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Malden to open its first Starbucks store

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RETAIL

Malden to open its first Starbucks store

Malden is finally getting a Starbucks. The seemingly ubiquitous coffee shop chain will open its first-ever location in the city this fall, the developer of an office building in Malden Center said Monday. Berkeley Investments confirmed that Starbucks will occupy about 2,500 square feet in the ground floor of Exchange 200, a research and life-sciences project Berkeley is completing this year near the Malden Center MBTA station. The Starbucks will take the place of a Caffe Nero shop that had been planned in the building prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two full-service restaurants — 110 Grill and Evviva Trattoria — opened at the building earlier this summer. Malden Mayor Gary Christenson first broke the news in a tweet last week. “Since I came into office, I have to say that Starbucks was our most requested franchise,” he said. “We have been on the hunt for all these years.” — TIM LOGAN

WORKPLACE

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Boston and Cambridge trail rest of nation in return to office

Employees came back to the office in droves in June around the country but not so much in Boston and Cambridge, according to Robin, a desk-booking software firm based in Boston. The number of employees going into the office in June rose 50 percent from May levels nationwide, showing some return to normalcy after more than a year away during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there was only a 22 percent increase in Boston and Cambridge, the firm said last week, based on data from more than 100 local businesses. Eric Lani, a research analyst at Robin, said Boston doesn’t apparently have the volume of industries that were driving the national return trends, most notably construction and hospitality. The statistics are based on anonymized data from customers’ desk and conference room bookings from around the world. The United States tied with India for first place with the highest number of desk bookings in June, with Robin’s statistics showing about a 20 percent occupancy rate on average in this country. — JON CHESTO

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FINANCIAL

Cambridge bank goes digital

Cambridge Savings Bank is launching a digital-only division called Ivy Bank to provide competitive interest rates for online savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Ivy customers can manage their accounts, deposit checks, and transfer funds using the digital banking platform. Ivy has a money management tool that allows customers to view all their bank accounts from CSB and other institutions in one place, promises an average account opening time of five minutes, and provides customer service via chat, e-mail and phone. — JON CHESTO

MARKETS

Half a dozen IPOs are launching, led by Robinhood

Ahead of the usual summer doldrums in August, more technology companies are rushing out their initial public offerings while the market is still hot. Robinhood Markets, the retail trading platform that made headlines this year, filed on Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to start the roadshow of its $2.2 billion IPO, the fifth biggest listing this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At least six companies set terms on Monday to kick off their roadshows in the United States seeking to raise as much as $4.7 billion combined. On top of that, hot dog restaurant chain Portillo’s and fashion startup Rent the Runway announced that they have confidentially filed paperwork to go public. These offerings will add to the already record-breaking US IPO market, which raised $216 billion through Monday, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. PowerSchool Holdings, the education software maker backed by Vista Equity Partners, seeks to raise $790 million in a listing while language-learning app Duolingo plans to raise as much as $485 million in its IPO, the companies announced. The frenzy doesn’t stop at technology. Dole Plc, the fruit producer, is also listing in the United States in a $541 million deal. Its listings in Dublin and London will be discontinued once the US deal is completed. Companies are getting their listings in while the market is still hot. All major US indexes fell over 1 percent on Monday as the Delta variant casts a shadow on the economic recovery. Dow Jones fell 2.1 percent while the S&P 500 was down 1.6 percent. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ENERGY

China warns of new power outages as heat strains grids

Key Chinese cities have warned that homes and factories face new power outages as historic demand and supply shortages strain energy grids. Populous centers including Beijing and Xi’an have alerted electricity users there will be scheduled disruptions as grid operators struggle to maintain overloaded networks. Eleven provinces including eastern manufacturing hubs and landlocked central China, which also suffered outages during last winter’s cold spell, reported record demand and peak-load surges last week, according to the State Grid Corp. of China. The nation’s electricity providers are experiencing similar pressures seen in the United States and other hot spots around the world as temperatures reach alarming levels during the early weeks of summer. Exacerbating the situation in China is a strong economic rebound from the pandemic, which helped spur a 10 percent surge in power consumption last month. The heat waves and increased power demand are putting further strain on the coal industry, China’s main energy source. Thermal coal prices jumped above 921 yuan per ton on Monday, close to an intraday record of 944.2 yuan set in May, as supply concerns grow. The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, last week vowed a massive buildup of coal reserve capacity to meet demand and cool prices. Spokesman Jin Xiandong said on Monday that China will encourage more output of wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear power to meet summer peak demand. Beijing last week cut off power to an industrial park for half-an-hour during a thunderstorm, and warned some surrounding villages and districts of planned outages that could last about 11 hours. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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AUTOMOTIVE

GM planning electric pickup as part of $35 billion EV push

General Motors Co. is developing an electric pickup for its premium GMC truck and sport utility brand. The Detroit automaker’s EV plans will accelerate later this year as a Hummer pickup and Cadillac Lyriq sport utility vehicle begin rolling off its production lines, the company confirmed Monday. An electric Chevy Silverado pickup also is on the way. The return of the hulking, gas-guzzling Hummer as an EV is the vanguard of the company’s electric makeover. GM stepped up its EV investment plans by 30 percent in June, pledging to spend $35 billion on more than 30 plug-in vehicles by 2025 and a total of four battery plants. The decision reflected stronger-than-expected financial results. Duncan Aldred, vice president of the Buick and GMC brands at GM, said at a digital event Monday that the automaker is “pretty advanced” in its development of the GMC EV pickup, CNBC reported earlier. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ECONOMY

Officially, the pandemic recession lasted only two months

The pandemic recession is officially over. In fact, it has been over for more than a year. The National Bureau of Economic Research, the semiofficial arbiter of US business cycles, said Monday that the recession had ended in April 2020, after a mere two months. That makes it by far the shortest contraction on record — so short that by June 2020, when the bureau officially determined that a recession had begun, it had been over for two months. (The previous shortest recession on record, in 1980, lasted six months.) But while the 2020 recession was short, it was unusually severe. Employers cut 22 million jobs in March and April, and the unemployment rate hit 14.8 percent, the worst level since the Great Depression. Gross domestic product fell by more than 10 percent. The end of the recession doesn’t mean that the economy has healed. The United States has nearly 7 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic, and while GDP has most likely returned to its pre-pandemic level, thousands of businesses have failed, and millions of individuals are still struggling to get back on their feet. To economists, however, recessions aren’t simply periods of financial hardship. They are periods of economic contraction, as measured by employment, income, production and other indicators. Once growth resumes, the recession is over, no matter how deep a hole remains. The recession that accompanied the 2008 financial crisis, for example, ended in June 2009 — four months before the unemployment rate hit its peak, and years before many Americans began to experience a meaningful rebound. The unusual nature of the pandemic-induced economic collapse challenged the traditional concept of a “recession.” The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.” Taken literally, the latest downturn fails that test — the recession lasted mere weeks. But the bureau’s Business Cycle Dating Committee decided that the contraction should count nonetheless. — NEW YORK TIMES