The daily business briefing: August 20, 2021
Amazon says it plans to open department-store-style retail outlets, Toys R Us teams up with Macy's, and more
Amazon to launch department-store-style outlets
Amazon plans to open several large brick-and-mortar retail locations similar to department stores in a bid to expand its sales of clothing, household items, electronics, and other items, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Some of Amazon's first stores are expected to open in Ohio and California. The outlets are expected to have about 30,000 square feet of space each, significantly smaller than the typical 100,000-square-foot department store. The Amazon stores reportedly will offer top consumer brands, although it wasn't immediately clear which ones. Amazon's private-label brands also are expected to be featured prominently. Department stores have been struggling for decades, partly due to online competition from such companies as Amazon.
Toys R Us to open shops in Macy's stores
Toys R Us announced Thursday that it was making its latest comeback attempt by teaming with Macy's to open toy shops inside more than 400 Macy's department stores across the United States. The shops will open starting in 2022, but on Thursday the two companies said they were offering customers Toys R Us toys at Macys.com/toysrus and Toysrus.com. "As a Toys R Us kid, I could not be more excited to bring this beloved brand that so many of our customers know and love into Macy's online and to our stores across America," said Nata Dvir, Macy's chief merchandising officer, in a statement. Toys R Us closed its old stores in 2018 after filing for bankruptcy. The next year it made a comeback bid under new ownership, opening two stores.
China tightens rules on data privacy
China's ceremonial legislature on Friday approved a law tightening control over data gathering by internet companies. The data protection law marked an expansion of a crackdown by China's ruling Communist Party that has included anti-monopoly and other allegations against e-commerce giant Alibaba, games and social media company Tencent, and other leading internet businesses. The new law, scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, limits data companies can collect, and tightens rules on how they store it. The law was adopted following complaints that some companies had misused or improperly sold information without users' permission, resulting in problems such as fraud and unfair price hikes.
Stock futures fall as Wall Street ends losing week
U.S. stock futures fell early Friday after a volatile Thursday session. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.4 percent several hours before the opening bell. Nasdaq futures edged down by 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 bounced back from early losses to close up by 0.1 percent on Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also gained 0.1 percent, but the Dow closed down by 0.2 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes were on track to close the week with losses fueled by concerns that rising coronavirus infections driven by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant could derail the economic recovery. Indications in Federal Reserve minutes that the central bank could soon start dialing back its easy money policies also dampened investor sentiment.
FTC tries again to break up Facebook with antitrust lawsuit
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday filed a new complaint seeking to break up Facebook. The FTC accused the social media giant of an "illegal buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance," saying Facebook "unlawfully" acquired competitors with mobile features that "succeeded where Facebook's own offerings fell flat or fell apart," as well as "buried" app developers that became threats. "This conduct is no less anticompetitive than if Facebook had bribed emerging app competitors not to compete," FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director Holly Vedova said. A D.C. federal judge in June dismissed the previous FTC antitrust lawsuit. Facebook said the new complaint was "meritless." "There was no valid claim that Facebook was a monopolist — and that has not changed," a Facebook spokesperson said.