All posts by beixixu2017

Gasoline prices expected to keep rising this summer

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

According to a recent AAA survey, the national average gas price will go up 40 cents per gallon this summer, peaking near $2.70. In Chicago, analysts expect prices to rise even more, surpassing $3 per gallon.

Drivers in downtown Chicago are noticing the rising price of gasoline, but aren’t overly concerned just yet.

​Photo at top:Drivers are pumping gas in BP gas station on LaSalle Street.(Beixi Xu/MEDILL)​

Explosive Ulta Beauty will open 100 more stores

By Beixi Xu

Gina Torres, a Chicagoan who works in Home Depot, just finished shopping in Ulta Beauty’s North Avenue store.​

“I am a fan of the store, and I get my cosmetics here, today I got my new eyeliner,” said Torres. “I live not far from here, only three to five miles. I usually drive here, and the parking is free in this area.”

Based in Bolingbrook, Ulta Beauty Inc. is the largest national beauty retailer featuring cosmetics, fragrances, skin and hair care products and salon services. As of Jan. 28, 2017, Ulta Beauty operates 974 retail stores across 48 states and offers more than 20,000 products from over 500 well-established and emerging beauty brands through its website.

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Chinese entrepreneurs still find success in Chicago

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

In Chicago there’s a Chinese online food ordering platform that became known for its modest $1 delivery fee. All the co-founders and employees are Chinese, it delivers meals of 26 Asian restaurants, mostly in Chinatown, and after just two years, it already has 12,000 users, 90 percent of them Chinese. This is Chowbus.

It was launched by Linxin Wen, now 27, then a graduate student in public administration who objected to paying higher meal delivery fees. “At that time I was a master’s student in Illinois Institute of Technology. When I ordered food I found the delivery fee in Chicago is ridiculous. I spent $5 to $10 for each meal. At that time I figured out there should be some way to reduce the high delivery fee,” Wen recalled.

The staff of Chowbus is all Chinese, all young and full of passion.

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In Japan, Chinese take jobs to serve Chinese visitors

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

When you walk on Tokyo’s street, it is not surprising to see store signs in Chinese, hear a Chinese accent or see Chinese names on the name tags of waiters or store clerks. In nearly every store one sees Chinese clerks who speak Mandarin to help Chinese shoppers pick out their favorite products.​

Chinese signs in the shopping area near the Shibuya subway station.

There were 674,879 Chinese living in Japan last year, ten times as many as in 1984, according to Japanese government data.

Yan Lu, a 27-year-old from Hebei province, works in Zoff, a glasses shop near the big Omotesandou subway station.
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Best Buy shares drop on revenue decline

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

Shares of Best Buy Co., Inc. slumped 4.5 percent Wednesday after the company reported a big jump in fourth quarter earnings but a decline in revenue.​

“Their sales were negative last quarter, and I think people got nervous that in a long run their sales are still going to go away to other competitors,” said Brandon Fletcher, senior analyst at AllianceBernstein, in a phone interview. “The numbers of assets they have are not useful to those sales, and will inevitably cause the stock to continually go down.”

Best Buy’s net income in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28 jumped 37 percent to $607 million, or $1.91 per diluted share, from $479 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. The consensus estimate was $1.66, according to Zacks Investment Research.
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Target earnings slump, shares plummet

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

Target Corp.’s net income decreased 37 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior-year period due to a progression of changes in its business model. The earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations, sending the shares tumbling 12.2 percent Tuesday.​

The stock decline was due to the “significant reduction in guidance and increased risk from shift in business strategy,” wrote Claire Chamberlin, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., in a note. “The stock market is inline with historical averages and a discount to big-box retail peers, and I believe is appropriate given weak fundamentals and the noted shift in business strategy.”

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Tokyo pharmacies cater to foreign shoppers

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

Yuhong Liu, a traveler from Beijing, was shopping with his friends in Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Japan’s most popular pharmacy, near Shibuya station.​

Here he explains why:

“I buy two masks for my friends, because everything is expensive in China, cosmetics in Japan are cheaper than China,” said Liu. “This one is close to $400 in Japan, but if you buy the same product in China, it is close to $600 or $700.”

When you walk along the street in Tokyo, you will come across different pharmacy chains about every hundred meters. Matsumoto Kiyoshi Co. is one of the biggest chains in Japan. Like CVS and Walgreens, drugstores in Japan sell not only medicines and cosmetics but necessities like eye drops, contact lenses, and health products.
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Chicagoans and Others Prepare for Chinese New Year

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

Synga Huo, a “stay home mom” who lives in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood with her family, was wheeling several bags of groceries out of the Chinatown Market.

“I buy lots of New Year’s necessities, including sweet dumplings, beef and mutton for making traditional hotpot,” said Huo. “Although we live in foreign country, our family still wants to celebrate traditional Chinese New Year. That’s why I drive here to buy New Year’s stuff.”

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U.S. consumer confidence declined in January

By Beixi(Bessie) Xu

Consumer confidence fell slightly in January as worries about the future outweighed continued optimism about the current economy.

The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 111.8, retreated from a revised 113.3 in December which was the highest since August 2001. This decline didn’t meet economists’ expectation, which was 112.8, according to a survey by Bloomberg.

“The decline in confidence was driven solely by a less optimistic outlook for business conditions, jobs, and especially consumers’ income prospects,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, in a statement.

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Chicago retailers and shoppers are ready for 7-cent tax on bags

By Beixi (Bessie) Xu

Chicago retailers and shoppers are well prepared for the new tax of 7 cents on plastic and paper bags that will take effect on Feb.1.

“All our employees are fully trained on what to do with the plastic bags and how to handle the restriction that is coming up,” said Shenika Hill, senior manager of Mariano’s at 333 E. Benton Pl. downtown. “We send each person to do a bagger training program and once they pass the course they are fully promoted to be a general.”

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