Business Briefs – August 11, 2016

Department Stores Hope to Recapture Appeal, Be Destinations

NEW YORK (AP) – Department stores trying to recapture their appeal to consumers are making plans to provide more experiences like spas and restaurants, and offer exclusive selections to transforms the store into more of a destination.

With shoppers increasingly buying online or from niche retailers and discount stores, the onetime pillars of retail are trying to rethink their business to keep up with consumers who want a different experience in stores than they find on their phones. That includes more attentive sales staff, pampering guests with beauty treatments and bringing in new kinds of merchandise.

Macy’s announced plans Thursday for “re-creating Macy’s physical store presence” to adjust to customer tastes. It reported another quarter of falling profits and sales, though it said some moves like sprucing up its fine jewelry area and adding back some sales staff are helping. It also said it’ll close 100 stores early next year on top of the 40 it closed this spring.

Global Oil Demand to Cool, Oversupply Is Ending, Agency Says

LONDON (AP) – Global demand for oil will grow less than expected next year due to a weaker world economy, though the oversupply of crude in the market is ending, the International Energy Agency said Thursday.

The Paris-based agency, which consults oil-importing nations, lowered its forecast for demand growth next year to 1.2 million barrels a day from 1.3 million barrels a day previously. That would be a slowdown from this year’s growth of 1.4 million barrels a day.

IMF, Egypt Agree on $12b Loan To Fix Ailing Economy

CAIRO (AP) – The International Monetary Fund said Thursday it will grant Egypt a $12 billion loan over three years to help the Arab world’s most populous country mend its ailing economy following years of unrest.

The IMF said the loan, which is subject to approval by its executive board, comes in support of a government reform program that aims to stabilize Egypt’s falling currency, reduce the budget deficit and government debt, as well as boost growth and create jobs.

Applications for U.S. Unemployment Aid Slip to a Low 266,000

WASHINGTON (AP) – Slightly fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are low and employers are probably adding new jobs.

THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid barely fell last week, slipping 1,000 to 266,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 3,000 to 262,750, but remains low. And 2.16 million people are receiving benefits, about 5 percent below last year’s level.

Arianna Huffington Signs Off At the Huffington Post

NEW YORK (AP) – The Huffington Post is going to be without a Huffington.

Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s editor-in-chief, announced Thursday that she’s leaving to head a new health, wellbeing and productivity startup.

“I thought HuffPost would be my last act,” Huffington said in a tweet. “But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global.”

 Lock Picking Your Way to Cybersecurity at Def Con

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Lock-picking might seem ridiculously old-fashioned at a cybersecurity gathering — but learning it can actually help people protect machines from digital threats.

As security improves to block remote attacks over the internet, hackers look for ways to deliver malicious software physically instead — for instance, by breaking into a company’s data centers. Like cracking a digital system, picking locks involves solving puzzles, along with a certain amount of finesse and skill.

And for the good guys, knowing how to pick locks is important for learning how to defend against it.