Amazon testing Uber-like delivery service
Amazon.com Inc. is testing an Uber-like service for delivering its one-hour Prime Now packages that will enlist people to deliver packages for Amazon with their own cars. In order to offer the speedy deliveries Amazon will pay drivers $18 to $25 an hour via its new Amazon Flex program. The move comes before the bustlingly busy November and December holiday shopping period. Drivers have to be at least 21 years old and pass a criminal background check and motor vehicle records review. People in Seattle can sign up now. The program is expected to roll out to New York City's Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Portland.
Wal-Mart expands testing of pickup service
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding free grocery pickup service to several markets in the U.S. as it seeks to capitalize on its network of physical stores amid growing competition with Amazon.com and others investing in home delivery. The world's largest retailer said it would start offering curbside pickup for groceries ordered online in eight new markets this month — including Atlanta and Salt Lake City — with more to be added in the coming weeks. Wal-Mart has been testing online grocery delivery services in two markets and pickup in the five markets of Denver, Phoenix, San Jose, Calif., Bentonville, Ark., and Huntsville, Ala.
Consumer confidence highest since January
American consumers were feeling more confident again this month, good news for the U.S. economy. The Conference Board, a business research group, said its consumer confidence index rose again to 103 in September after surging in August to 101.3. The September reading was the highest since January. Economists had expected the index to fall this month. Consumers' assessment of present economic conditions hit the highest level in eight years. More than 25 percent of Americans said jobs were plentiful, highest share since September 2007. Expectations for the future fell slightly. Compared to August, however, a bigger share of Americans said they were planning to buy cars and homes over the next six months.
Feds: Fiat Chrysler underreported problems
Fiat Chrysler is back in hot water with U.S. auto safety regulators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the company failed to report some deaths, injuries and other information to the agency as required by law. After the disclosure Tuesday of Chrysler's transgression, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, whose department includes NHTSA, told reporters he will call a meeting in Washington with all auto industry CEOs to address a long list of failures to meet reporting requirements. In the past several years, the agency has fined Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, Ford and others for failing to follow the law.
CEO out at KQRS parent Cumulus Media
Radio station giant Cumulus Media Inc. said former magazine association head Mary Berner will replace founder Lew Dickey as CEO, citing the need get its traditional and emerging platforms working together more effectively. The change will take effect Oct. 13. Chairman Jeffrey Marcus, whose Crestview Partners controls 27 percent of Cumulus stock, cited Berner's experience growing digital brands, including as CEO of Reader's Digest Association where she built Allrecipes into a huge food website. Atlanta-based Cumulus, the nation's second largest radio station owner, has 460 stations in 90 cities. Cumulus' stations in the Twin Cities are KQRS-FM, KXXR-FM (93X) and WGVX-FM (105 The Vibe).
Chesapeake Energy lays off 740 workers
Chesapeake Energy Corp. says it has laid off 740 employees, most of them at its Oklahoma City headquarters, after the company reported a second-quarter loss of more than $4 billion in August. The company released a statement saying Tuesday's layoffs represent about 15 percent of its workforce. The layoffs hit hard at the company's Oklahoma City office, where more than 560 people lost their jobs. The company says affected employees will receive up to a year's pay depending on their age, pay level and years of service. Continuing health insurance and job placement help also will be available. Chesapeake still has about 4,000 employees nationwide, including about 2,500 in Oklahoma City.