sale nationally at the end of February, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's down 6.4 percent from a year earlier and only slightly up from January, when listings reached their lowest point since the association began tracking them in 1999. All told, the supply of homes for sale has fallen on an annual basis for the past 21 months.

Among the factors that have fueled the decline in homes for sale:

— Since 2008, the average time homeowners have stayed in their houses before selling has doubled to nearly eight years, according to Attom Data Solutions.

— Many homeowners aren't selling for fear they wouldn't find a new home they would like and could afford. Some who had locked in ultra-low fixed mortgage rates may be reluctant to take on a new loan at a higher rate. Others may wish to sell but can't because they own one of the 3.2 million homes worth less than what's owed on their mortgage.

— Some homeowners own other properties they rent out and have little incentive to give up the steady rental income, especially while they're also benefiting from rising home values.

— Investors, who typically keep properties for disproportionately long periods, own a larger share of houses. Between 2006 and 2016, the share of U.S. single-family houses and condos owned by investors averaged around 30 percent, according to Attom, and reached 35 percent last year.

Nor are builders replenishing the stock of new homes fast enough. Though the pace of building has been rising, it has yet to make up for years of sluggish construction growth that followed the housing bust. Builders complain that they can't build more homes because of a lack of ready-to-build land, costly regulations and a chronic shortage of skilled construction workers.

"We're building homes now at a 65 percent of the rate we have historically," McLaughlin said. "The long-term solution to this scenario is building new homes."

Despite the scant supply, U.S. home sales are expected to rise this year, economists say. Fueled by job growth, pay raises and still-low loan rates — and perhaps fearful of being left out as more homes are snapped up and prices rise further — many people are looking to buy.

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes surged 5.4 percent in February from a year earlier, according to the NAR. In January 2016, 16.5 percent of the homes on the market were sold. This January, it was 19 percent, according to Trulia.

As prices have risen in response, so have the financial obstacles to homeownership. The median sales price has surged 7.7 percent from a year ago to $228,400, more than double the pace of average pay gains. And qualifying for increasingly expensive homes will become even harder should mortgage rates continue to rise this year, as many economists predict. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage recently hit 4.1 percent; last year, it averaged 3.65.

The homes that are on the market are less affordable to a growing proportion of the population, according to research from Realtor.com. Entry-level buyers will likely have the most difficulty finding a home they can afford this spring.

Nationally, the supply of entry-level homes for sale has declined the most from a year ago — down 8.7 percent in the first quarter, according to Trulia. The supply of move-up homes is down 7.9 percent. By contrast, the supply of high-end homes has slipped just 1.7 percent from a year ago.

The coastal markets are among the tightest, reflecting years of declines in homes for sale. Seattle's inventory is 20 percent lower than it was in the first three months of last year. It's down 66 percent since 2012, according to Trulia.

But even many inland markets have only a limited supply of homes for sale. Three such metro areas experienced the sharpest drop in supply over the past year, according to Trulia: Dayton, Ohio (-29 percent); Gary, Indiana (-27.6 percent); and Minneapolis-St. Paul (-24.9 percent).

Some areas did buck the trend, including Miami, where inventory jumped this year by more than 43 percent.

But even in housing markets where the supply has grown over the past year, prices have risen briskly. Take Denver. Its inventory was up 6.5 percent in the first quarter. Yet it was still down 61 percent from its 2012 levels. That's one reason why sellers there are fetching multiple offers.

On average, sellers are receiving five to seven offers this spring, said Stephanie Collins, a Redfin agent in Denver. She had one home this year that drew 15 offers. Another got 52.

Sellers are also persuading buyers to provide other enticements, like agreeing that a deal becomes official only after the seller finds another home.

"In our market," Collins said, "you can't just start at your price point and hope to get a good deal."

Offering more money than the next bidder may not always work. Some sellers now expect buyers to waive some protections that have allowed buyers to cancel a deal without losing their deposit should some precondition not be met.

Examples include a professional home inspection to ensure that no major surprise repairs are needed, or requiring a seller to replace an older appliance, or asking for a final walkthrough of the property before finalizing the deal.

After months of looking for a home, Alaina Donofrio recently bought a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom house in Denver. Hoping to dissuade rival bidders, she agreed to pay $18,000 above the seller's $308,000 asking price.

That wasn't all she had to do.

Donofrio also surrendered the right to back out of the contract if a home inspection turned up any major problem. And she agreed not to ask the seller to make any repairs. She also pushed back the closing date to give the seller more time to move.

"Basically I'm buying it as-is," said Donofrio, a 45-year-old database administrator. "It was really difficult to find something in the price range I wanted and where I wanted. It's pure luck that it did."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]]>
<![CDATA[Growing Greater Philadelphia: Tech-Tech, Boom! (Full Episode)]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:01:14 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GGP+Tech+Episode.png

From the city to the suburbs, our region is thriving and technology is a playing a major role. More than computers and IT departments, we’re talking the application of scientific knowledge and industrial process to better ourselves and our economy. From tech start-ups and entrepreneurship to our region’s universities and the workforce they are shaping (a.k.a. Millennials!) Greater Philadelphia is poised for a very bright future.]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Growing Greater Philadelphia]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:56:06 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GGP_Ton_Web.jpg]]><![CDATA[Comcast Announces Cellular Plans on Verizon Network]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 12:58:22 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Comcast-AP_760634721034.jpg

The cable giant Comcast will start selling cellphone plans called Xfinity Mobile in the coming months, using a network it's leasing from Verizon.

Many subscribers will save money, especially if they don't use a lot of data. The catch: Only Comcast internet customers can sign up.

Comcast, which has nearly 25 million high-speed internet customers, said its wireless service is aimed at holding onto its customers. Comcast's key competitors — AT&T's DirecTV and Verizon's FiOS — are part of companies with wireless offerings.

"We're not getting into the mobile business to be the No. 1 carrier," said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer with Comcast Cable. "It's to benefit our existing core business. We're not going to make billions of dollars in profit."

HOW THE PRICING WORKS
The best deals will go to Comcast's highest-tier customers, those who already spend roughly $140 a month with Comcast for internet, video and wired phone services. A family of four could get unlimited data for $180 a month combined, the same as Verizon. Many customers won't qualify for the special pricing, though; for them, unlimited data for four lines will cost $260.

Individuals, however, would save on unlimited even without special pricing — $65 a month for Comcast, compared with $80 for Verizon.

For customers who don't need a lot of cellular data, Comcast charges a flat rate of $12 per gigabyte of data, enough for about an hour of video but plenty for email and chats.

Comcast is waiving typical "access fees" of $20 per line that most carriers charge for enabling voice and text service; the waiver will cover up to five lines. So someone who uses no data would get free wireless service. A couple using four gigabytes a month would pay $48 at Comcast and $90 at Verizon.

For now, though, Comcast won't be rolling wireless charges onto the same bill as broadband, cable and other services.

VERIZON BY ANY OTHER NAME
The service Comcast is selling will be essentially the same as a Verizon plan, though Comcast will reduce speeds on unlimited plans after 20 gigabytes. Verizon's threshold is higher, at 22 gigabytes, and reduced speeds apply only when there is network congestion.

Comcast will initially require customers to buy phones through the company. It's offering iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones and one budget model from LG. Customers can pay in full up front or in monthly installments, just as they would through a traditional carrier.

Comcast's pay-per-gigabyte approach is similar to what Google is doing with its wireless service, Google Fi. Customers don't need to guess ahead of time how much data they plan to use; both plans charge them only for what they use. With traditional carriers, unused data might get carried over to the following month; even if not, the customer still pays for the unused amount.

But Google Fi hasn't caught on, in part because it works with only a few Google-branded phones and uses networks from T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, which aren't as robust as Verizon's. Comcast says it can also take advantage of vast array of marketing channels for internet and voice services.

Disclosure: Comcast is the ower of NBCUniversal, the parent company of this station.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP Images for Comcast, File]]>
<![CDATA[Sunoco Sells Most Convenience Stores to 7-Eleven]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:03:13 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/190*120/Sunoco+sign+logo+generic.jpg

Sunoco is selling most of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven in a deal valued at $3.3 billion as it looks to focus more on its fuel supply business.

7-Eleven Inc. will get about 1,110 convenience stores, mostly along the East Coast and in Texas. Approximately 200 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma will be sold separately. The transaction also includes fuel, merchandise and other inventories. It does not include Sunoco's APlus franchisee-run stores or its Aloha Petroleum unit in Hawaii.

As part of the deal, Sunoco LP will have a 15-year take-or-pay fuel supply agreement with a 7-Eleven subsidiary, under which Sunoco will supply approximately 2.2 billion gallons of fuel a year.

The sale, announced Thursday, is expected to close by the fourth quarter. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Deal in Dunkin' Donuts Case Could Mean Free Buttered Treats]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 06:18:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP277915640632.jpg

An attorney is defending a proposed settlement between a man and Dunkin' Donuts shops that could mean $500 for the lead plaintiff, free buttered baked goods for hundreds of other customers and a big payout for law firms that handled the class action case.

Jan Polanik had sued a cluster of franchises of the Canton, Massachusetts-based doughnut and coffeehouse chain, saying he received a butter substitute on his bagels when he requested butter.

The proposed settlement, filed in a state court, must still be approved by a judge. According to The Boston Globe, Polanik could receive $500 while about 1,400 other customers who made similar complaints would get up to three free buttered baked goods. The law firms, meanwhile, could get $90,000 in fees under the proposed settlement.

Thomas Shapiro, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said it wasn't a profitable case for his firm.

"I can tell you we're losing money on this case," Shapiro said Wednesday. "It's not that big a case in financial terms."

Shapiro said if you added up the hours that went into the case and out-of-pocket expenses it would come out to a lot more than $90,000.

The firm thought twice about even taking the case, he added.

"We felt that the principle involved was important enough and something should be done to correct the practice," he said.

The parent company of Dunkin' Donuts has said that most of its Massachusetts locations offer both butter substitutes and the real thing.

Customers requesting free buttered baked goods at the affected stores would not be required to show documentation that they had previously paid for items with a butter substitute, Shapiro said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Refunding Up to $70 Million for Kids' In-App Purchases]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 21:47:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AMAZON_AP_16287435798944.jpg

For any parent whose kid racked up a big bill making in-app purchases on Amazon, a refund may be on the way, NBC News reported.

The FTC and internet retailing giant Amazon agreed Tuesday to set aside their appeals in a case over this very issue and set the stage for a potential $70 million in refunds for purchases made from November 2011 to May 2016.

A court found last year that Amazon hadn't gotten parents' consent when their children made some in-app charges.

The FTC has filed similar cases in the past against Apple and Google. Following outcry, Apple added additional default protections to make it harder for children to make in-app purchases without the account holder's parents' password.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Sale of Taj Mahal Casino to Hard Rock Finalized ]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 06:44:20 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hard-Rock-Casino-Hotel.jpg

The owners of the future Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City are planning to put nearly $400 million into the empty boardwalk property — an investment they say will transform the financially battered Shore resort from a "one-and-a-half night town" to an entertainment destination.

Telling a crowd that counted Gov. Chris Christie, N.J. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian as members, Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen said the purchase of the vacant Taj Mahal casino from previous owner Carl Icahn has closed and financing is in place to begin a $375 million overhaul of the property.

"We're going to be closer to a $400 million investment here," he said during a Wednesday press conference. Allen explained how the group of investors led by the Hard Rock, and the Morris and Jingoli families are committed to one key mantra with the buy: "Do it right."

"Do it right doesn't mean just some new carpet, it doesn't mean just some new memorabilia," Allen said. "It means a complete renovation of all the guest rooms. ... literally taking the bathrooms out and redoing them. It means all new furniture, it means a complete redesign of the casino floor."

Hard Rock wants "to create a true entertainment destination, not just a gambling destination," he said

Read the full article on PBJ.com.


For the latest business news from around the Philadelphia region, check out the Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: PICASA ]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Defects Found on Oil Train Routes]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 16:52:42 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/oiltrain_1200x675.jpg

When a freight train derailed in the Montana town of Culbertson, spilling 27,000 gallons of crude oil, investigators blamed the 2015 accident on defective or missing fasteners used to hold the tracks in place.

The previous year, cracks in a track that went unrepaired caused a train hauling oil to come off the rails and explode along the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia. Broken bolts were cited in another oil train derailment and fire last year in Mosier, Oregon.

Data obtained by The Associated Press shows that tens of thousands of similar safety defects were found when government inspectors checked the rail lines used to haul volatile crude oil across the country. The defects included rails that were worn, bolts that were broken or loose or missing, and steel bars that had cracks.

Such flaws are not uncommon across the nation's 140,000-mile freight rail network. But these nearly 24,000 imperfections drew heightened attention because of a surge in recent years of domestic energy production that has increased rail shipments of oil and the number of major derailments.

The inspectors also noted failures by railroads to quickly fix problems identified through inspections.

A former senior official at the Federal Railroad Administration said the findings reinforce the need for railroads to stay on top of regular maintenance.

