Must Read Money Stories, Monday, Dec. 8

by December 8, 2014

MRMSLots more Muji is coming. You might not be familiar with Muji, unless you’ve been in its stores in New York City or Japan. (There is one in the lobby of The New York Times building.) But the minimalist Japanese retailer is making moves to make sure there is lots more Muji. The global retailer plans a major expansion to 444 stores abroad, up from 225 now, according to the Globe and Mail.  Muji has just opened its first outpost in Toronto in a former camera store, and plans two more Canadian stores in the next few years. Right now, Muji’s overseas sales are 21 percent of its global revenue. It’s aiming at 30 percent by 2016. In the U.S., Muji has nine stores now and is aiming for 100.

Will Paris ban diesel cars? Paris has always been a city of lights, romance and diesel cars. Diesel fumes are hard to avoid, given that diesel-powered cars have so much better fuel economy than conventional gasoline cars. But now the mayor of Paris seeks to ban diesel cars from the city’s streets by 2020, according to the BBC. Mayor Ann Hidalgo points out that 60 percent of Parisians don’t own cars, up from 40 percent in 2001. So, banning diesels in favor of ultra-low emissions vehicles, like hybrids and electric cars, shouldn’t put a dent in their lifestyles.

Investors look anew at luxury resorts. Bloomberg reports that after a long recession-fueled drought, investors are taking a fresh look at luxury resorts. In the past month alone, Strategic Hotels, DiamondRock Hospitality Co. and Hyatt Hotels Corp. have announced deals for high-end properties featuring amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts and large conference facilities. One of the properties that recently sold is the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, coming on the heels of the sale of a stake in the fabled Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

Peter Pan Live’s mixed report card. Last week, our Entertaining Business columnist Angel Cohn told you about the big advertising money that NBC’s Peter Pan Live generated. So, how did the telecast? Ratings wise, it recorded a 47 percent drop compared with last year’s The Sound of Music, reports Variety. NBC contends that was expected, since The Sound of Music was the first live musical in 50 years and starred country superstar Carrie Underwood. But Peter Pan did well in one significant category: social media buzz. Variety says that according to Nielsen Twitter, 5.3 million people saw one or more of the 475,000 tweets about Peter Pan Live. Over 147,000 unique authors sent tweets, which were seen 106.9 million times — more than 50% larger than Sound, whose tweets were seen 68.7 million times.

Pretty much everyone agrees Christopher Walken’s bizarre performance won the night. Take a look.