Walmart Takes Over Women’s Clothing Retailer Modcloth

Walmart has acquired Modcloth, an online women’s fashion retailer for an undisclosed amount. This move boosts Walmart’s e-commerce footprint. The goods of Modcloth will be sold on Jet.com which is owned by Walmart.

Walmart notes that this acquisition puts Walmart in a position to “gain the experience of a well-recognized specialty apparel e-commerce brand that’s trusted by millions of millennial women.” Walmart was also impressed by Modcloth’s strong social media presence and highly engaged community.

A spokesperson said that this acquisition was priced “along the same lines” as its two other previous acquisitions. In December 2016, Walmart bought Shoebuy for $70 million and last month it purchased Moosejaw, an outdoor apparel retailer, for $51 million.

This acquisition of Walmart is its fourth since September of 2016. It bought Jet.com for $3.3 billion. Walmart said that in online shopping, the number 1 category is apparel and accessories in which Modcloth is a brand leader in.

Walmart, in a statement, said, “As we continue to grow our e-commerce presence, Walmart has acquired the assets and operations of ModCloth, one of the top online specialty retailers of unique women’s fashion and accessories.” Walmart said that this acquisition is an opportunity for designers selling on ModCloth to expand their selling through other e-commerce sites of Walmart.

This acquisition cements Walmart’s strategy to acquire more online brands to help it branch out into new demographics, particularly the younger and hipper clientele which have no experience with Walmart.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at a conference, “Assortment is driving a lot of these acquisitions. We can pick up some of these companies that are great in terms of the assortment and the service they provide, but they don’t have enough money to lose, to go market their brand and scale it.”

Modcloth will continue its operation as an independent website and brand. ModCloth has operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh and has over 300 employees. It started in a college dorm room in 2002 by Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger.

Modcloth raised $78 million in its startup phase. Its investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Floodgate, First Round, and Accel Partners.

Modcloth targets women between 18 and 35 but has been affected recently by the industry downturn in retail and had to trim down its workforce to reduce expenses. It has gone through six rounds of layoffs. Modcloth branded its way to success by having a hip, quirky persona for smart, bookish girls.

Susan Gregg Koger, through a blog post, said that the deal “will give us the necessary resources and support that we need as a business to grow. Growth allows us to reach more women, grow our community and amplify our message. And we can open more stores- in your hometown!”

Modcloth is also known to be “Feminist AF” in its fashion sense. Its founder Susan Gregg Koger is vocal of workplace issues such as equal pay and equal representation.

General Motors Retains 680 Jobs While Adding 220 More To Appease The President

The General Motors is one of the biggest automakers that has come under the direct scrutiny of Donald Trump. Even before taking his office, Trump had targeted GM for taking jobs outside the USA. Trump’s aggressive actions forced several automakers to quit their plan to invest in other countries to reduce operational costs. Trump had promised the automakers to minimize regulations and increase tax cuts to reduce the production cost in the USA. General Motors announced on Wednesday that it will retain 680 jobs at the Michigan facility while adding 220 more jobs. The POTUS is planning to visit Michigan for the first time after taking over the White House.

The Romulus Powertrain Plant in the Detroit region is expected to kick off production of 10-speed transmission that is commonly used in several vehicles. This could result in an increase of about 220 jobs in the Michigan area. Flint Assembly Plant manufactures GMS Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. GM announced that the 180 jobs in this production plant will be retained. The automaker is also planning to redeploy its workers from the suffering Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant.

GM is planning to launch upgraded Buick Enclave SUVs and Chevrolet Traverse in the next year. To aid in the manufacturing process, 500 jobs from the Lansing Delta Township plant will b moved. Just in the past week, GM announced that it is putting an end to third shift at the Lansing Delta Township plant. This move was necessary as the production of Acadia and GMC Acadia came to an end. This move is expected to affect thousands of salaried and hourly workers. The production of Acadia will be taken over by the Spring Hill Assembly plant available in Tennessee.

