Toys R Us is Planning a Brick-and-Mortar Comeback in U.S.

Toys R Us is planning to open as many as 24 new flagship stores and a seperate rollout at airports and on cruise lines starting this holiday season in the United States, called the "Air, Land and Sea" expansion. The company plans to launch locations in "prime cities," according to parent company WHP Global, aiming to start opening up to two dozen stores in partnership with Go! Retail Group. The first airport store is set to open in November in Terminal A of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. On Friday, WHP CEO Yehuda Shmidman said the company has increased Toys R Us' global footprint by more than 50% since its acquisition, opening more than 1,400 storts and e-commerce sites across 31 countries. “The Toys R Us brand is growing fast and our expansion into air, land and sea is a testament to the brand’s strength,” said Shmidman in a statement.

X CEO Yaccarino Says Company Will be Profitable by Early 2024

X CEO Linda Yaccarino said during an interview at the Code Conference Thursday that the company formerly known as Twitter will be profitable by early 2024. "Now that I have immersed myself in the business, and we have a good set of eyes on what is predictable, what's coming is that it looks like an early '23, we will be turning a profit," Yaccarino said, quoted by TechCrunch. Yaccarino added that "90% of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform in the last 12 weeks," marking a positive sign for the company as it works to compete with other micro-blogging apps like Meta Platform's (NASDAQ: META) Threads or Jack Dorsey-backed BlueSky. The social media platform has struggled to be profitable since its origin; it took 13 years for Twitter to turn an annual profit for the first time.

President Joe Biden Joins Striking Autoworkers on Picket Line in Detroit

President Joe Biden joined United Auto Workers union members on the picket line Tuesday, encouraging strikers to continue their fight for new contracts with Detroit automakers Ford (NYSE: F), General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Stellantis (NYSE: STLA). “The fact of the matter is you guys, the UAW, you saved the auto industry back in 2008 and before, you made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot when the companies were in trouble, but now they’re doing incredibly well,” Biden told union members, quoted by CNBC. “Stick with it. You deserve a significant raise and other benefits. We saved them, it’s about time they step up for us.” Autoworkers are striking for 40% hourly pay increases, a 32-hour workweek, a return to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers, cost-of-living adjustments, among other benefits.

Target to Close Multiple Locations in Major U.S. Cities, Citing Theft and Violence

Target (NYSE: TGT) announced Tuesday it will close nine stores in major cities across the United States due to increased violence, theft and organized retail crime. The retail giant will close on store in New York City, two stores in Seattle, three locations in San Francisco and three in Portland on October 21. “We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance,” Target said in a statement. “We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all.” Target operates roughly 2,000 storefronts in the U.S. and has said in recent months that theft has led to higher levels of shrink, or losses from damaged, misplaced or stolen goods.

ChatGPT Can Now "See, Hear and Speak," OpenAI Says

OpenAI's ChatGPT now has the ability to "see, hear and speak," the company announced Monday, signaling potential competition with robot assistants like Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Siri and Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Alexa. The chatbot's update allows users to initiate voice conversations on ChatGPT's mobile app and choose from five different synthetic voices for the artificial intelligence to respond with. Users can also share images with ChatGPT and highlight areas of the image for further analysis by the bot. OpenAI said the changes will be rolling out to subscribers in the next two weeks, with voice functionality limited to iOS and Android (NASDAQ: GOOGL) apps and the images processor being available on all platforms.

Credit Card Issuers See Losses at Fastest Pace in Nearly 30 Years

Goldman Sachs said Friday that credit card companies are facing losses at the fastest pace in almost 30 years, when excluding the Financial Crisis of 2008. Losses have risen by 3.63%, up 1.5 percentage points from their bottom in September 2021, Goldman said. The firm predicts losses will increase by another 1.3 percentage points to 4.93% amid the backdrop of U.S. consumers owing a collective $1 trillion in credit card debt, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “We think delinquencies could continue to underperform seasonality through the middle of next year and don’t see losses peaking until late 2024 / early 2025 for most issuers,” Goldman analyst Ryan Nash wrote in a note Friday. Nash noted that most downside risk is expected for Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) and Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS).

Cisco Systems to Acquire Cybersecurity Firm Splunk in Deal Worth $28 Billion

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced Thursday it is acquiring cybersecurity software firm Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK) for $157 per share in an all-cash deal worth about $28 billion. This is Cisco's largest acquisition ever, and is expected to boost its cybersecurity business to help customers minimize the risks of hacks. “Our combined capabilities will drive the next generation of AI-enabled security and observability,” Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said in a statement. “From threat detection and response to threat prediction and prevention, we will help make organizations of all sizes more secure and resilient.” The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024. Cisco's purchase price of Splunk is equal to about 13% of its market cap, well above its previous biggest acquisition of Scientific Atlanta in 2006 for $6.9 billion.