"All of this is a call for continued vigilance," said Steven Ditmeyer, who reviewed the inspection data and directed the railroad administration's Office of Research and Development for eight years. "One defect or one violation of the right kind can cause a derailment."

It can be difficult for railroads to know when a seemingly small problem will result in an accident, he said.

The statistics "give a good indication of the track quality," Ditmeyer said, although most defects will not cause a derailment.

In all, nearly 24,000 defects were found on almost 58,000 miles of oil train routes in 44 states. The inspection program began two years ago following a string of oil train accidents across North America, including a 2013 derailment in Quebec that killed 47 people in the community of Lac-Megantic.

Federal regulators said the inspections resulted in 1,118 violation recommendations and prompted railroads to be more responsive to inspectors and to improve safety.

A violation recommendation occurs when an inspector finds something serious enough to warrant a potential penalty or a railroad fails to address a defect. Federal officials declined to say how many penalties had been issued under the crude-by-rail inspection program.

The rail industry views safety defects as warnings from regulators, said Jessica Kahanek, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Railroads.

Violations are a better indicator of safety problems because not all defects pose an immediate risk, she said, explaining that hundreds of the violation recommendations were "paperwork-related," such as railroads not providing required forms to government inspectors.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific received most of the violation recommendations issued under the targeted inspection program — more than 800. A breakdown for violations involving other railroads was not available.

Union Pacific agreed to increase its inspection frequencies following the Mosier derailment under an agreement with federal regulators who said the railroad's inspection program was too lax.

Railroad spokeswoman Calli Hite said the railroad shares the railroad administration's dedication to safety.

"Union Pacific has always paid close attention to track conditions and inspections," Hite said.

Most violations were found in the months after the inspection program began in January 2015 in the Southwest, where officials said Union Pacific runs a majority of the oil trains. In many cases, violation recommendations came after the railroad did not respond quickly enough to problems found by inspectors, said Marc Willis, a spokesman for the railroad administration.

Subsequent inspections turned up thousands of additional safety problems but far fewer recommendations for violations.

That was because the high number of violation recommendations for Union Pacific sent a message to the entire industry to quickly address any issue raised by inspectors, officials said.

"Railroads are paying closer attention," Willis said, adding that derailments have fallen 10 percent since the inspection program began. "Although many minor defects still are being identified ... both FRA and railroad inspectors are finding fewer serious conditions, resulting in significant safety improvements."

It's uncertain whether the targeted inspection program for oil trains will continue under President Donald Trump's administration, he said.

Since 2006, the United States and Canada have seen at least 27 oil train accidents involving a fire, derailment or significant fuel spill. Besides the targeted inspection program, U.S. and Canadian officials have responded with more stringent construction standards for tens of thousands of tank cars that haul oil and other flammable liquids.

The amount of oil moving by rail peaked in 2014 then dropped after crude prices collapsed. Major railroads reported moving more than 43,000 carloads of crude in the fourth quarter of 2016, down almost 50 percent from a year earlier, according to the railroad association.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Backlash Erupts Over Plans for Apartments in Wilmington]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:02:30 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Brandywine+Apartment+Wilmington_23148460.jpg

A new plan to develop homes and apartments at the old Brandywine Country Club is getting some backlash from residents in Wilmington. NBC10's Tim Furlong has the details about what neighbors are saying about the potential plans.]]>
<![CDATA[Passover Pizza: New Triangular Matzo Shape Debuts]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:14:04 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_070305040704.jpg

It's not your bubbe's matzo.

The New Jersey-based largest producer of kosher food in North America is breaking tradition in its 129-year history by unveiling its first triangular matzo.

Manischewitz says the shape is part of its Matzo Pizza Kit.

CEO David Sugarman says matzo pizza is a Passover staple for Jewish families because they are not permitted to eat foods made with yeast or leavening. 

The company needed a special die to make the new shape from the traditional rectangle. The company says breakage meant it had to replace a cooling conveyor with a new process. Employees now grab the matzo by hand and place it into cartons to cool.

The company says it can produce about 1,500 triangles every 15 minutes.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Comcast's $2.5M Gift Propels American Revolution Museum ]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:07:50 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/amrevmuseum2.jpg

Set to open on April 19 to commemorate the 242nd anniversary of the "shot heard 'round the world," the Museum of the American Revolution has just exceeded its capital campaign after a multimillion-dollar gift by Comcast.

The Museum of the American Revolution, just weeks away from its grand debut, has generated $152 million for its capital campaign, exceeding its original goal of $150 million.

The museum announced on Wednesday that it's received a $2.5 million gift from Comcast NBCUniversal and the Aileen K. and Brian L. Roberts Foundation, made in honor of the museum's architect Robert A.M. Stern.

The gift is shared equally between the Roberts’ Foundation and Comcast NBCUniversal.The museum’s fundraising efforts are ongoing, with many galleries still available to be named, according to officials. The campaign will formally close on Dec. 31, 2017.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news visit, Philadelphia Business Journal.

Comcast is the parent company of NBC10 and NBC Universal.



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[Panera Sells for $7.5B to the Coffee Giant That Owns Keurig]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:08:59 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-472270482.jpg

Panera Bread has been sold to JAB, the owner of Caribou Coffee and Peet's Coffee and Tea, for $7.5 billion, CNBC reported.

The Luxembourg-based company has bought several U.S. breakfast and coffee companies in recent years, including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Keurig Green Mountain. One consumer researcher called Panera the "crown jewel" for JAB, and said the move "makes a lot of sense."

Panera has 2,000 cafes throughout the U.S. Through the last six quarters, they have reported better-than-expected earnings per share. 

Under the deal, JAB will assume Panera's $340 million debt. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Majestic Field Facility Wins Big]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 19:39:17 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020144803_1200x675_913960003816.jpg

A new deal confirmed that Major League Baseball will continue to make uniforms and fan apparel at a Palmer Township plant. NBC10’s Tim Furlong has the details on the grand slam of a deal.]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Fed Head Lacker Resigns, Admits Improper Disclosure]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:28:01 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/jeffrey-lacker.jpg

Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, has resigned after acknowledging improper discussions with a financial analyst. 

In a statement Tuesday, Lacker said that in October 2012 he spoke to an analyst at Medley Global Advisers who possessed "highly confidential" information about interest-rate decisions the Fed had considered at its September meeting. 

Lacker called his conduct "inconsistent" with the Fed's confidentiality policies. 

"I deeply regret the role that I may have played in confirming this confidential information and in its dissemination to Medley's subscribers," Lacker said. 

Lacker, who had already announced in January that he was planning to step down this year, said in his resignation statement that he failed to disclose in subsequent investigations the details of his conversation. 

Members of Congress have sharply criticized the Fed for not providing information regarding its investigation into the matter. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, had been sharply critical of the Fed's refusal to provide information on the investigation. 

Fed Chair Janet Yellen in 2015 had told the committee that she was unable to provide some documents sought by his committee subpoena because doing so could jeopardize a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and an on-going investigation by the Fed's inspector general. 

In a statement, the Richmond Fed said that it placed a "high priority on safeguarding information." It said that once the bank's board of directors learned of the outcome of the government investigations, it had taken appropriate actions. 

The statement said the bank's search process for Lacker's successor would continue. In the interim, Mark Mullinix, the bank's first vice president, will serve as acting bank president.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Verizon Creates 'Oath' as New Company to Run Yahoo, AOL]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 06:53:33 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/03-15-2017-yahoo.jpg

Verizon Communications will create a new company called Oath after it completes its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo and melds the troubled internet company with its AOL operations.

Oath will oversee Yahoo and AOL after the deal is completed. The Yahoo and AOL brands are expected to survive, although Verizon says it won't provide any details about its plans for Oath until this summer.

"You can bet we will be launching one of the most disruptive brand companies in digital," AOL said in a Monday statement.

Tim Armstrong, AOL's top executive, posted a tweet Monday indicating Oath will manage more than 20 different brands.

Verizon is counting on the combination of Yahoo and AOL to help it sell more digital ads, even though the two internet pioneers had been struggling on their own.

Yahoo originally agreed to sell its online operations to Verizon for $4.8 billion after years of unsuccessful attempts to boosts its revenue. It had to slash the price after discovering that two separate hacking attacks had stolen personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts.

The security breakdown marked the two biggest breaches in internet history, raising concerns that people might start using Yahoo less frequently and reduce the opportunities to show ads.

Verizon plans to take over Yahoo's email and other online operations sometime between now and June 30. After the deal closes, Yahoo's cash and lucrative stakes in Asian internet companies Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan will be controlled by another new company called Altaba.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
PBJ.COM]]><![CDATA[Retailer Target Targets NoLibs Store]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 13:08:11 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Target+Northern+Liberties.png

In its push to expand into urban markets, Target Corp. has signed a lease to open its fifth small format store in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood.

The retailer signed a lease on 47,000 square feet at 456 N. 5th St., a building that used to house Destination Maternity and is under redevelopment. Target (NYSE: TGT) said it intends to open the store in July 2018.

In very little time, Target has grown its footprint in the city and its stores have proven to fill a void as they sell everything from shampoo and popcorn to televisions and T-shirts.

"Philadelphia is a priority market for Target’s growth with the small-format stores," Kristy Welker, a Target spokeswoman, said in an email.

Last July, it opened a roughly 19,000-square-foot store at 1128 Chestnut St. and last fall opened a 21,000-square-foot store at 1900 Chestnut St. It also recently opened a 47,000-square-foot store in the Ivyridge Shopping Center in Upper Roxborough. Read more on PBJ.com.


For the latest business news from around the Philadelphia region, check out the Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Artists's rendering care of PBJ.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zip Through Job Interview at Montco Zoo]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:30:22 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/178*120/Elmwood+Park+Zoo+Treetop+Adventures.JPG

A Montgomery County zoo hopes that it can lure potential high-flying employees to its treetops with a freebie.

The Elmwood Park Zoo is holding "Treetop Try-Outs" on its Treetop Adventures zip line and ropes course – Pennsylvania’s only zip line course over animals, including bison and elk, the zoo announced Monday.

"Interested parties will be granted free admission to a small portion of the course as well as the opportunity to submit a job application," the zoo said in a news release. "The park hopes to attract adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts who care to turn their passion into employment."

The above-the-ground "tryouts" will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 15 from 5 p.m. until sundown.

The zoo hopes (depending on availability) to interview some of the potential "Adventure Guides" after they wrap up the course. The guides must be in shape to maneuver among the trees throughout the day and must wear close-toed shoes to participate, the zoo said.

More info in available on the zoo’s website.



Photo Credit: Elmwood Park Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Furnace Reimbursement Issues]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 09:12:33 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020113400_1200x675_912598595577.jpg

Gared Rice's furnace broke down in the middle of a cold February night. After getting it fixed, Rice had a hard time getting his home warranty company to reimburse him. So he called Harry Hairston and NBC10 Responds.]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Reports Record Deliveries of Vehicles in 1st Quarter]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 22:52:09 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/06-05-2014-tesla-logo-emblem.jpg

Electric car maker Tesla Inc. says it delivered a record 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter, up 69 percent from the same period last year.

Tesla said Sunday that it delivered about 13,450 Model S cars and about 11,550 Model X SUVs.

Tesla says another 4,650 vehicles were being transported to customers at the end of the quarter and will be included in second-quarter deliveries.

Production in the first quarter totaled 25,418 vehicles, also a record, Tesla said.

Tesla posted its first profit in three years in the third quarter of 2016, but it followed that with a $121 million loss in the fourth quarter. Analysts expect another loss for the first quarter.

Sunday's report indicates Tesla is on track to hit its forecast of 47,000 to 50,000 deliveries in the first half of 2017.

CEO Elon Musk said recently that the Palo Alto-based company will produce 5,000 cars a week later this year after production begins in July on the new Model 3.

At $35,000, the Model 3 will cost about half as much as the lowest-price Model S. It will also be simpler and easier to make, with more automation during production. Analysts say the Model 3, possibly along with other new vehicles including a small SUV, could significantly increase Tesla's sales volumes.

Expectations for the Model 3 have helped drive Tesla shares up by 30 percent since the start of the year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Rittenhouse Hotel Undergoes Expansive Renovations]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 20:49:41 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Philly+ritt.jpg

The Rittenhouse hotel has completed its latest round of renovations.

The 118-room Rittenhouse Square hotel, which opened in 1989, has undergone $15 million worth of renovations since 2012, when Hersha Hospitality Trust purchased it.

The latest round of improvements renovated the hotel's ballroom and pre-function spaces, as well as two board rooms – a $1 million investment.

This round was recently completed, after they began in late December 2015, and a reveal party will be held next week to celebrate the grand ballroom's re-imagining.

For a look at photos of the renovations, click here.

 


For more business news, visit the Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Philly Startup is Helping Under Armour Get Results]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 17:17:54 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Under-Armour.jpg

Athletic wear giant Under Armour is inking an Old City-based startup in for an assist. The Baltimore-based sports apparel company's retail locations saw upticks in how much time customers spent browsing shelves and how much money they spent at the register for stores where ChargeItSpot kiosks were available.

