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Business - Chicago Tribune

Business news from the Chicago Tribune. Get money tips, stock market updates and the latest Chicago business news.

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:07:46 -0600

Copyright: ©2017 Chicago Tribune

No unauthorized immigrants? Manufacturing, hospitality workforces would struggle

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:34:00 PST

Abigail Alvarado has spent most of her 5½ years in the U.S. on assembly lines preparing the frozen pizzas and packaged sandwiches shoppers find in their grocery stores.

Until recently, the 26-year-old hadn't feared being sent back to her native Veracruz, Mexico.

But the incoming Trump administration...


How parents can survive the $233,610 cost of raising a child

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:45:00 PST

A baby is a bundle of joy, but get ready if you are starting a family: Raising that little person also will cost you a bundle.

If you have a baby, expect to spend $233,610 over the next 18 years as you pay for everything from diapers to the extra room in your house or apartment, according to a...


How should Trump help Chicago companies? Execs share ideas

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 09:38:00 PST

Defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Appoint more outsiders to the administration.

Expand funding for electric grid modernization.

Those were among the suggestions offered by Chicago-area business people when the Chicago Tribune asked them to offer one idea for President-elect Donald...


Trump Tower in Chicago, and what it could mean for the Donald's presidency

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:23:00 PST

With Donald Trump taking office Friday, your humble critic deconstructs the president-elect's tallest skyscraper, the 98-story Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, and muses on what it means for his upcoming presidency. Building Trump Tower: A timelapse THE SPIRE: Don't try to tell him what...(image)

Like it or not, mega-mergers must deal with Trump

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 07:14:16 PST

Wall Street, which has been pretty upbeat about Donald Trump's presidential election, is starting to realize that his administration could also be a downer, especially when it comes to approving corporate mega-mergers.

At stake are mammoth transactions including the $85 billion marriage of AT&T...


Cubs strike long-term sponsorship deal with Beam Suntory

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:50:00 PST

Move over Jack, Jim Beam is taking your spot at Wrigley Field.

The Chicago Cubs and spirits giant Beam Suntory announced a long-term sponsorship deal Thursday, making Beam the official spirits partner of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The partnership is in the ballpark of seven figures annually and...


Is Trump steering automakers?

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 08:09:00 PST

DETROIT -- The auto industry's biggest players have gathered at the North American International Auto Show, as they do every January, to showcase their latest electric vehicles, SUVs and pickup trucks. This year, however, the cars varnish over a deepening unease about the industry's standing with...


Bow Truss closes Chicago locations as coffee chain fails to pay many employees

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:50:00 PST

All local locations of Bow Truss, the Chicago-based upscale coffee roaster and cafe chain, were closed Thursday as the business scrambled to pay employees and rent.

Founder Phil Tadros confirmed nine Chicago locations closed this week, and said he’s working to find funding and potential partners...


Head of U. of C. Medicine's long-sought trauma center: Violence is 'disease'

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 03:17:00 PST

Headlines surrounding the gun violence on Chicago's South Side would be a deterrent for most people intrigued about a job opportunity in the neighborhood.

But for Dr. Selwyn Rogers, the South Side's troubles were part of his attraction to working there as the first head of University of Chicago...


Crisis communication firms are early beneficiaries of Trump presidency

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 04:28:00 PST

The manual on how to manage a company's reputation is being rewritten, one tweet from the president-elect at a time.

When Donald Trump fires off a tweet, the world watches and the stock market moves. The phenomenon has started the phones ringing at some crisis communication firms, as companies...


As department stores exit, mall makeovers begin

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 06:44:00 PST

As big-name retailers prepare to close hundreds of stores this year, many traditional shopping malls and the communities where they reside face a disturbing dilemma: What to do with all that empty space?

For healthier malls, it may come down to cutting deals with new types of retail tenants. But...


Victor Lownes, helped create Playboy Clubs, dies at 88

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:54:00 PST

Hugh Hefner may have launched Playboy magazine, but Victor Lownes came up with one of the keys to its success.

Lownes, who joined Playboy in 1955 as marketing director when the Chicago-based publication was struggling to make a success out of its racy photographs of beautiful women, helped groom...


