Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.
What’s going ‘on’:
High-end retailers enjoying ample profit margins: Corporate retailers Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Home Depot and Saks Fifth Avenue all reported sales increases during the fourth quarter, but while Wal-Mart lowered prices, those focusing on high-income customers watched customers continue to pay high prices for many of their goods. Moreover, transactions over $900 increased by 3 percent.
Dow (briefly) crosses 13,000: The Dow Jones industrial average, powered higher all year by the perception of a genuine economic recovery, crossed 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May 2008. The last time the index occupied such rarefied territory, unemployment was a healthy 5.4 percent.
Supreme Court takes affirmative-action case: The Supreme Court will reconsider whether affirmative action may be considered when public universities choose which students to admit, revisiting a 2003 decision. Beginning in October, the court will hear a white student’s claims that the University of Texas’s race-conscious admission policy cost her a spot in the school’s freshman class.
Keep an eye ‘on’:
Small movie theaters losing out in digital shift: Hollywood’s biggest studios have been working on a new standard for digital movies that could save them $1 billion annually in printmaking fees and shipping costs, according to a Businessweek report. But smaller theaters face the often unaffordable chore of keeping pace with rapidly changing technology and equipment standards, and several thousand screens may disappear as a result.
Debt-collector scam fooling, robbing Americans: An international phone scam in which callers in India posed as debt collectors bilked millions of dollars out of more than 10,000 U.S. residents by using threats of arrest or even the loss of their jobs, U.S. authorities said Tuesday. The callers evidently drew on personal data snatched from payday loan Web sites.
Helpful advice ‘on’:
How to save by letting employees work at home (OSB)
How to design an unforgettable business card (Portfolio)
How to create a more fun work environment (Inc.)
How businesses can use Google+ (New York Times)
How to decide whether to hire an accountant (NFIB)