A research study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School concluded that customers who were able to use the ChargeItSpot's kiosks, which charge one's cell phone in a locker, spent 2.3 times the amount of time in the Under Armour store than those who were met with a kiosk that was "artificially full," or had no lockers available, Doug Baldasare, the CEO and founder of the nearly 6-year-old startup.

"And they spend 51 percent more at the register," Baldasare added, referencing the Wharton study results. The study took place last April when ChargeItSpot had its kiosks in fewer than 20 Under Armour stores.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: NBC Local]]>
<![CDATA[Prices Rise for US Housing Market ]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 21:29:06 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_homeprices0330_1500x845.jpg

A warmer-than-normal February and a strong stock market are helping to inspire Americans to start house hunting early. Rising prices for homes have also pressured some to make fast offers out of fear of being priced out of a home. ]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Pa. Getting $30.4M in Volkswagen Environmental Settlement]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:35:13 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_928991880469-VW.jpg

Pennsylvania will get $30.4 million, or nearly one-fifth of a $157 million settlement, from the parent company of Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche, and their American subsidiaries.

The settlement agreement with Volkswagen Group stems from lawsuits against the automaker over an undisclosed and illegal "defeat device" software on more than 570,000 diesel vehicles – including 23,000 in the Commonwealth – that "allowed excessive carbon monoxide emissions to escape into the air in violation of federal and state laws," the state's Attorney General's Office said

Pennsylvania was already set to receive $13.1 million in civil penalties from Volkswagen, as well as $5 million in costs to the Office of the Attorney General and $2.5 million each for the state's Clean Air and Motor Licenses funds, part of an earlier settlement.

To read more about the settlement, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Citizens Bank, Clarifi Team Up to Offer Free Financial Workshops]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 13:07:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/194*120/Citizens+Bank+Borrowing+Basics.JPG

April is National Financial Literacy Month and Citizens Bank is committed to helping people manage money. Dan Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Bank for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, is in our NBC10 studios along with Patty Hasson, president of Clarifi, to tell us more about the free financial workshops they are offering.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[The Most Common Items Philly Uber Riders Leave Behind]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 06:48:39 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/uber+logo+driver.jpgFor the first time, Uber released data showing the most common items users forget in their rides. From clothing accessories to personal belongings, here are the Top 10 most forgotten items Philly Uber riders.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Univ. Wants to Sell Its Music College]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:49:20 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/rider+university+generic.jpg

A New Jersey university wants to sell its music college to another institution.

Rider University President Gregory Dell'Omo announced Tuesday that an outside firm has been hired to seek a buyer for the Westminster Choir College and its 23-acre campus in Princeton. He said another option is to sell the school to a buyer who will move the school to its own campus.

The move comes as Rider continues efforts to boost enrollment and faces a potential $13 million shortfall by 2019.

Rider officials had also been considering a plan to move the music school to the university's main campus in Lawrenceville. But choir college students and other supporters have said Rider doesn't have the necessary facilities in Lawrenceville to house the school, which has roughly 460 students.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Renovation and Redevelopment in North Philly ]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:44:28 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Renovation+Redevelopment+North+Philly_23067970.jpg

North Philadelphia is quickly becoming a main attraction due to new developments and renovation. NBC10's Brandon Hudson has the details.

Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
<![CDATA[Windows Update Will Bring 3-D, Game Tools, Doodling]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:51:16 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/microsoftxboxupdates_1200x675.jpg

A major update to Microsoft's Windows 10 system will start reaching consumers and businesses on April 11, offering 3-D drawing tools, game-broadcasting capabilities and better ways to manage your web browsing.

This "Creators Update" also aims to make future updates less disruptive.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it will roll out the Creators Update to some 400 million Windows 10 devices worldwide over time. Though there's no set schedule, devices that came with Windows 10 installed will likely get the update first. That will make it easier for Microsoft to work out kinks for older devices, which are potentially more problematic.

Once you get it, here are five things to check out.

___

WEBSITE CLUTTER

Throughout the day, you're likely using your web browser for a variety of tasks — researching a trip, checking the news and, gasp, doing actual work. Having all those websites open at once could prove cumbersome.

Windows 10's Edge browser now has a small icon on the upper left corner for setting aside a group of websites. Say, your deadline on a work project is rapidly approaching. Just hit the button to clear out website tabs for your Caribbean getaway. When you're ready to return to trip planning, hit an adjacent icon to restore those tabs you've set aside.

You can set aside multiple groups; the most recent ones appear on top. When things get rough, you can scroll down to check the set of job search sites you set aside weeks ago.

Though browsers let you bookmark sites, you probably don't want permanence for trips and short-term projects. Once you restore tabs using the new feature, you'll need to set them aside again when you're done for future access. And tabs won't sync across devices.

___

DIGITAL DOODLES

Last year's "Anniversary Update" introduced Windows Ink, the ability to highlight, mark and otherwise doodle on documents with a finger or stylus, provided you have a touch-screen computer.

Updated Windows apps for Microsoft's Maps and Photos will let you do more. Though the apps are available separately, getting the Creators Update ensures you have them.

In Photos, you can draw on photos and videos with virtual markers and share your creations with friends. For example, you can circle that guy in the background and call attention to how goofy he looks.

For maps, you can mark a specific spot in a park for friends to meet. Technically, you can already do that with web versions of Google, Bing and other maps, so long as you're using the Edge browser and its doodling function. Microsoft's Maps app offers extras. For instance, you can have the app calculate the distance of the bike route you're tracing; be sure to first hit the "measure distance" icon (the one with the red diagonal).

Ink would have been great for a new e-book feature coming to Windows. Microsoft is now selling e-books through its online store, and books open as a tab in Edge, with no separate app needed. But Microsoft says Ink is disabled on e-books because of publisher restrictions.

___

IN 3-D

Paint, a graphics app Microsoft first shipped with Windows 1.0 in 1985, is getting a major refresh. You can now create images in 3-D .

Start by pressing the cube icon at the top. You can create 3-D images from scratch or choose an object, such as a cylinder, a fish or a person. You can get additional models from a 3-D online community called Remix and even share your creations there. You can add stickers, such as eyes, by tapping the icon to the right of the cube.

Play around to get a feel for all the capabilities. Expect lots of trial and error — and frequent use of the "undo" button.

3-D images created through paint will be compatible with 3-D printers and printing services.

___

GAMERS, REJOICE

A game mode optimizes the computer for gaming. Other tasks can still run in the background but won't consume as much of the system resources. Game mode is on by default; you can turn it off through a new central location for system-wide game settings (individual games might still have their own settings).

Windows 10 also gets a broadcasting service called Beam, which Microsoft bought last year. Before, to share live streaming of game play, gamers had to install and activate Beam or a competing service separately.

___

LESS-ANNOYING UPDATES

Although Creators Update is only the second major update since Windows 10's release in 2015, Microsoft has issued many smaller ones along the way. They often require a restart and can come at inopportune times — such as the start of an important meeting. Users with the Home edition of Windows 10 had no options for postponing updates.

Microsoft says it has listened and will give all users the ability to schedule a time or defer updates for three days. This doesn't mean you can avoid updates forever, but it gives you more say over when.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Approves 1st Drug for Aggressive Multiple Sclerosis]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:29:48 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/medications_generic_1200x675.jpg

U.S. regulators have approved the first drug for an aggressive kind of multiple sclerosis that steadily reduces coordination and the ability to walk.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Ocrevus late Tuesday after a large study found it slowed progression of the neurological disease and reduced symptoms.

While there are more than a dozen treatments for the most common form of MS, there's been nothing specifically for people with the type called primary progressive MS. That type of MS is relatively rare, affecting about 50,000 Americans.

The drug was also approved for relapsing forms of MS, which progress more slowly.

It's given intravenously every six months. The drug was developed by Genentech, part of Swiss drugmaker the Roche Group. Genentech, based in South San Francisco, California, said the initial list price without insurance will be $65,000 a year.

In primary progressive MS, the disease's course varies among patients, but symptoms gradually worsen from the start and there usually are no periods when symptoms subside. Most of the estimated 400,000 Americans with MS have the relapsing-remitting type, in which symptoms can wane for months, even years, between flare-ups.

Symptoms are caused by the immune system attacking the fatty coverings on nerves in the brain and spinal cord that protect them, much like insulation on electrical wiring. As the coverings deteriorate, nerve "messages" aren't properly transmitted, disrupting movement and muscle control.

For patients with primary progressive MS, life span on average is shortened by six years, said Dr. Fred Lublin, director of the MS center at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Since 1993, 14 drugs have been approved to slow the most common form of MS, but everything tested against primary progressive MS failed until now, said Lublin, a consultant to Genentech who was on the committee overseeing the study.

"This therapy not only provides another treatment option for those with relapsing MS, but for the first time provides an approved therapy for those with primary progressive MS," Dr. Billy Dunn, director of the FDA's Division of Neurology Products, said in a statement.

In the study testing Ocrevus for primary progressive MS, which involved 732 patients, Ocrevus had a "modest but definite slowing effect on the rate at which people develop disabilities," said Lublin.

Compared to study participants getting dummy infusions, patients given Ocrevus infusions had slower declines in walking ability and slower disability progression over nearly 2 ½ years. The Ocrevus group also had fewer new brain-damaging lesions develop but slightly higher rates of certain side effects, including upper respiratory tract infections and tumors developing in various parts of the body.

The drug was also tested in two large studies involving 1,656 patients as a treatment for relapsing forms of MS. In those 96-week studies, patients given Ocrevus had lower relapse rates and reduced worsening of disability compared to participants given Rebif, a standard drug for relapsing MS, according to the FDA.

Ocrevus will be available in the U.S. within two weeks, Genentech said, noting the average price of MS medicines has quadrupled over the past 12 years. As a "first step" in reversing that trend, the company said, it priced Ocrevus 25 percent below Rebif's list price.

The price shouldn't limit access, analyst Jeffrey Holford at Jefferies LLC wrote to investors on Wednesday. He forecasts peak sales of $5 billion a year.

___

Follow Linda A. Johnson at https://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Home Buyers Jump on Contracts as Housing Market Rises]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 18:03:37 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/undercontracthomes_1200x675.jpg

More people signed contracts to buy U.S. homes last month as warm weather and rising confidence appeared to encourage consumers to look for houses.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index climbed 5.5 percent in February to 112.3, its highest point since April and its second-highest point since 2006.

Lawrence Yun, the Realtors' chief economist, suggested that a rising stock market had helped bolster confidence. "Last month being the warmest February in decades also played a role in kick-starting prospective buyers' house hunt," Yun said.

In addition, rising prices may have nudged some people into making offers for homes now out of fear of having to pay more if they wait.

The NAR's index of pending home sales rose 11.4 percent in the Midwest, 4.3 percent in the South, 3.4 percent in the Northeast and 3.1 percent in the West.

The U.S. housing market is looking strong despite a sharp rise in mortgage rates since the presidential election. The average on a benchmark 30-year fixed rate loan was 4.23 percent last week, up from 3.54 percent the week before the Nov. 8 vote.

Investors bid up rates in part out of expectation that President Donald Trump's plans to cut taxes and increase spending on defense and infrastructure would raise economic growth and inflation.

The Realtors reported last week that sales of existing homes fell in February after having surged in January to the fastest pace in a decade. Sales were still up solidly from a year earlier.

The supply of homes for sale is tight and is helping to drive prices up and affordability down. The number of listings for sale has tumbled 6.4 percent over the past year to 1.75 million homes last month, up only slightly from a record low in January.

The supply of homes for sale has fallen on an annual basis for the past 21 months.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ford Recalls 570K Vehicles for Fire Risk, Door Latch Trouble]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:29:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fordrecall2017_1200x675.jpg

Ford is recalling more than 570,000 vehicles in North America and Europe to fix separate problems that can cause engine fires and doors to fly open unexpectedly.

The recalls will hit the company's bottom line in the first quarter of this year. Ford said in a Wednesday filing with securities regulators that the recalls will cut pretax earnings by $295 million.

The engine fire recall covers over 360,000 vehicles in North America and Europe. In North America it includes Escape SUVs from the 2014 model year, plus the 2014 and 2015 compact Fiesta ST, the 2013 and 2014 Fusion midsize car and the 2013 through 2015 Transit Connect small van.

In Europe, the recall covers the 2010 through 2015 C-Max hybrid and Focus small car, and the 2013 through 2015 Transit Connect van. All the vehicles have 1.6-Liter four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

A lack of coolant circulation could cause the engine to overheat, causing a crack in the cylinder head, according to Ford. If that happens, pressurized oil can leak through the crack, and if it hits a hot surface, could cause and engine fire. The company says it has 29 reports of fires in the U.S. and Canada, but no injuries.

Owners can continue to drive the vehicles safely and park them in garages or other structures, spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said. The company will mail customers instructions from the owner's manual on how to check and refill coolant. Dealers also will check coolant levels for owners. If vehicles leak coolant or overheat, they should be taken to a dealer, Weigandt said.

