Business

On Board Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas for its First Cruise
Business

On Board Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas for its First Cruise

One man got down on his knees and kissed the rug emblazoned with the ship’s logo. Another lifted his wife and swung her around, ecstatic to be among the roughly 5,000 passengers to embark on the inaugural sailing of the world’s largest cruise ship, the Icon of the Seas.For months, the 250,800-ton ship, which can carry nearly 8,000 people, has been making headlines — including some that have criticized its size and potential to damage the environment. But the passengers who plunked down $1,800 to $100,000 and boarded the ship at Port Miami in Florida on Jan. 27, said nothing could have prepared them for the vessel’s sheer scale.“It’s stunning,” said Christina Carvalho, a 43-year-old accountant from Oakland, Calif., as she stood on the ship’s Royal Promenade, gaping up at “The Pearl,” a giga...
Maui Economy, 6 Months After Wildfire, Is Still Reeling
Business

Maui Economy, 6 Months After Wildfire, Is Still Reeling

Twisted and charred aluminum mixed with shards of glass still lines the floor of the industrial warehouse where Victoria Martocci once operated her scuba diving business. After a wildfire tore through West Maui, all that remained of her 36-foot boat, the Extended Horizons II, were a pair of engines.That was six months ago, but Ms. Martocci and her husband, Erik Stein, who are weighing whether to rebuild the business, which he started in 1983, said the same questions filled their thoughts. “What will this island look like?” Ms. Martocci asked. “Will things ever be close to being the same?”In early August, what began as a brush fire burst into the town of Lahaina, a popular tourist destination, all but leveling it, destroying large swaths of West Maui and killing at least 100 people in the n...
Tucker Carlson’s Visit to Russia Draws Speculation of Putin Interview
Business

Tucker Carlson’s Visit to Russia Draws Speculation of Putin Interview

Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host who now has a show on the social network X, has been spotted in Moscow in recent days, leading to speculation in Russia and the United States that he is about to achieve his long-stated goal of interviewing President Vladimir V. Putin.If so, Mr. Carlson would be the first American media figure to land a formal interview with the Russian leader since he invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago.Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has indicated that Mr. Putin was denying requests from Western new outlets because their countries had been “stupefied” by anti-Russian propaganda. But Mr. Carlson has been a defender of Mr. Putin while attacking his Western critics, placing him at the vanguard of a pro-Putin wing of the American conservative movement.In a call...
A City Built on Steel Tries to Reverse Its Decline
Business

A City Built on Steel Tries to Reverse Its Decline

Gary, Ind., was once a symbol of American innovation. The home of U.S. Steel’s largest mill, Gary churned out the product that built America’s bridges, tunnels and skyscrapers. The city reaped the rewards, with a prosperous downtown and vibrant neighborhoods.Gary’s smokestacks are still prominent along Lake Michigan’s sandy shore, starkly juxtaposed between the eroding dunes and Chicago’s towering silhouette to the northwest. But now they represent a city looking for a fresh start.More than 10,000 buildings sit abandoned, and the population of 180,000 in the 1960s has dropped by more than half. Poverty, crime and an ignoble moniker — “Scary Gary” — deter private investors and prospective homeowners.As U.S. Steel stands at a crossroads — a planned acquisition would put it under foreign cont...
Tony Spring, Macy’s New C.E.O., Faces Retail Puzzle
Business

Tony Spring, Macy’s New C.E.O., Faces Retail Puzzle

As he prepares to take the reins as Macy’s chief executive on Sunday, Tony Spring has a tall order: He must contend with the existential crisis that mall-based department stores are facing to try to stay relevant in an increasingly e-commerce world.But trying to infuse Macy’s with new ideas and win over the next generation of young shoppers shapes up as a long-term effort, and some investors have already lost their patience.In December, an investor group submitted a bid that would take Macy’s private at a value of $5.8 billion. The investors, Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management, say that unless the retailer begins sharing nonpublic information with them, they may take their offer to shareholders.The firms’ bid puts even greater scrutiny on Mr. Spring as he takes over.Mr. Spr...
Walmart to Add 150 U.S. Stores in Five-Year Expansion Drive
Business

