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tv   Bloomberg Business Week  Bloomberg  April 14, 2019 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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♪ >> welcome to "bloomberg businessweek." i am carol massar. jason: i am jason kelly. carol: thousands of dominicans are hunting for a treasure that may not exist. jason: a focus on europe's most important economy. that would be germany. carol: who will fill angela merkel's shoes? to an expensive transition to electric over bmw.
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jason: how to help germany's biggest bank, deutsche bank. editor joel weber joins us now. carol: why focus on germany now? >> one reason is that brexit has taken up a lot of care when we talk about europe. we know brexit has been kicked down the road until october. germany is the biggest economy, and we are starting to see three elements, one is the economic story has gotten tepid. another is the political story. ms. merkel is the most powerful real political figure europe has, and there is a succession story. the third is the banking story, deutsche bank being a once upon a time bank of germany, and became an international bank. now it is grappling with the -- what size it is supposed to be. jason: wide-ranging implications in germany and the global financial system. ed robinson brought us more.
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>> these banks are the twin pillars of the commercial banking system in germany, so they are vital institutions. they are also weak institutions, both banks have struggled to generate revenue growth, profitability, to show the kind of strength and resilience a lot of european banks have started to produce after years of recovering after the crash. it is funny, but it is the german banks which many would think would be the strongest that have become the laggards in the european banking scene. jason: why? what happened? you are right on both accounts. the assumption would be these are strong german banks, deutsche bank especially, it should be at the heart of the financial system, yet it has fallen by the wayside relative to its big u.s. competitors. where did they go wrong?
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>> looking at deutsche bank specifically, it essentially made a big bet in 2012, and that is where the story focuses. this decision driven by the chairman, who is still the chairman today, that while the other european banks would adjust to the post crash reality, the new regulations, the capital they had to set aside, the big changes. these other banks downsizing and getting ready for a different reality. deutsche bank decided, we are going to pounce, we are going to expand, we are going to grab the business about our rivals shed, and we will be europe's answer to goldman sachs, a world beating global investment bank. that was the decision, the chance that they took in 2012, and all these years later, they are left in a situation where they have to begin restructuring and reorganizing. this is stuff they should have
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done six years ago. jason: did they get it wrong because the market did not come to them unless they thought it would? or, is it an economic problem in europe? is it mismanagement? where did it take a left turn? >> it is all of the above, all of the above. primarily, what you had was a situation of a bank that was disorganized, fragmented, a bank that did not know what was going on in its far-flung units, when you get legal scandals, that hits confidence, the shares get pounded. on the other side, you have a week european economy, remember the sovereign debt crisis, interest rates went to zero. that is bad news for a bank to bolster revenue. it did not get help on the macro side. finally, you have competition. the u.s. banks, wall street came
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back strong over the last few years, and increasingly these banks, jpmorgan, bank of america, citigroup, they have been taking european customers that used to depend on deutsche bank and other banks, now they say why don't i go with jpm, bank of america? those are the main forces. jason: let's talk about the proposed merger, it is out in the open, you have the german government playing some sort of role. they are being coy up to chancellor merkel. where do we see this playing out? this is not strength on strength with these two institutions. >> the whole premise behind a potential merger of these two institutions, these week banks form a strong bank, which
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critics say that does not really work, that does not compute or add up. your you have a situation where the alternative, letting them continue on their own might be worse. that is the issue. those of these banks need some kind of transformative change to get back on their feet, to get on stronger ground. this is a swing for the fences type of decision. that is why it is difficult to say at this point whether it happens. it seems like the momentum is for some kind of merger, but there could be cold feet. the number one issue is political. if these two banks come together, chances are they will have to fire between 20000 and 30,000 bank managers, bank tellers, ordinary workers in germany. at the same time, you could have a situation where highly paid
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investment bankers in london and new york keep their jobs. those are bad optics, not a good look, it is a real political problem and we do not know how it will break. carol: in terms of deutsche bank, it has not been easy, we have a great chart on the bloomberg terminal that takes a look at what would happen if you added commerzbank revenues to deutsche bank. the white line is deutsche bank's revenues, they have come off their peak as of late. the blue line, adding commerzbank, it would not get deutsche bank to peak levels that we have seen in the past. jason: this is why there are skeptics on this deal. also use the terminal to check out the latest headlines, because this is a fast-moving story. up next, bmw's painful push to embrace electric engines. carol: the woman who may be germany's next chancellor as long as she steps out of angela