Apple, Goldman Sachs Reportedly Planned to Launch a Stock Trading Feature for iPhone

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) were reportedly planning to launch a stock trading feature for iPhone before shelving the project when Wall Street turned negative last year, CNBC reports, citing multiple people familiar with the matter. The project would have added to Apple's suit of Goldman-powered financial product, which include the tech giant's credit card, buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans service and its high-yield savings account. Apple's talks with Goldman over a potential stock trading feature began in 2020, according to CNBC's sources, amid the retail stock trading boom on apps like Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD) as consumers were using their record savings in trading shares of meme stocks like GameStop (NYSE: GME). According to CNBC source's, Apple's product was meant to launch in 2022.

U.S. National Debt Tops $33 Trillion First Time, Says U.S. Treasury Department

The United States' national debt has reached a historic milestone, passing $33 trillion for the first time ever, according to the Treasury Department. Between fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2021, the federal government increased spending by about 50%, the department said, contributing to much of the debt increases. That spending was during a period of increased stimulus programs, tax cuts and lower tax revenues stemming from widespread unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic's impact. The record high debt, which equals the amount of money borrowed by Congress to cover the nation's expenses, comes less than two weeks before the federal government faces a potential shutdown due to lack of new funding authorization. Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass a new spending bill to remain operational.

California Gov. Newsom to Sign Bill Requiring Big Businesses to Disclose Carbon Emissions

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he will sign bill SB253, which will require businesses in the state that earn over a billion dollars a year in revenue to publicly declare their carbon emissions. “That’s over 5,300 businesses, so it’s not insignificant, and of course they are multi-nationals and some of the most well-known businesses in the world,” Newsom said in a statement. State legislators passed the bill last week, making California the first location in the United States to require corporate carbon accounting. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently considering regulating corporate climate disclosures, the agency says on its website. “We talk about California, it’s not just a state of dreamers and doers of entrepreneurs and innovators, but it’s a state that’s long prided itself on being on a leading and cutting edge. The future happens in California first,” Newsom added.

TikTok, Billboard Partner to Launch TikTok Top 50 Songs Chart

TikTok and Billboard are partnering to launch an official TikTok Billboard Top 50 Chart, tracking the most popular songs on the video-sharing social media app, the companies announced on Thursday. The chart will rank the hottest songs of the week based on the number of views, user engagement and how many videos are created using the song. TikTok's Top 50 Chart will be updated every Thursday morning and can be access on either the TikTok app or Billboard's website, the companies said. “The chart gives a clear picture of the music that is being listened to on TikTok, and consequently starting to trend on DSPs and other services,” said Ole Obermann, global head of Music Business Development at TikTok, in a statement. Billboard also tracks popular music used on other platforms, like X (formerly Twitter).

DoorDash to Transfer Listing to Nasdaq From NYSE

DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) plans to transfer its listing from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq on Sept. 27 at market open, the delivery service company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The company will trade under the same symbol, "DASH," according to the filing. “For over a decade, DoorDash has built products and services to help businesses grow and reach more consumers in over 25 countries around the world. The company’s listing on Nasdaq will provide them access to the deepest pool of liquidity in the U.S. equity market and provides additional opportunities to further their work in innovating local commerce,” said Nelson Griggs, President of Capital Access Platforms at Nasdaq, said in a statement. DoorDash initially began trading on the NYSE in December 2020, within months of other popular tech IPOs listings like Airbnb (NYSE: ABNB) and Roblox (NYSE: RBLX).

Amazon Launches New AI Tools for Product Descriptions

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched a new set of generative AI tools to help sellers with their product descriptions on Wednesday. The new tools are designed to generate "captivating product descriptions, titles, and listing details," according to Amazon. Sellers on the e-commerce platform will also be able to add to their existing product description undering the large language models (LLM) trained AI, instead of creating an entirely new description. “Our models learn to infer product information through the diverse sources of information, latent knowledge, and logical reasoning that they learn," said Robert Tekiela, vice president of Amazon Selection and Catalog Systems, in a statement. For example, they can infer a table is round if specifications list a diameter or infer the collar style of a shirt from its image.”

Global Fossil Fuel Demand to Peak by 2030, Says IEA Executive Chief

Demand for fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal will reach an all-time high before 2030, according to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. “Despite recurring talk of peak oil and peak coal over the years, both fuels are hitting all-time highs, making it easier to push back against any assertions that they could soon be on the wane. But according to new projections from the International Energy Agency, this age of seemingly relentless growth is set to come to an end this decade, bringing with it significant implications for the global energy sector and the fight against climate change,” Birol wrote in an op-ed published in the Financial Times. Birol's estimate is based off of the IEA's upcoming report, the World Energy Outlook, which is due for release in October and will show that "the world is on the cusp of a historic turning point," Birol wrote.

U.S. Severe Weather Tops Record So Far in 2023: $57.6 Billion in Damage From 23 Events

The United States has suffered the highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters on record so far in 2023, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released Monday. The federal agency said the country has been hit by 23 billion dollar natural disasters this year, setting a record according to data that goes back as far as 1980, totaling more than $57.6 billion in damages and killing more than 250 people. The previous record was set in 2020 when 22 seperate weather disasters each caused at least one billion dollars in damage. The U.S. experiences 8 such disasters per year from 1980-2022, according to NOAA. In the last five years, there have been 18 such disasters annually on average.

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