If parts are available, dealers will install a coolant level sensor and a warning light on the dashboard telling owners if the coolant level is low, Weigandt said. She did not know if the company will fix coolant leaks, but said she would check.

The company also is adding 211,000 vehicles to a 2015 recall to replace faulty door latches. That recall covers the 2014 Fiesta and the 2013 and 2014 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. The expansion brings the total from the 2015 recall to nearly 757,000.

Door latches have been a major problem for Ford vehicles during the past three years, resulting in investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and recalls of over 3 million vehicles.

The company recalled more than 2.3 million vehicles last fall because their door latches weren't working properly. That recall included the 2012-2015 Ford Focus and the 2013-2015 Ford Escape and C-Max.

In May 2014, Ford recalled 692,700 Escape SUVs from the 2013-2014 model years because their doors didn't latch properly.

In the latest recall a pawl in the door latch can break, either stopping the doors from closing or causing them to open while the cars are being driven. The company says it's unaware of any crashes or injuries involving the vehicles added to the 2015 recall.

Last year door latch recalls cost the company $640 million.

The cost of the latest recall is included in Ford's most recent earnings guidance, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blumenfeld Courting Live Nation for North Broad Opera House]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 10:47:59 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/opera+house.png

LED signs designed with a nod to the 1930s will be part of the $35 million overhaul developer Eric Blumenfeld has planned for a North Broad Street theater, an addition meant to please the upcoming venue's future tenant – Live Nation.

Blumenfeld told the city's Historical Commission the signs gave the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, located at Broad and Poplar streets, " some sense of identity," according to Curbed Philadelphia.

“Right now, our focus is on making Live Nation happy,” said developer and partial owner Eric Blumenfeld.

Neither Blumenfeld nor Live Nation confirmed to Curbed that the California-based concert promoter would occupy the space.

To read the full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: AOS Architects]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: NBC10's Growing Greater Philadelphia ]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:41:05 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GGP_Ton_Web.jpg

From the city to the suburbs, our region is thriving. Across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, a historic transformation is underway and you're part of it. Businesses are getting bigger and better. Learn more by watching the Growing Greater Philadelphia special in the video embedded above starting at 7 p.m.

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<![CDATA[Waze Gets Into the Order-Ahead Business With Dunkin' Donuts]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:17:11 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-118817089.jpg

Waze's traffic navigation app already shows ads prodding drivers to swing by fast-food joints like Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell. Now it's adding a new item to its menu — the ability to place orders at some shops.

On Tuesday, the Google-owned app will start letting drivers purchase coffee and other items from Dunkin' Donuts for pickup along their way. It's the first time that Waze has offered this kind of "order ahead" option, but unlikely to be the last.

If all goes well with the Dunkin' Donuts test, Waze plans to team up with other merchants so its millions of users can order pizza, reserve parking spaces, fill prescriptions and even buy groceries without having to open another app on their phones.

"It could be almost anything that a driver could order ahead and have ready for pick up," said Jordan Grossman, head of Waze's business partnerships in North America.

DOUGHNUTS TO GO
Waze won't earn a commission on the Dunkin' Donuts sales made in its app. Instead, Dunkin' Donuts has agreed to increase the amount it spends advertising on Waze. Neither Waze nor Dunkin' Donuts would disclose the size of the increase.

Dunkin' Donuts has its own app, which until now was the only way to order ahead at the chain's stores . But working with Waze made sense, said Scott Hudler, chief digital officer for Dunkin' Brands. "Waze involves the ritualistic behavior of driving to work on your daily commute, and we are a brand built on a ritual, too," he said.

Drivers using Waze's "order ahead" option will need the Dunkin' Donuts app as well, although they won't have to open it. They'll also need to be registered with Dunkin' Donuts customer loyalty program.

CHARTING A COURSE INTO COMMERCE
The push into e-commerce is Waze's latest step beyond its original purpose of recommending the fastest way to drive someplace.

Waze also offers a carpooling feature that pays drivers to pick up passengers headed in the same direction. It's currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, California; and Israel.

Waze will also offer the carpooling option in Brazil later this year. While still in its infancy, that service could siphon passengers away from ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frontier Air Expands Discount PHL Service to Puerto Rico]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:34:08 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/211*120/Frontier+Philadelphia+San+Juan.JPG

Frontier Airlines is expanding its service from Philadelphia to Puerto Rico.

The low cost carrier announced Tuesday morning that it will being flying year-round between Philadelphia International Airport and San Juan, Puerto Rico starting in June.

"We are very excited that Frontier will be offering nonstop service from Philadelphia to San Juan, which is popular destination for both tourists and natives of Puerto Rico who travel back home to visit," Airport CEO Chellie Cameron said. "We are pleased that Frontier continues to bring new service to Philadelphia and look forward to even more flights to more places."

American Airlines currently serves San Juan from Philadelphia. The new flight will expand service from Philadelphia to the American territory.

"Our network continues to expand in markets where people want to fly," Frontier vice president of network planning Josh Flyr said. "And customers in Philadelphia, with the addition of San Juan, Puerto Rico, now have a low-cost option to 20 destinations."

The first A-321 aircraft bound for San Juan leaves Philadelphia on June 11. One-way flights in the first week started for as little as $49 Tuesday morning.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[American Airlines Buys Stake in China Southern Airlines]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:41:36 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17074616828877.jpg

American Airlines has agreed to pay $200 million for a stake in China Southern Airlines, the biggest of China's three major state-owned carriers, in a bid for a bigger share of the country's growing travel market.

American and China Southern will expand commercial cooperation, possibly in sales, airport facilities and code-sharing, the Chinese airline said in an announcement Tuesday through the Hong Kong stock exchange. It said the deal represents 2.76 percent of China Southern's shares and requires regulatory approval.

Foreign carriers are forging steadily closer ties with Chinese airlines to gain a bigger share of China's air travel market, which is growing strongly while travel in Europe and North America is leveling off. In exchange, Chinese carriers get access to experience and management skills.

China is forecast to pass North America over the next two decades as the biggest air travel market.

China's economic growth is slowing but tourism spending is rising as communist leaders encourage growth of service businesses in an effort to reduce reliance on heavy industry.

Chinese spending on air travel rose 10.6 percent in 2015, compared with 1.7 percent in the United States, according to the International Air Travel Association.

Two years ago, Delta Airlines paid $450 million for 3.55 percent of China Eastern Airlines. The third major U.S. carrier, United Airlines, has a partnership with Air China, the third major Chinese government-owned airline. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airlines owns 18 percent of Air China.

Regulators in both China and the United States are reluctant to allow large foreign ownership stakes or management control of their airlines.

China Southern, headquartered in Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, is China's biggest carrier by passenger volume but is known for sometimes haphazard service, with flights delayed or canceled with little notice.

China Southern says it operates more than 2,000 flights a day to 224 destinations in 40 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. It says it carried 115 million passengers in 2016.

The partnership with American Airlines "is expected to provide continuous impetus for the company's long-term growth," said China Southern's announcement.

American, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, says it operates 6,700 flights a day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Julio Cortez]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Virtua, Camden County Clash Over Emergency Medical Services ]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:38:55 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Virtua+Fight+_23041242.jpg

Virtua went on the offensive Monday to defend itself as the provider for advanced life support (ALS) for all of Camden County except the city of Camden.

The Marlton-based health system posted a video on Facebook in which Virtua CEO Rich Miller said be believes Virtua is “under attack” by the Camden County Board of Freeholders, which is holding a public meeting to discuss emergency medical services [EMS] in the county.

Miller said the board has invited mayors from Camden County and representatives from Cooper Heath System to the meeting, but has not invited Virtua to participate.

“This clearly appears to be an attempt [by the board] to replace Virtua’s EMS services," he said. “Virtua met with [Camden County Freeholder Director] Louis Cappelli regarding EMS many months and asked him to stay in touch with any concerns. We have heard nothing.”

County spokesman Dan Keashan said ALS services is just one of four items on the agenda of a regular meeting the county holds with its mayors, and the discussion will relate to ALS response times first contained in a 2015 study the county commissioned. He said the meeting will also cover 911 call center improvements and a presentation by Cooper about a care program for patients its transports.

“Weeks ago the Freeholders were notified that Cooper Healthcare System has no interest in providing ALS or [basic life support] services to suburban towns outside of Camden City,” Keashan said. “Mr. Miller is obviously trying to distract from the service Virtua is providing, the facts and data are clear in regard to response times. Simply put, time matters and residents expect and deserve more from their ALS provider.… If you live in towns like Winslow, Oaklyn, Gloucester City, Cherry Hill, Voorhees or Gloucester Township, chances are the provider is not meeting the standard because there are not enough rigs on the road. Unfortunately, if you live in Pine Hill the chances of an ALS unit arriving to your call in eight minutes or less is 10 percent.”

Keashan said the county is open to hearing about how Virtua is improving ALS service on behalf of Camden County residents.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Struggling Pittsburgh Symphony Gets $6.5M in Grants]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:47:06 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Heinz+Hall+Pittsburgh+Symphony.jpg

Three foundations have collectively committed $6.5 million in donations to help the struggling Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as it deals with budget challenges.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Heinz Endowments approved a $5 million grant over a five-year period to support the orchestra's restructuring of its business plan and attaining "financial stability."

The other grants include $1 million from The Benter Foundation over the next four years and $500,000 from the Eden Hall Foundation, which will be used to "inspire donors at the $5,000 level and above to increase their giving levels."

Pittsburgh Symphony management has already instituted cost-cutting measures including layoffs in administration and other departments.

A two-month strike that ended in November resulted in $3.6 million in musicians' wage concessions over the life of the contract.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Firm to Pay $200K For Not Reporting Stolen Fireworks]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:13:54 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fireworks+generic+1.jpg

A 124-year-old Pennsylvania fireworks business will pay a $200,000 penalty after pleading guilty to failing to report more than 63,000 fireworks that were stolen nearly three years ago.

Zambelli International Fireworks in January announced it had agreed to the penalty, which was imposed Monday by a federal judge under an agreement with federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The company also agreed to curtail its commercial operations for two weeks, which happened earlier this month. During that time, the company didn't buy, sell or ship any fireworks, although workers remained on the job to maintain the business and perform other duties.

The penalties include a $5,000 fine, which goes to the federal treasury, and a $195,000 administrative forfeiture, money that goes to the ATF.

Barry Hartman, one of the company's attorneys, pleaded guilty Monday to failing to report the loss of explosive material. The law requires fireworks dealers licensed by the ATF to report missing or stolen explosives within 24 hours.

The commercial-grade display fireworks were stolen sometime between July 21 and Aug. 4 in 2014 but not discovered until later that year. Pennsylvania state troopers found them in the home of a Zambelli employee, who has since been fired, during an unrelated criminal investigation.

Hartman and Mark Rush, the company's other attorney, said they had no additional information about how the fireworks were discovered.

The law Zambelli violated is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $200,000 fine and five years' probation.

U.S. District Judge David Cercone did not impose any probation under the plea agreement.

The company has since worked with the ATF to improve its inventory and security systems.

Antonio Zambelli founded the family-owned business in 1893 after emigrating from Italy. The company, based in New Castle, about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, produces about 1,600 shows annually. Its fireworks have been used for presidential inaugurations, the National Mall Fourth of July celebration and state dinners. They're a staple of shows in and around western Pennsylvania, and at PNC Park for Pittsburgh Pirates games.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

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<![CDATA[Growing Greater Philadelphia: PECO]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:34:28 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019995826_1200x675_906585667968.jpg

NBC10's Growing Greater Philadelphia special will celebrate the people, places and projects driving growth across our region. The special, which airs on Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. on NBC10 is presented by PECO, which has more than 130 years of service for our area.]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Welcomes 'Immigrant Business Week']]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:08:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/190*120/food+truck+generic.png

Many immigrants have come to Philadelphia with an entrepreneurial spirit.

The city is acknowledging them with its first Immigrant Business Week (IBW). It runs from March 27 to April 1 and celebrates immigrant entrepreneurs and their contributions to society.

"Immigrants play a key role in Philadelphia's population growth, neighborhood revitalization and economic development," said Miriam Enriquez, director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs.

In February, New American Economy (NAE) released data supporting Enriquez's statement and highlighted immigrants' positive impact in communities across the country.

According to NAE, immigrants paid $6 billion in taxes and were responsible for $13.5 billion in spending power in 2014. Immigrants are also 43 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than the native-born population.

In celebration of the estimated 40,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in Philadelphia, the city will be hosting several networking opportunities and educational workshops throughout the week. As part of it, Philly is promote diverse food trucks across the city.

"Food trucks and food carts have served as a creative pathway for many immigrants to create employment and revenue-generating opportunities," Enriquez said. "Through 'Food Truck Spotlight,' Philly food and culture lovers can conduct a tour of both great cuisines from around the world and the neighborhoods where these five food trucks are located. They will also experience immigrant stories of entrepreneurship up close — and appreciate this hard work using all the senses!"

To see the full list of Immigrant Business Week events, click here.  



