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Sears reboots

November 7, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (4)

Sears canada

It's the end of an era - Sears Canada announced recently that it will be closing some of its famous locations after Christmas.  Those locations include the Toronto flagship store at the Eaton Centre. Sears, like many other large retailers is facing the ever changing retail landscape being affected by the growing trend of on-line shopping.

Sears has been an institution in Canada since its incorporation in 1952.  This was when a partnership agreement was signed between Simpsons Ltd. of Toronto and Sears, Roebuck and Co of Chicago to form a catalogue and retail company that operated under the name Simpsons-Sears.  This arrangement continued until 1984, when Sears Roebuck, bought controlling interest of the company, which was renamed Sears Canada. 

For a detailed history of the company, log into FP Advisor, through the TPL website.  There are historical reports for many companies, including Sears.  The records include overviews of the company, as well as historic financials, including balance sheets, earnings and dividends. 

Want to explore more about Sears?  Why not try some of these titles, that are available at TPL.

Sears has been known throughout the history of the company, both in the United States and Canada, for its catalogue, from which almost anything could be purchased.  The Christmas Wish Book became a hotly anticipated delivery for most children of a certain age, which allowed for leisurely browsing of possible presents to ask of Santa. 

Original historic copies of the Simpsons- Sears catalogues are available at the Toronto Reference Library.  Want to see images of products from years ago? The library has some titles that show products that were for sale in past catalgues. 

DVDs:

Sears - This DVD examines the role that Sears has played throughout U.S history - its merchandise, catalogue service and its founders.

And of course, there are the books:

Sears1     Sears2    Sears3



Google it

October 22, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Google9

 

Last week Google shares reached an all time high of $1000 after it posted a third-quarter surge in profit and revenue. And because analysts have boosted their target on Google shares, who knows how high shares will go.

In 1996, PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin began working together on a research project that involved developing a search engine they eventually entitled BackRub. This search engine was designed to look at the connecting links between web pages in order to determine a site's authority. In 1998, Page and Brin set up their first data center in Page's dorm.  They decided to start a company and started looking for investors to back them. Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, invested $100,000 in the company after receiving a demo of their search technology. Eventually the pair raised over $1M. Google, Inc. was established on September 7, 1998 in a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California. The company name Google is based on a mathematical term that is actually spelled "googol" which means the number "1" followed by 100 zeros. Apparently they had no idea how to spell it and came up with the word "google" instead.

In the beginning Google served over 10,000 queries a day and quickly gained a reputation as a trustworthy source of information. By 1999, it was serving 500,000 queries a day and the company moved their business from that garage in Menlo Park to the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Users began flocking to Google as news of their reliability, speed, effectiveness and relavance spread. In 2000, Google replaced Yahoo's own internal search engine as the provider of supplementary search results on Yahoo. Now, with more than 50% share of the total search market, Google provides search results for numerous search engines on the web.

To read more about Google and its founders take a look at these books and DVDs:

Google2 Google3 Google4 Google5

    Google6     Google7 Google8





Business scandals

September 20, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Scandals

Everybody loves a scandal, be it about politicians, actors or corporations. Business scandals whether centered around corruption, bribery, fraud, or other greed tend to have a significant impact on the economy. Many companies fail at some point for one reason or another, but other companies are so spectacularly corrupt that they make headlines.

The business world has been rocked by one scandal after another in the past 15 years. Enron brought the first shock. The energy trading firm was a virtual cash machine, until its accounting fraud was revealed.The company filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001, laying off thousands. And employees who had invested their retirement funds in Enron stock had the money disappear. The scandal also led to the demise of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Then, another scandal hits the headlines.  Executives at Tyco were accused of using the company's treasury as a personal piggy bank. There were lavish homes and bonuses which included a $2 million birthday party for the wife of CEO Dennis Kozlowski. The party featured an ice sculpture in the form of Michelangelo's David, a laser show and a performance by Jimmy Buffett.

In 2003 Martha Stewart was indicted by a grand jury on charges related to insider trading. The following year, a jury found her guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

One of the biggest scandals in recent years is the epic fraud committed by Bernard Madoff, who's Ponzi scheme took tens of billions of dollars and left investors with a fraction of their savings.  In 2009 Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and is currently serving 150 years, the maximum allowable sentence.

And then, with flaws exposed at Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG in 2008, we had a 777-point one-day plunge in the Dow (plus plenty of dismal trading days that followed) and more than 7 million job losses. This scandal not only made headlines, it also affected the world economy in such a deep and profound way that we are still recovering from it to this day.

