ST. PETERSBURG — Like a lot of Americans, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman is happy to say goodbye to 2016. It was not the best of times for her home-shopping empire.
HSN on Wednesday reported the TV, digital and catalog retailing company's performance for all of 2016 and its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31.
Net income plummeted 30 percent in 2016 from the prior year to $118.7 million, while fourth-quarter net income dropped 27 percent to $43.5 million. Net sales slipped 3 percent to $3.6 billion in 2016 from a year earlier, while dipping 2 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.07 billion from same quarter of 2015....
02/22/17 Personal Finance
For all the talk of an economic rebound in Florida, there's a big problem that too often stays out of the state's spotlight.
More than 4 of every 10 households in Florida — 3.3 million of the state's 7.5 million households — are struggling to make ends meet. That 44 percent includes not only the 14.5 percent of households that earn less than the federal poverty level but another 29.5 percent of Florida households that are part of the working poor. These are folks ranging from fast food workers, the bulk of tourism industry employees, home health care workers and even certain teachers who find their modest paychecks still make it tough to meet basic needs....
For a theme park company that easily could have been financially mauled by years of bad publicity, SeaWorld Entertainment is showing surprising resilience.
Forced to reinvent itself without its star orca attraction, the theme park company on Tuesday released preliminary performance numbers for 2016 that show a modest drop in both theme park attendance and revenues. The figures are down, but apparently solid enough to ease the fears of investors. SeaWorld shares closed Tuesday at $19.31 apiece. That's close to where the stock price traded at the start of this year....
Bloomin' Brands, Tampa's beleaguered parent of such big-name restaurant chains as Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, must feel like it's been wandering the casual dining bog in search of solid ground for years.
Alas, there's no sign of dry land yet.
The company, whose holdings of 1,500-plus restaurants also include Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, on Friday reported declining customer traffic across all four of its chains, lower sales at three of its four brands, the closing of 43 underperforming restaurants and a $4.3 million loss for the fourth quarter that ended on Dec. 31....
In October and then again in December of 2016, Duke Energy won long-pursued federal operating licenses to build and run what was meant to be cutting edge nuclear power plants at sites in Florida and South Carolina.
Duke has no current plans to proceed on either project.
The dilemma? Now that Duke has finally secured these hard-to-get licenses, years have passed since these projects were first proposed. More than $1 billion (much of it still to be charged to customers via higher electric rates) have been spent on early site preparations. And what was once the modern design of the chosen nuclear plants, known as the AP1000, at both sites now looks outmoded by newer plans for smaller, less costly and quicker-to-build nuclear plants....
02/16/17 Working Life
The American workplace is broken.
Despite U.S. business managers' best efforts, the vast majority of U.S. workers are disengaged or indifferent. That workplace ennui comes at a price for U.S. productivity — economic output per person — a fundamental workforce measure that peaked in the 1950s and 1960s. Productivity growth has been declining since then, U.S. Labor Department data show, despite the rise of such remarkable technologies as the Internet, the laptop and the smartphone, all intended to help people work smarter and faster....
TAMPA — In the spirit of boosting Florida's still-juvenile support system for entrepreneurs and innovation, a new statewide group called Launch Florida was unveiled Wednesday to encourage better coordination and more networking opportunities.
The organization was introduced during Tampa Bay's Startup Week of events celebrating this region's business startups and entrepreneurs.
Consider it one more piece of the "entrepreneurial ecosystem" that Tampa Bay and Florida are trying to knit together into a more coherent and muscular support system....
TAMPA — You can appreciate why Friday morning's remarks by Coca-Cola Beverages Florida CEO Troy Taylor, a recent arrival to the Tampa business community, prompted an instant sellout at a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce event held at the downtown University Club.
It's tough to find an example — anywhere — of a private company that starts with a staff of ten in 2015 and is now about to employ 4,800 on annual revenues topping $1 billion....
It may seem folly to anoint one business leader as Tampa Bay's most influential of the modern era. Many made serious contributions. But in this case, the choice is clear.
Tom James has guided Raymond James Financial since he became its CEO in 1969 at the tender age of 27. Ever since, he's steadily grown what was a fledgling investment business in St. Petersburg into what is now the most powerful investment and brokerage firm not based on Wall Street....
02/08/17 Economic Development
A top Tampa Bay economic developer warns legislation seeking to end state incentives meant to recruit and support Florida jobs could undermine decades of effort to make the Sunshine State a strong competitor and handicap long-term prospects for its economy.
"Building a reputation in economic development is like building trust," says Craig Richard, CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and a veteran of the wars among states to attract quality jobs. "It takes a long time to build up, but only a minute to be wiped out."...
The domineering value of the Apple brand on the global business scene faded just enough for Google to replace the make of the ubiquitous iPhone as the world's most valuable brand for the first time since 2011. So says Brand Finance's "Global Brand 2017" ranking of the 500 most valuable brands in the world.
"Apple's evangelists are beginning to lose their faith," Brand Finance says in its new report. "The snaking queues of early adopters have shrunk almost to the point of invisibility" — a sign that suggests Apple is coasting more than it should to remain at the pinnacle of tech innovation and design. (Of course, this report was written before Apple's boffo quarterly earnings last week, driven by huge iPhone 7 sales.)...
What might be the best indicator yet in 2017 that Florida is rising fast when compared to other states?
It's not unemployment rate. Florida's jobless rate is 4.9 percent, a bit above the national 4.7 percent rate. It's not state GDP. Florida's growth rate in real gross domestic product, 3.6 percent, most recently ranked 29th among states. Nor is it household income. Florida still ranks poorly among states on that count....
TAMPA — The first remarks out of the mouth of the three Fifth Third Bank executives is how the plane they flew from Cincinnati to Florida had to be de-iced on the runway before takeoff.
Here they are in downtown Tampa on the 20th floor of Fifth Third's regional office. The sun is shining. The outdoor temperature is close to 70 degrees. And the view out the window, from the sprawling Port Tampa Bay to the endless expanse of Tampa Bay waters, is at its seductive best....
TAMPA — When former Wall Street investing guru turned Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik talks, people listen. And when he invests in something himself, people pay attention.
Vinik recently took a minority stake in a Tampa business that provides back-office and marketing services to hedge funds. The firm, Oakpoint Advisors, operates out of a small office in the Wells Fargo tower in downtown Tampa. Oakpoint is run by Wall Street veteran Gerry Coughlin, who previously ran Vinik Asset Management in Tampa before Jeff Vinik decided to get out of the hedge fund business....
02/01/17 Economic Development
The hurdles confronting a regional approach to transportation in Tampa Bay feel like a tale as old as time. Over and over, Hillsborough or Pinellas counties have independently pressed their voters to support a single county mass transit project only to see withering defeats at the ballot box.
Maybe Tampa Bay is failing in the voting booth because the metro area — one of the nation's largest lacking a comprehensive, multi-county transportation plan — keeps putting the cart before the horse. You can't pursue a regional transportation strategy when most of the players involved still operate inside and are beholden to separate county powers....