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal ]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Philly Among Best Cities for Women in Tech]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:01:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Schuylkill+River+Banks+Boardwalk+Generic+Philly+Skyline+Generic.jpg

Efforts to draw tech companies and talent, and keep them in the Philadelphia region have been a top priority in recent years, yet for every women in the local industry, there are two men, according to a new report. The disparity is something one local organization has been working to whittle away for the past 17 years.

Girls Exploring Tomorrow's Technology, a day-long event at West Chester East High School in West Chester, Pa., returned on Saturday, March 25 -- part of its ongoing efforts to show girls from grades 5th through 10th about the opportunities that could land in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Last year, more than 600 girls from more than 100 schools took part in GETT, which brought leaders of STEM-related firms and universities from around the state and region – mostly women – to present. The 2016 event even included a helicopter landing from Sikorsky, which produces S-92A and S-76D helicopters as a division of Lockheed Martin.

“The GETT program inspires hundreds of girls each year by encouraging them to explore careers in STEM, and learn from dozens of successful female role models who work in a variety of technology-related fields,” said Gary Smith, president and CEO of the Chester County Economic Development Council, which presents GETT.

Judging by a new report from SmartAsset, Philadelphia could use the help.

Despite ranking 10th on its "Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2017" list, Philadelphia has a tech industry made up of mostly men. Women occupy just 32.3 percent of the computer and mathematical jobs in the market, SmartAsset said. The study analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, taking the 59 largest U.S. cities that had enough tech workers to offer reliable data on the industry.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com - Dan Stamm]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Program After Crash]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 01:24:21 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_16349000708921-Uber-Self-Driving-Cars.jpg

Uber Technologies Inc. suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

As Reuters reports, the accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe.



Photo Credit: Eric Risberg, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[More Big Brands Pull Ads From YouTube]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 07:39:08 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_142450164879.jpg

An advertising boycott of YouTube is broadening, a sign that big-spending companies doubt Google's ability to prevent marketing campaigns from appearing alongside repugnant videos.

PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores and Starbucks on Friday confirmed that they have also suspended their advertising on YouTube after the Wall Street Journal found Google's automated programs placed their brands on five videos containing racist content. AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen and several other companies pulled ads earlier this week.

The defections are continuing even after Google apologized for tainting brands and outlined steps to ensure ads don't appear alongside unsavory videos.

It's not an easy problem to fix, even for a company with the brainpower that Google has drawn upon to build a search engine that billions trust to find the information they want in a matter of seconds.

Google depends mostly on automated programs to place ads in YouTube videos because the job is too much for humans to handle on their own. About 400 hours of video is now posted on YouTube each minute.

The company has pledged to hire more people to review videos and develop even more sophisticated programs to teach its computers to figure out which clips would be considered to be too despicable for advertising.

Contacted Friday, Google stood by its earlier promise, signaling the company's confidence that it will be able to placate advertisers. As part of that effort, Google intends to block more objectionable videos from ever being posted on YouTube — an effort that could spur complaints about censorship.

Some outraged advertisers are making it clear that they won't return to YouTube until they are certain Google has the situation under control.

"The content with which we are being associated is appalling and completely against our company values," Wal-Mart said in a Friday statement.

Besides suspending their spending on YouTube, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and several other companies have said they will stop buying ads that Google places on more than two million other third-party websites.

If Google can't lure back advertisers, it could result in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Most analysts, though, doubt the ad boycott will seriously hurt Google's corporate parent, Alphabet Inc.

Although they have been growing rapidly, YouTube's ads still only represent a relatively small financial piece of Alphabet, whose revenue totaled $73.5 billion last year after subtracting commissions paid to Google's partners. YouTube accounted for $5.6 billion, or nearly 8 percent, of that total, based on estimates from the research firm eMarketer Inc.

At most, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney said he expects the YouTube ad boycott to trim Alphabet's net revenue by about 2 percent this year.

Moody's Investor Service predicted the backlash won't last long because Google is "laser-focused" on cleaning things up on YouTube.

Alphabet's stock price has fallen nearly 4 percent since the boycott began last week after an investigation by The Times in London revealed the ads of major brands were appearing in YouTube videos delving into contentious themes. The shares fell $4.51 to close at $835.14 Friday.

AP Technology Writer Mae Anderson in New York contributed to this story.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Stock Rally Sputters After Vote on Health Bill Is Delayed]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:38:23 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/wallstgeneric_1200x675.jpg

After a promising start, U.S. stock indexes gave up an early rally and ended mostly lower Thursday after Republicans delayed a vote on their health care bill and left investors concerned about delays for the business-friendly agenda of President Donald Trump.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose as much as 96 points just before 1 p.m., but doubts about the bill cast a shadow over the market as hardline conservatives said they didn't support it. Health care stocks turned lower.

Elsewhere, a growing boycott of YouTube advertising hurt Alphabet, Google's parent company. Smaller companies did better than the rest of the market and more stocks rose than fell, a sign investors are still confident in the U.S. economy.

Near the close of trading, House Republican leadership postponed a vote on the American Health Care Act because of a lack of support. Conservatives and more moderate Republicans had opposing concerns about the bill, which is widely disliked by House Democrats.

Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group, said investors are worried about how the Republican-controlled Congress and White House will come together on issues including tax reform, a debt ceiling increase, and a boost in infrastructure spending.

"If the Republicans are having such a difficult time making changes to something they universally agree upon, how on earth are they going to agree on the more complicated tax cut that is coming through later in the year?" Cox asked. Still, the losses were small, suggesting investors think some of those proposals will be delayed rather than abandoned.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.49 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,345.96. The Dow lost 4.72 points to 20,656.58. The Nasdaq composite slid 3.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,817.69. The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller companies, gained 7.83 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,353.43.

Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has skidded over the last few days, rose to 2.42 percent from 2.40 percent. That modest increase gave banks and other financial companies a lift.

The S&P 500 banking index had plunged 5 percent over the previous four days as bond yields and interest rates decreased. Banks turned higher on Thursday. SunTrust Banks added 67 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $54.85 and Huntington Bancshares rose 24 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $13.02.

Alphabet fell as a YouTube advertising boycott spread. Companies including Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and Verizon have suspended their YouTube ad campaigns in the last week because their ads were appearing alongside offensive videos, including some that promoted terrorism. The ads are placed automatically and Google has said it will do more to block offensive videos. YouTube is one of the fastest-growing parts of Google's ad system.

Alphabet lost $10.15, or 1.2 percent, to $839.65. Technology companies lagged the rest of the market. Alphabet is the second-most valuable company on the S&P 500 after Apple.

Companies that run Medicaid programs, like Centene and Molina Healthcare, stumbled in afternoon trading and health insurance companies like UnitedHealth and Humana took small losses. Drug companies also fell. Hospital operators traded higher, as did medical device makers.

Cox, of Harris Financial, said stocks probably won't fall much further if the bill ultimately fails because investors will focus on other items on Trump's agenda.

"The market doesn't care a bit about the health care legislation," he said.

PVH, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, jumped after its fourth-quarter profit and sales topped analyst estimates. It said sales for the Hilfiger brand grew in the latest quarter and its business is doing well in spite of high discounts in the U.S. The stock gained $7.70, or 8.5 percent, to $98.55.

Discount retailer Five Below also climbed after it surpassed Wall Street projections in its fourth quarter. The stock rose $4.12, or 10.8 percent, to $42.25. Retailers have struggled in recent months, but consumer-focused companies did better than the broader market on Thursday. Nike, which plunged 7 percent a day earlier, recovered $1.45, or 2.7 percent, to $55.37.

U.S. crude oil lost 34 cents to $47.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 8 cents to $50.56 a barrel in London. That pulled energy companies lower.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.59 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to$1.49 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.05 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $2.50 to $1,247.20 an ounce, which ended a small five-day streak of gains. Silver rose 2 cents to $17.59 an ounce. Copper picked up 1 cent to $2.64 a pound.

The dollar inched up to 111.07 yen from 110.92 yen. The euro slid to $1.0786 from $1.0798.

Germany's DAX jumped 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 index added 0.2 percent. In Japan the Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat and the South Korean Kospi gained 0.2 percent.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Soda Tax Revenue Exceeds Estimates Again ]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 06:28:05 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Generic_Soda.PNG

For the second consecutive month, the city's Department of Revenue announced the funds collected from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax brought in more money than its projections predicted.

The Revenue Dept. said February yielded $6.4 million in soda tax revenue, and also upped the initial figure for the first month of the year to $5.9 million from $5.7 million, an anticipated adjustment.

The Mayor's Office estimated soda tax revenue in February to amount to $6.3 million, according to the Kenney Administration's budget proposal.

At a total of $12.3 million in revenue collected so far, the beverage tax does not appear to be deterring consumers at the rate that city officials expected nor at the levels Pepsi and others claim.

Earlier this week, BillyPenn.com reported Pepsi is done offering 2-liters and 12-packs of its products to Philadelphia grocery stores and instead the New York-based soda giant will supply retailers with smaller sizes of its products. It's a strategy that beverage analysts say Pepsi and other major soda companies used in the past as consumer preferences shifted towards more healthier drinks; the smaller sized items offer bigger profit margins.

Pepsi, as well as locally owned beverage distributors and retailers like ShopRite, have said the soda tax has hurt their bottom lines – leading them to lay off workers or cut employees' hours.

To read the full article click here.


For more business news visit, Philadelphia Business Journal.

]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Unemployment Rate Goes Down]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:03:32 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/HelpWanted-GettyImages-486482294.jpg

New data shows New Jersey added 12,600 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent.

Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary reports announced on Thursday show the state jobless rate has reached a 10-year low.

The data also show that January's private-sector job growth was revised higher by 1,300 jobs.

The Treasury department's chief economist, James Wooster, says the report shows the state's economy is ``steaming forward.''

Republican Gov. Chris Christie touted the data at a QuickChek convenience store in Cedar Knolls. He says the company is expanding in the state. 

The term-limited governor, who leaves office next year, says New Jersey added 77,700 private-sector jobs over the last year.

Federal unemployment rate in February was 4.7 percent.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Administration Approves Keystone XL Pipeline]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:05:25 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17083533532012.jpg

President Donald Trump greenlighted the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, declaring it a "great day for American jobs" and siding with energy advocates over environmental groups in a heated debate over climate change.

The presidential permit comes nearly a decade after Calgary-based TransCanada applied to build the $8 billion pipeline, which will snake from Canada through the United States. Trump's State Department said the project advances U.S. national interests, in a complete reversal of the conclusion President Barack Obama's administration reached less than a year-and-a-half ago.

"It's a great day for American jobs and a historic moment for North America and energy independence," Trump said, standing alongside TransCanada's CEO in the Oval Office. Keystone will reduce costs and reliance on foreign oil while creating thousands of jobs, he said, adding: "It's going to be an incredible pipeline."

The decision caps the long scientific and political fight over a project that became a proxy battle in the larger fight over global warming. And Friday's decision, while long foreshadowed by Trump's public support for Keystone, represents one of the biggest steps to date by his administration to prioritize economic development over environmental concerns.

TransCanada, Trump said, can now build Keystone "with efficiency and with speed." Though it still faces other major hurdles, including disputes over the route, the president said the federal government was formulating final details "as we speak."

The 1,700-mile (2,735 kilometers) pipeline, as envisioned, would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. It would move roughly 800,000 barrels of oil per day.

Environmentalists, Native American groups and landowners who've opposed Keystone expressed outrage, and Greenpeace said the U.S. was "moving backwards" on climate and energy policy.

"Keystone was stopped once before, and it will be stopped again," vowed Annie Leonard, the group's U.S. director.

Obama in 2015 rejected the pipeline after years of study, saying it would undercut U.S. credibility in the international climate change negotiations that culminated later that year in a global deal in Paris. He echoed the argument of environmental groups that Keystone would encourage use of carbon-heavy tar sands oil, contributing heavily to global warming.

Relying mostly on the same information, the Trump administration reversed Obama's decision Friday.

In a lengthy report, the State Department alluded to the Paris deal as one reason. Because many other countries have pledged to address climate change, it said Keystone can proceed without undermining the overall effort to slow global warming. The Paris agreement compels the U.S. and other countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades.

Keystone would strengthen U.S. energy security by increasing access to Canada's "dependable supply of crude oil," said the State Department, which had jurisdiction because the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canada border.

But the level of those benefits has been the subject of exhaustive debate in recent years.

Obama argued the oil wouldn't stay in the U.S. because it would be exported after being processed in American refineries. TransCanada insisted Keystone "is not an export pipeline." Many energy experts insisted the truth was somewhere in between.

Environmental groups argued Canada's tar sands oil should stay in the ground. But Keystone's backers said that wouldn't happen even if the pipeline wasn't built. Without a pipeline, they said the oil would move by rail or truck, more dangerous methods which themselves contribute greenhouse gas emissions.

How many jobs Keystone will create is also widely disputed.

TransCanada promised as many as 13,000 construction jobs and Trump once predicted it "could be 42,000 jobs." The vast majority would be "indirect" jobs other industries gain from the influx of dollars and construction workers. Other estimates predict just a few thousand jobs, lasting only for the few years the pipeline is being built. And after that, only a few dozen workers would be needed to maintain the pipeline.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said Friday that thousands of people are "ready and itching to get to work."

