TIME Retail

CVS Quits Selling Tobacco 3 Weeks Ahead of Schedule

Changes corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health

CVS announced Wednesday that it has yanked cigarettes and other tobacco products from shelves at 7,600 stores nationwide, beating its original goal for ending cigarette sales by almost a month.

The retailer also changed its corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, a name the company believes “reflects our broader health care commitment.”

CVS pledged tobacco products would be off its shelves by Oct. 1 when it announced its plan to stop selling cigarettes in February, but they’re gone three weeks early.

“Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” Helena B. Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy said in a statement posted on the company’s website. “The removal of cigarette and other tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.”

“We’re the first national pharmacy chain to step up and take this action,” CEO Larry Merlo said in a video accompanying the original statement announcing the halt in sales. “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

Merlo also said the company plans to launch a “robust smoking cessation program” next year, to help the 7 in 10 smokers who say the way to quit achieve that goal.

The move comes as CVS is increasingly trying to rebrand itself as a health-care company, with in-pharmacy clinics and partnerships with hospitals. Now that cigarettes have disappeared, customers can expect to see new signage and an “enhanced selection” of nicotine replacement products.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made public health a key priority during her time in the White House, thanked CVS in a Twitter message.

TIME Apple

Here’s What to Actually Expect from Apple’s Sept. 9 Event

CHINA-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE
AFP/Getty Images

Predictions from the King of Apple predictions

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster on Tuesday raised his Apple price target to $120 from $105 and offered clients a preview of the media event the company has scheduled for next Tuesday. His version differs in several respects from conventional wisdom in the business press.

Munster expects to see:

  • An iPhone 6 with a larger screen (4.7-inch), faster (A8) chip, better battery life, more RAM and an improved camera
  • An iPhone 6L with an even bigger screen (5.5 inch) to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note
  • A hard sapphire screen on the top-of-the-line 64-GB iPhone 6L
  • A NFC (near field communications) chip in both phones and some way of showing it off
  • Good (70% ) chance Apple will unveil a “payment feature,” but not necessarily a full-fledged “payment platform”
  • 50% chance Apple will introduce a watch next week. (Most tech reporters are echoing re/Code’s prediction that a “wearable” will be unveiled a week from today, but won’t ship until next year.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME mergers

Why People Are Excited About a Staples-Office Depot merger

Office Depot, OfficeMax Said to Discuss Merger Under Pressure
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Analysts say the office-supply rivals should glue themselves together

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Phil Wahba

It was just a suggestion, but one that investors in Staples and Office Depot seemed to have loved: the two struggling office supplies giants should merge.

Shares in both companies soared on Tuesday after Credit Suisse in a research note recommended they combine forces to better compete against Amazon.com and Wal-Mart Stores and stop declining sales at both.

Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter estimated that by streamlining their operations, the companies together could save $1.44 billion a year, effectively doubling their combined operating profit by 2017. What’s more, a merged entity would be more strategic about store closings: both Staples and Office Depot are cutting stores by the dozen but often keeping a store that is unprofitable not to give up market share to its rival. That would mean that under a combination, only the best stores would remain.

A merger “makes significant financial and operational sense,” Balter wrote.

Regardless of whether they take Balter’s suggestions, it’s undeniable that both chains need to pick up their game.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Is Not Happy About a Tax on Its Free Lunches

A Tour of Google's New York Headquarters
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

If the IRS has its way, tech employees would have to pay taxes on their free meals

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By JP Mangalindan

For years, many tech workers in Silicon Valley have enjoyed free meals — one of several cushy perks offered the likes of Google, Facebook, and countless startups. But complimentary grub could become a thing of the past if the Internal Revenue Service has its way.

A report on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal revealed the IRS is pushing to tax employees for their free meals. Companies would have to add in the value of free food when calculating employee tax withholding.

News of a potential tax on free meals has many worried in Silicon Valley, where all-you-can eat buffets are a basic recruiting tool. They’re also a subtle way to get employees to work longer hours by giving them no reason for them to leave the office except to sleep.

“Having food available or catered in is kind of expected of most tech firms, so this is a bit of a concern,” admits Steve Sarner, VP of Marketing, at the social networking site Tagged, where employees get at least one free meal a week cooked up by nearby restaurants in San Francisco’s Financial District.

Nathan Grady, a front-end engineer at Weebly, a service that lets users build web sites with custom software tools, called the idea of taxing free food awkward. The practice is a social catalyst that makes it easy for a company’s staff to talk to one another, he said. Weebly makes that easy enough by serving free catered lunch daily.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The Secret to Not Flubbing a Job Interview

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Zero Creatives—Getty Images/Cultura RF

A phone interview can be a convenient first step for job-seekers and employers alike because it takes less time and expense than an in-person meeting. Be aware, though, that phone interviews present some unique pitfalls.

Want the edge on your fellow applicants? Read on. If you’re looking for a job, here’s what experts say you need to do to make sure that time on the phone gets you a call back.

