Business Briefs – April 16, 2018

Starbucks to Train Workers on ‘Unconscious Bias,’ CEO Says

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Starbucks wants to add training for store managers on “unconscious bias,” CEO Kevin Johnson said Monday, as activists held more protests at a Philadelphia store where two black men were arrested when employees said they were trespassing. Johnson, who has called the arrests “reprehensible,” arrived in Philadelphia this weekend after video of the arrests gained traction online. He said he hopes to meet with the two men in the next couple of days and apologize to them face-to-face.

Trump Puts Forward 2 More Nominees for Fed Board

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has selected Columbia University professor Richard Clarida to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and Kansas bank commissioner Michelle Bowman to fill another vacancy on the Fed’s seven-member board. The two nominations are the latest steps in the president’s efforts to remake the seven-member Fed board, which currently has four vacancies.

Chinese Exporters Scramble to Cope With Trump Tariff Hike

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese exporters of goods from electronics to motorcycle parts are scrambling to insulate themselves from President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff hike. They are weighing plans to rush shipments to American customers ahead of the increase, raise prices or find other markets. Some are looking at shipping goods through other countries to hide their Chinese origin.

Question of Sales Tax on Online Purchases Goes to High Court

WASHINGTON (AP) – A case before the Supreme Court could change the longstanding rule that businesses shipping merchandise to a state where it doesn’t have a physical presence don’t have to collect the state’s sales tax. That’s been a big plus for online shoppers and many of the merchants who do business on the internet. The case scheduled for a hearing Tuesday comes as more than 40 states ask the high court to reconsider the rule, saying they’re losing out on billions of dollars in tax revenue each year.

U.S. Retail Sales Rebounded a Solid 0.6 Percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumers bounced back in March and bought more cars, furniture and appliances after three months of declining retail sales.

The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose 0.6 percent last month, the largest increase since November. Auto sales jumped 2 percent, the most in six months.

Retail sales slipped in the first two months of the year as consumers pulled back after heavy spending during the year-end shopping season. Last month’s figures suggest Americans are returning to more free-spending ways. Economists predict that healthy consumer confidence, steady job gains and the impact of tax cuts will fuel solid spending growth in the months ahead.

Sales rose at grocery stores, restaurants and drug stores. They fell at home and garden stores, clothing shops and sporting goods stores.