Trump boasted as recently as this week that Keystone would be built with American steel, which he has required for new or expanded pipelines. But his administration has already given Keystone a pass. TransCanada has already acquired the steel for the project, and the White House has said it's too difficult to impose Trump's requirement on a project already under construction.

Although portions of Keystone are already built, it still faces obstacles to completion. In Nebraska, for example, the route must still be approved and opponents have repeatedly thwarted TransCanada's attempts to access the necessary land. A commission is expected to review the matter later this year.

Trump, told of the hiccup, pledged his help.

"Nebraska? I'll call Nebraska," he said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[$1M 'Dramatic' Art Installation Coming to Philly]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:57:16 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Benjamin+Parkway+generic.jpg

A grant of more than $1 million will bring what officials are calling a dramatic public art installation to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which will be celebrating its centennial next year. More than a year's worth of festivities and other events are also planned.

The Ben Franklin Parkway is turning 100 years old in November 2018. It broke ground in 1907 and construction began in 1917, but the first proposal and signed petition was received by City Council back in 1891.

The 1-mile Parkway is home to top institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation and The Franklin Institute, among others. It's also played host to major events like Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia, among others, and will be the site of the NFL Draft and its accompanying outdoor football festival next month.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Coal Ash: 'Why in the World Would We Be Importing It?']]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:32:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/coalashtruck_1200x675.jpg

Shipping containers full of coal ash from China, Poland and India have come into the U.S. through the Port of Virginia as foreign companies find a market for the same industrial waste that America's utilities are struggling to dispose of.

Critics call it a missed opportunity. Coal ash is treasure as well as trash, useful for projects from roads to concrete to wallboard. They want Virginia to mandate more recycling of the ash that's already here, threatening to contaminate water sources or create an environmental disaster.

"We have millions of tons of this sitting along our riverbanks," said Travis Blankenship, former government affairs manager for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. "Why in the world would we be importing it from other states and countries?"

The nation's shift away from coal for electricity has reduced the supply of fresh coal ash, forcing industries that depend on it to look farther afield. Some turn to companies that have figured out how to reprocess ash discarded years ago in pits and ponds. Others look overseas.

The Port of Virginia handled just one shipping container of coal ash in 2015, from India. Last year, there were about 22, from China and Poland. It all went on to Ohio and Wisconsin, according to a port spokesman who didn't know the final destinations. Meanwhile, more ash has been trucked in from other states for concrete production in Virginia.

Coal ash is an umbrella term. It includes bottom ash, which settles in boilers; fly ash, a powdery material captured in exhaust stacks; and synthetic gypsum, a byproduct of smokestack "scrubbing."

These materials can be had for several dollars a ton if trucked directly from a utility to a factory or job site. They're more expensive to obtain in a useful form after decades underground or underwater. That makes foreign imports economically viable.

Nationally, there are more than 1,100 coal ash dumps, many unlined. In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency classified coal ash as nonhazardous, partly to avoid a "stigma" that might discourage proper containment and recycling, the agency said.

The EPA stressed that this waste, with heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead, must be properly managed to avoid risks to human health.

"We have two children who have been poisoned by this," Dan Marrow, who lives near a coal ash pond in northern Virginia, told lawmakers last month.

Marrow is convinced a power station pond tainted his well and caused his daughters' health problems. Dominion Virginia Power recently agreed to hook residents up to public water lines. Marrow says that's an admission of guilt; Dominion says it's being a good neighbor.

Dominion is closing 11 ponds containing around 29 million cubic yards of ash at four Virginia power stations to comply with EPA rules. It's been proceeding largely by treating and releasing the water, consolidating some ponds and capping the remaining dry material. The company insists its process is safe.

But that ash has real value, and the technology to reprocess it is already being used.

"We can ... take the material that would be an environmental liability and transform it into something that has a beneficial use," said Jimmy Knowles of The SEFA Group, which partners with utilities in South Carolina and Maryland to recycle both old and new ash.

SEFA competitor Separation Technologies can do the same thing.

"When I tell friends and family what my company does, they think we would have hundreds of these facilities around the country," said Tom Cerullo, of the Boston-based company.

But utilities are slow to embrace change, and recycling lacked a catalyst until recently, Cerullo said.

A 2008 spill in Tennessee drew attention to coal ash storage. In 2014, a pipe ruptured at a Duke Energy plant in North Carolina, polluting the Dan River with miles of sludge.

A federal investigation found Duke allowed coal ash dumps at five power plants to leak toxic waste into water supplies. Duke pleaded guilty, agreeing to pay fines and restitution. North Carolina now requires recycling as ash ponds close.

"We could do the same thing in Virginia. I think the reason we're not is Dominion's resistance to pursuing what is an emerging industry standard," Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Greg Buppert said.

Dominion spokesman Rob Richardson suggested recycling the decades-old stuff would be prohibitively expensive, but said Dominion hasn't fully analyzed the cost.

Recyclers see long-term savings in avoiding landfill maintenance and monitoring. Concrete-makers, meanwhile, can make their product cheaper and more durable by replacing some cement with fly ash.

"We'd like to use fly ash in every yard we produce," said Eric Misenheimer, at Chandler Concrete Co., which operates dozens of North Carolina and Virginia plants.

Virginia mandates fly ash as an additive in transportation department projects, but ash production has been declining since around 2008, according to the ACAA. Chandler has turned away foreign providers because of supplies from SEFA, Misenheimer said.

"Obviously, when we have a shortage, we have a hard time filling those obligations. Last year was pretty tough for us," said Morgan Nelson, of S.B. Cox, another Virginia concrete-maker.

After Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell learned about the foreign imports, he proposed requiring Dominion, the state's largest utility and biggest contributor to Virginia politics, to recycle a minimum amount of ash annually. That bill failed, but another measure of his survives and got a boost Wednesday from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. It would deny closure permits until after the utility tells regulators more about its ash impoundments, including recycling plans and clean-closure options.

The Republican-controlled Legislature stripped the requirement that permits be contingent upon this information. McAuliffe restored it and returned the amended bill to legislators, saying such information has to be shared before a permit is issued to restore public confidence.

Thirty-one percent of Dominion's freshly burned ash was recycled last year, Richardson said. On average, U.S. utilities recycled 52 percent in 2015, the latest year with available data, according to the ACAA. No one tracks how much ash arrives at ports nationwide, though the ACAA is starting to try.

At least one utility, WE Energies in Wisconsin, recycles 100 percent of its freshly burned waste. Its fly ash was used to build the Milwaukee Art Museum, bottom ash is used for structural fills and road bases, and gypsum is sold as soil additive.

"We were very good at building landfills and filling them up," said Bruce Rammey, of parent company WEC Energy Group. He became convinced in the 1980s that recycling's cheaper in the long run.

WE Energies hasn't completely eliminated its legacy coal ash, however. In 2011, a bluff collapsed near a power plant outside Milwaukee, sending soil, coal ash and other debris into Lake Michigan.

That's one more example of why environmentalists say unlined dumps must be emptied and any unrecycled ash contained in synthetically lined landfills. Recycling "wouldn't solve the coal ash issue ... but it would definitely make a dent in it," Blankenship said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[US New Home Sales Rise Despite Higher Mortgage Rates]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:11:32 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/homeforsale_generic_1200x675.jpg

Americans responded to higher mortgage rates by snapping up new homes in February at the fastest pace since July.

New-home sales rose 6.1 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That sales pace is nearly 13 percent higher than February of last year, a positive sign for the housing market that demand is robust at the start of the spring home-buying season.

Healthy job growth and a recovering economy have pushed up interest in new homes, while the prospect of rising mortgage rates since the November presidential election may have pulled some sales forward.

An exceptionally warm February also likely helped fuel sales.

"Sales were likely boosted by the much warmer-than-usual weather last month, which made visiting new-home construction sites less miserable than usual in February," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Builders have ramped up the construction of new homes, which helps meet strong demand and boosts sales. That could provide a slight lift to the broader economy through construction jobs and the consumer spending linked to home purchases.

But demand for homes is still outpacing the construction gains. There were 266,000 new homes for sale last month, the most since July 2009 — a month after the recession ended — and up nearly 10 percent from a year earlier.

The median sales price in February of a new home was $296,200, a decline that might reflect that much of the sales last month were in the cheaper Southern markets.

Construction firms are bullish that sales will keep improving, even though they remain well below the heights of the housing boom seen more than a decade ago.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index climbed to 71 this month, the highest reading since June 2005.

Some buyers may be looking to lock-in their purchases out of concern that mortgage rates will rise, possibly hurting affordability.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate home loans this week was 4.23 percent. That represents a slight decline from the prior week, but it's significantly higher than the 3.65 percent average last year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Wants to Bring 'Best Wings' to Philly Market]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:11:19 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/qslinsideshot-750xx1949-1096-0-104.jpg

Greater Philadelphia's appeal to restaurant franchises with nationwide pull continues to surge.

The market is adding another potential restaurant chain to its long list of suitors: Sharon, Pa.-based Quaker Steak & Lube. Founded 40 years ago, the western Pennsylvania chain boasts that it has the best wings in the United States.

Quaker's push into the market follows a number of other food chains that either have restaurants set to open, or have renewed interest and focus to open or bolster their presence in our area.

One recent example is Maryland's The Greene Turtle, which will open its first Pennsylvania location in Montgomery County this year after signing a 10-unit deal with franchisees in 2015.

Other chains like Roy Rogers and Sonic Drive-In, which have limited presence in the area, have renewed their focus to expand their presence in the area.

Quaker Steak & Lube n in November 2016 announced it’s aggressive, nationwide growth plan, and now the motor-themed chain is laying the groundwork for its targeted launch in the Philadelphia market in the coming months.

To read the full story, click here. 

 


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 



Photo Credit: Quaker Steak & Lube]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Already Tracks You; Now Other People Can, Too]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:02:57 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/googlemapsiphone_1200x675.jpg

Google Maps users will soon be able to broadcast their movements to friends and family via the app — the latest test of how much privacy people are willing to sacrifice in an era of rampant sharing.

The location-monitoring feature will begin rolling out Wednesday in an update to the Google Maps mobile app, which is already installed on most of the world's smartphones. It will also be available on personal computers.

Google believes the new tool will be a more convenient way for people to let someone know where they are without having to text or call them. The Mountain View, California, company has set up the controls so individuals can decide with whom they want to share their whereabouts and for how long — anywhere from a few minutes to indefinitely.

But location sharing in one of the world's most popular apps could cause friction in marriages and other relationships if one partner demands to know where the other is at all times. Similar tensions could arise if parents insist their teenagers turn on the location-sharing option before they go out.

Similar tracking is already available on other apps; Glympse, founded by former Microsoft employees, has offered this function for years. That's one of the reasons Google isn't expecting a lot of complaints about adding the option to Maps, especially since everyone can decide when to turn it on and who can monitor them.

"We don't feel like we are changing the game," said Jen Fitzpatrick, Google's vice president of maps.

Maps users will be able to activate the location-sharing feature by tapping a button near the search bar and then picking a person from their contact list to text with the information. If the recipient doesn't have the Google Maps app on their phone, it will text them a link to open the location on the map in a browser.

The settings also allow users to determine how long their movements can be tracked each time a location is shared. If no time limit is selected, Google will periodically send people email reminders that they're still sharing their location.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Popular South Philly Eatery Sells Pro-Immigrant Coffee]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:10:30 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/South+Philly+Barbacoa+1.jpg

A popular Philly restaurant is quietly coming to the aid of undocumented immigrants simply by selling a cup of coffee.

South Philly Barbacoa, a Mexican eatery at the corner of 11th and Morris streets, has been selling organic Mexican coffee cultivated by Zapatistas -- a Mexican insurgent group in the Mexican state of Chiapas -- since opening in 2015.

On March 17, however, the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) announced that proceeds of Zapatista coffee sales will help “those who are persecuted and separated by walls.” 

Ben Miller, co-owner of South Philly Barbacoa, said the coffee sales money was previously used to fund schools in Chiapas, where the Zapatistas originated.

Since learning of the changes in proceeds, South Philly Barbacoa expressed their support for the organization.

“We support EZLN, and we are anti-imperialism and anti-racism,” administrators wrote on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Miller admits that the eatery’s business has been affected by the recent ICE raids going on in the city.

“People that were coming in from Jersey, Delaware and New York have become more reluctant to go out on the road. And families have become more careful with spending in case anything happens,” he said.

Organizers of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in Philadelphia canceled the event this year due to fear of ICE arrests. 

National food magazine Bon Apétit ranked South Philly Barbacoa in the Top 10 list of 'Best New Restaurants in America for 2016.'



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[ Young Professionals say ‘Next Job Could be in Philadelphia']]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:09:35 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/young+professionals.jpg

Young professionals said their "next job could be in Greater Philadelphia," according to a new study that shows the region is becoming an area that can attract and retain talent.