Hyatt marketing chief says Airbnb threat is overblown

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:48:00 PST

Maryam Banikaram calls herself a "walking idea." That's why companies across several industries have hired her as a marketing "fixer" — the person who helps re-envision and rehab big brands.

The Iranian-born global chief marketing officer of Hyatt Hotels Corp. wanted to be a foreign correspondent...


VW pleads guilty, agrees to pay $4.3 billion to settle U.S. case; 5 more charged

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:10:00 PST

Volkswagen took a major step toward resolving one of the darkest chapters in its history Wednesday, pleading guilty to an emissions-cheating scandal and agreeing to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil charges as the U.S. announced charges against five new individuals.

As part of its settlement,...


Kraft Heinz CEO shopping for a home in Chicago

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:38:00 PST

Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees is planning to leave his posh 8,000-square-foot, 7.5-acre estate in the hills of Pittsburgh in hopes of finding a new home in Chicago.

But a company spokesman said the executive's move doesn't mean the maker of Kraft Mac & Cheese and Heinz Ketchup will be pulling up...


Matt's Cookies plays up simple ingredients in a bid to grow again

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:09:00 PST

It's hard to miss the ingredients listed on the new packaging for Matt's Cookies. Relatively few and easily pronounced, they are emblazoned in large letters on the back of the package.

The message Matt's Cookies hopes to convey: Our cookies are made with real stuff.

Emphasizing that point in the...


Walgreens, FedEx to offer package pickup and drop-off at pharmacies

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 08:48:00 PST

By the end of next year, most Walgreens customers will be able to pick up prescriptions and packages in a single stop.

To accommodate a growing number of e-commerce packages — particularly for customers who can't easily have orders shipped to their homes — Deerfield-based Walgreens will let customers...


United bumping up retirement date for 747 fleet

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:04:00 PST

United Airlines is bumping up the retirement date of its Boeing 747 aircraft.

The iconic jumbo jet will make its final United flight in the last three months of the year, airline President Scott Kirby wrote in a letter to employees Wednesday.

That's about a year earlier than what United announced...


Cook County leaders urge Obamacare sign-ups as Republicans plan teardown

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:35:00 PST

Local leaders pleaded with Chicagoans on Tuesday to sign up for health insurance through Obamacare — and to speak out in support of the health care law — as Republican leaders in Congress continued their promises to tear it down.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Democratic U.S. Rep....


RedEye reboots as weekly entertainment publication

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:29:28 PST

RedEye, the Chicago Tribune's 15-year-old free daily commuter newspaper, is shifting to a weekly format with a focus on food and entertainment.

Beginning in February, RedEye will be published on Thursdays only, putting its "Eat. Drink. Do." feature at the center of what it bills as a weekend planning...


Chicago investment firm wins big bankrolling other people's lawsuits

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 13:18:00 PST

When Chicago investment firm Gerchen Keller Capital launched in 2013, it carved out an unusual and controversial niche — bankrolling multimillion-dollar commercial lawsuits in return for a share of any judgment or settlement.

It was a gamble that paid off big for Gerchen Keller, now a major player...


Judge gives jet car owner green light to sue Museum of Science and Industry

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 05:55:00 PST

It's full speed ahead for a lawsuit filed against the Museum of Science and Industry for allegedly damaging a record-setting jet car on display for 50 years.

A Chicago federal judge last week ruled that Craig Breedlove can move forward with his claim the museum caused more than $395,000 in damage...


Obama's economic legacy: Big bailouts that worked

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 05:29:00 PST

The end of Barack Obama's presidency is near, exemplified Tuesday by his farewell address at McCormick Place, but the historical assessment of his legacy is just beginning.

Overall, I think history will determine that during his eight years in office, President Obama did a pretty solid job of overseeing...


Trunk Club founder, CEO leaving apparel e-tailer

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 15:01:00 PST

Brian Spaly, who founded Chicago e-tailer Trunk Club and stayed as its CEO after selling to Nordstrom less than three years ago, is leaving the company, Nordstrom said Monday.

His exit follows Nordstrom's announcement two months ago that it would take a $197 million impairment charge on Trunk Club,...


