Business

Business news and features from the Puget Sound region. Stay up-to-date with the latest business news and more.

Online shoppers in Washington state may soon have to pay sales tax on out-of-state e-commerce purchases. Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday is expected to sign a package of tax increases just approved by the state legislature to balance the next two-year budget.

But the internet sales tax seems likely to be challenged in court.

Beginning in 2020, workers in Washington will be eligible for paid family and medical leave through a new state program funded by employee and employer contributions. 



Elaine Thompson / AP

Two recent studies on Seattle's $15 minimum wage law seem to conflict in their preliminary analyses of the effects of the law.

Spirits company Diageo is buying Casamigos, the tequila company co-founded by George Clooney, in a deal that values the company at up to $1 billion. The actor founded the company in 2013 with longtime friend Rande Gerber.

Diageo will make an upfront payment of $700 million for Casamigos, with another $300 million to follow if it hits sales targets.

Casamigos "has delivered impressive growth," Diageo says in a news release, "reaching 120,000 cases in 2016, primarily in the U.S." The company says the tequila brand is expected to top 170,000 cases by the end of this year.

The first day of summer doesn't begin until Wednesday but United Parcel Service already is looking ahead to the colder seasons with plans to charge retailers an extra fee for orders placed around Black Friday and Christmas.

And consumers could end up carrying that extra weight if retailers decide to pass on the cost by raising shipping fees.

Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET

The first sentence of Yahoo's Wikipedia page now reads, "Yahoo! Inc. was an American multinational technology company."

Yahoo's Internet properties officially became Verizon's properties Tuesday, as the telecom giant finalized its $4.5 billion acquisition.

The pirate north of the border has conceded defeat.

After five years of buying Trader Joe's products in the U.S. and selling them at a high markup in Vancouver — and fighting a protracted legal battle to keep doing so — the man behind Pirate Joe's has finally shuttered the secondhand store.

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

A person has to make nearly $19 per hour to comfortably rent a one-bedroom apartment in Washington state, according to a new report from a national housing advocacy group.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual Out of Reach report measures housing affordability in terms of how much a person has to make to rent average homes of various sizes.

The report ranks Washington as the 10th most expensive state in the country by that measure. Hawaii was ranked number one.

Amazon is attempting to lure low-income shoppers from Walmart by offering a discount on its pay-by-month Prime membership for people who receive government assistance.

The giant online retailer said in a statement Tuesday that people who have a valid electronic benefits transfer card — used for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, or food stamps — will pay $5.99 per month for a year. Amazon is offering a 30-day free trial for qualifying customers.

And then there were three.

Apple has finally unveiled its answer to Amazon's and Google's smart speakers slash digital assistants — and it's called HomePod.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Private bike-share companies are looking to Seattle to see if stationless bike-sharing might be a viable alternative to the defunct Pronto system.

Three companies with bases in the Bay Area -- Bluegogo, LimeBike and Spin -- are talking with city officials to coordinate a Seattle launch. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A deal has been reached between the owners, a developer and two nonprofits on a valuable piece of property in Seattle's Central District.

Lake Union Partners has agreed to buy the old Midtown Center property on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street for $23.25 million.

The property is one of the last full blocks of undeveloped land in the city and lies at the historical heart of Seattle's black community.

Courtesy of Catherine DeBruin

For decades, Canadian shoppers have walked back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border into Sumas, Wash. to shop at a family-owned grocery store called Bromley’s Market

After 57 years, the store is closing its doors for the last time today.

 

Catherine DeBruin, is the front-end supervisor at Bromley’s Market. Her grandparents bought the store in 1960 and she grew up in the family business.  

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Ford Motor Co. announced Monday that it has replaced President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields, who is retiring after nearly 30 years with the automaker.

Washington politics spilled over into the financial markets Wednesday, as the week's turmoil — including questions over what President Trump said to former FBI Director James Comey before firing him — has put the administration's pro-business legislative agenda in question, most notably the president's proposed tax cuts.

Another day and another conflict with airline employees goes viral.

Al Grillo / AP Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency has settled a lawsuit with Canadian-owned Pebble Limited Partnership over development of a copper and gold deposit in southwest Alaska.

Two years ago, the EPA proposed restrictions on the Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region. The settlement walks back that proposal, giving the company up to 30 months to apply for proper permits and limiting the agency from pursuing further restrictions for four years.

Bristol Bay is host to a world-class fishery and produces about half of the world's supply of wild sockeye salmon.

Flickr

Seattle-based Nordstrom reported first-quarter earnings that were better than expected, but the company is still struggling to navigate a new retail landscape.

Revenues met Wall Street expectations at $3.35 billion, but sales at Nordstrom's brick-and-mortar stores are down.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Apprenticeships are common in sectors like building and manufacturing, but now Washington state is trying to apply the model to the tech industry.

The first cohort of 41 apprentices were pinned by Governor Jay Inslee in a ceremony Friday honoring the state's only registered tech apprenticeship program called Apprenti.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Amazon hosted a ceremonial tree planting Thursday as work continued on the large glass domes at the center of the company's downtown Seattle campus.

The Australian tree fern is the first plant to call the spheres home. The spheres will house a kind of indoor park for Amazon employees with hundreds of different species of plants from around the world.

"This is an opportunity to link nature to today's office space," said John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Two security officers who work on the Amazon campus in Seattle say their hours were cut after they marched to the company's headquarters on May Day.

The Service Employees International Union filed a complaint Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Abdinasir Elmi and Betiel Desta.

Elmi and Desta are employed by Security Industry Specialists, a California-based company that contracts with Amazon.

"This problem has been going on for a long, long time. This is not the first time," Elmi said.

President Trump recently went on a small rampage against Canada for blocking imports of one particular type of milk from the United States.

With unemployment low and economic growth expected to bounce back from a slow first quarter, consumers are not in bad shape. But it has been an especially terrible year so far for retailers.

Nine U.S. chains have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Store closures are accelerating, and almost 90,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October.

Experts say the industry's troubles are just beginning.

Unionized pilots at Alaska Airlines and recently acquired Virgin America pulled off a virtual barrel roll Wednesday to get management's attention. The union complains that talks to combine both pilot groups under what they hope will be a more generous joint contract aren't moving fast enough.

A few weeks ago, my husband brought home a bottle of chilled beverage that wasn't on the grocery list I had sent him out with. It was a bottle of pre-packaged sugarcane juice – a novelty in a market flooded with bottled soda and mango drinks. But one sip of the drink and I was transported back to my childhood summers.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Boeing is reporting an increase in profits from the same time last year even though there has been a decrease in plane sales.

The Chicago-based aerospace company did see an uptick in deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner and expects good prospects as it rolls out the 737 Max.

But Boeing is cutting output of the 777 jet, which has consequences for workers in Washington state.

Reporters and on-air personalities are among the roughly 100 ESPN employees who are expected to lose their jobs this week, in a cost-cutting move at the network that has lost millions of subscribers in recent years.

Under pressure from worker advocates and growing consumer awareness, Tyson Foods on Wednesday promised better conditions for employees at its meat-processing plants.

In forcing out its top-rated star, Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News Channel sought to contain the damage inflicted by a spreading sexual harassment scandal less than a year after the network's chairman was ousted in the face of similar accusations.

Sometimes, it's the Internet of stings.

Juicero, a startup that sells a pricey juice press, found that out firsthand. The company's Wi-Fi-enabled machine produces cold-pressed juice out of packets sold exclusively to owners via subscription.

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