Drawing professionals and keeping them from migrating to different areas is one of the top priorities for any major metropolitan area, and it looks like Greater Philadelphia is proving to be an appealing one for a particular group called the emerging mid-career professionals.

About 93 percent of young professionals said they think their next job could be in Greater Philadelphia, according to results of a survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

Of that figure, 67 percent said "yes," while only 7 percent said "no."

Safety, affordability and rent/home prices were the top factors that made the region appealing for the survey's targeted group of professionals, or those aged 25-39.

To read the full article click here 


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Robert Churchill]]>
<![CDATA[Wegmans Sets Openings for 2 NJ Stores, Eyes NYC Location]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:03:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wegmans-AP_100527034019.jpg

Wegmans has announced opening dates for its two new stores in northern New Jersey, while plans remain in place to open its first store in New York City next year. 

The Rochester-based supermarket chain said Tuesday that a 113,000-square-foot Wegmans will open July 23 in Hanover, followed on Sept. 24 by the opening of the company's 108,000-square-foot store in Montvale. 

About 500 workers will be employed at each store. Both will feature The Burger Bar, a family-friendly, casual restaurant counter that serves delicious burgers, fresh salads, flavorful sandwiches, specialty milkshakes, soup, and sides. In addition to the supermarkets, space will be leased to a third-party owner at each location for a wine, beer, and spirits shop, Wegmans said.

The grocery chain plans to open its first New York City store in Brooklyn next year, though no date has been set.

Another Wegmans is planned for Harrison in Westchester County. 

Wegmans currently operates 46 stores in upstate New York and another 46 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Wholesale Expands Test of Home Grocery Delivery ]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:52:31 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with another third-party service, CNBC reported.

Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, said Tuesday it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area. The service is available to consumers using the Shipt app.

Costco already has home grocery delivery service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart, another third-party delivery service.

Costco didn't respond to requests for comment.

In Tuesday's release, Shipt said it plans to offer its services to 50 markets and over 30 million households by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[FDA Approves Device to Simplify Tube Feeding Device]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:17:27 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Will+Brown+Trovita+CEO.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration has granted marketing authorization to a device developed by a Philadelphia company to improve the administration of tube feeding.

Trovita Health Science's device, called Safe-T Feed, simplifies the tube-feeding process from more than 60 steps to just seven, and eliminates pouring nutritional formulas into an open syringe or gravity bag for feedings.

Will Brown, the company’s CEO, said Trovita’s delivery system features ready-to-feed pouch’s with a capless, “no spill” spout. Brown said a patent-pending, leak-proof connector allows Safe-T Feed to be disconnected from a tube in the midst of a feeding and stored for later use.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Pizza-on-a-Cone Chain to Open First Pa. Spot in Montco]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:38:12 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/pizza+cone.jpg

The King of Prussia Mall is about to get in on a fast-growing trend in the food industry: pizza in a cone.

A pizza-on-the-go franchise concept called Kono-To-Go launched last year, three years after Kono USA introduced "The Original" Kono Pizza concept in the United States in 2013.

The King of Prussia Mall will be the next stop for the Kono-To-Go concept, after local owners open up shop there amid the mall's growing food-and-beverage scene.

It will be the first Pennsylvania location for the brand.

The 160-square-foot kiosk, expected to open on April 1, will be located between the food court and clothing retailer Charlotte Russe on the side of the mall anchored by Primark and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Kono-To-Go replaces Edible Arrangements, and it's next to a Dunkin Donuts kiosk. In 2015, local franchisees Eric, Gino and Anthony Ciancaglini opened a 200-square-foot kiosk at the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: Matt Ciancaglini]]>
<![CDATA[Famed Restaurant French Laundry Switches to 'Tickets' From Reservations]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:25:29 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/french+laundry-0320-2017.jpg

A world famous, Michelin three-star restaurant in Napa County is among the latest high-end establishments to join the trend of requiring prepaid "tickets" for reservations.

The French Laundry in Yountville, long considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, began using a service called Tock on Monday for its customers to book prepaid tables online because, it seems, even a three-star dining room isn't immune to no-shows.

The new booking system requires diners to pay for some or all of their meals when they schedule their reservations. And at the time of purchase, they also can tell the restaurant about any food allergies or make other special requests.

The French Laundry's booking options through Tock include a table in the dining room for up to seven guests, which costs $310 per person, and a table in a private dining room for eight to 12 guests, which costs $400 per diner.

Other restaurants using the Tock system include Lazy Bear in San Francisco, Staplehouse in Atlanta and Lûmé in Melbourne, Australia.

The French Laundry has received Michelin's top three-star rating for the past six years, according to the restaurant's website.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Investigating Restrictions on Gay-Themed Content]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:10:32 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_142450164879.jpg

The YouTube video shows two women, dressed in suits and ties. They smile; they sniffle back tears; they gaze into each other's eyes. They are reading their wedding vows to one another.

The four-minute video titled "Her Vows" contains no nudity, violence or swearing. There's no revealing clothing. No one is engaging in activities that have a "high risk of injury or death." And yet, YouTube has deemed the video unsuitable for people under 18.

Several YouTube users, many of them in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, have been complaining that their videos are categorized as "restricted" for no obvious reasons. Besides the vows, targeted videos include coming out stories and one from YouTube celebrity Tyler Oakley titled "8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me."

After several days of complaints, Google hinted Monday that it might have made a mistake and said it was investigating.

The "restricted" designation lets parents, schools and libraries filter out content that isn't appropriate for users under 18. Turning on the restriction makes videos inaccessible. YouTube calls it "an optional feature used by a very small subset of users."

It's unclear whether the types of videos in question are now being categorized as "restricted" for the first time, or whether this is a long-standing policy that is only now getting attention.

The complaints spawned the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty over the weekend. One person even made a video to voice her complaints.

YouTube said in a tweet Sunday that LGBTQ videos aren't automatically filtered out, though some discussing "more sensitive issues" might be restricted. But the company, which is owned by Google, did not specify what it counts as "more sensitive issues."

In an emailed statement on Monday, YouTube said "some videos that cover subjects like health, politics and sexuality may not appear for users and institutions that choose to use this feature." In the case of LGBT topics, which are by definition intertwined with health, politics and sexuality, filtering out what is and isn't appropriate can be difficult.

YouTube followed that statement with another hours later: "We recognize that some videos are incorrectly labeled by our automated system and we realize it's very important to get this right. We're working hard to make some improvements." The statement offered no further explanation.

YouTube content creators can decide to age-restrict their videos themselves. But that's just one of the ways sensitive content is filtered out. YouTube says it also uses "community flagging," which means users who have a problem with content in a video can flag it to YouTube for possible restrictions or removal.

But just because something is flagged, it is not automatically removed. Once a video is flagged, YouTube says it reviews it.

"If no violations are found by our review team, no amount of flagging will change that and the video will remain on our site," YouTube says in its online support page.

What sorts of content gets filtered out in restricted mode can vary by region, based on countries' varying community standards. In general, though, it includes "sexually explicit language or excessive profanity," or violence or disturbing content, according to YouTube's policies.

YouTube's rules also state that videos "containing nudity or dramatized sexual conduct may be age-restricted when the context is appropriately educational, documentary, scientific or artistic. Videos featuring individuals in minimal or revealing clothing may also be age-restricted if they're intended to be sexually provocative, but don't show explicit content."

Videos that show adults engaging in "activities that have a high risk of injury or death" may also be age-restricted.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Forbes Ranks the Richest People in the World in 2017]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:50:50 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wealthy_Thumb.jpg

Forbes released its 31st annual ranking of the world's billionaires Monday. These are the five wealthiest individuals in 2017. Forbes.com has more.



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<![CDATA[No More Tents at Rehoboth Beach: Del. Officials]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:08:44 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Rehoboth+Beach+Lifeguard+Stands.jpg

Visitors will soon no longer be allowed to bring tents and canopies to Rehoboth Beach.

The Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance Friday banning those temporary structures from the beach, starting May 15. It also bans campfires and grills.

City officials say umbrellas no larger than 8 feet in diameter and no greater than 7-feet, 6-inches in height, are still allowed as well as baby tents designed to shade infants and small children.

The ordinance was brought to the table after beach lifeguards and first-responders had trouble navigating around the large canopies and getting to those in need.

Those who violate the ordinance could face a $25 fine.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Check Out Pa.'s Billion-Dollar Club]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:23:51 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpgOf the 2,043 billionaires in the world, 12 of them happen to be from Pennsylvania, according to Forbes' annual list that was published Monday, March 20, 2017. Here's the list of all Keystone state billionaires. New Jersey is home to six billionaires -- though all but one are hedge fund managers, with the exception of a publishing heir.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mexico Program to Offer Up to 50,000 Jobs for Deportees]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:39:49 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/foto-centro-detencion-001.jpg

The Mexican government has signed an agreement with a private organization to provide thousands of jobs for repatriated citizens as the United States moves to boost deportations of immigrants in that country illegally.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong says 22 associations that make up the organization known as ASUME will work to offer as many as 50,000 jobs. The initiative aims to take advantage of the skills and knowledge of deportees.

Osorio Chong says he rejects U.S. policies targeting Mexican migrants, but his country is prepared to receive those who return.

He said Thursday that 2.5 million Mexicans have been deported back home in the last eight years, during the administration of then-U.S. President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has promised to implement even more aggressive migration-enforcement policies.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[See Full List of JC Penney Stores Closing in US]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:34:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/jcpenney_1200x675.jpg

J.C. Penney released a list Friday of the 138 stores it plans to close in an effort to cut costs and grow sales at its strongest locations.

The closures, first announced in February, represents about 13 to 14 percent of the Plano-based company's current store count, and less than 5 percent of total annual sales. Roughly 5,000 jobs will be affected by the closures.

The company expects to save roughly $200 million per year by closing these locations, which contribute less than 5 percent of its annual sales, CNBC reported.

In addition to the store closures, J.C. Penney is also shutting down a distribution center in Lakeland, Florida, and relocating another in Buena Park, California.

Liquidation sales will begin on April 17, the company said on Friday.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Payday Problem Affects Citizens Bank Customers]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:13:57 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/citizens+bank.jpg

Citizens Bank customers said they were experiencing delays in deposits to their accounts on Friday morning.

"Customers are seeing a delay in transactions posting to their accounts, due to a vendor processing issue," Citizens Bank said on Twitter. "This issue is affecting multiple financial institutions. We appreciate the patience of our customers as we work to resolve this issue."

Friday is a regular payday for many companies. Many Citizens Bank customers said on Twitter that paychecks set up for direct deposit had not gone through.

It isn't clear what other financial institutions might have been affected.

The issue appeared to have been resolved as of 10 a.m.



Photo Credit: FILE - Bloomberg via Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Uber Scores Deal With Philadelphia Flyers]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:55:33 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/HOCKEY_AP_16302037890325.jpg

Uber has added another Philadelphia professional sports team to its list or partners.

 The San Francisco company has reached an agreement with Comcast Spectacor that designates Uber as the “official ridesharing partner” of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

To read more about the deal, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.



Photo Credit: AP ]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[New Permanent YMCA Under Consideration for Bucks Township]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:02:10 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/YMCA+building+with+logo+generic.JPG

A new YMCA that includes a large pool facility could be coming to the Warminster Community Park in Warminster Township, Bucks County.

Township officials heard a proposal on Thursday that includes the construction of a 74,000 square-foot building with a 28,500 square-foot pool facility at the park, near Bristol and Hatboro roads, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

Talk of building a permanent Y has been going on for several years. In 2014, the township agreed to use a $1.7 million grant to build the facility, the suburban newspaper reported. But that is not nearly enough money to cover the full cost of the project, which would go up on the township owned land.

To read full article, click here.


 

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Wawa to Hire More Than 5,000 Workers This Spring]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:02:46 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wawa+Delco+Kenneth+Hilario.jpg

If you are someone who enjoys "serving others," Wawa is on a hiring spree, and it's looking to add more than 5,000 positions just in time for the spring season.

The Media, Delaware County-based convenience store chain on Wednesday announced its spring hiring campaign, which looks to hire over 5,000 new so-called associates during the next three months.

All 750 Wawa stores across six states will add jobs, the company announced. Available positions will be customer service and management level.

To read full article, click here


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.

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PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Baseball Cards Almost Good Enough to Eat]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:14:47 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/South+Philly+Dog+Topps+Card.jpg

Topps trading cards will feature more than just players this year.

Philadelphia-based Aramark is teaming up with Topps to immortalize popular and iconic ballpark food offerings on a special set of 18 “Incredible Eats” cards that will be included in Topps Opening Day packs sold at retailers and local hobby shops.

Citizens Bank Park made the cut with its South Philly Dog, a creation that features a hot dog with roasted red peppers, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe.

To check out photos of the “Incredible Eats” cards, click here.


 

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal



Photo Credit: Rampage Systems, Inc. courtesy of PBJ.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hyundai Recalls 978,000 Cars for Faulty Seat Belts]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 08:51:52 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hyundai2.jpg

Hyundai is recalling nearly 978,000 cars in the U.S. because the front seat belts could detach in a crash and fail to hold people.

