November 30, 2010 |
From her headquarters office at online retail operator GSI Commerce Inc. , Fiona Dias can see the paved parking that makes possible the King of Prussia shopping complex. "The mall was packed Black Friday," said Dias, "but I didn't see tons of shopping bags. " The National Retail Federation , in a survey of 4,300 Americans, said the number of people shopping online has grown by a third so far this Christmas-shopping season compared with last year. Actual online sales were up a more modest 9 percent, estimated analyst Marianne R. Wolk , who covers Amazon.
April 26, 2012 |
Harleysville Group Inc. shareholders voted to accept $60 a share to sell the company to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., chief executive Michael L. Browne said in a statement Wednesday. That price is a lot fatter than the stock's previous high, in the mid-$30s. Half a dozen policyholders, who sued to change the terms, say some cash should go to the company's nominal owners, policyholders of affiliated Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co., as happened in previous mutual sales like Nationwide's purchase of the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co., Berwyn, 10 years ago (also after a court fight)
November 17, 2010 |
Store owners, job-hunters, investors all want this Christmas shopping season to be busier than last year. Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods jumped 12 percent Tuesday as the Pittsburgh-based national chain posted modestly higher sales in its third-quarter report. Same-store sales at more than 400 Dick's stores rose 5 percent over 2009 levels. Online sales jumped a more-exciting 82 percent, chief financial officer Timothy Kullman told investors. Wall Street connects online sales with low costs and high profits.
March 21, 2012
As Amazon.com killed Borders, crippled Best Buy, and started trimming even Walmart, at least the online retail giant was also hiring thousands of low-wage workers and contract laborers for the warehouses it has been raising in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and a few other states. But Amazon's announcement Monday that it was buying industrial robot-maker Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million could leave you wondering if retail was going to be completely taken over by machines. Pennsylvania - America's warehouse - is home to one of Amazon's "order fulfillment" clusters, with five locations in the Allentown-to-Carlisle corridor on the Interstate freeways that bypass I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
October 26, 2011 |
Alphabuyer Inc., a year-old Paoli e-commerce company that enlists customers for "group buying for your bills," probably could have picked something a little sexier to start with than the humble electric bill. But since launching last year with discount offers for Peco Energy Co. electricity customers, the group-buying service has expanded into three other states, including New Jersey, and other commodities, such as natural gas. Cofounder Kevin Johnson imagines that eventually every savvy, penny-pinching customer will go through Alphabuyer to join groups to buy products and services ranging from discounted Internet and cellphone service to gasoline, heating oil, or antivirus-software subscriptions.
April 5, 2011 |
For the second time in a decade, Michael G. Rubin is selling the business he heads - and keeping some of it, too. Online-auction manager eBay has big plans for its latest proposed Philadelphia-area acquisition, GSI Commerce , which employs approximately 1,000 workers at its King of Prussia headquarters and thousands more at warehouses across North America. But Rubin isn't just selling his company, the publicly traded GSI. He's also buying back the parts he wants, with eBay's blessing, plus eBay financing for further expansion.
April 19, 2012 |
Five Below Inc., the Center City-based chain of 192 kid-oriented dollar stores in 16 Eastern and Midwestern states, has hired Goldman Sachs and other brokers to lure investors for a $150 million initial public stock offering. The chain, founded in 2003 by former Zany Brainy toy-store owners David Schlessinger and Tom Vellios, has grown quickly, especially since investors led by Advent International Corp. of Boston pumped in $194 million in 2010. Five Below more than doubled its sales of cheap sports gear, snacks, party goods, and other middle-school accessories to $297 million in the year ended Jan. 11, from $125 million two years earlier, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
September 11, 2011 |
In this punk U.S. economy, familiar places keep vanishing. Our neighborhood Borders , one of my cable-TV-deprived kids' favorite hangouts, shuts this week. The old Circuit City across the road, where we got our first mobile phones and our first factory-boxed PC, is empty again, after another electronics chain found that it couldn't make money there, either. Let 'em go, said Michael G. Rubin , who last spring sold the online-retail contractor and warehouse company he built and ran, King of Prussia-based GSI Commerce Inc., to eBay Inc. for $2.5 billion.
June 14, 2011
In the Region Saul Ewing to merge with Boston firm Saul Ewing L.L.P. , of Center City, said it planned to merge with the Boston real estate and business law firm Dionne & Gass L.L.P. , effective July 1. The merger will bring seven new lawyers to Saul Ewing, five as partners, one as special counsel, and another as an associate, and expand Saul Ewing's East Coast presence with its first office in Boston. The combined law firm will retain the Saul Ewing name and have 235 lawyers.
March 29, 2011 |
I received some interesting reactions from readers to Friday's column about the legacy of two pioneers of the region's biotechnology sector. I'd wondered aloud who might follow in the footsteps of Frank Baldino Jr. , the founder of Cephalon Inc. who died in December, and Hubert J.P. Schoemaker , the founder of Centocor Inc. who died in 2006. Both built large enterprises that continue to employ hundreds locally. In a comment posted online, Pennsylvania Bio president Christopher P. Molineaux listed seven local life-sciences entrepreneurs whom he suggested were walking that same path, including Steven Nichtberger , CEO of East Norriton-based Tengion Inc. , and Maxine Gowen , founder and CEO of King of Prussia-based Trevena Inc. In e-mails, readers in the biotech business mentioned how difficult it is to get from the point of drug discovery to putting actual product in consumers' hands.