Illinois companies warn of more than 600 layoffs

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 11:35:00 PST

The closure of Trunk Club's distribution center on Goose Island and the shuttering of a River North gym contribute to more than 600 layoffs expected in Illinois in the coming months, according to notices filed with the state in December.

Trunk Club, a Chicago-based tech company that ships customers...


Should Illinois hospitals have to pay property taxes? Court will weigh question

Sun, 8 Jan 2017 10:13:00 PST

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes — but not for many Illinois hospitals that don't have to pay property taxes to their local communities.

A case set to go before the state Supreme Court on Thursday is challenging the law that allows Illinois' not-for-profit hospitals to...


UnitedHealth Group to buy Deerfield's Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 11:42:14 PST

UnitedHealth Group has agreed to buy Deerfield-based Surgical Care Affiliates in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

UnitedHealth Group's OptumCare business, which specializes in primary and urgent care, plans to combine with Surgical Care Affiliates, an operator of 205 outpatient surgical facilities...


Sephora to close store at The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 11:09:00 PST

Three stores on a single half-mile stretch of the Magnificent Mile was too much even for cosmetics giant Sephora.

Sephora is closing its store at The Shops at North Bridge at 520 N. Michigan Ave. on Jan. 15 and directing customers to its new flagship, which opened in August at 605 N. Michigan.


Illinois EDGE jobs program could see new life

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 15:52:00 PST

Illinois' premier jobs program could see new life under an amendment filed Friday by an Illinois House Democrat.

The amendment seeks to extend the EDGE program, short for Economic Development for a Growing Economy, through the end of April. The program, which provides tax breaks for companies that...


Turning 65 this year? Don't overlook these 3 steps

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 15:10:00 PST

If you will be turning 65 this year and plan to keep working, you have essential money decisions to make that can't be ignored.

The arrival of your 65th birthday requires that you take specific steps so you don't get in trouble with the government on Medicare rules and face fines later. And the...


Chicago food trucks could get longer serving hours, rules compromise after court loss

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 14:47:00 PST

The new year could bring food trucks in Chicago a little breathing room.

In early December, the future of the mobile food industry in Chicago appeared bleak. A food truck owner lost a four-year court battle to overturn parts of regulations voted in by the City Council that set strict rules on where...


Food stamp program faces uncertain future as power shifts in Washington

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 08:50:00 PST

After the storms of April 2013 flooded Illinois rivers, destroying homes and businesses throughout the Chicago area, more than $21 million in temporary food stamp benefits flowed into the state.

Those short-term food stamp benefits helped feed more than 50,000 people in Illinois for 30 days, according...


Yolk's owner considers smaller-scale, 'express' versions of breakfast chain

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 07:17:00 PST

Yolk founder Taki Kastanis tried to do something different with his life than the generations before him. But the family business — restaurants — kept luring him back.

After a childhood spent under counters at his grandmother's restaurant in Lakeview, in adulthood he felt the pull to start one...


From private jets and fast food to deregulation, Trump will usher in new era

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 05:03:00 PST

Every U.S. presidential administration is a pacesetter, and the same will be true for the incoming Trump administration.

Here are business-related trends, large and small, that could end up being considered either "in" or "out" during Donald Trump's regime, which begins with his Jan. 20 presidential...


Chicago bars have mocktails at the ready as Dry January catches on

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 11:04:00 PST

A month without drinking can feel long and arduous to some, especially when that month is January in Chicago.

The days are short, the cold is unrelenting and a cocktail or two might seem like a good cure for the winter blues. Yet five years after Dry January launched in England, it's catching on...


Chicago's tourist tally hits record 54.1 million visitors in 2016

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 14:57:00 PST

A record 54.1 million people visited Chicago last year, bolstered by increased numbers of vacationers and business travelers, the city said Thursday.

The 2.9 percent increase over 2015 came despite Chicago's place in national headlines and social media — including tweets by President-elect Donald...


Sears sells Craftsman brand to Stanley in deal that could top $1 billion

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 13:50:45 PST

Sears Holdings will sell its well-known Craftsman tools brand to Stanley Black & Decker, the latest in a recent flurry of moves the retailer is making to generate cash after at least five money-losing years.

The agreement announced Thursday calls for Stanley to pay $525 million when the deal closes...


