Business Briefs – December 5, 2016

Amazon Go Store Is Checkout Free

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon is testing a grocery store model in Seattle that works without checkout lines.

Called Amazon Go, shoppers scan their Amazon app when they enter the store, and then sensors register items that shoppers pick up and automatically charge them to the Amazon app. If a shopper puts the item back they aren’t charged.

The store is open to Amazon employees on a trial run. It is expected to open to the public in early 2017.

Get Used to It: Economists See “New Normal” of Slow Growth

(AP) – Americans should get used to a “new normal” of slow economic growth, business economists say.

A National Association for Business Economics survey estimates the American economy to grow 2.2 percent in 2017, up from a forecast 1.6 percent this year and unchanged from the previous survey in September. But the improved number is still lackluster by historical standards.

U.S. economic growth averaged 3.1 percent a year from 1948 to 2015, according to the Congressional Research Service. Business economists say Americans need to get used to slow growth as most of those surveyed believe the American economy will remain at 2.5 percent or lower over the next five years.

New VW Firm to Focus on Mobility Services Like Ride Sharing

LONDON (AP) – Volkswagen is launching a new company dedicated to car sharing and other “mobility services” in which people may need a ride but don’t necessarily want to own the car.

The German auto giant has set up a stand-alone enterprise, MOIA, which will be headquartered in Berlin and will “connect the car with the new mobility world.” It intends to challenge traditional notions of how to get around, particularly in cities.

The company has already invested in a ride-sharing app and is also focusing on the pooling business.

Air Berlin Sells Stake in Austria’s NIKI to Etihad for $319M

BERLIN (AP) – German airline Air Berlin says it is selling its stake in Austrian carrier NIKI to Etihad for 300 million euros ($319 million).

Air Berlin says the sale marks “an important milestone in the implementation of the company’s restructuring plan announced in September.”

The struggling German airline said at the time that it planned to cut its 144-strong fleet nearly in half and eliminate some 1,200 jobs, while focusing on its most profitable routes.

Air Berlin said Monday that it would concentrate on business travel in Germany, Italy, the Nordics and Eastern Europe.

Tyson Announces Plans for $150 Million Venture Fund

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) – Tyson Foods Inc. announced plans Monday to create a venture fund aimed at developing innovations in food production.

The meat company said it will make $150 million available for Tyson New Ventures LLC, which it said would complement Tyson’s continued investment in fresh meat, poultry and prepared foods.

The venture fund’s first investment is a 5 percent ownership stake in Beyond Meat, a California-based company that makes “plant-based protein.” Tyson says the venture fund will concentrate on alternative proteins, as well as other startups aimed at eliminating food waste and finding other innovations.

New Cross-Border Stock Link Widens Access to China’s Nasdaq

HONG KONG (AP) – Trading began Monday on a new cross-border stock link between Hong Kong and the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen, widening access to China’s markets for global investors.

The long-awaited Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect link allows international investors to buy and sell 880 high-growth small and midcap stocks traded on the exchange in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen via the Hong Kong exchange.

A similar link between Hong Kong and China’s main exchange in Shanghai was launched two years ago but has shown only a mediocre performance, with investors rarely hitting daily limits on trading volume.