<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usTue, 23 Aug 2016 22:08:44 -0500Tue, 23 Aug 2016 22:08:44 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Guests' Data May Have Been Hacked at Hotels]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/HotelHack-AP_16228457715731%281%29.jpg

Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott and Westin hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia may have been targeted by hackers for months. 

According to the hotel operator HEI Hotels & Resorts, malware put into place in at least 20 locations may have collected names, card account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes. 

Data from customers may have been collected from early December, through late June. At some properties, HEI said, data collection may have begun as early as March 2015 at hotel locations where people bought food or drinks. 

HEI said in a company release that "We are treating this matter as a top priority, and took steps to address and contain this incident promptly after it was discovered." 

HEI said that once it found out about the problem it transitioned payment card processing to a stand-alone system that's completely separate from the rest of its network. It disabled the malware and is in the process of reconfiguring various components of its network and payment systems to make them more secure. 

The company said it's continuing to cooperate with the law enforcement investigation and coordinating with banks and payment card companies. 

Anyone who used a card at HEI hotels in the given time frame should review their account statements and look for discrepancies or unusual activity, both over the past several months and going forward, the company said. Customers who notice anything out of place should contact their credit or debit card issuer.

Starwood's Westin hotels in Minneapolis; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia; Snowmass, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were affected. Also breached were Starwood properties in Arlington, Virginia; Manchester Village, Vermont; San Francisco; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee.

Customers may also visit www.heihotels.com/notice for additional information about the incident. 

The company says the breach has been contained and customers can safely use cards at all of its properties.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Macy's to Close 100 Stores Nationwide]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 08:06:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-530665646.jpg

Macy's announced Thursday plans close approximately 100 of its department stores, the latest effort to adapt to shifting consumer shopping patterns and more online competition, CNBC reported.

The 100 store closures are only the latest round of closures Macy's has done in recent years to cast off locations where profitability has waned. Macy's hasn't announced which locations will close. It currently operates 728 stores, including 675 of its traditional full-price locations.

Most of the 100 stores the company plans to close will be shuttered in early 2017, with the remainder shutting down as leases and other obligations expire or are waived. The locations of these stores will be released at a later date.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Japan Raided on Suspicion of Antitrust Practices]]> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 06:33:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-151368933.jpg

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has raided the offices of Amazon's local unit on suspicion of pressuring retailers to offer products at lower prices than on rival sites, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

The paper, which cited unidentified sources with knowledge of the case, did not say when the raid took place, NBC News reported.

A spokesman for the country's anti-monopoly watchdog agency said he could not confirm the report but added: "I won't say the contents are incorrect."

An Amazon Japan spokeswoman declined to comment.



Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Millennials Cause Home Ownership to Drop ]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 15:59:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/house_home_+for_sale_owner_generic.jpg

The nation’s home ownership rate fell to its all-time low, and could drop further in the months to come, NBC News reported. 

The rate fell to 62.9 percent, the same as it was in 1965, when the U.S. Census started tracking the metric.

The drop is largely due to a delay in home ownership by millennials, who are burdened by student loan debt and are delaying life choices like marriage and parenthood. They have the lowest ownership rate of their age group in history. 

"While the millennial home ownership rate continues to decline, it's important to note that the decrease could be just as likely due to new renter household formation as it is their ability to buy homes," wrote Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. "Certainly low inventory and affordability isn't helping their efforts to own, but moving out of their parents' basement and into a rental unit is also a good sign for the housing market." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:08:56 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[Facebook Beats Analyst Expectations in Second Quarter]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:32:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FacebookLogo3.jpg

Facebook beat Wall Street expectations, posting stronger earnings for the second-quarter, NBC News reported. 

The company reported $6.44 billion in revenue, according to a release posted at the end of the trading day. Analysts expected Facebook to earn $6.02 billion. The boost was due to strong user engagement and dominance in mobile and digital advertisements. 

The company reported 1.71 billion users. Daily active users were 1.13 billion on average for June 2016, amounting to a 17 percent increase year over year. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will now focus on expanding the community. 

"We have five billion people left to connect," Zuckerberg said. "The biggest thing we can do to help people and grow the business is to focus on improving and expanding this already dynamic and large community we have using the Facebook app."



Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA['Pokemon Go' Could Generate Billions For Apple: Analyst]]> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:50:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-546258766.jpg

Apple can thank the "Pokemon Go" phenomenon for the billions of sales expected to come into the company, CNBC reports.

Laura Martin, managing director of investment firm Needham & Co., estimates that the smartphone game could generate $3 billion in revenue for Apple in the next 12 to 24 months as the game expands into more countries.

Martin attributes Apple's success to its ecosystem business structure and other revenue generators such as the App Store.