Ford to build new hybrid police cars at Southeast Side plant

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 14:08:00 PST

Ford's plans to roll out two hybrid police vehicles will bring new production — and perhaps renovation — to its venerable assembly plant on Chicago's Southeast Side.

The automaker announced this week that one of two "pursuit-rated" police hybrids will be built at the Torrence Avenue plant, Ford's...


Uber slow to fix wheelchair-accessibility woes

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 05:50:00 PST

Every company, young or old, faces a defining moment that shows what type of corporate citizen it's going to be. In Chicago, ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies is fast approaching such a flashpoint as it determines how to serve an important customer constituency, people who require wheelchair...


To buy or rent? In the Chicago area, both press the limits of affordability

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 22:05:00 PST

Families trying to decide whether they would be better off buying or renting a three-bedroom home in the Chicago area face a tough decision: Both renting and buying require more for monthly payments than what the average wage-earner in the region can afford, according to a study released Thursday...


Abbott finalizes acquisition of St. Jude, boosting cardiovascular business

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 14:27:00 PST

Abbott officially closed its $25 billion acquisition of medical device company St. Jude Medical on Wednesday — cementing a deal that promises to make cardiovascular and chronic pain management key parts of Abbott's business.

The purchase of Minnesota-based St. Jude was approved about a week ago...


Sears CEO lends retailer more money, tab exceeds $1 billion

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 12:47:00 PST

Sears Holdings is again tapping the pockets of CEO Edward Lampert.

The Hoffman Estates-based retailer said Wednesday that affiliates of Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, agreed to loan the company up to $500 million, backed by mortgages on Sears' properties, to fund operations while it works...


Macy's in Bloomingdale among 68 set to close by spring

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 14:54:00 PST

A Macy's store in west suburban Bloomingdale is one of 68 the retailer will close by this spring.

In August, Macy's announced plans to close about 100 stores, a cost-cutting move made as customers' shopping habits change and sales shift online, but the retailer didn't specify which stores would...


Chicago's Honey Butter Fried Chicken signs on to 'sanctuary restaurant' movement

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 14:59:02 PST

Chicago's Honey Butter Fried Chicken is among a couple of dozen restaurants across the country to sign onto a new "sanctuary restaurant" movement meant to offer safe workplaces for immigrants, Muslims and other communities they feel are under threat in the current political climate.

The movement...


Presidential Towers Wal-Mart to close at the end of the month

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 13:26:51 PST

A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store at the Presidential Towers apartment complex in the West Loop will close at the end of the month, Wal-Mart said Wednesday.

The store, which opened in 2011, was the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain's first Chicago Neighborhood Market — a smaller, grocery-focused...


Restaurant menu prices to stay high in 2017, but discounts will abound

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 05:18:00 PST

Sorry, diners: Although restaurants got pushback for raising menu prices in 2016, they aren't expected to cave in and lower them this year.

But there's a silver lining. Promotions and deals on meals may be more widespread, which means eagle-eyed diners still can grab a bargain if they can find...


Goose Island's Clybourn brewpub closing for 5-month renovation

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 06:18:00 PST

With a hulking mahogany bar at its core serving beer made mere feet away, Goose Island's Clybourn Avenue brewpub was revolutionary when it opened in 1988. It was one of just three breweries in the Chicago area.

Though the brewery has reliably produced world-class beer during the 28 years since,...


Midway beats out O'Hare on list of on-time airports

Wed, 4 Jan 2017 10:52:00 PST

Midway Airport beat out O'Hare International Airport when it came to on-time air travel in 2016, according to analysts at OAG, which tracks timeliness in airlines and airports around the world.

Midway, with an on-time performance rate of 81.33 percent in 2016, ranked 19th on OAG's list of the 20...


Closed Ravenswood Sears store to be redeveloped into apartments, retail space

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 15:03:00 PST

Chicago developer Springbank Capital Advisors has purchased the old Sears store in Ravenswood and plans to turn it into a $30 million apartment and retail complex, said David Trandel, chairman and chief executive of Springbank.

The building at 1900 W. Lawrence Avenue was closed last summer by Hoffman...


