Reynolds Center

Business Stories of the Week: Oct. 13, 2017

Tapestry, the new name of accessible-luxury company Coach, appears to be casting a wider acquisition net. (Image by “quinntheislander” via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

Coach gets a new handle

Coach Inc., the American brand famous for its leather bags and shoes, has expanded its holdings to include Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. And now it’s changing its corporate name. The New York Times wrote on Wednesday that the accessible-luxury group will now be known as Tapestry. The name is intended to reflect the company’s agenda to be “the first New York Fashion Group,” according to chief executive Victor Luis. Not that Tapestry sees itself as defined by geography. According to the NY Times story, the company is “open to acquisitions in Europe and Asia.”

Napa wineries look ahead

Even as wildfires continue to rage across California wine country, taking life and property indiscriminately, Napa and Sonoma wineries are trying to put a brave face on things. Business Insider reported on Thursday that trade associate Napa Valley Vintners stated that since 90 percent of grapes had already been picked before the fires started on Sunday, Oct. 8, they were less vulnerable to “smoke taint,” which can give wine a campfire flavor. Even at Signorello Estate, whose winery burned to the ground, the vineyards themselves escaped damage and the owners do not expect to lose next year’s vintage wines.

GM scales back

In a move to reduce its inventory of increasingly unpopular sedans, GM will lay off workers in one Detroit assembly plant for six weeks. After that, it will reduce output in the facility by 20 percent. An article in Fortune explains that as Americans favor pickup trucks and SUVs, GM is slowing the production of models such as Buick LaCrosse, sales of which are down 21 percent year to date, and the Chevrolet Impala, which is down over 30 percent.

Weinstein Co. risks an Oscar

In the wake of the sexual assault allegations agains its former co-founder, the eponymous (for now) Weinstein Co. may delay the release of its last prestige film of 2017, possibly impacting its chances for an Oscar nomination. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Nov. 24th release of “The Current War,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, may be postponed until 2018. At that point Harvey Weinstein may no longer be front-page news and the studio will presumably have a new name that won’t repel movie-goers.

Trump advances on Obamacare

On Thursday morning, President Trump took a step toward upending the Affordable Care Act by signing a directive that would allow groups and associations of employers to sponsor their own health care plans. While more Americans may be able to afford these plans, they skirt state regulations and protections put in place through the ACA, says The Washington Post. Costs may be lower, but coverage will be spottier. The possible policy changes, which will involve months of investigation by regulatory agencies, would not take effect until the start of 2018.

Branson buys into Hyperloop

British tycoon Richard Branson has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, according to CNBC. The brainchild of Elon Musk, the newly re-annointed Virgin Hyperloop One is designed to change the face of land travel, with passenger pods that will travel at 250 miles per hour. In July, Musk claimed that he received the verbal go-ahead to develop a Hyperloop between New York and Washington, D.C., though the source of that approval was not identified. Another of Branson’s visionary projects, Virgin Galactic, plans to take its first tourists into space once safety tests are completed.