The bottom line
CEOs are benefiting from last year’s tax package as companies use their tax cut to buy back shares at record levels, driving up prices. Oracle’s Safra Catz sold $250 million in shares, topping the list of executive cash-outs; product development head Thomas Kurian reaped $85 million from his sales. The moves follow Oracle’s $12 billion share buyback.
A national analysis of corporate expense reports shows services such as Uber and Lyft have largely replaced taxis, accounting for 93 percent of car-ride receipts. As recently as 2014, traditional taxis had more than 70 percent of the market.
U.S. city and state governments have long strained under the weight of unsustainable retirement pledges to municipal workers. The total shortfall? According to the Moody’s bond rating agency, it may be as high as $4 trillion—roughly the size of Germany’s entire economy. One Rhode Island city cut police and fire pensions by 55 percent to escape insolvency.
The Wall Street Journal
More than 1,000 craft breweries have opened in the past year, taking the U.S. total to 6,655 as of June 30, up from 5,562. Thirty years ago, there were just 200.
American workers are finally beginning to reap some of the benefits of the strong job market. The cost of worker pay and benefits edged up 2.8 percent, marking the biggest yearly gain in a decade.
We’re not a brand. We’re a ‘lifestyle.’
“When is a burrito more than just a burrito?” asked Sapna Maheshwari in The New York Times. If you’re not sure, don’t worry: Corporate marketers are there to tell you. Take Chipotle. That rice-and-bean wrap isn’t just food; in the words of its chief marketing officer, it’s “a purpose-driven lifestyle brand.” Just like Godiva, which wants to be “seen as a lifestyle brand by leveraging its culinary expertise.” And Pizza Hut. And Blue Apron. And IHOP. All describe themselves as lifestyle brands. But what does that even mean? Marketers themselves don’t seem quite sure. One calls it “spin,” or more simply, “mumbo jumbo.” Still, if it gets companies to think differently about their brands, that’s probably fine. Godiva’s chief executive says it’s about “meaningful connection.” And getting customers into a Godiva store—ideally once in the morning for a coffee, and back again for a snack in the afternoon.