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Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

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Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

For the nation’s bicycle stores, the last several years have certainly felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with innumerable twists and turns testing their stamina.

Early in the pandemic, a surge in interest in cycling drove sales up 64% to $5.4 billion in 2020, according to Circana, the retail tracking firm. It wasn’t uncommon for some stores to sell 100 or more bikes in a few days.

The boom did not last. Due to pandemic-related supply chain challenges, the retailers sold out of bikes and struggled to replenish. Inventory has caught up, but fewer people require new bicycles. Bicycle manufacturers have started lowering prices to clear off excess inventory. It all adds up to a challenging climate for retailers, with a few bright areas such as dirt and e-bikes.

“The industry had a hard time keeping up with demand for a couple of years, but then demand slowed as the lockdowns ended, and a lot of inventory started showing up,” said Stephen Frothingham, editor-in-chief of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. “So now for the last, a year and a half, the industry has struggled with having too much inventory, at the supplier level, at the factory level, at the distributor level, at the retail level.”

Circana reports that bike sales will reach $4.1 billion in 2023, up 23% from 2019 but down 24% from 2020. The recovery from the epidemic has been uneven, with large businesses such as REI and Scheels recovering faster than independent bike shops, according to Matt Tucker, director of client development for Circana’s sports equipment business.

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

John McDonell, owner of Market Street Cycles on San Francisco’s famed Market Street, says the pandemic’s shift to hybrid labor has been especially difficult for business. During the summer, 3,000 bikes would pass by his shop each day. With fewer individuals commuting to work, that number has dropped to less than 1,000.

According to Pacer.ai, which tracks people’s activities based on smartphone usage, San Francisco falls behind all other major cities regarding workers returning to work, with office visits down 49% from April 2019.

“Our downtown is still a wasteland,” McDonell explained.

Independent bike stores now compete not only with national chains but also with bike manufacturers such as Specialized and Trek. These companies have been buying bike shops and selling their bikes directly to customers, thus eliminating the middleman. According to Frothingham, there are now over 1,000 bike shops in the country that are either owned by Trek or Specialized.

“They’ve got the money to absorb the fact that bike stores, you know, are not a super profitable thing, and in the process, they’ve also been able to cut us out of it,” McDonell stated.

McDonell has been obliged to use a skeleton team of himself and another employee, down from five earlier. His desire to sell his shop to a younger bike enthusiast when he retires is diminishing. He might close his store when his lease expires in a few years.

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“Now I am just trying to land it with both engines on fire and trying not to lose money on my way out,” he stated

Douglas Emerson’s bike business, University Bicycles, in Boulder, Colorado, is doing better, thanks to its placement in one of the country’s most popular biking destinations. He’s owned the shop for 39 years and employs 30 people.

University Bicycles, like other bike retailers, experienced a surge in bike sales due to the pandemic. Emerson recalls selling 107 bicycles in 48 hours. However, immediately following the boom, sales fell considerably due to a lack of inventory, and rentals declined because no one was traveling.

“It became a struggle right after the boom,” Emerson explained. “Since then, manufacturers have overproduced.” In addition, they have significantly reduced prices, which benefits consumers. However, tiny retailers generally cannot take advantage of those discounts.”

Emerson claims the shop hit a “saturation point” when everyone who wanted a bike purchased one. He now sells these consumer items such as jackets, helmets, and locks. His store has returned to its 2019 sales figures.

University Bicycles has also benefited from some of the changes in purchasing trends. The continued strong demand for e-bikes and the increased need for children’s bikes have contributed. Gravel bikes, which can be ridden on both paved and dirt routes, are displacing road cycles as a top seller.

John Ruger, a 50-year biker and faithful University Bicycles client, hasn’t purchased a bike in ten years but intends to buy a gravel bike at present costs. He says a top gravel bike he’s interested in, which would normally cost $12,000 to $14,000, is presently on sale for $8,000.

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“The timing is good,” he remarked. “I can get a bike now because they’re less expensive and my bikes are getting old.”

Shawna Williams, the owner of Free Range Cycles in Seattle, Washington, did not see the same sales boom as others because her 700-square-foot business was so small that she only accepted customers by appointment from March 2020 to May 2021.

However, Williams did have to deal with the coming shortages. She spent a great deal of time “checking in with other shops to see if we could buy something, even at retail, from them, just in order to get a repair done or a build done.”

She expanded her service offerings, such as repairs and maintenance, to compensate for decreasing bike sales. Despite the epidemic, the maneuvering allowed her to maintain consistent overall sales.

“Bike sales, the way that I have kind of framed the shop, are an awesome bonus, but we really need to be sustaining the shop through repair and, like, thoughtful accessory sales,” Williams stated. “A bike sale to me, if we do things well, that means creating a customer for life.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Boeing Case Puts A Spotlight On Plea Agreements Involving Corporate Defendants

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Following the deaths of 346 people in two airplane disasters, a $2.5 billion deal that allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution failed to address concerns about the safety of the company’s aircraft.

