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Archive for the ‘Associated Press’ Category

Textbook Rentals May Not Save Students Much

November 7th, 2010 Comments off

Photo credit: greenasian on Flickr

Well, the textbook rental program that is starting at Metropolitan State University may not be enough to save meaningful amount of money, it seems.  According this Associated Press piece, there are still several other factors impacting the textbook industry that may cause savings to be less than advertised.

About half the nation’s major college and university bookstores offered textbook rentals this fall, according to the National Association of College Stores, hoping to cut the $600-$900 students spend buying books each year. That’s roughly a fivefold increase from around 300 stores a year ago.

But schools and publishing experts say the programs are expensive to start up and difficult to operate. In addition, there are complaints that rental prices are still too high, even though they can be as much as half the cost of a new book.

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COLLEGE_TEXTBOOK_RENTALS

Categories: Associated Press, Education Tags:

Southwest Airlines to Acquire AirTran

September 27th, 2010 Comments off

Spreading Low Fares Farther | Southwest Airlines to Acquire AirTran Holdings, Inc..

See the link above for the official website related to the buyout of AirTran by Southwest.  There are numerous news reports as well that you can read elsewhere.

Photo credit: Brenden Schaaf taken September 29, 2010 at MSP using a BlackBerry Bold

Probably the biggest way this story relates to our class is in the value chain discussion with Southwest obviously feeling that they needed expand to remain competitive.  Specifically, news reports I have read and heard have indicated that Southwest had a desire to expand and/or enter the Atlanta, New York City, Orlando, and Milwaukee markets.  A year ago, Southwest was seen a suitor for Midwest Airlines but they lost out in that attempt to expand to Frontier Airlines.

Mega-mergers are the pattern in the airline industry these days following tie-ups by Delta/Northwest and United/Continental.  It will be very interesting to watch how Southwest proceeds as they try to avoid the negative aspects of mergers that have plagued many companies including other airlines (such as America West and US Airways).  Southwest probably has the most unique culture of all airlines with a playful, fun way of dealing with customers.  Anyone that has ever flown Southwest can tell you that you will not mistake it for a legacy carrier.  Culture clash is a common reason for merger failures…Southwest will have to be careful to avoid the traps associated with this as they proceed.

Another challenge will be how Southwest integrates aircraft and frequent flier programs at AirTran into the Southwest fleet and system.  Southwest is known for flying only Boeing 737 aircraft to make maintenance and other issues easier, while AirTran flies Boeing 717 aircraft in addition to 737s.  Perhaps this is a strategy for Southwest to branch out to different, but related, types of aircraft.

Another issue that will be interesting is how Southwest configures the AirTran aircraft post-acquisition.  AirTran has a small First Class cabin on most (all?) planes and they likely attract a certain segment of the business traveler population that is accustomed to the additional services provided.  Will Southwest risk alienating business travelers by going to the “cattle call” seating that they have today once they acquire AirTran and enter markets like Atlanta where there is a loyal business traveler following?  Will business travelers defect to Delta, which is also based in Atlanta?  Perhaps they already have?

Stay tuned to this situation in the months to come.  There will be lots of examples in the news related to what we discuss in class.

Other links to news about this story:

Target to open smaller stores

September 24th, 2010 Comments off

In plans similar to the ones I posted last week about Walmart opening smaller stores, Minnesota’s own Target is planning to do the same.  Although the Walmart speculation made it sounds like some of their future locations might not be larger than a typical convenience store, the Target plans appear to be suited more to urban locations with the one that is planned being slated for downtown Seattle.

“We’ve never been a cookie-cutter retailer, but we are increasingly realizing that one size doesn’t fit all,” said John Griffith, executive vice president of property management at Target.

Read more at this link: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gtShdCaRNm9Yybvnb_cZLvZ_TC8QD9IEIPDO0

or at this link: http://www.startribune.com/local/103711349.html

Walmart Bringing Smaller Store Format to America?

September 20th, 2010 Comments off

I posted a few months ago about Walmart’s smaller store footprint in the U.K. Today’s Financial Times reports on its front page that Walmart is lining up real estate across the US to roll out smaller format stores in its home country.  The article cites chatter amongst real-estate brokers as the source of this information and the world’s largest retailer has yet to announce detailed plans, but suffice it to say that anything Walmart does has the potential to shake things up.

“They’ve been looking at sites between 20,000 and 50,000 sq ft over the summer,” said one broker in northern California.

Garrick Brown, a vice-president of research at Colliers International, said the retailer was looking at taking over existing buildings, and that “chatter” from brokers suggested the retailer was looking for scores of sites across the US. “It is going to be huge,” he said.

Walmart lines up sites across US to roll out smaller format stores. Jonathan Birchall. Financial Times. London (UK): Sep 20, 2010. pg. 1

Walmart lines up sites for smaller stores. Jonathan Birchall. Financial Times. London (UK): Sep 20, 2010. pg. 15

[EDIT TO ADD LINK TO AP STORY]

The AP has the story now too at this link: http://apne.ws/b8nNUz or via StarTribune.com at this link: http://www.startribune.com/business/103300079.html

Delta fined $38 million for Northwest Price Fixing

July 30th, 2010 Comments off

Here is a case that is close to home when it comes to criminal activity and prices.  Our hometown airline, Northwest, was implicated along with many other airlines in a price fixing scheme.  Over $1.6 billion in fines have been collected so NWA is far from being the biggest fish in this pond.

Delta Air Lines will pay $38 million to settle criminal accusations that the cargo unit of Northwest Airlines fixed prices.

The Justice Department announced the guilty plea by Northwest Airlines LLC on Friday. A felony charge filed in federal court in Washington says Northwest met with other airlines from 2004 to 2006 to fix cargo prices between the U.S. and Japan.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hhBKZVG9VBwO7weOLqIuSfdVmUywD9H9IV581

Minneapolis Superfund site gets more cleanup money

April 15th, 2009 Comments off

A local environmental issue receiving Superfund money is the topic of several news articles today.  You can choose from a few different links to get a few different angles on this story:

An arsenic-tainted neighborhood in south Minneapolis will get an injection of as much as $25 million in federal stimulus money to continue cleaning up the site.

http://www.startribune.com/local/43041332.html
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/04/15/hazardous_stimulus/
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/15/politics/100days/domesticissues/main4946809.shtml
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/STIMULUS_HAZARDOUS