To read about these and other business scandals, check out these books:

Scandal Scandal2 Scandal3 Scandal4

Scandal5 Scandal6 Scandal7 Scandal8






 




 

 

Life Savers celebrates milestone

August 26, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Life

Did you know that Life Savers celebrated its 100th birthday in 2012?  Back in 1912, chocolate-maker Clarence Crane wanted to create a candy that wouldn't melt in the summer heat.  He ended up creating the original Pep O Mint Life Saver. The candy's name comes from it's similarity to little life preservers and were originally called Crane's Peppermint Life Savers, Although we now view Life Savers as simply candy, it was originally sold as a "breath improver" with the original packaging picturing an old sailor throwing a life preserver to a young female swimmer with the slogan "For that stormy breath". In 1913 Crane sold the rights to the peppermint candy to Edward John Noble and that same year Noble founded the Life Savers Candy Company.

Originally the candies were sold in cardboard rolls, which were not very successful. Noble came up with the idea to use tin-foil wrappers to keep the mints fresh. He also significantly expanded the market for the candy by tempting shoppers with displays of Life Savers placed next to the cash registers of restaurants and grocery stores. Since 1913, many different flavours of Life Savers have been produced. The five-flavour roll first appeared in 1935 and three years later the classic Butter Rum flavour makes its debut. During World War II, the Armed Forces are supplied with 23 million boxes of Life Savers. Rolls of Life Savers were packed into American G.I.'s field ration kits as a reminder of home. Three varieties of Life Savers Gummi candy were introduced in 1992, and in 1994 peg bag packaging changes the way Life Savers are sold. The following year a sugar-free version makes its appearance on store shelves and ten years later Life Savers Candy Company joins the Wrigley family. In 2002 production of the candy moves from Michigan, U.S.A to Montreal, Quebec due to lower sugar prices.

   Candy1   Candy2     Candy2



       Candy               Candy                                                  



Loblaws buys Shoppers Drug Mart

August 23, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Loblaws
Loblaw Companies Ltd. recently announced a friendly $12.4-billion deal to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart. Shoppers will retain its brand name and operate as a separate division of Loblaw. Loblaw products, such as their private label President’s Choice, will be available in Shoppers stores, while some of the pharmacy retailer’s products and services, such as Life brands, will be available in the grocery retailer’s stores. The purchase of Shoppers is part of a bigger plan to give the company a larger share of urban consumers looking for convenience.

The first Loblaw Groceterias Inc. store opened in 1919 and was the first grocery store to offer a self-serve, cash-and-carry retail experience. It quickly became a hit with shoppers as it offered quality goods at lower prices. By 1928 the company expands throughout Ontario and into the U.S., and in 1939 the name Loblaws replaces the name Loblaw Groceterias on store fronts. In 1947 W. Garfield Weston, president of George Weston Limited, acquires 100,000 shares of Loblaw stock from company co-founder J. Milton Cork and proceeds to take the company to new heights.The 1950s sees store sizes expand and large parking lots are built to accomodate suburban consumers. In 1972 W.Galen Weston is appointed Chief Executive Officer and makes more exciting changes by redesigning stores and the Loblaw logo.The No Name Brand is introduced in 1978, and  No Frills stores, President's Blend Coffee, the President's Choice product line, the Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie appear in subsequent years. And now, with Galen Weston at the helm, Loblaws has begun yet another new chapter in it's 100 year history by changing the Canadian retail landscape.

To read more about these and other great Canadian businesses, check out these books:

 

  41lwkZJSpGL.Image._AA300_ 41+mZczlQsL._SL500_SY346_        Retail

 

 

           Eatons Retail    Retail2



 

 

 

It's the season of lists.

July 22, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

Business lists 2This time of year has always been my favorite - and not because summer vacation is right around the corner.  A few of our venerable business magazines, around this time of the year, publish special issues of their magazines, ranking a large number of Canadian companies.

Why should this be so exciting?  These issues contain a wealth of information on companies that are of value to investors, job seekers and business start ups.  And best yet, they all cover Canadian companies. 

Years ago, our users only had access to the print versions of these publications.  Now many of these titles offer added features (some free, some paid) on their websites which allow downloads and manipulation of some of the information. 