Mary Barra, the CEO, and chairman of GM announced that the company has confidence in their products and people. The new job announcements are made as the automaker hopes for a positive growth in the auto industry as well as in the overall US economy. In January, GM had announced that it will retain the 7000 jobs in the US. The automaker is also planning to invest about $1 billion in several US facilities. The new job announcements are made in addition to the previous numbers. The investment in several plants in the USA could open up about 5000 salaried jobs and a major portion of the investment will be in the Michigan region.

Trump has plans to meet with several automakers at the American Center for Mobility in the Ypsilanti township. It is expected that Trump will urge the manufacturers to invest more in their US facilities and bring more jobs, especially in Michigan region. Trump is against manufacturers who make their cars in Mexico and import them to the USA. While GM tries to appease the POTUS, it should be noted that GM is not planning on cutting jobs in Mexico. The new jobs in the USA are driven by an increase in sales of SUVs and trucks. The American market is hoping to purchase new cars with efficient transmission features.

European Stocks Influenced By Fed Hike And Dutch Elections

The increase in the interest rates by the Federal Reserve has implications globally. The European stocks are enjoying a high tide after the Fed rate hike. They are also influenced by the upcoming Dutch elections. The Brexit vote also has a positive impact on the stocks. For the fourth day in a row, the European stocks climbed during the start of the week. This week is closely watched by the investors as there are several important events happening throughout the world.

The European Stoxx 600 index gained 0.4% on Monday closing at 376.64. It is the highest value reached after March 3rd. For four straight sessions, the stocks continued to gain, keeping the investors on the edge. The John Wood Group PLC announced that it has plans to invest $2.73 billion in purchasing the oil field services company. The shares of John Wood immediately gained 1.4% after the announcement. The stocks of AMEC Foster Wheeler also gained 12% on the same day.

The Dutch elections are also closely watched by the market experts as it could bring about a change in the populist sentiment of the country. The scenario is changing in Europe with more leaders favoring the populist movement. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party For Freedom is hoping to gain more votes. This has concerned the European investors because the far-right leader is known for his preference of Eurozone breakup. Even if Wilders manages to get more votes, he could only form a coalition government. However, his leadership will only show that the European countries are having a change of mind.

The elections in France are due in April and the same scenario prevails there too. Marine Le Pen, National Front Leader is vocal about his anti-EU policies. In the presidential election polls, Le Pen was favored by a majority of the French people. The European Union flourished due to the contributions from various European countries. A change in the attitude will mean that there will be a huge impact on the entire European market.

The UK investors are keenly watching the Brexit scene as the bill is up for discussing in the Commons House. The House of Lords have made some changes but the lower house is expected to overturn the recommendations and approve the bill. Once the bill is approved, Prime Minister Theresa May could trigger Article 50 which will officially commence Brexit deal. While there were rumors that the Prime Minister could start the process earlier this week, the official spokesperson confirmed that the process will be initiated only in the next week.

The Brexit plan is constantly under threat as Scotland wants to invoke the second referendum for freedom. Scotland is hoping to break from the UK and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland announced in a press conference that the Scottish Parliament will vote for the new independence ballot. The Pound however recovered on Monday trading at $1.2230, enjoying a raise from $1.2168.

China Still Has More Billionaires Than U.S., Rich List Shows

Chinese man

An annual Chinese rich list has shown that the Asian powerhouse has more billionaires than the United States, coming as a confirmation to another list released earlier in the year.

The Hurun Report’s rich list for 2016 shows China has more dollar billionaires than America and the margin is widening further. The Asian country now has 594 billionaires, compared to 535 in the U.S.

The annual rich list, which is put together by Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute, has been compared to the Forbes’ rich list in the U.S. It is believed to provide highly accurate assessments of wealth in the world’s most populous country.

Sitting at the top of the list this time is property tycoon Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda, a company which has made headlines this year for its high-profile activities in the American movie market. The 62-year-old, whose company has acquired Legendary Pictures, boasts a net worth of $32.1 billion.

Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma saw a 41 percent boost in his personal wealth to $30.6 billion for second spot. Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Pony Ma came in third with a fortune of $24.6 billion.

The Hurun rich list actually shows the total number of Chinese billionaires currently stands at 754, with 594 coming from mainland China. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau combine for 94 billionaires, while other parts of the globe, especially Southeast Asia, account for 66.

