Business Stories of the Week: Sept. 8, 2017

by September 8, 2017
Gap, Inc. announced it will close about 200 of its stores over the nest three years. Image: "Gap" by Flickr user Mike Mozart. CC BY 2.0.

Gap, Inc. announced it will close about 200 of its stores over the nest three years. (Image: “Gap” by Flickr user Mike Mozart. CC BY 2.0)

Business leaders defend DACA

In a continued clash between Trump and the business community, CEOs of companies like AT&T, Best Buy and Wells Fargo added their names to a letter defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), CNN reported on Tuesday. Earlier that day Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an end to the program, leaving a six-month window for Congress to work on a permanent solution to the plight of the Dreamers, as DACA recipients are known.

Gap Inc. plans to close 200 stores

The San Francisco-based clothing company will shift its focus to its burgeoning Old Navy and Athleta brands, and away from its namesake Gap and Banana Republic stores, Business Insider reported on Wednesday. The company will close about 200 stores over the next three years, but the news isn’t all bad—the company plans to open 270 new Old Navy and Athleta stores over the same period. The Old Navy brand is on track to surpass $10 billion in sales over the next few years and Athleta is expected to exceed $1 billion in sales.

Amazon looks for HQ2

Amazon announced on Thursday that it is on the hunt for a second city to call home in North America, a move that is sure to set off a wooing competition among several major cities. The company, which is based in Seattle, said it’s looking for a city with a population of more than one million, a stable and business-friendly environment and a location that can attract and retain workers, the New York Times reported. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he expects HQ2 to be fully equal to the company’s Seattle headquarters. The new development would cost as much as $5 billion to build and would accommodate up to 50,000 employees.

Harvey impacts Houston housing

Up until now, Houston was the rare city that was both fast-growing and still affordable, but that may be about to change. While common sense would indicate that home prices would fall after a natural disaster like Harvey, Bloomberg reported on Thursday that prices and rents are expected to rise, given the sudden housing shortage. Neighborhoods that dodged the hurricane are now some of the city’s most desirable areas.

Trump stuck with South Korea trade deal

President Trump has long criticized the global trade system, which he claims is rigged against the United States—and he has been particularly unhappy with the trade deal with South Korea, often promising to rescind it. But plans for withdrawing that deal may need to be set aside for awhile, as the White House deals with the growing tensions involving North Korea, NPR reported on Thursday, because the administration now needs South Korea’s help to avoid a potential nuclear crisis.

Fed vice chairman steps down

Nominated by President Obama in 2014, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer announced on Wednesday that he will step down next month for personal reasons, opening up another seat on the board for President Trump to fill. His departure adds to the three existing vacancies on the Fed’s seven-member board, and gives Trump the chance to totally overhaul the panel, the Los Angeles Times reported. The president has already nominated investment fund manager Randal Quarles to fill one of the open spots and is considering whether to nominate Chairwoman Janet Yellen to another four-year term.

Two janitors become the face of inequality

In an effort to understand rising income inequality, the New York Times examined the wages and benefits paid to two women in the same role, only 35 years apart. As corporations across America focus on core competence and outsource the rest of their needs, working-class Americans are often left to struggle in an otherwise healthy economy.