Hot neighborhoods poised to see growth among modest home price forecast

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 07:00:00 PST

Chicago homeowners who have been waiting for real estate values to bounce back to the levels they were at before the housing crash probably will continue to be frustrated in 2017, although a couple of hot neighborhoods are poised to see appreciation.

On average, home prices in the Chicago area...


How will the workplace change under Trump? Here are a few clues, issues

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 04:09:00 PST

The incoming Trump administration could make numerous changes that affect the workplace, and while it's anyone's guess what shape those changes will take, the president-elect's Cabinet picks and campaign rhetoric offer some clues.

Here are six workplace issues to watch in 2017.

E-Verify. A chief...


Ford cancels Mexico factory and will invest in Michigan in 'vote of confidence' for Trump plans

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 10:09:00 PST

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it was scrapping plans to build a $1.6-billion factory in Mexico and would invest $700 million to expand a Michigan plant to build electric and autonomous vehicles that will add 700 jobs there in a move Ford’s chief executive said was a “vote of confidence” in the economic...


For local business, it's 'Anxious New Year!'

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:25:08 PST

As a new business year begins, some of the area's brand-name companies and major local employers are in a state of conflict.

For the most part, these enterprises expect to earn steady annual revenues and profits while also being increasingly vexed by a series of issues and challenges in 2017.



Former students fight for a stake in ITT Educational Services bankruptcy

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 09:59:00 PST

Creditors, federal regulators, state attorneys general and jilted employees of ITT Educational Services have laid claim to the remaining assets of one of the nation's largest for-profit college operators in bankruptcy court. Absent from the line of those seeking redress, however, are the thousands...


Here's how banks work to boost your overdraft fees

Sun, 1 Jan 2017 03:00:00 PST

Nearly 40% of the biggest U.S. banks surveyed order transactions in a way that leads to increased overdrafts, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Pew analyzed 44 of the 50 biggest U.S. banks and found that 18 of them process debit transactions — purchases, payments and withdrawals...


10 Chicago businesspeople to watch in 2017

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 09:55:00 PST

The CEO of a major health system in Illinois. A soon-to-be former secretary of commerce. An Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive on a mission to diversify the city's tech scene. Each will take on new challenges in 2017 that make them among the Chicago businesspeople worth watching. Here...


Chicago to get more hotel rooms in 2017 - perhaps too many

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 15:20:00 PST

Chicago will host more major conventions in 2017, but the local hotel market could still find itself tested with as many as 3,000 additional guest rooms coming online, raising concern about oversupply.

When the books are closed on 2016, the hotel occupancy rate likely will be 74.5 percent, down...


In 2016 stocks were hot, but bonds were not

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 13:14:00 PST

2016 was a delightful year for almost anyone with money in the U.S. stock market and cruel to people who thought they'd be safe with bonds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average came close to 20,000 after breaking record after record for new highs following Donald Trump's election. Although the Dow...


Checkbooks headed for extinction? Not so fast

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 13:28:00 PST

Despite the ease of paying with a tap on a smartphone or swipe of a credit card, Americans don't appear ready to ditch their checkbooks just yet.

For the first time since Americans began abandoning checks for other forms of payments in the mid-1990s, the decline in check usage has slowed, according...


Another lawsuit says some McDonald's value meals are no-value rip-offs

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:00:00 PST

Another Chicago-area patron of the Golden Arches is suing a McDonald's franchisee for deceptive trade practices and claiming that some Extra Value Meals actually cost more than buying the items a la carte.

Eleven cents — that's the added cost of buying a McDonald's Sausage Burrito Extra Value Meal...


Chicago penthouses were hot in 2016. What does luxury real estate have in store for 2017?

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 07:42:00 PST

With 2016 drawing to a close, it's a good time to look back on some of the Chicago area's biggest residential real estate transactions of the year — and to take a look at what might be on tap for 2017.

The biggest deals in the city

The Chicago area didn't have as many $10 million-plus sales in...


College career services offices are no longer last stop for soon-to-be grads

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 05:27:00 PST

Alicia Mendoza was working two part-time jobs when she transferred into Northeastern Illinois University. Swamped with work, school and a daily commute, bolstering her resume with something extra was the last thing on her mind.

She thought getting good grades was enough to land her a job after...