“Despite a 20 percent drop in the domestic stock markets and a slowdown in the economy, the number of richest people in the country has jumped 179 to 2,056, double that of three years ago and up 10-fold from 10 years ago,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun’s chief researcher and chairman.

The latest list confirms another global list released earlier in the year by the publisher showing the number of billionaires in China had exceeded that of those in America for the first time.

Although China now claims more billionaires, it does not have any representative among the top 20 richest people in the world.

Majority of the billionaires on the new list live in Beijing. The Chinese capital city is followed by Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou in that order.

The highest climber on the latest rich list is Yao Zhenhua of the real estate and investment company Baoneng Group. The 46-year-old, who made a big splash with his takeover of real estate firm Vanke Co. Ltd this year, jumped a whopping 200 places to fourth. His wealth had surged to $17.2 billion, representing an increase of 820 percent.

Hoogewerf said Yao’s astronomical rise was indicative of the “new wave of wealth creation in China.” He said the capital markets were increasingly being used for financial investments, unlike in the past.

Search engine Baidu’s Robin Li and Melissa Ma sit eighth with a fortune of $14.7 billion. Online games magnate Ding Lei of Neteasy Inc, Xu Jiayin of Evergrande Group, and He Xiangjian of Midea Group Co. joined Yao as new entrants among the top 10 richest Chinese. However, smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun slipped out of the top 10 to 14th spot amid increasing competition in the smartphone market.

The Best Incentive Credit Cards

Credit card

EDIT: Not sure how I over looked this but for travel rewards the new Chase Sapphire Reserve is this sh*t. I applied online and was approved instantly and you could be too with decent credit and if you’re within the 5/24 rule. I’m not going to get into the details on this post but check it. Hands down the best travel rewards credit card out there.

As the economy gets stronger, credit card providers are featuring their most lavish offers to attract new customers. However, deciding which card will give you the best payoff for your personal spending is still another thing. That is the reason why 33% of Americans have not switched their primary card in ten years.

According to Matthew Goldman, a chief product officer for credit card websites at Bankrate, “Many people have under-optimized wallets.” He added, “Right now, it’s a really good time to be a customer, especially one with good credit. The issuers are really going after each other with lucrative deals.”

Therefore, the following information about card choices can help you make a selection.

Cash Back Cards

Cash is not as exciting, say, as a dream trip, but for most consumers, it is the most lucrative choice. NerdWallet made the following analysis. According to its calculations, consumers need to spend $8,600 annually on travel to earn more with a credit card that offers rewards than credit cards that offer cash back. People who travel overseas annually typically fare better with credit cards that waive the foreign transaction fees. A two percent return has become a gold standard for cards that offer cash back. However, most cards with that high of rate also come with several caveats.

For instance, the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card requires that a rebate deposit be added to a Fidelity-based account. Citi’s Double Cash credit card gives your one percent as you make purchases and an additional one percent when the purchases are paid off. Cards from Discover, Chase, and American Express feature high cash-back rates that are limited specifically to grocery or gas purchases.

Rewards Cards

Rewards cards are popular because they focus on everyone’s aspirations – dreams that allow them to see the world or expand their horizons. Airline miles and similar incentives are bought in bulk by credit card issuers for a small portion of their cash value. However, even so, many of the reward points on the cards accumulate and are never used.

Fortunately, you can take these transferable perks and use them on hotel stays and airline travel if you don’t let them pile up and collect dust. Most of the rewards cards feature annual fees, but the listed rates usually do not reflect what a customer pays.

For example, the Sapphire Reserve card by Chase costs $450 annually. However, the card also includes a rebate of $300 on travel purchases, which is instantly applied on the card’s monthly statements. Therefore, customers actually pay $150 for the privilege of using the credit card. Direct competitors, Citi Prestige and American Express Platinum also provide rebates for some of their charges.

If you are not sure how best to use the cards, you can download apps that show how to apply the card incentives. If you like to travel, stick to comparing and contrasting reward cards. However, if you are more of a homebody, then cash back cards offer the best rewards.

British Columbia Cuts Maximum Allowable Payday Loan Fees

Cutting Costs

After months of being lambasted by the opposition parties, the Liberal government has finally moved ahead with reining in the payday loan industry, a contentious issue in the province.

