Sears to slash 400 jobs in effort to cut costs

Jun 13, 2017 30

Sears(HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.) — Sears will be cutting 400 full-time positions as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts, according to a company statement.

Eligible associates will be provided severance compensation and transition assistance. The retail chain hopes to deliver $1.25 billion in annualized cost reductions.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year, Sears Holdings has actioned nearly $1 billion in annualized cost savings to date, according to the company.  

“We are making progress with the fundamental restructuring of our operations that we initiated in February,” said Edward Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings. “We remain focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment. This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization.”

The majority of the eliminated positions are from the corporate offices at the headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Public Theater stands by its controversial ‘Julius Caesar’ with Trump lookalike

Jun 12, 2017 45

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After two companies dropped their sponsorship of the production, New York’s Public Theater is standing by its controversial production of “Julius Caesar,” in which the title character, a Trump lookalike, is assassinated on stage.

“We stand completely behind our production of ‘Julius Caesar,'” the nonprofit theater company wrote in a statement obtained by ABC News. “We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”

The statement went on to say, “Our production of ‘Julius Caesar’ in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare’s play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship of the production over the weekend following an outcry over the production on Twitter.

In a statement on Sunday, Delta Air Lines said it was pulling its sponsorship from The Public Theater “effective immediately.”

“No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of ‘Julius Caesar’ at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values,” the statement said. “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.”

Later, on Twitter, Bank of America said it was withdrawing its funding for the production.

“The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such a way that was intended to provoke and offend,” the bank said in a tweet. “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”

In the Public Theater’s version of Shakespeare’s classic play, Caesar, played by Gregg Henry, is portrayed as a Trump lookalike with a gold bathtub and a wife with a Slavic accent, reminiscent of Melania Trump.

In the play’s third act, Caesar is knifed to death on stage by a group of women and minorities.

Among those speaking out against the play were Trump’s sons.

“I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Sunday in response to a Fox News story about the play.

Eric Trump praised Delta and Bank of America for dropping its sponsorship.

But not everyone praised the two companies for their decision.

Beau Willimon, the creator of “House of Cards,” declared he will no longer fly Delta.

He also urged to others to donate to the Public Theater in light of the lost sponsors.

“Fargo” and “The Leftovers” actress Carrie Coon was among those who heeded Willimon’s call.

Meanwhile, the National Endowment for the Arts was pulled into the fracas, and released its own statement that it had nothing to do with the Public Theater’s production.

“In the past, the New York Shakespeare Festival has received project-based NEA grants to support performances of Shakespeare in the Park by the Public Theater. However, no NEA funds have been awarded to support this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of ‘Julius Caesar’ and there are no NEA funds supporting the New York State Council on the Arts’ grant to Public Theater or its performances,” the statement read.

The Public Theater’s “Julius Caesar” began in previews May 23 and is scheduled to run until June 18.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close lower as tech stocks keep tumbling

Jun 12, 2017 40

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The tech sell-off continued for a second day, despite reaching record highs a week ago.

The Dow Jones slid 36.30 (-0.17 percent) to finish at 21,235.67.

The Nasdaq gave up 32.45 (-0.52 percent) to close at 6,175.46, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,429.39, down 2.38 (-0.10 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 0.5 percent higher with prices at $46 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:
  “FAANG” stocks slumped in the session, with shares of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet all finishing at least 1 percent lower. Netflix’s stock tumbled 4 percent.

General Electric’s stock jumped on news its CEO Jeff Immelt would retire after a 16-year run. Shares climbed nearly 4 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close lower as tech stocks keep tumbling

Jun 12, 2017 36

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The tech sell-off continued for a second day, despite reaching record highs a week ago.

The Dow Jones slid 36.30 (-0.17 percent) to finish at 21,235.67.

The Nasdaq gave up 32.45 (-0.52 percent) to close at 6,175.46, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,429.39, down 2.38 (-0.10 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 0.5 percent higher with prices at $46 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:
  “FAANG” stocks slumped in the session, with shares of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet all finishing at least 1 percent lower. Netflix’s stock tumbled 4 percent.

General Electric’s stock jumped on news its CEO Jeff Immelt would retire after a 16-year run. Shares climbed nearly 4 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The buzz about cold brew and how to make it at home

Jun 12, 2017 35

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cold brew, a cold coffee drink that’s not to be confused with iced coffee, has exploded in popularity from coast to coast. But what’s all the buzz about?

ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau found out why and shared the story Monday on Good Morning America.

Cold brew, also known as cold-press coffee, is the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period of time, resulting in a coffee concentrate that must be diluted with water. The results boast smoother, sweeter and less acidic coffee.

Southern California-based roastery and retailer Groundwork Coffee has been a leader in organic homegrown coffee and tea for more than 25 years but, most recently, the roasters have mastered the art of cold brew.

“The popularity of cold brew has been growing exponentially for us,” the shop’s Venice location owner Eddy Cola said.

But some serious coffee lovers have not totally embraced the trend.

“Die-hard coffee drinkers who are like, ‘No, it’s not coffee.’ They’re standing behind that acidity or bitterness like, ‘We need that,'” Cola explained.

But the popular drink continues to sell across the country for astonishing markups. Prices for the specialty coffee beverage range from $3.19 at Dunkin’ Donuts to $3.45 at Starbucks.

One solution: Consumers could try to get more bang for their buck by making it at home.

Grind 3/4 cup of whole coffee beans, add one liter of filtered water, cover with a towel or lid and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. After it has steeped, filter out the coffee grounds first with a strainer and a second time with a damp paper towel.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The buzz about cold brew and how to make it at home

Jun 12, 2017 35

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cold brew, a cold coffee drink that’s not to be confused with iced coffee, has exploded in popularity from coast to coast. But what’s all the buzz about?

ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau found out why and shared the story Monday on Good Morning America.

Cold brew, also known as cold-press coffee, is the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period of time, resulting in a coffee concentrate that must be diluted with water. The results boast smoother, sweeter and less acidic coffee.

Southern California-based roastery and retailer Groundwork Coffee has been a leader in organic homegrown coffee and tea for more than 25 years but, most recently, the roasters have mastered the art of cold brew.

“The popularity of cold brew has been growing exponentially for us,” the shop’s Venice location owner Eddy Cola said.

But some serious coffee lovers have not totally embraced the trend.

“Die-hard coffee drinkers who are like, ‘No, it’s not coffee.’ They’re standing behind that acidity or bitterness like, ‘We need that,'” Cola explained.

But the popular drink continues to sell across the country for astonishing markups. Prices for the specialty coffee beverage range from $3.19 at Dunkin’ Donuts to $3.45 at Starbucks.

One solution: Consumers could try to get more bang for their buck by making it at home.

Grind 3/4 cup of whole coffee beans, add one liter of filtered water, cover with a towel or lid and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. After it has steeped, filter out the coffee grounds first with a strainer and a second time with a damp paper towel.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The buzz about cold brew and how to make it at home

Jun 12, 2017 36

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cold brew, a cold coffee drink that’s not to be confused with iced coffee, has exploded in popularity from coast to coast. But what’s all the buzz about?

ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau found out why and shared the story Monday on Good Morning America.

Cold brew, also known as cold-press coffee, is the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period of time, resulting in a coffee concentrate that must be diluted with water. The results boast smoother, sweeter and less acidic coffee.

Southern California-based roastery and retailer Groundwork Coffee has been a leader in organic homegrown coffee and tea for more than 25 years but, most recently, the roasters have mastered the art of cold brew.

“The popularity of cold brew has been growing exponentially for us,” the shop’s Venice location owner Eddy Cola said.

But some serious coffee lovers have not totally embraced the trend.

“Die-hard coffee drinkers who are like, ‘No, it’s not coffee.’ They’re standing behind that acidity or bitterness like, ‘We need that,'” Cola explained.

But the popular drink continues to sell across the country for astonishing markups. Prices for the specialty coffee beverage range from $3.19 at Dunkin’ Donuts to $3.45 at Starbucks.

One solution: Consumers could try to get more bang for their buck by making it at home.

Grind 3/4 cup of whole coffee beans, add one liter of filtered water, cover with a towel or lid and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. After it has steeped, filter out the coffee grounds first with a strainer and a second time with a damp paper towel.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former attorney general Eric Holder’s review of Uber now complete

Jun 12, 2017 41

Uber(LOS ANGELES) — An independent report by former Attorney General Eric Holder and associates is now complete into needed changes at Uber following a series of issues inside the company.