Federal prosecutors accuse the business of failing to meet the terms of the 2021 settlement. Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a felony fraud allegation under a new agreement with the Justice Department. The agency said Thursday it plans to file the detailed plea deal by mid-next week.

Boeing Case Puts A Spotlight On Plea Agreements Involving Corporate Defendants

According to corporate behavior experts, whether the current agreement has a greater long-term influence on safety than the previous settlement may depend on how much power is placed in the hands of an independent monitor designated to watch Boeing for three years. Prosecutors appointed such a monitor as a condition of the plea agreement, which also includes a fresh $243.6 million punishment from Boeing.

“Your real concern is preventing the loss of future lives in future crashes, and the monitor can have a greater impact on that than the amount of the fine,” said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who analyzes corporate governance and white-collar crime.

The official plea and punishment will be submitted to the Fort Worth, Texas US District Court. The submission will provide a more detailed description of how the compliance monitor will be selected and the scope of the monitor’s responsibilities. Already, the government appears to have backed down from a plan that would have given Boeing the most influence in selecting the watchdog.

Families of some of the passengers killed in the crashes have stated that they intend to protest the accord. They want a trial, not a plea deal, and believe Boeing should pay a $24 billion punishment. According to Paul Cassell, a lawyer for the families, relatives of crash fatalities should be able to nominate a monitor for the judge to appoint.

According to attendees in a June 30 briefing given by department officials to passengers’ relatives and lawyers, the Justice Department initially planned to select a monitor from a list of three nominees offered by Boeing and would request additional names if required.

The arrangement, which Boeing agreed to “in principle” a week later, said that the Justice Department would seek candidates via a public job posting on its website and then select one “with feedback from Boeing.” The specific scope of the company’s involvement was unknown.

Once the department and Boeing have decided, prosecutors will inform U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor. If he does not object within 10 days, the appointment will go forward. According to the petition, the selected candidate must match the “specific qualifications” outlined in the posting as well as the department’s guidelines for appointing monitors in criminal cases.

The monitor will oversee Boeing’s adherence to the plea agreement during a three-year probation term in which the official will prepare “a confidential annual report for the government” and provide an executive summary to the court.

The employment of monitors in plea agreements with firms guilty of crimes indicates prosecutors’ unwillingness to file indictments and go to trial.

Brandon Garrett, a Duke University law professor who analyzes criminal cases involving corporations, says prosecutors have always been concerned that a criminal indictment may destroy a huge, publicly listed company, so they have favored out-of-court settlements in the most serious instances. That changed, he said, after the 2008 financial crisis, and there was fear that firms were being viewed as “too big to jail,” Garrett used as the title for his 2014 book.

The usefulness of plea deals and deferred prosecution agreements, which allow defendants to avoid criminal punishment, such as Boeing in 2021, has been questioned.

“Especially when you had companies repeatedly getting prosecuted, something needs to change — maybe these companies really should get a criminal record,” said Garrett. “That’s when we started to see … more large cases where companies would be convicted.”

Nadia Milleron, whose 24-year-old daughter, Samya Stumo, perished in the second of two tragic 737 Max crashes, believes the Boeing plea deal is far superior to the compensation negotiated three and a half years earlier. In January 2021, the Justice Department agreed not to prosecute Boeing for conspiracy to defraud the US government, a claim based on allegations that the corporation misled regulators who approved the 737 Max nearly a decade earlier.

Milleron and relatives of other crash victims, however, seek a trial that will reveal additional facts about discussions within Boeing leading up to, and even after, the incidents, which occurred in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

The Justice Department looked to be dropping the 2021 charge until this January when a panel covering an unused emergency escape burst off a Max plane during an Alaska Airlines flight. The Federal Aviation Administration strengthened its oversight, and the agency’s chief stated that Boeing’s manufacturing issues “don’t seem to be getting resolved.”

The Justice Department defends its choice to seek a plea deal by claiming it carries the most severe sentence allowed under the charges against Boeing.

“We should be asking whether these prosecutions are working and what can be done to make them more effective,” according to Garrett. He urged the judge to actively monitor Boeing to ensure it complies with the new agreement after violating the previous one.

Coffee, a Columbia law professor, believes that a robust and independent monitor will be critical in determining if the agreement deters Boeing from future infractions.

“Companies fear a free agent roaming around in their files,” he told me. “On the other hand, if there isn’t some ability for the monitor to directly go to the court and say ‘They are not living up to the terms of the agreement,’ you have an ineffective monitor.”

Boeing Case Puts A Spotlight On Plea Agreements Involving Corporate Defendants

In one prominent instance, prosecutors prevented a federal judge in New York from disclosing a monitor’s report on HSBC, a London-based bank that went into a deferred prosecution deal on charges that it failed to prevent a Mexican drug cartel from laundering money.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t have deferred prosecution agreements, but they tend to be negotiated to be strongly in the interests of the defendant,” according to him.

