Apple stores add cool new summer class for kids
Apple is training the next generation of coders — in its stores.
The company is expanding its Apple Camp workshops to include a course designed to teach children the basics of coding, Techcrunch reported.
The “Coding Games and Programming Robots” course, open to children ages 8 to 12, will also allow kids to program Sphero robots.
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Fast-fashion giant profit slides; remains upbeat about store growth
H&M isn’t letting a weak second quarter performance stand in the way of its ambitious expansion plans.
The Swedish retailer’s profit in the quarter, which ended May 31, fell 17% to 5.357 billion Swedish kronor ($649.6 million), according to MarketWatch, as unusually cool weather dimmed sales of spring clothing and a strong U.S. dollar added to its costs. The strong dollar will have a negative impact on purchasing costs for the third quarter and a neutral effect in the fourth, the chain said.
Sales increased 2% to 54.34 billion Swedish kronor ($6.56 billion). Sales rose 1% in the United States, which is H&M’s second largest market after Germany.
H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson was upbeat in comments released with the company’s second quarter results.
“The combination of strong brands, a large body of retail stores in good locations and a successful e-commerce business puts us in a unique market position for future growth,” he said. “Although e-commerce is growing fast, there is still great potential for the H&M group to continue to expand through physical stores – so for us, our continued focus is to grow both through physical stores and online, as well as to integrate these two sales channels.”
The retailer plans a net addition of some 425 new stores in 2016, with an emphasis on growth in China and the United States. It also will enter New Zealand and Cyprus in the fall.
Next year we plan to open four or five new H&M markets, of which Colombia will be one,” said Persson.
NRF not happy with proposed replacement to Affordable Care Act
The National Retail Federation has some big concerns about a plan unveiled Wednesday by House Republican leadership to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“We see parts that we like, such as repealing the employer mandate and the ACA’s definition of 30 hours a week as full-time rather than 40, but other pieces need significant work,” said NRF VP for health care policy Neil Trautwein. “We are greatly concerned by the proposal to cap the employee exclusion from taxable income for employer-provided health benefits. For employees, this will amount to a tax on a portion of their benefits, thus reducing their total compensation.”
Given that employers are in no position to compensate with higher wages, Trautwein said, unhappy employees are a likely result.
“Any human resource manager can readily testify as to how sensitive employees are to the slightest change in benefits,” he said. “Policymakers should look elsewhere – medical providers, for example – to address rising health care costs.”
While retailers agree with the Republican’s vision of a competition-driven private health care market, employer-based health benefits are the source of coverage for 175 million Americans, and care must be taken to preserve this foundation, Trautwein noted.