British Columbia announced that it will reduce the maximum charge on payday loans. As of January 1, the maximum allowable charge for a payday loan will be $17 for every $100 borrowed. This is down from $23, and nearly half of the $30 charged before 2009.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a statement that the changes to how much lenders can charge for short-term, high-interest loans will be the second-lowest in the nation. The province of Alberta has the lowest with $15 per every $100 borrowed.

“Payday loan businesses are making a reasonable profit at this level. We don’t believe in gouging customers and have no objections to the new regulations,” stated Landmark Cash media relations manager Ryan Murphy.

In a news release, officials say that this move will help protect “vulnerable” consumers from entering into a spiral debt and assist them in saving money as they take out expensive payday loans.

“We made a commitment to reducing the maximum charges payable on payday loans and we are doing that,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a statement.

“We strive to keep as much money in people’s pockets as possible, through low taxes, balanced budgets and creating jobs that pay well. And we will continue to look for ways to make alternative financial services as affordable as possible and to ensure strong consumer protections continue to be in place.”

Moreover, the ministry will establish a 30-day consultation period. This will allow lenders, credit counselors, advocacy groups and consumers to study and examine an array of issues, including consumer education and the development of low-cost loans.

The payday loan industry has been exploding in British Columbia. According to a report entitled “Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain,” the number of payday loan borrowers expanded 58 percent between 2012 and 2014. The industry grew from $318 million to $385 million in that same time period. Many officials and consumer protection organizations have expressed concerns.

The rest of the province has been tackling the issue of payday loans. For instance, the city of Maple Ridge passed a bylaw that prohibited new payday loan stores from opening.

Tyler Shymkiw, a Maple Ridge Councillor, lauded the provincial government for finally taking action to protect consumers.

“As a city councilor, and the former chair of our local food bank, I saw for myself the devastating effect these short term, high-interest payday loans have on our communities,” he said. “This is a positive step towards improving the lives of families and working people in this province.”

It isn’t just British Columbia that is looking to rein in the payday loan industry. Jurisdictions across Canada and the United States have implemented new rules and regulations that limit the reach of payday loans. The reason for this is that opponents argue that payday loans tend to burden impecunious consumers with immense piles of debt that can be nearly impossible to pay off.

Proponents have countered that argument by noting that some of these same consumers do not have access to conventional forms of credit or banking options. Therefore, payday loans help fill that gap. Also, they present the case that adult consumers are free to choose whether or not to borrow these funds.

Tips for Making Your Retirement Years Productive

Retired seniors

Most working people look forward to retirement. Even if you enjoy working, you probably have certain plans for retirement. Some people plan to travel while others will move closer to family or relax with their grandchildren. Recent news shows consumers how they can financially, physically, and emotionally prepare for their golden years.

Are You Financially Read to Give Up Your Position?

First, retirement experts suggest that it is important that people who plan to retire are financially ready to give up their position or job. Therefore, financial professionals recommend that people near retirement avoid taking investment risks. Instead, they should put their money into safer investments, such as bonds.

Are You Emotionally Prepared?

Psychologists also add that you need to be emotionally prepared to retire. Even if you are looking forward to retirement, the shift can be dramatic. To ease into your new life, you should find a hobby or purpose to keep you busy and occupied. For instance, some professionals suggest that retirees use the skills they acquired from working and give their expertise back to the community. Volunteer with an organization to avoid complacency.

Are You in Good Physical Health?

Retirees should also make sure they are in good physical health. Experts suggest that retirees see their physician to obtain a checkup. If you stay active, you will live a more fulfilled life and do so with more energy. The physical activity also helps prevent depression, especially common in older people. If you are just beginning to exercise, take a long walk in the morning or at night.

All of the foregoing suggestions should keep you financially solvent after you leave the workaday life. Preparation is key if you want to savor your retirement years and not worry about money or any related budgetary issues. Keeping in good emotional and mental health will reduce the costs associated with medical care and make for a more fulfilled life.

If you are not yet ready to make a move financially, review your retirement savings and your overall budget. Review where you can cut expenses or where you can further save.