"The next genius that makes a hit game, Apple shares on that one too. So while this one may be transitory, Apple has an option on all future hit games over the iOS platform," Martin said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[‘Cake Boss’ Star Scouts Chicago Bakery Locations]]> Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:50:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/carlos+bake+shop.jpg

"Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro continues to mesmerize fans with his masterpiece creations at bakeries around the country, but soon, those desserts could be made at a Chicago bakery.

A Carlo’s Bakery spokesperson said Friday that the team is scouting potential Chicago locations.

“[Valastro] goes to Chicago multiple times a year and I think Buddy can't travel anywhere without thinking of opening a bakery,” Nicole Valdes, Carlo’s spokesperson, said.

Valdes said Valastro has been thinking about opening a bakery in Chicago for quite some time.

If and when the bakery will open is not confirmed.

The Cake Boss is in Chicago for the TLC Summer Block Party at Soldier Field Saturday, where the network's fan-favorites will bring summer fun to the Windy City.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[10 Top Consumer Complaints of 2015]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 03:24:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/453295293.jpg

Phony IRS agents and other imposter scams topped the list of fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies last year, according to the latest report from the annual survey conducted by Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.

Thirty-three consumer agencies from 21 states participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints they received in 2015, the fastest-growing complaints, the worst complaints, new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ biggest achievements and challenges, and new laws that are needed to better protect consumers.

Scams of all types were cited as among the worst complaints reported to state and local consumer protection agencies last year. Another new problem that agencies mentioned is the use of iTunes gift cards as a method of payment. Once the scammers get the codes on the gift cards from the victims, they can use those cards to make purchases or sell them on gift-card resale websites.

The top complaints of 2015 were those most frequently cited by the agencies as the most common complaints they received last year.

1. Auto. Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes.

2. Home Improvement/Construction. Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job.

3. Utilities. Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service.

4. Credit/Debt. Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.

5. Retail Sales. False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver.

6. Services. Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform.

7. Landlord/Tenant. Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics.

8. Household Goods. Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances.

9. Health Products/Services. Misleading claims; unlicensed practitioners.

10. (Tie) Internet Sales. Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices, failure to deliver online purchases; Fraud. Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, imposter scams and other common frauds.

The top suggestion for new laws needed to better protect consumers was to ban forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. These clauses prevent consumers from taking legal action to enforce their rights and change company behavior. Other suggestions included free credit freezes for consumers on demand, stricter laws against Caller ID spoofing and robocalls, used car lemon laws, and stronger curbs on abusive debt collection.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stocks Higher as US Creates 287K Jobs in June]]> Fri, 08 Jul 2016 13:28:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/HiringSign-GettyImages-518572344.jpg

The U.S. economy added 287,000 jobs during the month of June, beating expectations and wowing investors, CNBC reported. 

Economists expected non-farm payrolls to jump by 175,000 for the month. The unemployment rate also came in above expectations at 4.9 percent. 

The news boosted European stocks, which closed higher Friday. U.S. markets also saw an increase on the news, but analysts aren’t convinced it will change the near-term outlook when it comes to the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates.

A hiring slowdown in the month of May and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom forced the Fed to keep interest rates on hold last month. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hershey's Board Rejects Bid From Mondelez]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:45:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/choco-94621201.jpg

Hershey's board of directors said Thursday it has unanimously rejected a bid by Mondelez to aquire the chocolate-giant in what would have united two of the world's largest candy-makers.

The company said in a statement that it turned down the offer from Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolate bars, after determining "that it provided no basis for further discussion between Mondelez and the company."

Hershey's stock hit a 52-week high intraday amid reports of the takeover bid.

People familiar with the matter say talks between two companies have been on-going. But, any deal would need to be approved by the trust that controls Hershey's through a special class of stock.

Although the Hershey Trust only owns 8.4 percent of the company's common stock, it controls 81 percent of its voting power.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty]]>
<![CDATA[US Stocks Closer Higher as UK Votes on Brexit Referendum]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 16:41:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/USStocks-AP_16172523107175.jpg

U.S. stocks closed more than 1 percent higher Thursday, on the heels of the U.K. vote to remain in the European Union, CNBC reported. 

The S&P 500 posted its highest close since June 9. Financial stocks, which are sensitive to the vote, gained 2.1 percent, leading all S&P 500 sectors higher.

The pound traded near $1.490, its highest since December. 

Polls closed in the U.K. at 5 p.m. ET, and the results are expected well after U.S. markets closed Thursday.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fed Chair Janet Yellen 'Hopeful' About Economic Growth]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:57:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JanetYellen-AP_16174565055178.jpg

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said she's hopeful for economic growth, NBC News reported. 