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merkel's shadow. jason: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪ carol: welcome back to
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"bloomberg businessweek." jason: join carol and me on radio, and catch up on our podcast, subscribe at itunes, soundcloud. carol: you can find us online. at and our mobile app. in a special section on germany, "bloomberg businessweek" introduces us to angela merkel's handpicked successor. akk has been working to shed her image as a merkel disciple. jason: here is our reporter david brooks. >> she is coming in after angela merkel who has been in office,
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her fourth term now. she has become the de facto leader of europe over the past couple of years. i think the people are concerned, can this woman from a small state actually lead germany the way angela merkel has. jason: tell us about where she does come from, not an area known to people outside of the country. >> she comes from a small state in germany, and it is an area that was not part of the republic until the mid-1950's when they had a referendum when the voters chose to come back from france. it is a tiny place. it is like delaware without washington being nearby. if delaware was where montana is, that is where it would be. jason: help us understand her as a politician on the political
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spectrum, which seems to be changing a bit, not unique to germany given the world we are living in. where does she need to fit in? >> what has happened of the past -- over the past 5-10 years was merkel has moved the cdu, the right party that has tended to be conservative. she has moved it left on social issues, and that alienated the far right voters and created an opening for the afd, the alternative for germany, a populist hard right party in the mold of the national front in france. what she is doing is trying to bring them back to the right and get those voters who defected.
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jason: how is she fitting into the leadership role? merkel is in the role, but no one knows whether she will make it to the end of her leadership term. >> the betting is she probably will, but she could be bounced tomorrow. there is no real way of knowing. she is going to be out by 2021, she has pledged to leave. she will not run again. that puts akk in the pole position to become the next chancellor because the cdu is likely to prevail in the elections, and she is already elbowed her way to the lineup. carol: carmaking is central to the economic strength, and that is troubling given the end of the combustion engine and the general decline in car ownership.
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carol: our reporter shows how bmw is preparing for and -- the electric future. >> bmw is undergoing changes like other carmakers. part of that is i would say the biggest generational shift for carmakers. if things go to plan, we could replace the combustion engine at the heart of the car industry with battery electric vehicles. in bmw's case, they have no less than four engine plants around the world, one in china, one of the u.k., one in germany. what happened with its workers during this transition seems unclear. many of them will shift to new positions, and the shift will occur gradually. electric cars have not quite
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taken off in terms of people buying them. the way this will play out is unclear. in terms of this shift, the engine being replaced with the electric engine is what is driving carmaking strategies now. jason: take us inside bmw now as a company, even beyond this shift from the eight internal combustion engine. -- from the internal combustion engine. where does it fit in the scope of global carmakers? >> close to the pinnacle in the industry, i would say. for many years, up until 2016, bmw was the world's biggest luxury carmaker, they are now number two behind daimler. they promised they want to get back on top and go past daimler again. the company has been around for more than 100 years.
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it is known the world over as producing the ultimate driving machine, which has been the slogan since the 1970's. as a company, the brand really stands for cars people aspire to. a lot of the brand specific attributes are changing as well. jason: how does it change, you started to talk about this a little bit, how does it change the workforce, the production line, the company's global footprint when it comes to manufacturing? >> in terms of making electric cars compared to combustion cars, the setup is simpler. you need fewer parts. if we look at the engine, the engine is made of 1200 parts alone, whereas the electric
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motor on its own will take two dozen parts. that means you need fewer people to develop the engines. fewer people to procure the parts for the engine. also, the assembly of the vehicles will be simpler, and you need fewer people. carol: how college graduates are literally selling stakes of themselves to investors. jason: plus, employers starting to find ways to manage a baby boomer brain drain. carol: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪ jason: welcome back to
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"bloomberg businessweek." i am jason kelly. carol: i am carol massar. new can listen to us on radio. jason: and on the bloomberg business app. carol: wall street has created a
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new way to pay for college. jason: students can agree to hand over part of their future earnings. in return for something of an investment carol: claire boston it is fascinating. >> i look at student debt, mortgage debt, the universal consumer debt. when you look at student debt, it is a crisis in america. i have been fascinated with what will happen. carol: a crisis for what? -- for a while, right? >> college costs keep going up, no one knows how to fix the problem, and that is tied to the government, investors are not that concerned. it is affecting the economy in big ways, but people think they will get paid back. so it is not a crisis in the finance world, but it is bad news for students.