Walmart to Add 150 U.S. Stores in Five-Year Expansion Drive

Walmart will add 150 stores in the United States over the next five years, a major expansion drive for the retail giant.The company said the move, which it announced in a statement on Wednesday, would involve millions of dollars in investment. Walmart employs roughly 1.6 million people in the United States, and said it hires hundreds of people each time it opens a new store.Walmart had just over 4,600 stores nationwide at the end of October, down from more than 4,700 a year earlier. The company has not opened a new U.S. store since late 2021.Most of the stores that Walmart plans to open will be newly built, while others will be conversions of existing locations to new formats. The first two new stores will open in the spring, in Florida and Georgia, and the company is completing constructi...
Eurozone Economy Flatlines, Raising Concerns About Falling Behind
Business

Eurozone Economy Flatlines, Raising Concerns About Falling Behind

The eurozone economy stagnated late last year as a lingering energy crisis sparked a loss of competitiveness in some European industries, and consumers reined in spending to grapple with high living costs, Europe’s statistics agency reported Tuesday.But economists believe the worst may be over, as the European Central Bank continues its campaign to wring out inflation without plunging the eurozone economy into a deep downturn.Economic output in the 20 countries that use the euro currency grew at zero percent in the last three months of 2023 versus the previous quarter, after contracting in the third quarter, narrowly avoiding a recession. Compared with a year ago, the eurozone grew by just 0.1 percent. The anemic pace is keeping Europe far behind the United States, where the economy, altho...
Private Equity Is Starting to Share With Workers, Without Taking a Financial Hit
Business

Private Equity Is Starting to Share With Workers, Without Taking a Financial Hit

In 2018, Anna-Lisa Miller was working with agricultural cooperatives in Hawaii, helping them reinvest in their communities through shared ownership.Ms. Miller, who had gone to law school and had planned to do civil rights litigation, loved the principle of workers partaking in the financial success of their employers, and the next year joined Project Equity, a nonprofit that helps small businesses transition to worker ownership. But it was slow going, with each transaction requiring customized assistance.Then she came across an investor presentation from a different universe: KKR, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. In it, a KKR executive, Pete Stavros, discussed a model he had been developing to provide employees with an equity stake in companies it purchased, so the workers ...
Vince McMahon Cuts W.W.E. Ties After Sex Trafficking Accusation
Business

Vince McMahon Cuts W.W.E. Ties After Sex Trafficking Accusation

Vince McMahon, the longtime chairman and former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, resigned from the board of W.W.E.’s parent company on Friday, one day after a former employee accused him of sexual assault and trafficking in a federal lawsuit.Mr. McMahon was the executive chairman of TKO Group, the parent company of W.W.E., though he held no formal position at W.W.E. W.W.E. employees were informed of the changes in an email sent by Nick Kahn, the company’s president. “He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or W.W.E.,” Mr. Kahn wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, accused Mr. McMahon of trafficking the employee, Janel Grant, as well as physically and emotionally abusing...
In a New Cannabis Landscape, a Navy Veteran Battles for Racial Equity
Business

In a New Cannabis Landscape, a Navy Veteran Battles for Racial Equity

“Transforming Spaces” is a series about women driving change in sometimes unexpected places.Jam the towel under the door. Open the window. And hide the bong.For decades, college students have found ways to mask the pungent aroma of marijuana smoke on campuses. Wanda James, however, did not always feel a need to hide. A 1986 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Ms. James would sit on the steps outside her dorm and roll joints with her friends.It would be decades before Colorado became one of the first two states in the country to legalize recreational cannabis, but on campus, James never worried.“The worst that would happen is they would tell us to put it away, or they might take it from us, and that was the end of it,” Ms. James recalled of the campus police.Fast forward 40 year...