"We are seeing a pickup in growth. There's been a sharp increase in consumer spending," Yellen told the House Financial Services Committee. "I'm very hopeful that we will see a pickup in growth. We will be watching for that as we assess the economy."         

She also rejected the idea that monetary policy is tied to boosting Wall Street's equity values — in effect a "third pillar" to go along with the Fed's dual mandate of full employment and price stability. 

The Fed has kept its interest rate target close to zero, hiking just once in the last 10 years.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Citi Sues AT&T Over 'Thanks' Rights]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:16:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/citi-att-split-0616.jpg

AT&T is being sued for its plans to say “thanks” to its customers, Reuters reported.

Citigroup filed a trademark infringement suit in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan last week saying the telecom giant’s recently unveiled “AT&T thanks” program could cause confusion with the bank’s longstanding “thankyou” rewards program, according to Reuters.

Citi has held the trademark to the phrase “thankyou” since 2004 and said in the suit that AT&T was “knowing, intentional, and willful” when it announced the program on June 2.

Citigroup also owns the website domain thankyou.com and has credit cards co-branded with AT&T.

AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook told Reuters that Citigroup doesn’t “own the word ‘thanks’” and that the company plans to defend against the suit.

Citigroup declined to comment further to Reuters.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DQ to Open Up to 35 New Chicago-Area Restaurants: Report]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 21:24:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dairy+Queen.jpg

Dairy Queen reportedly plans to open up to 35 more restaurants in the Chicago area in the next five years.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, which cites Dairy Queen’s Vice President of U.S. Franchise Development Jim Kerr, the ice cream and burger chain hopes to begin opening the restaurants in the first half of 2017, targeting locations in the city and suburban Lake and Cook counties.

The chain, which was founded in Joliet and is now headquartered in Minnesota, already has a reported 145 locations in the metro area and more than 260 in Illinois. 

The locations of the new stores have not yet been identified, but Kerr told Crain’s “our interest in Cook and Lake is because of the density, and much of the area is just not served by our current footprint.” 

The report said Dairy Queen is looking in suburbs like Oak Park, Evanston and Rosemont as well as several neighborhoods in Chicago.



Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Amend a Tax Return]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 09:49:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/irs-building1.jpg

You are experiencing sweet satisfaction knowing that your taxes were filed on time. That is, until you realize that you took a deduction when you did not qualify for it, or forgot to claim an important tax credit that could save you hundreds of dollars.

There is no need to panic — simply amend your tax return in a timely matter using IRS Form 1040X. This form is used to make corrections in income, deductions or credits, number of exemptions, filing status, or health care coverage (insurance) status per the Affordable Care Act. It can also be used to capture issues from up to three years prior, such as claiming a retroactive refundable credit. Other situations, such as receiving a corrected Form 1095-A from the Health Insurance Marketplace, may need to be captured on a Form 1040X depending on the effect it has on your tax return (in other words, whether or not the change disqualified you from taking a tax credit that you claimed on your initial return).

Form 1040X should not be used for items such as math errors or missing forms. The IRS will correct math errors and send you a request if any missing form is needed to process your return. 1040X also does not apply to requesting refunds of penalties or interest, or adding to taxes that you have already paid. In that case, Form 843, "Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement," applies. If you are unsure about when to use 1040X, look over the instructions for details.

The form is quite simple. It contains a column for original amounts, a column for amended amounts, check boxes to verify status, and a section for you to write in an explanation of the changes.

Aren't you just asking for an audit if you file an amended claim? Folklore says that you are, but reality -- and the IRS -- says otherwise. The IRS uses a complex computer formula known as the Discriminate Inventory Function that compares your items to the returns of similar taxpayers to look for large-scale outliers. Even then, an IRS agent reviews the return before deciding whether an audit is in order.

The fact that you amended a report does not increase your chances of an audit at all. However, the content of your amendment can increase the chances. For example, if you amend your return to show a massive change in income without a reasonable explanation as to why, you are more likely to be audited.

When making your correction, consider the following IRS tips:

 

  • Only file Form 1040X after you have filed your initial return, and only file a 1040X for an amended refund amount after you have received the refund. Multiple returns in the system at the same time can create confusion.
  • Form 1040X must be filed using a paper return, even if your initial return was e-filed. Make sure that you look over the instructions to find the correct mailing address for your area.
  • Since you have three years from the date of your original filing to apply a Form 1040X, it is important to note on the form which year's taxes are being corrected. Otherwise, the IRS may apply the corrections to the wrong year. Review the instructions for exceptions to the three-year limit and how that limit is defined (typically from the filing deadline or the actual filing date, whichever is later).

 

Remember that amending your federal taxes could have ramifications on your state taxes. Check your state tax laws for the potential effects.