Details of the report will be known fully on Tuesday, when it will be released to employees and reporters.

On Sunday, Uber’s board learned of its findings during a meeting in Los Angeles. The ride-sharing company says the board has agreed to adopt all of the recommendations laid out in the report. The recommendations are meant to stabilize Uber, which has been rocked by claims of sexual harassment and other corporate problems.

It’s unclear what the report will mean for Uber’s embattled CEO, who has been blamed for problems at the company.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Farecompare CEO Rick Seaney tells you what to pack in your carry-on bag

Jun 12, 2017 38

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Travel restrictions can be confusing, especially when packing your carry-on bag. Farecompare CEO Rick Seaney sat down with ABC News to give his tips on what to pack and what to skip when traveling.

Here’s what he had to say:

You’ve probably heard about weird things people have tried to get through airline security over the years.

I’ve mentioned some in this column, like the fellow who tried to go through a Miami checkpoint with live snakes in his pants or the guy in upstate New York with the gassed-up chainsaw in his carry-on. Both were stopped by the TSA.

Most of us will never worry about stuff like that, but we do have questions about medications and other items.

Here are some answers with a reminder that security rules are ever changing. Find the latest updates on the TSA website.

1. EpiPens, needles, medical devices

If you use an epinephrine auto-injector (like the EpiPen brand), you can bring it in a carry-on or checked bag. The same is true for blood sugar testing kits, insulin and syringes, pills and pill cutters plus a whole lot more. In some cases, you are asked to inform the TSA agent about these items before going through the checkpoint but you might want to do this preemptively for anything you’re not 100 percent sure about.

2. Deodorant

Solid-type deodorant can be packed in carry-ons or checked-bags, but liquid deodorant (including sprays) is only allowed in carry-ons in travel-size containers of 3.4 ounces or less. Any size is OK for a checked bag.

3. Electronic toothbrush

These are good to go in either carry-ons or checked bags. Suggestion: The TSA doesn’t say this, but I’d remove the battery in case the toothbrush gets switched on by accident. The noise might make some people nervous.

4. Sharp, pointy stuff

You’d be amazed at what’s allowed in a carry-on. Examples include: Knitting needles and regular sewing needles; bottle openers and corkscrews (without blades); nail clippers and scissors (with 4 inch blades); electric razors; and tools including screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers as long as they are under 7 inches long.

5. Alcohol

This may come as a surprise to some but you can bring your own liquor on to a plane a long as it’s in containers that hold 3.4 ounces or less (so those 50 ml mini bottles are fine). Just be sure to place the bottle (or bottles) in a quart-size zip bag.

6. Lighters

Per the TSA: “Disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel are allowed in checked bags. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked bags, unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case.” As for electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, these are allowed in carry-ons, but you are not allowed to use these items on the plane.

7. Toys

Finally, for those who like to be up on all the latest trends, some good news: You may pack as many fidget spinners as you like.

Rick Seaney is the CEO of FareCompare, a website that curates the best deals on flights from around the world. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Father’s Day gifts for different types of dads

Jun 12, 2017 35

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Father’s Day is less than a week away, and if you’re still scrambling for a gift for dear old dad, here are three ideas:

For the foodie dad:

Check out Goldbely, an online, one-stop shop for food delivered to your door from the most famous restaurants in the country. Cheesesteaks from Philly, wings from Buffalo, bagels and lox from New York, deep dish from Chicago — you get the idea. There’s even a monthly bacon subscription for Father’s Day. You can order as a one-time event or sign up for a monthly subscription. You can get the food to your door in as little as 24 hours. Order by Friday for weekend delivery.

For the busy dad:

If dad’s so busy he’s been letting himself go, help him get his mojo back this father’s day. A company called Shortcut — available in New York, Los Angeles and Miami — will bring the barber shop to dad wherever he is, whether at work, at home or on the ball field with the kids. Just download the app, book a haircut and a barber will come to you between 8 a.m. and midnight every day.

For the fashion dad:

So when we think of matching outfits, moms and daughters mostly come to mind. But why should they have all the fun? Several companies are making matching dad/boy swimsuits just in time for summer. One such company is Tom & Teddy. They make suits that look great on everyone from the tiniest toddlers to the most massive of men. Free shipping for Father’s Day through Monday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.