Let's have a look at a few of these titles:

 

Rob 2013The Globe and Mail's July/August issue of Report on Business is their annual ranking of Canada's most profitable companies.   This issue documents the 100 biggest companies by revenue, the 50 biggest private companies, as well as industry rankings and outlooks.  The top 10 companies are given for such sectors as banks, transportation, mining, technology and wireless, retailers, oil and gas  as well as some smaller areas such as agriculture, investment dealers, management companies, life insurers.  Great stuff if you are doing an analysis of industry sectors. 

 

Canadian business 500 2013Canadian Business magazine, in its May issue reports on the top 500 companies to invest in for the year.   This issue includes analysis of the stock market by a number of top analysts, as well as giving a snapshot of some of the best companies in Canada.  

This list is celebrating it's 50th anniversary and includes information on how the list has evolved since its inception back in 1964. 

The issue also takes a look at the coming year in investing, exploring areas of potential growth for investors. 

 

 

 

 

 Profit 500 2013Profit magazine, which covers issues of interest to entrepreneurs, covers the 500 fastest growing companies in Canada in its 25th annual guide. 

The rankings table can be downloaded into Excel and includes rankings by city and region and by industry. 

This issue includes profiles of some of the top and fastest growing companies in Canada, as well as start up advice from successful entrepreneurs, and tips and tricks covering such areas as sales strategies, HR  tactics and favorite technology tools.

 

 

 

 

A reminder that these issues, while available online, are also available in print at a number of TPL branches. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach blanket business books

June 28, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Beach2

Beach reading isn't necessarily literature. It may be hard to believe but there are quite a few busines books that actually qualify as beach reading material. A good beach book should have an excellent narrative flow and widespread appeal. A good beach book is engaging and a quick enough read that you can finish most of before your sunscreen wears off. With any of the following beach books in hand, all you need to remember is your towel and sunscreen. Enjoy!!

 

Beach Forbes: the legendary name in finance journalism.  Synonymous with wealth, grand excess, glamour, and fun as well as style, insight, gossip, and hard-nosed reporting, the media empire and the family behind it form a remarkable story that has never been told. Now, in The Fall of the House of Forbes, veteran journalist Stewart Pinkerton reveals the hidden machinations, disastrous decisions, and personal foibles of a century-old dynasty that rose to glittering heights and crashed just as spectacularly.

 A compelling narrative account of a powerful family’s dysfunction, The Fall of the House of Forbes is a parable of capitalism at its best and worst, and a metaphor for the current state of digital turmoil in media.

 

 

Beach4In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realized something few others suspected--that the housing market and the value of subprime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall.  Paulson's background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn't sure how to do it.  Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him.  Even pros skeptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about.  But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies. Initially, Paulson and the others lost tens of millions of dollars as real estate and stocks continued to soar. Rather than back down, however, Paulson redoubled his bets, putting his hedge fund and his reputation on the line. In the summer of 2007, the markets began to implode, bringing Paulson early profits, but also sparking efforts to rescue real estate and derail him. By year's end, though, John Paulson had pulled off the greatest trade in financial history, earning more than $15 billion for his firm--a figure that dwarfed George Soros's billion-dollar currency trade in 1992.  Paulson made billions more in 2008 by transforming his gutsy move.  Some of the underdog investors who attempted the daring trade also reaped fortunes. But others who got the timing wrong met devastating failure, discovering that being early and right wasn't nearly enough.

 

Beach5The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar's Poker. Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street's premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar's Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years—a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game of bluffing and deception, here is Michael Lewis's knowing and hilarious insider's account of an unprecedented era of greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.

    

Beach6

 Best friends Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg had spent many lonely nights looking for a way to stand out among Harvard University’s elite, competitive, and accomplished  student body. Then, in 2003, Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s computers, crashed  the campus network, almost got himself  expelled, and was inspired to create Facebook, the social networking site that has since revolutionized communication around the world.
With Saverin’s funding their tiny start-up went from dorm room to Silicon Valley. But conflicting ideas about Facebook’s future transformed the friends into enemies. Soon, the undergraduate exuberance that marked their collaboration turned into out-and-out warfare as it fell prey to the adult world of venture capitalists, big money, lawyers.

 

 Beach7Love him for saving you 50 percent on last night’s Indian dinner or hate him for cashing in big when he could be losing millions for merchants and investors alike, Mason---Groupon’s thirtysomething founder and CEO---made an incredible gamble when he turned down Google’s $6 billion buyout offer to go it alone. The experts thought he was insane. Groupon was little more than two years old and staffed from top to bottom with twentysomethings. The wild ride couldn’t last, but Mason thought otherwise, and with dreams of a potential IPO that could be massive, he liked his odds.