Robert L. Hulseman, Chicago-area creator of famed red Solo Cup, dies at 84

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 11:03:00 PST

Small plastic cups spanning a spectrum of colors covered the kitchen table, and a gaggle of kids gathered around. Robert Hulseman was trying to nail down the colors for his newly invented plastic Solo Cup.

"The (research and development) lab for the family business was our kitchen table," said...


Surge in Chicago rents may be starting to ease

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:00:00 PST

After experiencing a painful surge in rents during the last six years, Chicago tenants finally are getting a break.

Rents have dropped in areas of downtown where there has been massive new construction of luxury high-rise apartment buildings, and rents are rising only modestly throughout the metropolitan...


Professor says UIC forced him to teach statistics because he is Asian

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:30:00 PST

An international relations professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago has filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging he was discriminated against because he is from Korea.

Seung-Whan Choi's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, claims that after the Korean-born U.S....


Experts (and a comedian) offer workplace advice for the new year

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:00:00 PST

I like to wrap up each year by handing the column reins to some of the fine folks I've interviewed over the past 12 months and letting them share forward-looking advice.

My sincere thanks to all of them and to the many others who helped me navigate workplace issues in 2016.

And I thank all of you...


Cricket Wireless president expanding beyond Chicago base

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 06:54:49 PST

Cricket Wireless, a leading prepaid mobile service provider, is starting to make more noise in the Chicago market, moving beyond the city and its traditional credit-challenged customer base.

Acquired by AT&T in 2014, Cricket is adding stores from Central Illinois to Wisconsin, and touting cutting-edge...


Trump seeks credit for 5,000 Sprint jobs already touted

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 09:56:00 PST

President-elect Donald Trump sought credit for Sprint's commitment to create or bring back 5,000 jobs that the carrier says are part of broader U.S. hiring plans previously announced by Japan-based parent SoftBank Group Corp.

Trump said SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son was among those behind the...


With a cue from Apple, Mag Mile retail expands south

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 14:05:39 PST

The Magnificent Mile's retail corridor is expanding south on Michigan Avenue, and Apple is paving the way with its new store, targeted to open in October.

The $27 million store is being built along the southern border of Pioneer Court at 401 N. Michigan, with its entrance overlooking the riverwalk....


Online shopping makes it easier for consumers, but returns are still a hassle

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 15:40:00 PST

Holiday shoppers who enjoyed the convenience of fulfilling wish lists with a simple click of the "buy" button are learning this week that the return process for online purchases can still be a hassle.

E-commerce purchases can be made with little effort, but shoppers say the returns are almost never...


Looking back at 2016: From Cubs to Trump, it's been a wild year

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 07:19:00 PST

With the tumultuous 2016 coming to a close, it's an apt time to revisit business events, large and small, that were highlighted in this column.

Some stories have come to a close while others are merely ramping up for 2017.

Here's an update:

Trump vs. Boeing. One of this year's biggest, and perhaps...


Abbott gets green light from regulators on St. Jude acquisition

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 14:43:00 PST

Federal regulators greenlighted Abbott Laboratories' $25 billion purchase of St. Jude Medical on Tuesday after the companies agreed to divest two medical device businesses.

Abbott, based in north suburban Abbott Park, will sell the product lines to Tokyo-based Terumo Corp. to settle Federal Trade...


Illinois hospitals warily watching politics, court rulings in 2017

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 08:40:00 PST

Chicago-area hospitals are waiting.

They're waiting to see what Donald Trump does with Obamacare. They're anxious to see what a federal court decides in a case over a merger between two large Illinois hospital systems. They're closely watching the state Supreme Court in a case about whether not-for-profit...


VW windfall could help clean up dirty diesel trains at Union Station

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 03:54:00 PST

Commuters are still breathing high levels of toxic diesel pollution trapped inside Union Station, but long-stalled efforts to clean up Metra's fleet of dirty locomotives could get a big boost next year.

Illinois will collect nearly $98 million for anti-pollution projects from a federal legal settlement...


Suburbs look to opt out of Cook County sick time, minimum wage laws

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 04:17:00 PST

Cook County's looming minimum wage hike and paid sick time law have sparked the perpetual debates about whether such mandates help workers or hamstring employers and threaten jobs.

