Shoppers are returning to physical stores and ready to spend. Target reported robust quarterly sales and a jump in store visits, maintaining momentum even as consumer buying habits change during the pandemic. Meanwhile, larger rival
reported comparable sales rose 6% in its latest quarter, and
reported a jump in quarterly sales and swung back to a profit from the year-ago period. Target shares gained 1.3% Thursday.
New details surrounding
departure from Microsoft’s board last year have come to light. The Wall Street Journal reported on May 16 that some of the tech giant’s board members decided that Mr. Gates needed to step down from its board in 2020, as they pursued an investigation into the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female employee that was deemed inappropriate. Members of the board tasked with the matter had hired a law firm to conduct an investigation in late 2019. Mr. Gates resigned before the investigation was completed and before the full board could make a formal decision on the matter. Microsoft shares lost 1.2% Monday.
AT&T is unwinding its big bet on entertainment. The company reached a deal with
to combine their media assets into a new, publicly traded company. AT&T’s WarnerMedia owns cable channels such as HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS as well as the Warner Bros. television and film studio. Discovery has a portfolio that includes its namesake network and HGTV. Both companies also offer streaming video portals that compete with larger on-demand services like
Walt Disney Co.
’s Disney+. The new business, which isn’t yet named, will be led by current Discovery Chief Executive
AT&T dropped 2.7% Monday.
Google is opening its first-ever permanent retail store in New York City. The Alphabet unit’s store will open this summer in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood as part of Google’s existing campus there. It will sell items such as Google’s Pixel phones, Nest smart thermostats and Fitbit wearable devices, the company said Thursday. The tech giant’s store will also provide repair and troubleshooting services, and host workshops on using Google products.
Google has temporarily run pop-up shops in New York and Chicago in the past, but the Chelsea site would be its first permanent location. Alphabet shares rose 2.1% Thursday.
Investors were thirsty for Oatly in its market debut. Shares of the Swedish oat-milk maker rose 19% in their first day of trading Thursday, giving the company a valuation of roughly $12 billion. Oatly entered the U.S. market in 2017 with its alternative dairy products, which are popular among consumers seeking healthier options that cause less impact on the environment. The company boasts the backing of famous investors including Oprah Winfrey and Natalie Portman, as well as private-equity behemoth
Blackstone Group Inc.
Companies going public at this time are making a risky bet, as choppy markets have proved challenging for several of late.
Cruise lines are budgeting for extra costs as they prepare to set sail again. As they get ready to resume voyages out of the U.S., the companies expect to book a mix of one-time and recurring expenses for enhanced sanitation, Covid-19 testing and other measures. Cruise lines are vying to win back the public’s trust after coronavirus outbreaks aboard ships last year brought sailings to a halt. Carnival, which operates nine brands, forecasts additional spending in the hundreds of millions of dollars as it prepares to resume voyages. The company sees costs needed to restart its ships as one-time expenses, while health protocol-related costs—a separate class of outlays—will depend on the duration for which they are needed. Carnival shares lost 0.5% Thursday.
JPMorgan Chase is putting two of the contenders to succeed Chief Executive
in charge of its sprawling consumer-banking operation. The bank on Tuesday said Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Lending Marianne Lake and Chief Financial Officer
are taking the reins of its consumer and community bank from Gordon Smith, who will retire at the end of the year. The move comes two years after Ms. Lake and Ms. Piepszak took their current roles, establishing them as front-runners to one day run America’s biggest bank. The women will be in charge of a unit that serves half of all U.S. households and accounts for roughly 40% of the bank’s profit, further cementing that status. JPMorgan shares fell 1.4% Tuesday.
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