But did he make the right decision, or did he blow a chance to continue to grow “the fastest growing company in history”? Is Mason an Internet genius, or is he sitting on another bubble that could burst at any moment?


Why not listen to a great business book this summer?

June 20, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

Summer driving 2

The July 1 weekend is around the corner, and for many it marks the beginning of the vacation season.  If you are planning a long drive, why not pick up a few audio books to listen to in the car?  Many classic business titles that you just never had time to read, could be "read" while driving.  And while I admit it may not be as entertaining as a Dan Brown novel,  you may be able to return from your trip a bit more business savvy.   Consider some of these titles:

 

Summer reading 1 This classic by Paco Underhill explores why we shop the way we do.  With data based on thousands of hours of observational research, he explores how working women have affected how supermarkets are designed, how signage and packaging of products affects what we buy, and more.  It may make you think twice about your vacation purchases!

 

 

 

 

Summer reading 2 Jim Collins, author of the bestseller Good to Great, explores why some companies thrive in chaotic times, while others fail.   Based on a number of years of research, the author explores the secrets of building a great enterprise in uncertain times.                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer reading 3This recent classic by well known biographer Walter Isaacson came out very close to the time of Steve Job's death and is a portrait of a man who changed the way we compute, the way we listen to music and how movies are made and how we watch them.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer reading 4Economist  Steven Levitt and co-author Stephen Dubner create a new field of economics called freakonomics.  They show that economics is at heart a study of incentives - how to get people the things they want or need when many other people want the same thing.   They use such diverse examples as the crack gangs, real estate agents, even the Klu Klux Klan.

 

 

 

 

Summer reading 5 In The Price of Everything, journalist Eduardo Porter explores  the premise that there is a price behind each choice that we make and we often fail to appreciate how critical prices are as motivating forces that shape our lives.  This power becomes clearer when distorted prices steer our decisions the wrong way. 

 

 

 

This is just a sampling of the many business related titles that are available for you to check out this summer.  All of these are available in paper format, many are available as e-audiobooks and e-books as well. 

Happy listening!

 

National Business Book Award winner announced.

June 3, 2013 | Teresa | Comments (0)

The winner of the 28th annual National Business Book Awards was recently announced.  Chrystia Freeland was honored for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. The author, who is a columnist for the Globe and Mail, as well as editor of consumer news at Thomson Reuters, explores in her book, the super rich and their impact on the economy and politics. 

Check out her book along with the other nominated titles:

Winner:

   Nba plutocrats

 

Other nominated titles:

Nba true north     Nba double     Nba power

For reviews of these titles check out this page from the Report on Business.

 

A toy story

May 6, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0)

 

Toys

 

Toys have been around for thousands of years but did not become "big business" until the early 1800s when advances in transportation--mainly trains-- allowed for the wider distribution.  The industrial revolution that followed led to the mass production of toys making them more affordable. Increased accessiblilty was ccompanied by changes in the products themselves. Early toys such as horses, soldiers, wagons and other simple toys were usually made of wood, tin or cast iron. Later innovations in materials, like sawdust-based composition for dolls' heads and lithographed paper on wood to simulate domestic interiors or hand painted scenes on play sets, added variety and rapid change to this growing industry.

The 20th century introduced many new and exciting products: Plasticine was first made commercially in 1900, Meccano was invented by John Hornby in 1901, train sets became very popular in the 1920s and Lego was introduced in the 1950s. Mr. Potato Head appeared in 1952 and the skateboard was invented in 1958.  One of the most famous toys of the 20th century, the Barbie doll, was introduced at the 1959 Toy Fair in New York City. With inventions in circuitry and miniaturization in the early 1980's the video game market exploded with Nintendo leading the pack.  According to a Euromonitor report (report available through  Research Monitor database ) the traditional toy and games industry, currently valued at $1.8 billion (Canadian Toy Industry Association) in Canada, will continue to grow at 1% per year despite an ageing population while video game sales will reach an estimated $3 billion by 2016!

Are you an inventor looking for more information on the toy industry and it's competitors or are you someone who is simply interested in reading about the cut-throat world of toys? Take a look at what the library has to offer:

   Toys1 Toys2 Toys3

  
  Toys4     Toys5  Toys6

  



Welcome! We are specialized librarians in our business department and we write about current issues for small business owners and those interested in personal finance matters. For more information and resources see our Small Business & Personal Finance page.