The IRS typically processes a 1040X in eight to twelve weeks, but it could take up to 16 weeks in some cases. You can track the progress using the "Where's My Amended Return" application on the IRS website. Have your Taxpayer ID number (social security number for most filers), your zip code, andf your date of birth ready for verification purposes.

Do not let fear of the IRS stop you from correcting your return. Correct your return at the earliest opportunity — and if you need professional help in doing so, do not be afraid to ask. It is better to correct a problem now than to put it off hoping the IRS does not notice the issue. How likely is that to happen? If your amendment means paying the IRS more, it’s better to give them some now than owe a whole lot more in penalties and interest later.

This article was provided by our partners at moneytips.com.
Taxpayer Bill Of Rights
IRS Audits Fall to 11-Year Low
What To Do If You Are Audited



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sports Authority to Close All of Its Stores]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:32:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sports-GettyImages-513328004.jpg

Sports Authority is getting ready to close all of its 463 stores and has launched a big going-out-of-business sale, according to NBC's "Today" show. 

The chain filed for bankruptcy protection a few months back, but its attempts to restructure its debt failed.

The final sale in Sports Authority stores is expected to start this weekend and last until end of August. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Macy's Forecast Cut Ignites Retail Worries]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 07:37:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-530665646.jpg

Macy's reported disappointing quarterly sales Wednesday and slashed its full-year forecast, underscoring a slump in apparel demand at U.S. department stores, NBC News reported.

The bleak start to 2016 pushed its shares down nearly 14 percent to a more than 4-year low and weighed on shares of rivals on Wednesday.

It also stoked fear in the wider retail industry about how much consumers will spend in the months ahead. Apparel sales were also hurt by unseasonably cool weather in late March and early April, when retailers usually launch spring collections.

Macy's, whose profits have been shrinking for more than a year, said it would boost cost cutting and closing underperforming stores.

Macy's stock had lost 44 percent of its value in the past 12 months through Tuesday.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Proposed Rule May Allow Class-Action Suits Against Banks]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 17:14:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gavel-generic-stock.jpg

A rule proposed Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may ban mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from filing class-action lawsuits against their banks and credit card companies, NBC News reported. 

The proposed rule would prohibit financial services companies from including mandatory arbitration clauses that forbid class-action lawsuits. 

Supporters of the proposal say it will help keep companies honest, while opponents argue banks typically resolve disputes quickly and amicably. 

Arbitration clauses are generally embedded in the fine print of many financial institutions’ contracts, which many advocates say deny people the right to their day in court.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Ikea Announces Plans for First Wisconsin Location]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 13:21:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-536073699.jpg

Ikea has announced plans to open its first store in Wisconsin, expanding the retailer’s presence in the Midwest.

The company submitted plans Thursday for a location in Oak Creek, about 12 miles south of Milwaukee.

The 295,000-square-foot store would be built on 29 acres at the northwestern corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue, the company said. It plans to open the new location by summer 2018.

“We are excited at the possibility of growing our Midwestern U.S. presence with a Milwaukee-area store,” Ikea U.S. president Lars Petersson said in a statement. “A location in the retail corridor would provide our already 206,000 Milwaukee-area customers their own store.”

The store will include nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a restaurant and a play area for children.

The Wisconsin location joins stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg in Illinois and in the Twin Cities-area in Minnesota.

Earlier this year, Ikea increased its average minimum hourly wage to $11.87, which is $4.62 above the current federal wage and marks a $1.11 increase, or 10 percent, from last year’s average minimum pay. The increase affected 32 percent of Ikea's 10,500 U.S. store workers and raised the average hourly wage to $15.45.



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<![CDATA[Sports Authority to Auction Assets on May 16]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 16:26:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sportsauthorityGettyImages-513327988.jpg

National retail chain Sports Authority's future looks pretty bleak. 

The company announced in early March that it planned to close 140 of its 463 stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware, using the store closings to attempt to save its finances.

But just last week, Sports Authority indicated it's giving up on that plan and choosing to auction itself off, according to Fortune. Despite media reports over the weekend, the company has not said whether it will shutter its entire fleet of stores, Fortune reported. 

Sports Authority told NBC in a statement Monday, "we are no longer pursuing the standalone Plan of Reorganization track because we could not get our lenders to agree on the terms of such a Plan."

The company added that it's "focusing solely" on the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) track and "pursuing a sale of some or all of the business."

The company said a number potential buyers have expressed interest in the sale. 

Sports Authority also said it will be moving forward with the plan to close about 140 stores and that the "outcome of the M&A process will determine whether any additional store closings will be required."

A court-supervised auction for the company's assets will be held on May 16, Fortune reported. The retail chain holds more than $1.1 billion in debt, and may be using the sale to help save its remaining stores.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>