The judge in the Boeing case has suggested that after the Justice Department files the specifics of the plea agreement, he will give victims’ relatives seven days to file objections. The government and Boeing will have 14 days to reply.

The Justice Department’s decision not to pursue Boeing in January 2021 coincided with the end of the Trump administration. US Sentencing Commission data shows that federal corporate prosecutions increased marginally in 2022 and 2023.

We are in an election year, so we will be looking to see how that focus by the Department of Justice plays out after the election in November, and whether the focus on corporate crime remains the same,” said Kya Henley, a former public defender in Maryland who now represents companies and individuals in white-collar cases. “Everyone gets to set their agenda.”

SOURCE | AP

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Fandango Founder, Michael Cline Identified As Man Who Fell To Death From New York City Hotel

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Michael Cline | CNN Image

J. Michael Cline, the founder of movie ticket company Fandango, died after falling from a New York City hotel on Tuesday, a law enforcement official told CNN.

According to the New York Police Department, the 64-year-old was discovered at 10 a.m. on Tuesday with injuries consistent with falling from an elevated height from The Kimberly Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan. Investigators suspect he jumped from the hotel’s 20th floor. He was declared dead shortly after that by emergency medical responders.

Michael Cline | CNN Image

Fandango Founder, Michael Cline Identified As Man Who Fell To Death From New York City Hotel

According to LinkedIn, Cline established Fandango in 1999 and continued to work there until 2011. NBCUniversal now owns the ticket company.

Cline was a founding and managing partner of Accretive Private Equity and executive chairman of Juxtapose Venture Fund when he died. He had also created several more enterprises.

Cline was chairman of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, where he talked about the significance of conservation efforts in 2020.

Michael Cline | Page Six Image

Fandango Founder, Michael Cline Identified As Man Who Fell To Death From New York City Hotel

Michael was married and father of six children. According to the HBS alumni association website, he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

SOURCE | CNN

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Wipro’s ADR fell 7% in Pre-Market trading as Q1 Revenue Growth Disappointed.

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(VOR News) – The American depositary receipts (ADR) of the information technology business Wipro experienced a decline of over seven percent during the pre-market trading session that occurred today.

The Wipro trading session showed this phenomenon.

This occurred as a result of the general public’s disappointment with the company’s first quarter’s operations.

The company’s sales increased by minus one percent when measured in terms of constant currency, which was a deviation from the anticipated growth of either neutral or positive. It was anticipated that both of these outcomes would transpire.

In order to assess the development, a constant currency analysis was implemented. It was anticipated that these two incidents would occur, and so they did.

In terms of CC, Wipro has experienced a decline in revenue growth over the past six quarters. This is in stark contrast to the growth that was observed in the quarters that preceded it.

To be more precise, the organization was quoted as predicting that the income generated by its IT Services business sector would be between $2,600 million and $2,652 million at some future date.

It is more precise to state it this way. This estimate is situated in the middle of the range within that range. Nevertheless, when this is defined in terms of constant currency conditions, it is comparable to sequential guidance that spans from a negative 1.0% to a positive 1.0%.

Assume that currency conditions remain the same for Wipro.

This is due to the fact that the conditions associated with the money are consistently consistent. Wipro’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBITDA) for the Wipro first quarter of fiscal year 25 were Rs 3,625 crore, which were higher than those of the previous quarter. This is a 1.8% increase from the earnings of the previous quarter.

This indicates a 1.8% increase in earnings when contrasted with the results of the previous quarter.

The company’s operating margin, which increased by 47 basis points (bps) from the previous quarter to the subsequent quarter in the first quarter of fiscal year 25, reached 16.5%.

This represents a substantial improvement in comparison to the prior quarter. Improvements in the operating margin also occurred during this period. The occurrence of this transpired simultaneously.

This was the most significant Wipro victory we had achieved in the past few years, and we achieved it by successfully securing an additional quarter of all large deal commitments that exceeded one billion dollars.

This was the most significant victory that we had achieved in the past few years. Our most significant accounts have continued to expand throughout the Americas, and this expansion has been accompanied by growth in the consumer, BFSI, and SMU sectors at the same time.

Wipro’s expansion has been ongoing for quite some time.

We are delighted with the momentum that we have established in all industries and sectors during the first quarter.

As we Wipro transition into the second quarter, we would like to convey our satisfaction with this momentum. This momentum has enabled us to advance with a greater sense of confidence, thereby enabling us to keep moving forward.

We are pleased with the momentum we have established and the potential to enhance our performance in terms of growth and reservations that will generate a profit. We are delighted with the momentum that we have established.

Wipro’s AI360 strategy will be further developed as the company continues to prepare its personnel for an Al-first future, according to Srini Pallia, Management Director and Chief Executive Officer.

The corporation will continue to broaden its AI360 strategy for the foreseeable future as we continue to develop it. “While we are doing this, we are also thinking about the future.”

SOURCE: UTB

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