With almost 28 percent unemployment and a lingering recession that's wiped out one-fourth of their country's economic output, it makes sense that Greek consumers plan to trim their Christmas spending by 12.8 percent this year. What's more surprising is that the average Greek budget for holiday gifts, food, and drink is â‚¬451 ($608)"”more than the â‚¬399 average in Germany, the country that has borne much of the cost of a Greek bailout.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are sweating online competition this holiday season, perhaps more than ever. But it's all upside to UPS. The shipping giant is cashing in both on internet shopping and old-school retailers trying to mimic Amazon.com - shipping inventory around the country in an incessant supply-chain shuffling.
It doesn't feel so long ago that brick-and-mortar retailers were rushing to develop online stores. Now that evolution often happens in reverse: Retailers start online and migrate to the real world, where customers can touch, taste, and try on their goodies.
In a placid lagoon about a mile inland from the Atlantic coast in southeast Nicaragua, the mast of Cornelius Vanderbilt's dredge boat rises out of the water. The railroad tycoon abandoned it along with his dream of building an inter-oceanic canal in the 1850s. More than 160 years and several failed plans later, Wang Jing, a 40-year-old Chinese telecommunications billionaire, has emerged as the next mogul to give it a go.
By now it is almost gospel that investing in innovative new products and services helps a company's long-term success. That doesn't mean it's easy. A new study from Accenture, "Why 'Low Risk' Innovation Is Costly," found that fewer than one in five chief executives believes his strategic investments in innovation are paying off, and that this poor track record is starting to discourage companies from taking risks.
What if you weren't just delivering meat to stores for sale but doing something more disruptive - like selling 40-pound packages of raw meat out of the back of refrigerated trucks? What kind of bureaucratic fat would you have to cut through then?
Bangladesh is a dangerous place to work in a factory as the Rana Plaza building collapse shows. Local health and safety regulations are so weak that last spring, even before the Rana Plaza disaster, executives at Disney decided they would no longer source toys and apparel from Bangladesh. The company felt the risk to its reputation wasn't worth the low cost of production.
Hennes & Mauritz, selling under the brand H&M, is the world's second-largest apparel company and the biggest buyer of clothes made in Bangladesh. That has put the Swedish retailer in an uncomfortable position after the death of a prominent labor activist a year ago and a garment factory fire that killed more than 100 workers in November.