Now at least one community is doing more than debating — it has opted out. And other suburbs could follow suit.



As McDonald's looks forward, 'Founder' movie shows shadowy view of past

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 11:21:00 PST

Ray Kroc opened the first franchised McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines in 1955. More than six decades and 36,000 restaurants later, moviegoers will get a chance to see a dramatized version of the burger giant's beginning, and a portrayal of a complicated, driven salesman-turned-self-proclaimed...


Chicago bond expert: Markets will be tough to stomach in 'great unknown' 2017

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 09:44:00 PST

Since Donald Trump won the presidential election, the stock market has been on a tear and bond investors have been losing money.

In less than two months, stocks have surged 6 percent in what's being called the "Trump rally." With people losing money in typically safe U.S. Treasury bonds and hoping...


No time for an eye exam? RV clinic brings exams to Chicago offices

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 12:36:00 PST

A group of savvy businesses are figuring out what cubicle dwellers already know: It can be tough to duck out of work for routine medical appointments. So providers are bringing the office to them.

The latest to set its sights on the Chicago market is 2020 On-site, a Boston company that recently...


Home for the holidays? Talk with aging parents about money

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 12:13:00 PST

When you open the door and greet your mother or father during the holidays, it's probably not a good idea to follow the hug with: "Gee, you're looking old."

And here's another idea that might not play well either, but it's worth a try: During some quiet moment with a parent or parents, adult children...


United focusing on domestic business, targeted fares in 2017

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

After years of focusing on its international flights, United will turn its attention to domestic routes in 2017.

The course correction is one of several developments for United as CEO Oscar Munoz embarks on what essentially will be his first full calendar year on the job.

Munoz took over as CEO...


Former Costco employee awarded $250,000 over customer's alleged harassment

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 14:03:00 PST

A federal jury has ordered Costco Wholesale Corp. to pay $250,000 to a former employee who alleged the retailer failed to protect her from a customer's sexual harassment at a suburban Chicago store.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit in federal court in Chicago...


Emanuel emails show push to lure PayPal, reluctance to 'bash' United

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:57:00 PST

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is just as bullish on Chicago business in private emails as he is in public.

Under pressure from a pair of open records lawsuits, the mayor on Wednesday turned over about 2,700 pages of emails from his personal accounts that his attorney determined were government-related.



Highs and lows, from drug prices to VW: The top national business stories of 2016

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:15:00 PST

Scandals at Volkswagen and Wells Fargo, a new pharma villain, a soaring stock market, an exploding smart phone and a billionaire president-elect were among the most talked-about national business stories this year.

Here are the Tribune's top 10 selections:

Pharma prices: Mylan CEO Heather Bresch...


Trump tweets, baseball fever, Oreos and more: Chicago's top business stories of 2016

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 08:02:00 PST

President-elect Donald Trump's market-moving tweets, McDonald's plan to pull up stakes for the city and the rush to buy anything with a Cubs logo on it were among the most talked-about Chicago business stories this year.

Here are the Tribune's top 10 local business stories of 2016:

McDonald's McShake-up...


Trump suggests he would ditch F-35 in favor of alternate F-18 from Boeing

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:44:00 PST

President-elect Donald Trump piled on fresh criticism of the Pentagon's most sophisticated aircraft on Thursday, suggesting that he might abandon the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in favor of a cheaper plane due to high costs.

In a message on Twitter, Trump said that cost overruns in Lockheed Martin's...


How Trump and an Obamacare rollback could affect the growing gig economy in 2017

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

If you're accustomed to traditional employment — a steady biweekly paycheck, reliable health benefits and a 401(k) with company match — Gabby Golub's patchwork of jobs might send you into a panic.

Golub cobbles together a living chauffeuring passengers through the ride-hailing app Lyft, working...


Ikea to settle for $50 million after toppled dressers kill 3 young boys

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 05:36:00 PST

The world's largest furniture seller, Ikea, bills itself as "The Life Improvement Store." But after its products caused three deaths, the Swedish company will pay $50 million to the families of three young boys. The children, no older than two years old, died when Ikea dressers toppled over with...


