From Our Two Cents Monthly Newsletter – February 2018

  • Major retailers had a rough start to the year. Sears plans on closing more than 100 of its locations — including Kmart stores — starting in March. Sears is also reportedly laid off 220 employees, mainly from their corporate headquarters.
  • Macy’s also announced cutbacks, as the retailer is set to lay off over 5,000 workers and close seven locations. After filing bankruptcy, Toys R Us will close about 180 stores in the United States.
  • After reviewing over 200 proposals, finalists for the second headquarters of Amazon were announced. Amazon will choose between the remaining 20 cities sometime this year.
  • Tobacco giant Phillip Morris International announced that, beginning in 2018, the company will emphasize alternatives to traditional tobacco consumption — such as e-cigarettes. Moving forward, the company plans on replacing cigarettes in their offering and “designing a smoke-free future.”
  • One of the largest diamonds in history was uncovered recently in southern Africa. The 910-carat stone is initially estimated to sell for at least $40 million.
  • Unemployment rates in Canada have fallen to their lowest levels in 40 years. At just 5.7 percent, Canada is riding one of the strongest labor market increases since the 1970s.
  • With over $300 billion in estimated economic impact, 2017 is likely to go down as the costliest year in US history in terms of damage caused by natural disasters. There were 16 separate billion-dollar disasters last year alone.
  • According to a new report from Bankrate, just 39 percent of Americans said that they would be able to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000.

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