Business

VIDEO: Drone interest takes off as regulation lags behind popularity

By Laura Furr

From the White House to Chicago’s suburbs, from Lollapalooza to Snapchat, unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, have been making headlines.

And as drone technology becomes cheaper with user-friendly photo and video capabilities, interest in personal drone use has taken off. Continue reading

Rising Dollar Exacerbates U.S. Trade Deficit

By Lucy Ren

The U.S. trade deficit went up 17.1 percent to $46.6 billion in December. Impacted by the strong dollar, exports decreased by 0.8 percent and imports expanded by 2.2 percent, the highest growth since March.

For all 2014, the U.S. goods and services deficit increased 6 percent to $505 billion. Exports rose 2.9 percent and imports declined 3.4 percent. Continue reading

VIDEO: Value-conscious shoppers driving consignment industry

By Marika Bastrmajian

The resale industry is a multi billion dollar industry having grown significantly in the last few years since the recent recession. Consignment shops, like Luxury Garage Sale, have seen an influx of both shoppers and sellers and as the industry continues to grow, value-conscious shoppers are given more options aside from traditional shopping.

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Sports talk paradox: as industry grows, on-air talent struggles

By Eric Clark

Broadcast journalists Ben Finfer, Alex Quigley and Mark Carman became victims of the cutthroat nature of the sports talk radio industry in December, losing their jobs at Chicago’s The Game 87.7 only nine months after its inception.

But they still believe the industry is as strong as it has ever been. Continue reading

For-Profit College Agrees to Forgive Almost Half a Billion in Student Debt

By Lucy Ren

Troubled for-profit college chain Corinthian Colleges Inc. agreed with the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to forgive at least $480 million on private student loans, marking an “unprecedented debt relief,” according to CFPB Spokeswoman Moira Vahey.

The debt relief announced on Tuesday marks a 40 percent reduction in Corinthian’s principal balance on private loans, according to a Tuesday press release by CFPB.

The nonprofit education firm ECMC Group Inc. announced on Monday that it had finalized its acquisition for 56 of the 107 Everest and WyoTech campuses from Corinthian Colleges. Zenith Education Group, a new nonprofit subsidiary of ECMC is taking over the colleges. 

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Why did Chipotle plummet after a strong quarter?

By Alysha Khan

Despite a strong earnings report, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. stock surprisingly dropped seven percent to $676 amid concerns of slowing store sales and a possible hike in prices.

Stephen Anderson, senior restaurant analyst at Miller Tabak + Co., LLC, said the drop was driven by Chipotle executives lowering their 2015 forecast for sales for locations open more than 12 months.

Officials forecasted a low to mid-single digit increase for same-store sales but Anderson said investors were looking for a mid to high-single digit increase.

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Archer Daniels Midland beats 4Q profit estimate, misses sales forecast

By Yasufumi Saito

Archer Daniels Midland Co., a leading agricultural processer and food ingredient provider, reported Tuesday a mixed result for the fourth quarter. While profit beat Wall Street’s estimate, sales fell short of expectations. Continue reading

Chipotle stock falls after sales fall shy of expectations

By Alysha Khan

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. cracked the billion-dollar earnings mark with a 52. 3 percent increase in earnings for the fourth quarter but sales fell just short of analyst expectations and the stock fell 6.42 percent to $679.85 in after-hours trading.

“Quite simple, I do not think that we would be able to deliver these results without such a compelling and relevant vision,” said CEO Steve Ells on a conference call with analysts.

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Potbelly insiders sold stock as price fell

By Alysha Khan

As Potbelly Corp.’s stock fell throughout 2014, company insiders at the Chicago-based restaurant chain were selling the stock.

Potbelly went public October 4, 2013 at an initial offering price of $14. The stock peaked at $32.40 two days later. It closed Monday at $13.95.

At the beginning of 2014, former CEO Bryant Keil owned more than 1 million shares of Potbelly stock. The chain began as a lunch counter at an antique store on Lincoln Avenue. In 1996, Keil purchased the original location and expanded the neighborhood haunt into a nationwide chain with more than 280 locations. He served as CEO till 2008 and chairman till 2011. He now sits on the Potbelly board of directors.

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Women on Illinois corporate boards: one is the loneliest number

By Kate Morrissey

When Victoria Medvec heard a recent Catalyst report about the small percentage of women on corporate boards, she had one question, “Who are they?”

She wanted to call the two companies in Illinois that had no women.

Medvec, the executive director for the Kellogg Center for Executive Women at Northwestern University, said companies that include women on their boards end up with a higher quality board because they are pulling from a larger talent pool that includes greater diversity in experience and perspective. The center offers leadership workshops to executive-minded women and keeps a database of attendees to help board searches find qualified women.

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