The recall covers Sonata midsize sedans from the 2011 through 2014 model years, and the Sonata hybrid from 2011 through 2015.

Hyundai says in government documents that a fastener for a seat belt anchor may not have been fully latched during assembly. If that happens the belts can detach.

The company says it knows of one minor injury caused by the problem.

The trouble was discovered in September when an owner reported that the front passenger belt in a 2013 Sonata came loose in a collision.

Owners will be notified starting April 7. Dealers will inspect the seat belt anchor system and repair it if needed.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[On-Demand Delivery Companies See Uptick During Nor'easter]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:08:34 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Delivery+generic.jpg

A nor'easter Tuesday forced speed restrictions, SEPTA detours and other travel cancellations throughout the Philadelphia region, perhaps deterring many travelers though some drivers still took to the roads. The city's food-and-grocery delivery services saw upticks in orders from Philadelphians who opted to stay at home rather than travel to their destinations.

What was to be the season's biggest storm ended up bringing more rain and ice to Greater Philadelphia instead of the predicted foot or more of snow. That didn't stop officials from closing schools nor city residents from staying at home instead of braving the storm.

That turned out to be a boon for home-delivery services like goPuff, Caviar and Grubhub.

To read full article, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal.




Photo Credit: Anyaberkut]]>
<![CDATA[Del.-Based Food Distribution Company to Lay Off Workers]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:52:37 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Burris+Logisitics+Delaware+Food+Company.jpg

A Delaware-based perishable food distribution and warehousing company says it is laying off workers in its home state, Maryland and Georgia.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports that Burris Logistics will lay off workers in New Castle, Delaware and Elkton, Maryland in the coming weeks after losing a major contract with the grocery store chain The Fresh Market.

The company is also shutting down its Atlanta warehouse, resulting in up to 160 job cuts in Georgia.

Burris Executive Vice President Robert Silva says the company is still trying to determine the exact number of workers who will be laid off in Delaware and Maryland.

The layoffs come less than a year after Burris Logistics lost a long-running supply deal with The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based specialty grocery retailer.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[Feds' Hiring Freeze Closes Historic Philly Site]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:24:59 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Declaration+House+Independence+Park.jpg

President Donald Trump's hiring freeze has led to the closure of a replica of the home where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Union representatives tell Philly.com the so-called Declaration House is among seven sites at Independence National Historic Park that have been closed. David Fitzpatrick, head of the union that represents park employees, says the hiring stoppage also shuttered exhibits at the site of Benjamin Franklin's home and print shop.

Fitzpatrick also says bathrooms inside the park have been closed because the agency cannot hire new workers.

Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman from the mayor's office, says the staffing changes take away educational opportunities from students.

Major sites, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell's home, remain open. But Fitzpatrick says union members are bracing for further cuts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Lighter Factory Lays Off 38 Workers]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:47:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Zippo+Lighter.jpg

Pennsylvania's iconic Zippo lighter factory has laid off 38 workers, blaming a slowdown in the company's North American business and a glut of inventory in China.

Mark Paup, Zippo Manufacturing Co.'s president and CEO, says the company used to ship its product to China through a Hong Kong importer. Zippo, based in Bradford, about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, now has 533 workers.

The company took control of its Chinese imports because of problems with black market counterfeit lighters and gray market lighters. Gray market lighters are legitimate Zippo products shipped to China outside legal import rules.

The company took over importing to China and last year had a boom in production to fill that demand, but now Paup says the company has determined it has too much inventory there.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Cracked TV Screen]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:57:50 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/203*120/Cracked+TV+Screens.JPG

Watching their favorite TV programs got a lot harder for Mary Shaunwall and her family after the screen cracked. When they tried to get it fixed, they got some bad news and that’s when they contacted Harry Hairston and the NBC10 Responds Team.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Jefferson is Expanding at the Navy Yard, President Talks]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:38:03 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jefferson+University+Hospital+WHYY+Picture.jpg

Seven years after first dropping anchor at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Jefferson Health has plans to establish a much larger presence at the bustling business campus.

The Philadelphia-based health system has signed a multi-year lease agreement for an additional 70,000 square foot space at 3 Crescent Drive. 

The building was initially erected to serve primarily as Tasty Baking Co.'s corporate headquarters. Then after the Tastykakes maker was sold to Flower Foods of Georgia in 2011, those offices became homes for the Philadelphia 76ers front office and sales and marketing staffs. The Sixers are leaving the space for their new training facility and team headquarters in Camden.

Now, Jefferson Health which signed an expanded lease deal with project developer Liberty Property/Synterra, a joint venture of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) and Synterra Partners — will become the building's major tenant. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available. Jefferson plans to be in the new space by early- to mid-2018.

To read the full article, click here.


 

 

CLICK HERE for more breaking business news.

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PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Which J.C. Penney Stores Will Close in Philadelphia Region?]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:18:49 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Los-Angeles-demanda-a-tiendas-por-descuentos-falsos-JCPenney-Kohls-Macys-Sears.jpg

J.C. Penney has yet to announce which of its local stores will close in its nationwide contraction of its brick-and-mortar presence, but analysts said at least two suburban Philadelphia locations – the Montgomeryville Mall and Oxford Valley Mall stores – are likely to shut down.

Morning Star Credit Ratings released a list of 39 stores from around the country that it says have under-performing sales compared with the average of other J.C. Penney locations, according to a Business Insider report on Yahoo.

Each of the the more than three dozen stores, Morningstar says, "have weaker sales per square foot than JCPenney's average."

Aside from the Montgomeryville Mall location in North Wales and the Oxford Valley Mall store in Middletown Township, the report suggests four other J.C. Penney stores in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey will close.

To read the full article, click here


 

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Opening Date Set for East Falls' 1st Brewery in 60+ Years ]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:20:04 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Brewery-Igniter-SD+031.JPG

East Falls will finally get its first brewery in more than six decades when a family-owned and family-run craft brewery finally opens its doors.

The East Falls section of Philadelphia hasn't had a brewery since landmark Hohenadal Brewery shuttered in the 1950s.

The Hohenadal property on Indian Queen Lane has since been torn down, with townhouses built in its place over the decades past. East Falls residents, however, will be able to get their hands on locally-brewed libations next month.

Wissahickon Brewing Co. has set the grand opening date of its brewery for April 1 — no joke, founder and President Timothy P. Gill Sr. assures.

The brewing company's 5,000-square-foot, 15-barrel brewery at 3705 W. School House Lane has been in the works since roughly last June.

To read the full article click here


To read more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA['Agenda' to Show Impact of Arts & Culture on Philadelphia ]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:02:17 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/cms3.0jpg.jpg

It may be easy to shrug off the arts-and-cultural industry as "fun and games," but a local alliance has an "agenda" that will show the sector's impact on Greater Philadelphia.

Arts-and-cultural organizations are a serious business for the Philadelphia region, generated $3.3 billion in total economic impact and 44,000 full-time jobs, according to a 2012 economic impact study by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. About 36,100 of those jobs were in other industries outside of arts and culture.

But the value of this industry goes "far beyond economic impact," according to President Maud Lyon, which launched Agenda, an ongoing initiative that will "make a well-rounded argument and case for arts and culture that shows what that impact is."

It's a part of the Cultural Alliance's strategic plan to broaden the case for the arts-and-cultural sector, Lyon said.

To read the full article, click here


 

For more business news visit, Philadelphia Business Journal 



Photo Credit: NBC 10]]>
<![CDATA[Winkelvoss Twins Lose Bid for Bitcoin Trade Fund]]>Sat, 11 Mar 2017 02:03:49 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Winkelvosses-file-sxsw.jpg

The irrepressible Winklevoss twins, known for having sued Mark Zuckerberg over the idea for Facebook, have suffered a setback from federal regulators in their push to expand the use of bitcoin to a wider universe of investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Friday a proposed Winklevoss exchange-traded fund that could have opened the digital currency to larger numbers of ordinary investors.

The SEC said the proposal from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss was inconsistent with rules for securities exchanges designed to prevent fraud and manipulation, and to protect investors. 

Bitcoin, which is stored in encrypted digital wallets, allows people to buy goods and services and exchange money without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties. About 8 years old, it has yet to be broadly embraced and has been prone to wild price swings. 

The value of a single bitcoin fell 7.6 percent to $1,101 on Friday following news of the SEC's rejection. Since 2013, its value has rocketed from $13 to a peak of around $1,300. On a given day, bitcoin can fluctuate by 20 percent or more. It's increased nearly 30 percent so far this year. 

Currently the ways of buying and investing in bitcoin are fairly limited: on online exchanges or through a trust that charges premium prices.

The 35-year-old identical-twin entrepreneurs have been evangelists for bitcoin in recent years, insisting it could even replace gold as a stable currency. They've promoted their company Gemini as a stock market for bitcoin. Last year, New York state approved regulations governing a new exchange operated by Gemini for a virtual currency called Ether. 

In a 38-page order posted on its website, the SEC rejected the application by the Winklevoss brothers and the BATS BZX Exchange to list and trade Winklevoss Bitcoin Shares, an exchange-traded fund based on bitcoin. 

"The significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated," the agency said in the order. Because of that, the exchange wouldn't be able to work with "significant, regulated" markets for trading bitcoin to properly oversee trading in the fund, the SEC said.

Bitcoin still is in the early stages of its development, the SEC noted, adding that, "Over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop." At that point, the agency would reconsider its position.

"We remain optimistic and committed to bringing (a bitcoin exchange-traded fund) to market, and look forward to continuing to work with the SEC staff," Tyler Winklevoss said.

Bitcoins are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. It's designed for secure financial transactions that require no central authority — no banks, no government regulators. That makes it attractive to off-the-grid types such as libertarians, people who want to evade tax authorities, and criminals, even though bitcoin doesn't guarantee anonymity, since it documents every transaction in a public forum.

Exchange-traded funds have grown in popularity among individual investors. They track a market index, a commodity, bonds or a basket of assets. Unlike mutual funds, ETFs trade like common stock on a stock exchange. Their prices change throughout the day as they are bought and sold. ETFs usually carry lower fees than mutual fund shares. 

Many of the problems around bitcoin occur at places where people store their digital cash or exchange it for traditional currencies like dollars or euros. If an exchange has sloppy security, or if someone's electronic wallet is compromised, the money can easily be stolen.

"Bitcoin still has a long way to go before it should be relied upon as a mainstream means of transaction or even for investment speculation," says Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve examiner who teaches finance at Boston University.

In comments to the SEC on the Winklevoss ETF proposal, Williams wrote, "There are several fundamental flaws that make bitcoin a dangerous asset class to force into an ETF structure." Among them, he listed light trading volume, excessive hoarding, extreme price volatility, the difficulty of selling large blocks of bitcoin quickly, high risk of bankruptcy and market manipulation. 

There are two other similar applications for bitcoin exchange trading before the SEC.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Jack Plunkett, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Summer Jobs Open Up at NJ Tourist Spots]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2017 11:28:18 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-515880112.jpg

Three employers in New Jersey are offering summer jobs as a way to cure the winter blues.

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson will hold a job fair on Sunday. The amusement park is looking for people to operate rides, handle retail, work in the safari and other positions. Candidates can fill out an online application here.

Jenkinson's Pavilion Restaurant in Point Pleasant needs ride operators, arcade workers, beach badge checkers and ice cream scoopers. It will hold interviews on Sunday. Applications for those jobs are available here.

The Asbury Park Press reports the Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach in Seaside Heights will host a job fair on March 18 and 19.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SEPTA Takes Another Step Away From Tokens]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 04:39:33 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/PHI+SEPTA+token.jpg

Philadelphia's main transit agency is taking a big step toward shifting riders away from tokens, paper transfers and cash to electronic fare cards.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority says that starting Monday, bus, subway and trolley users in Philadelphia will be able to obtain the new cards at select locations and load them up with $10 to $250 worth of discounted rides.

SEPTA city stations are now equipped to accept the cards but it will take two weeks to make them available at all kiosks.

Regional rail lines won't be on the new system until later this year.

No cutoff date has been set for token use at fare boxes. Meanwhile, customers can also use them to load rides onto their new cards.

Until now, only weekly and monthly pass customers had access to the cards.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

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<![CDATA[After Strike, Nurses Return to Delco Hospital]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:36:40 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Striking+Delco+Hospital+Workers.jpg

Striking nurses and techs at Delaware County Memorial Hospital are returning to work.

Philly.com reports more than 370 hospital staffers who went on strike on Sunday got back to work on Friday. They could not come back sooner because the temp agency workers who filled in as substitutes have five-day contracts.

The nurses and techs say there isn't adequate staffing. Prospect Medical Holdings, the hospital's owner, says staffing levels are on par with the national average.

Prospect Medical Holdings says the company will return to contract talks with the union on Tuesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia



Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Renovations for Hundreds of Wawa Stores]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:03:00 -0400http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020486738_1200x675_929883203907.jpg

Wawa plans to renovate all of its stores built before 2010, NBC10's Jessica Boyington has the details on the big build.]]>