business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Costco announced that it is "committing $25 million to an innovative new impact investment fund that will fuel Black-led financial institutions and community development efforts.

"The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) rolled out the Black Economic Development Fund this summer, encouraging corporations to make investments specifically designed to improve economic opportunity for Black Americans. By doing so, the fund seeks to help close the racial wealth gap, which could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1.5 trillion by 2028 if not addressed."

"We are thrilled to be a part of an investment strategy that will help some of the communities where we operate in the U.S.," said Craig Jelinek, President and CEO of Costco. "With LISC, we are supporting a more inclusive economy, to break down race and class as barriers to opportunity and growth."

•  Reuters reports that bankrupt JC Penney has reached an impasse in its negotiations with landlords, "pushing the department store to the brink of collapse unless it can reach a deal within days to be taken over by lenders."  September 10 has been set as a deadline for coming to an agreement that would include "a deal with Simon and Brookfield to take over the company’s retail operations."

I cannot imagine why anyone woulds want JC Penney's retail operations.

•  The Houston Chronicle has the story of how "the Midtown Sears is being converted to a tech hub. Crews are tearing down the Memorial City Sears in west Houston. Now, the free-standing Sears on North Shepherd, the last active Sears department store in the city, is set to close Aug. 30.

"Once the nation’s dominant retailer — and now a case study in how not to adapt to a changing environment — Sears may soon fade from Houston’s memory. But its real estate is being rethought for the future."

The story goes on:  "Crews tearing down the former Sears building at Memorial City Mall are making way for a new outdoor “lifestyle” and retail district — phase one in a redevelopment process that focuses on consumer experience and walkability. In Midtown, Rice University readies to transform a former Sears into a $100 million tech hub, called the Ion, signaling another tectonic shift in the economy.

"Elsewhere, the former Sears store in the Westwood Mall is now a car dealership, while the one at The Woodlands Mall lives on as a Nordstrom."

In other words, these spaces are ABS … Anything But Sears.