Jeb Bush makes it 11 Republican presidential candidates, and Texas is bracing for another big storm today. Here are the top news stories for June 16, 2015.
Gap Closing Stores
Gap is going to close 175 stores over the next several years in an effort to streamline the company’s operation. Gap will also cut about 250 jobs at its corporate headquarters in this current fiscal year. Gap operates Old navy and Athlete stores as well as Gap locations. The company estimates an annualized sales loss of about $300 million associated with the store closures, and it will take a one-time cost of up to $160 million. Gap CEO Arthur Peck told CNBC the job cuts were not driven by digital shopping increases or current business. After the restructuring the company will operate about 800 stores in North America.
It Goes to 11
John Ellis Bush, known better as Jeb, kicked off his presidential campaign Monday and thus became the 11th Republican candidates for the highest office in the land. Bush, the former governor of Florida, is the son and brother of former U.S. presidents. Bush is 62 years old. In his speech proclaiming his candidacy, Bush said “I am ready to lead. I will run with heart. We will take command of our future once again in this country.”
Texas to Get Soaked Again
Texans spent Monday night and Tuesday morning preparing for another harsh round of weather as Tropical Storm Bill headed towards the coast. Bill is expected to produce heavy rains and flooding as well as 50-mile per hour winds on an area that was hit by record rains and floods in May. Those earlier storms killed dozens of residents. Bill was expected to hit landfall around noon Tuesday, aiming at the city of Victoria southwest of Houston, and running all the way to Lake Charles in Louisiana. Southeastern Texas will see between 4 to 8 inches by the end of Wednesday, but some areas could get as much as 12 inches.
Housing Permits Jump
The Commerce Department Tuesday said U.S. housing starts fell in May but that there was a surge in permits for future construction, and that number reached near an eight-year high. Groundbreaking dropped 11.1 percent in May to a seasonal pace of 1.04 million units. Permits for future home construction increased by 11.8 percent to a 1.28 million unit annual rate, and that is the highest permit rate since August of 2007, before the recession. Permits have been above the one million rate since July of last year.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Helmut Anscheringer of Switzerland with illegally profiting from a stock tip on a company that was being bought by Apple. The SEC says Anscheringer bought stock and call options on AuthenTec after learning from a friend the company was being bought by Apple. His moves came before the news was disclosed to the public, and he profited by about $1.8 million in the process. AuthenTec provides fingerprint sensors and other technology that helps mobile device users to conduct transactions.
Starwood Renaming Its Time-Share Business
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has filed the paperwork necessary to spin off its vacation ownership business into a separate publicly traded company to take advantage of growth in the time-share industry. Starwood makes its announcement about four years after Marriott did a similar move with its time-share division. Starwood Vacation Ownership will now be known as Vistana Signature Experiences and will have resorts in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Starwood has run behind some other companies in the limited-service hotel sector, where it is doing battle with Marriott’s Courtyard chain and Hilton’s Garden Inns.