Obamacare enrollment up in Illinois, U.S. despite fears about program's future

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 04:53:00 PST

Despite Obamacare's shaky future, more Illinois residents signed up for health insurance through the law's exchange this year than last, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

This year, 247,818 people in Illinois signed up on the exchange by the Dec. 19 deadline to purchase...


Pregnancy centers win early victory against Illinois abortion info law

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:19:01 PST

The state of Illinois cannot, for now, force a group of clinics that refuse to perform abortions to direct patients to doctors who will do the procedure, a state judge has ruled.

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Eugene Doherty issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday in favor of a handful of clinics...


Five urban farming projects in Chicago to watch in 2017

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 05:47:00 PST

Come spring, a new urban farm is expected to take root in Lawndale with a groundbreaking for a $3.5 million year-round facility.

The Farm on Ogden, as it will be called, is a partnership between Lawndale Christian Health Center and Windy City Harvest, Chicago Botanic Garden's urban farming program...


Chicago-area home sales, prices record double-digit gains in November

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 07:28:00 PST

Existing-home sales in the Chicago area reversed course and jumped higher in November, helped by rising mortgage interest rates that created a sense of urgency among homebuyers.

In the nine-county Chicago area, November sales increased 16 percent year-over-year and prices rose 10.3 percent to a...


Amazon's Aurora distribution center deal may be one of the last under EDGE program

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:54:00 PST

Amazon is bringing two more distribution centers to the Chicago area with the promise of more than 1,000 jobs in Aurora, thanks in part to nearly $12.9 million in new corporate tax breaks through a state jobs program that soon may be overhauled.

It's the latest in a set of tax breaks that potentially...


Walgreens, Rite Aid shed 865 stores in bid to close $9.4B deal

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:02:00 PST

Walgreens and Rite Aid will sell 865 stores to rival retailer Fred's for $950 million, potentially removing the final roadblock thwarting a tie up between the nation's largest and third-largest drugstore chains.

Wall Street certainly saw it that way, sending shares of all three companies higher...


Four Rogers Park apartment buildings sell for $20 million

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:05:00 PST

A North Side property management firm has paid $20 million for four apartment buildings in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, with plans to renovate the units and standardize management.

Winnemac Properties bought the buildings from Ansonia Properties in a deal that closed Dec. 15, said Lee Kiser,...


Under pressure, major retailers ditch on-call scheduling

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 08:53:00 PST

In recent years, many retail and restaurant chains have turned to on-call scheduling, a practice in which employees must be prepared to come in for a shift, but could find out at the last minute that they don't have to report to work.

It's a strategy that helps companies keep a lid on costs but...


For-profit woes shrink college population

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:38:00 PST

Problems in the beleaguered for-profit college industry are shrinking the ranks of college students.

Plummeting enrollment at for-profit colleges drove a 270,000-person decline in the number of undergraduate and graduate students across the U.S. this fall, and Illinois was among the hardest-hit...


Ending the year with unused vacation days? You're not alone

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 07:05:00 PST

If you're leaving vacation days on the table this year, you're not alone.

More than half of people who get paid vacation time won't use all their days off this year, and it's often not just one or two wasted days. A report from New York-based found the average amount of leftover days...


As 'Trump rally' roars, investors favoring passive funds

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 13:19:00 PST

Amid what's become known as the "Trump rally," investors in November poured more money into passively managed mutual funds and exchange traded funds than at any time in almost two years.

Investors placed an estimated $41.9 billion into so-called passively managed stock funds, or funds that invest...


These three U.S. companies moved jobs to Mexico. Here's why

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 06:00:00 PST

Brake Parts Inc. had manufactured brake calipers at a factory in the Central Valley community of Chowchilla for nearly 30 years, but a company executive said pressure was growing to reduce costs as competitors moved their factory work to Mexico.

About a year ago, employees got the bad news: Operations...


If you have employer health insurance, an Obamacare repeal will affect you too

Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:39:00 PST

One of the first things Tracy Trovato did — once she overcame the shock of learning her 42-year-old, marathon-training husband had leukemia — was look through their health insurance documents.

She dug up one paper that said the plan would pay no more than $1 million for medical services in a lifetime....