Do your homework. “Have handy a copy of the job description, talking points about your qualifications, and the questions you’ve prepared for the interviewer,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at mobile career network TheLadders. Read over them before the interview to refresh your memory.

Find someplace quiet. “Make sure you are in a quiet place with the doors closed so no one can barge in and disrupt the call by creating noise,” says Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst at jobs and salary site Glassdoor. A crying baby or barking dog in the background isn’t going to help you project the professional image you want.

Don’t use, like, verbal filler. “Avoid verbal crutches like “um,” “like,” and “uh” that can undercut your communication skills and make you sound like you’re not confident,” says Robert Hosking, executive director of staffing service OfficeTeam.

Make clarity a priority. “Over the phone, the interviewer needs to be able to hear what you are saying as clearly as possible,” Hosking says. “Make sure you have at least one glass of water before the interview so your voice doesn’t crackle or become dry,” he says. It’s not a bad idea to keep a glass of water at hand in case you get a tickle in your throat, too.

Practice “verbal nods.” “Remember, the interviewer can’t see you shaking your head through the phone,” Augustine points out. This means you’ll need to give the interviewer verbal cues that take the place of a nod. Phrases like “I understand,” “Sounds great,” “Alright” and “That makes sense” will all do the trick, Augustine says. “Basically, you’re making sure the person on the other end of the line knows you’re following along with the conversation and on the same page,” she says.

Keep on track. Since people tend to ramble when they’re nervous, Hosking says it’s important to make sure you get to the point quickly. “While you certainly don’t want to give a series of one-word responses, aim to be thorough, yet succinct. It’s OK to pause and collect your thoughts before you begin to speak,” he says.

Sound confident. “Your interviewer is likely trained to glean from your conversation your level of self-confidence, personality and ability to communicate effectively,” Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of Jobhuntercoach, writes in US News & World Report. Don’t rush through your replies to the interviewer’s questions, ramble during pauses in the conversation or slip into overly colloquial language. “At the same time, do show something of your personality,” he says.

TIME

5 Ways To Be an Airplane Aggravation

Passengers sit with their luggage while waiting to board a flight in the domestic terminal at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Aug. 27, 2014.
Brendon Thorne—Bloomberg/Getty Images Passengers sit with their luggage while waiting to board a flight in the domestic terminal at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Aug. 27, 2014.

There are more passengers than the seat recliners who ought to be tossed off flights—preferably at 10,000 feet

Another flight, another fight. This time, a Delta flight to West Palm Beach from New York was diverted to Jacksonville over another dispute about reclining seats. The war between the recliners and decliners has broken into the open as airline travel continues to get decidedly more angry. I’ve already pledged my flying allegiance to the decliners — I don’t go back and I don’t think the passenger in front of me ought to, either. And I’m more than a little cranky about it.

But let’s not stop here. There are more passengers than the seat recliners who ought to be tossed off flights — preferably at 10,000 ft. — although that’s a good place to start. The list of uncivil aviation offenses just begins with the people who insist on intruding on my personal space. Here are other things you can do to qualify as the complete airline a-hole:

1) In the lounge, hog all available outlets with your myriad devices — phone, tablet, laptop, and headphones — and then start talking loudly on your mobile. Because you’re so, so important, aren’t you. Ignore the dirty looks for everyone within 25 yards of you. Yes, we’re still staring at you.

2) Try to barge on the plane before your row is called. Just act stupid — it won’t be a reach — and proclaim complete surprise when you reach the agent. All of these people should go to the back of the line — uh-huh, just like grade school — but the gate agents seem to have given up the fight. Can’t say I blame them, but if the carriers are going to go through the trouble of sequential boarding, a little enforcement wouldn’t hurt. Except in France, where this is completely futile.

3) Bring an oversized rolling suitcase, a briefcase, plus a couple of shopping bags on board and get ticked off when you can’t fit it all in the overheads. Extra annoyance points for arriving late. Then, keep opening bins that are already full until stuff cascades onto another passenger. Then act frustrated because you have to pick up the stuff you just knocked over. Yes, this is yet another case where the carriers are the root cause. Since the airlines have added outrageous fees for checked baggage, people naturally want to bring their stuff on board. All of it. So passengers push the envelop with oversized bags and everything from guitars to cases of wine, slowing the boarding process and sowing hostility because there isn’t room for all their stuff.

4) Once seated, take as much room as you can. That’s right, use both armrests for yourself. Spread your feet out until you make contact with the passenger next to you. Of course you are going to recline your seat with saying anything — slam — right into the knees of the guy behind you.

5) Now, when the plane taxies to the gate, push your way back to where you stowed some of your stuff, and then push your way forward to get back to your seat. Then, try to beat the passengers across the row into the aisle, so you can leave the jet 15 seconds faster than them. And be sure to complain about something on your way out.

You’re never going to fly this airline again, you say? Great. Can you start today?

TIME Smartphones

These Budget Smartphones Sold Out in India in 4.2 Seconds

Xiaomi Smartphones Sell Out in 4.2 Seconds in India
Bloomberg via Getty Images A Redmi smartphone from Xiaomi.

