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BUSINESS
February 27, 2014 | By Roger Vincent
It's been generations since a high-rise building had its debut on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, but the skyline is finally in for a dramatic change. A local developer hopes to transform a homely corner of the city's famed commercial corridor early next year by leveling a drab one-story retail center at 4th Street and Broadway. In its place would be a 34-story apartment skyscraper more than twice as tall as most other buildings in the historic core of downtown L.A. To be built at a cost of nearly $150 million, the apartment and retail complex called Broadway @ 4th would house 450 units and fill in a key block in gentrifying downtown L.A., developer Izek Shomof said.
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BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced plans Tuesday to cut 8,000 positions, more than previously forecast, as fewer Americans refinance their mortgages because of rising interest rates. The cuts will hit its mortgage and retail banking businesses, according to a Tuesday presentation, reports said .  QUIZ: How much do you know about Bitcoin? JPMorgan, the country's largest bank, also increased its target for annual net income to $27 billion. That would be a significant improvement from last year's $18-billion net income, which took a hit because of legal costs associated with regulatory enforcement actions.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Personal information collected from credit card shoppers would be better protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system to technology that has dramatically reduced fraud in Europe. That was the consensus of a group of retailers, bankers, credit card companies and consumer advocates at a legislative hearing Tuesday. Legislators delved into the causes of a recent hacking of about 70 million computerized customer records at Target Corp. and a smaller incident involving about 1.1 million customers at Neiman Marcus department stores.
BUSINESS
February 13, 2014 | By Don Lee and Tiffany Hsu
The winter economic blues continue. Retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.4% in January from December, the government said Thursday. That was the biggest drop in 18 months and the latest in a series of blah reports on the economy. Sales were “weaker than already low expectations” for flat results, the softness “punctuated by hefty downward revisions to December,” according to Credit Suisse. The bank's analysts said in a note to clients that “at first blush these data appear to be impacted by the frigid weather across the country” and that “February does not offer much hope for relief.” Volatile temperatures may prevent the industry from getting “a clean read on retail demand for quite some time,” according to Credit Suisse.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By Lisa Boone
Packed with every type of light imaginable - including antique-brass chain pendants, Sputnik sconces and organic-looking wood chandeliers - the first direct-to-consumer Arteriors store, in West Hollywood, is sure to please the lighting-fixated. The business has been around since 1987, when Mark Moussa started the Dallas-based company as a design firm specializing in lighting, furniture and decorative accessories sold primarily to the trade. On Wednesday, Moussa opened the firm's first retail store, on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Huntley Drive, two doors down from the new Design Within Reach studio.
BUSINESS
February 13, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
This year's streak of nasty weather is wreaking havoc on the economy, causing plunging worker productivity, soaring heating bills, canceled flights, damaged crops and frozen hiring. But the bitter conditions, which last month left thousands stranded in Atlanta and this week is pounding the eastern part of the country with snow, have dealt a particularly severe blow to retailers. The tempests couldn't have come at a worse time. In January, as businesses struggled through a weak post-holiday period in a month that already tends to be slow, industry sales slid by their largest margin in 18 months.
OPINION
February 4, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The blockbuster theft of credit card data from Target during the holiday shopping rush was just one example of the way outdated cards are leaving Americans more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft than shoppers are in other developed countries. The good news is that the credit card industry is in the process of fixing part of the problem. The bad news is that squabbling among retailers, banks and payment processors is getting in the way of a more complete solution. The United States is one of the few remaining places where credit and debit cards rely on a magnetic stripe, rather than a microchip, to store and transmit account information.
BUSINESS
February 2, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu and Andrea Chang
Nordstrom is famously forgiving when shoppers change their minds about purchases. Customers love it - especially those whose motives may be questionable. The Seattle retailer has been known to take back well-worn clothing, shoes bought years earlier and jars of half-used moisturizer. When Elana Pruitt was a Nordstrom sales employee years ago, she recalled, shoppers would make purchases with gift cards and then quickly return the items for cash. Technically it's allowed, said Pruitt, 33, now a social media coordinator and fashion blogger in Eagle Rock.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Californians who use their credit cards for online purchases would gain some protection, and voters would decide whether the state's public universities could consider race and gender for admissions, under measures passed by the state Senate on Thursday. The Assembly has yet to act on either measure. Responding to cases in which hackers stole personal financial information on millions of credit card users, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed limiting the details that online merchants may collect from their customers.
OPINION
January 27, 2014 | By Ethan N. Elkind
With the Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line groundbreaking last week, Los Angeles now has three rail transit projects under construction - an example of how the city is leading the country in a rail renaissance. The "city that destroyed cities," as GQ recently described L.A. for pioneering auto-oriented development, has been planning and building a multibillion-dollar rail network, thanks in part to up to $13 billion in local sales tax funds from a successful 2008 measure. But these billions risk being wasted if city leaders do not promote, and residents do not allow, new growth around rail stations and corridors.
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