The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 08, 2019 1:00 am


Starbucks' China sales not robust

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After Starbucks snagged an enviable 5% growth in China in the latest quarter, the coffee giant warned again last week that its China comparable sales could rise as little as 1% this fiscal year. The 1%-to-3% growth expected in China would be slower than the 3%-to-4% expansion expected in the U.S., despite saturation at home.

“We're effectively doing it to ourselves; we're doing it intentionally in the interest of growing total transactions and total sales,” Chief Financial Officer Patrick Grismer said, adding that competition and slowing growth also have an impact.

The company is opening a location in China about every 15 hours, with an ultimate goal of adding about 600 new cafes this year to its current count of 4,125.

Cleveland-Cliffs to acquire AK Steel

Cleveland-Cliffs will buy AK Steel in a stock deal valued at about $1.1 billion.

The companies say the tie-up will create a vertically integrated company that pairs Cleveland-Cliff's iron ore pellet production with AK Steel's rolled and stainless steel operations. Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest producer of iron ore pellets in North America.

U.S. Steel in its last quarter reported its first loss since early 2017, and the division that makes pipes for energy companies lost $25 million. It has laid off workers and shut down some of its blast furnaces.

AK Steel will become a subsidiary of Cliffs and keep its branding and corporate identity.

UK to probe Google buyout of data firm

Google is facing a U.K. investigation into its $2.6 billion takeover of data company Looker Data Sciences Inc., opening up another front in the Alphabet Inc. unit's ongoing battle with lawmakers.

The Competition and Markets Authority on Thursday said it issued an initial enforcement order that prevents companies from integrating their services while the regulator carries out an early-stage review of the acquisition. The CMA has asked for comments on the deal by Dec. 20 before it decides whether to begin a formal probe.

Google announced in June that it planned to buy U.S.-based Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind and Microsoft with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to analyst Gartner Inc.

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