retail

Wal-Mart, thought to be the largest seller of firearms in the U.S., will stop selling military-style modern sporting rifles, such as the the AR-15, this fall.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the decision to phase out the controversial semi-automatics was based in business, not politics, citing declining demand.

James Williams / Creative Commons

The owner of the Mystic Pizza restaurant made famous in a 1988 film was sentenced to prison for tax evasion and concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. 

The Ethan Allen furniture company is under pressure from one of its investors to either sell itself or divest some of its real estate assets. Sandell Asset Management, which owns 5.5 percent of Ethan Allen, said the company's stock is underperforming. 

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Connecticut’s annual sales tax-free shopping week begins on Sunday, but some shoppers might need to plan their purchases carefully to qualify. Only clothing and footwear items under $100 are eligible for tax-free purchase this year; in previous years, items could be up to $300.

Connecticut Craft Beer: A New Industry is Brewing

Aug 7, 2015
Chion Wolf

To say Connecticut is known for its world class craft beers is not accurate-- at least not yet. But a bold band of merry (and quite innovative) beer brewers from cities all around are on a mission to change that, one small batch at a time. With nearly 40 in-state breweries currently in operation-- a ten fold increase from the number we had only six years ago -- the Connecticut craft beer industry is booming.

One of the nation’s most recognizable coffee chains, Dunkin’ Donuts, is expanding in the United States and abroad.

Dunkin’ Brands announced today that it opened 80 new Dunkin’ Donuts stores in the U.S. and 154 worldwide in the second quarter. The company is making a push into the coveted West Coast market, where the competition is brutal.

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Greetings card maker Hallmark says it will close its Connecticut distribution center with the loss of 570 jobs. The one million-square-foot facility in Enfield has been open for more than 30 years, and Hallmark has been a presence in the town for over 60. 

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Handgun purchasing laws in Connecticut have resulted in a 40 percent drop in statewide gun deaths, according to a new study out of Johns Hopkins University. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The stadium being built for the minor league Hartford Yard Goats now has a sponsor and a name, and the Yard Goats will play baseball at Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Tanger Factory Outlets

The Tanger Outlet mall that opens at Foxwoods on Thursday morning could bring two to three million new visitors to the casino each year. That’s the bet that the casino’s owners are making with the new $120 million destination retail venue. 

Mark Walerysiak

The "cultural ninjas" are back at it, weeks after stealthily transforming five empty storefronts into beautiful, impromptu art installations. Now, Bristol's Art Squad is tackling abandoned properties.

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A compromise has been worked out between the state's automotive dealers and electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla. That's according to the co-chair of the state's transportation committee. 

The unpredictable schedules of retail and fast-food workers is a big issue in workers rights campaigns. Now, the New York attorney general is investigating the way some of the country's biggest retailers handle scheduling.

In New York, if a worker shows up for a shift that he doesn't end up being needed for, the law says he still is due four hours of pay. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says retailers, especially, rely heavily on systems that require workers to be ready to work a shift — regardless of whether they end up working. It's called on-call work.

Ginger Grant

The town of Bristol is in the midst of marketing their new logo and brand: Bristol - All Heart. A group of artists, calling themselves the Bristol Art Squad, are doing their part to showcase the new brand by transforming five vacant storefronts throughout the city into temporary art installations. 

The most visible part of Starbucks' campaign to get customers talking about race — putting the slogan "Race Together" on coffee cups — has come to an end.

In a memo sent to all Starbucks employees Sunday, CEO Howard Schultz wrote: "This phase of the effort — writing 'Race Together' (or placing stickers) on cups, which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford is investing in a $350 million development in the North End of the city that will include housing, shopping, and a minor league baseball stadium, dubbed Downtown North. But will investment in Downtown North translate into economic prosperity to the rest of the North End?

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A group representing automotive dealers in Connecticut said it will continue to oppose Tesla selling its cars directly to customers, but if the legislature does decide to move forward with a bill allowing direct sales, car dealers are calling for a two year moratorium on it.

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Paris sculptor Tatiana Trouve agreed to do a major public art installation for Central Park, which is opening now and involves miles of colored rope. Now we have a mission for you… design a store for children with objects or a playscape that will entertain kids and adults, and make them all say "Wow!" walking in the door.

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Owners and managers of Connecticut car dealerships are urging state lawmakers to abandon legislation that would allow an electric car maker to sell vehicles directly to consumers.

About 70 auto dealers were at the state Capitol on Wednesday meeting with legislators to protest a bill benefiting Tesla Motors. Current state law prevents car manufacturers from selling their cars to consumers.

A bill before the legislature's Transportation Committee would make an exception for Tesla. 

Some key Connecticut lawmakers say they are willing to pursue a compromise that would allow Tesla Motors sell its electric cars directly to consumers, but with some provisions that address the concerns of the state's independent franchise dealerships.

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When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

Mark Hillary / Creative Commons

It’s the holiday season, meaning it’s time for Americans to hit the stores for Christmas sales and New Year's bargains. This November and December, millions of shoppers will peruse the aisles of big-box stores and chain retailers, hoping to find the coolest gifts and lowest prices.

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WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple: we provide a theme; you call our hotline and tell a story.

When Ronaldo Mouchawar was working in a Boston engineering firm he dreamed of moving back to the Arab world. Born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, he had come to the U.S. to study, then got a high-paying job, but he believed he "owed something" to his home region.

It turned out his ticket back was a smart idea at the right time.

Farmington Avenue Alliance

Will a McDonald's open in Hartford's West End? Not if neighbors and the city of Hartford have their way. 

This weekend, Will Falls decided to skip the local mall near Raleigh, N.C., and shop online instead.

"No standing in line, no finding a parking spot," he says. "Just get comfortable and go at it."

Millions of Americans did the same — Falls helped contribute to an 8.5 percent increase in online shopping Monday compared with 2013, according to data from IBM.

That growth stands in contrast to an 11 percent drop in sales reported by the National Retail Federation at brick-and-mortar stores over the Black Friday weekend compared with a year ago.

Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and Samoas just became easier to buy: Girl Scouts will now be able to use Digital Cookies to sell the treats online.

"Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space," said Sarah Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for the Girl Scouts of the USA. "Online is where entrepreneurship is going."

Her comments were reported by The Associated Press.

Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.

ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but that shoppers spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving — a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.

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The maker of a new vehicle called the Slingshot is meeting with state motor vehicles officials to discuss whether they may sell the three-wheeler in Connecticut. 

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