The Chinese smartphone maker is trying to crack other Asian markets—and it's working

Online sales of budget smartphone maker Xiaomi’s new Android phone were gone in India before many even had a chance to click.

Known as “China’s Apple,” Xiaomi sold all 40,000 units of its low-cost Redmi 1S within 4.2 seconds on Flipkart, an online marketplace that does business exclusively in India, according to Hugo Barra, Vice President of Xiaomi Global.

Those unable to swipe one of the phones took to Xiaomi India’s Facebook Page or Twitter to vent their frustration, criticizing the Chinese firm for entering one of the world’s largest markets with limited supply. A previous flash sale of Xiaomi’s Mi 3 phone was met with similar success—and annoyance—when 20,000 devices sold out in 2.4 seconds, according to NDTV. Registrations have already kicked off for another round of online Redmi 1S sales.

In India, Xiaomi is attempting to replicate the success it achieved in China. Only three years old, Xiaomi has become explosively popular in its home country thanks to its affordable pricing and personalized design, recently outnumbering shipments of phones compared to its biggest competitor, Samsung. While Samsung claims the largest market share in India’s smartphone market, Xiaomi is attempting to stake a place with its low-priced smartphones: the Redmi 1S, priced at Rs 5,999 ($100), remains equally affordable as, if not moreso than, Samsung devices like the popular Galaxy smartphones, which tend to retail well over Rs 5,999 in India.

But Xiaomi has a long road ahead if it wants India to be its next China. Only less than 1% of Xiaomi’s global smartphone units were shipped outside China during Q2 2014, according to tech intelligence firm Canalys. And a formidable competitor is approaching, too: Google has set a Sept. 15 event in India, which many expect will mark the Indian launch of a cheap Android One, according to NDTV.

 

TIME Companies

Halliburton to Pay $1.1 Billion Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Flags flying at a Halliburton facility in Williston, North Dakota on Aug. 20, 2013.
Karen Blieber—AFP/Getty Images Flags flying at a Halliburton facility in Williston, North Dakota on Aug. 20, 2013.

The deal will pay off damage claims from property holders and commercial fisheries affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster

Halliburton has reached a $1.1 billion settlement deal with plaintiffs claiming damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, the Houston-based energy company announced on Tuesday.

The company will pay $1.1 billion into a trust in three installments, which will be used to pay off damage claims from property holders and commercial fisheries along the gulf coast.

The deal removes a measure of uncertainty that has lingered over the company’s legal reserves over the past four years. Halliburton has set aside a $1.3 billion litigation fund for costs related to the spill. While the settlement resolves claims from individual plaintiffs, Halliburton still faces lawsuits from several coastal states.

Halliburton has traded blame with British Petroleum (BP) over the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which unleashed nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf over several weeks in 2010, one of the largest offshore oil spills in U.S. history.

BP, the owner of the well, blamed Halliburton for faulty construction work while Halliburton said BP’s faulty management was responsible. Both companies, along with the owner of the rig, Transocean Ltd., have paid out billions in settlement deals.

TIME Congress

Cantor Joins Investment Bank Following Primary Loss

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks from the House floor after delivering his final speech as Majority Leader on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Cantor will offer "strategic counsel" as the bank's vice chairman and managing director

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor joined the executive board of an investment bank on Tuesday, two weeks after he resigned from office in the wake of a stunning primary defeat by a Tea Party candidate.

Cantor will become a vice chairman and managing director of Moelis & Company, a New York-based investment bank with 500 employees 15 offices around the world. He will provide “strategic counsel” to the bank’s global clients, which include corporations, governments and financial sponsors.

“When I considered options for the next chapter of my career, I knew I wanted to join a firm with a great entrepreneurial spirit that focused on its clients,” Cantor said in a joint announcement with the bank’s CEO, Ken Moelis. “I have known Ken for some time and having followed the growth and success of his Firm, I have long admired his vision and leadership.”

Cantor, just the latest in a long line of former elected officials to earn big paychecks after their time in office ends, will earn a base salary of $400,000, plus a $400,000 signing bonus and $1 million in restricted stock, according to the bank’s SEC filing.

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” Moelis said.

 

 

TIME Autos

GM Will Make Cars With Motion Sensors to Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Detroit Exteriors And Landmarks
Paul Marotta—Getty Images A general view of the Cadillac showroom in the General Motors Renaissance Center on August 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.

Eye and head tracking sensors will make it harder to text while driving

General Motors is reportedly installing sensors in its next generation of cars that will detect drivers’ eye and head motions and alert drivers to prolonged moments of distraction.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, reports that GM’s safety parts supplier, Takata, has signed a deal with Seeing Machines to purchase upwards of 500,000 tracking devices that use cameras to detect subtle signs of distraction, such as the rotation of the head or frequency of blinks.

GM declined to comment on the deal, but people with knowledge of the plan confirmed to the Financial Times that the devices would be used to keep drivers’ attention on the road.

[FT]

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