Business Briefs – April 9, 2019

Putin Outlines Ambitious Arctic Expansion Program

PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) – President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia’s footholdin the Arctic, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet.

Speaking at the Arctic forum in St. Petersburg attended by leaders of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Putin said that Russia plans to dramatically increase cargo shipments across the Arctic sea route.

He said that the amount of cargo carried across the shipping lane is set to increase from 20 million metric tons last year to 80 million tons in 2025.

Retailers Try to Lure Customers With Free Uber Rides

NEW YORK (AP) – While shoppers are getting everything from morning coffee to complete work wardrobes delivered to their homes, some businesses are working with ride-hailing company Uber to entice customers through their doors.

Uber launched a voucher program Tuesday that enables companies like Westfield Mall and TGI Fridays to dole out free or discounted rides to customers, offering a way for retailers to counter declining foot traffic heightened by the growth of online shopping. Retail traffic has declined 2.3% over the last two years, according to Cowen Equity Research. Malls in particular have experienced a drop-off.

France Softens Stance Ahead of May Plea for New Brexit Delay

BRUSSELS (AP) – Tough-guy France softened its stance Tuesday and showed willingness to accept yet another delay in the long-awaited Brexit, diminishing the chances that Britain would crash out of the European Union this week without any future plan.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May still has a rough day ahead of her as she heads to an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday to plead for a new Brexit extension — for the second time in three weeks. Such gatherings aren’t getting any friendlier.

With nearly everyone fully resigned to Britain’s departure from the European Union, two questions took center stage Tuesday: How — and when — to get the U.K. politely out the door.

Boeing Orders and Deliveries Tumble as Max Jet Is Grounded

DALLAS (AP) – Boeing failed to win any orders for its 737 Max airliner in March as scrutiny of the plane increased following a second deadly crash in less than five months.

Deliveries of finished Max jets also tumbled, to 11 from 26 in February. That was not surprising: Boeing suspended deliveries in mid-March after regulators around the world ordered the plane grounded.

Boeing’s report Tuesday on orders and deliveries came just three days after the company announced that it will cut production of 737s from 52 a month to 42. Meanwhile, airlines that own the nearly 400 grounded Max jets are canceling flights.

Bank of America Raising Hourly Minimum Wage to $20

NEW YORK (AP) – Bank of America plans to raise its starting pay to $20 an hour over a two-year period, the bank said Tuesday, starting with a hike next month.

The company, with more than 200,000 workers, said it is raising its minimum hourly wage to $17 on May 1 and will continue to increase pay until it hits $20 an hour in 2021. Bank of America raised its hourly minimum wage to $15 in 2017.

“If you get a job at Bank of America, you’ll make $41,000 per year,” Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said during a television interview on MSNBC.