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a lots of enterprising companies are trying to find a way to make this better for students, how can they take on less debt. one proposal is income sharing agreement. carol: isa's. >> instead of a $10,000 loan, you would have $10,000 front did -- fronted to you, and you pay it back in the real world with a percentage of your income. maybe you might pay 5% of your income for eight years after you graduate. jason: there are so many things interesting about this story. purdue is a named school adopting this. how does it work there? >> purdue has been doing this for a couple years. their president is really passionate about trying to make education affordable, and this is a program they thought might help with that. jason: former governor of indiana? >> you. -- yeah. what they are doing, they have a program open to juniors and
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seniors, you can just apply. they want you to take out loans, they don't try to have a rates as competitive as government, but they want to be competitive with private student loans. if you are an english major, at purdue you will pay higher than an engineer. jason: that was one of my favorite parts of the story. as a former english major looking at that, ok, they do not think i will make a lot of money. >> they have a lot of research on what their graduates make in their first years out of school. they don't want to stick students with massive payments. they look and say, what percentage of your income can you pay? carol: what happens if you lose your job. >> when i talked to students, this was something they say really stands out to. if you lose your job, as long as you're are out there looking for a new one, you are basically on pause. you do not have time added or making payments.
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but with a student loan you pay them and what -- whether or not you are employed. jason: wow. wall street, because they like to securitize everything have found a way to get into this. in a relatively meaningful way. >> exactly. there are hedge funds to figuring out, can i buy these? the answer at some schools is yes. ardue has a program with brain whole bunch of these pools and take outside money to. they have funded about $17 million of outside investor money and it is a growing area. i have been talking to some investors, they are almost more es g. if you see student loans as a crisis, this is a social program that can change that. jason: from paying for college to paying for retirement, the solutions section looks at how to manage a shortfall in your 401(k). carol: how employers are managing retiring baby boomers. jason:.
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is our editor. do is thing we wanted to to look at the wisdom that is out there, solid advice which is to save early. well, save early, you got
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>> and people more and more are used to this idea that work can be good for you, that the brain engagement with other human beings. i do not think it is all a negative. basically, the story we confront, this is a story about companies confronting the baby boom brain drain. it is significant. you have so many millions of people who will be leaving the workforce, and yet taboo is the subject of retirement, and approaching people in the workplace whether you are at a manager, and saying, when are you thinking of hitting the golf course full-time? you know, you really you can , have conversations, but you
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jason: welcome back to "bloomberg: businessweek." carol: still ahead, america's favorite cold grocer tries its magic. jason: and an economist asks gamblers and surfers how they manage risk. carol: and on the cover, the legend of gold. jason: an incredible story about how some dominican families,
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thousands of people are searching for ancestral riches that may not actually exist. our editor is back with us, i was blown away. how did it come about? >> many months ago, they came to us and said i think there is this amazing story about this long-lost gold and this family looking for it. they think it is in a european vault of a bank. we said that is really interesting, one of you go see what you can find. the story is the culmination of that. carol: it is unbelievable, and it goes on for a while. >> it is the longest story we have published on my watch. it's a breath taking story. you'll probably get to watch some day as a netflix movie, it is that good. >> they have been working on this. >> it is like chapter after chapter. what it is really about is the lawyer who has put himself in the middle between the family
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who thinks there is gold and the banks who say we don't know what you are talking about. >> a fascinating story. carol: thank you so much, we got more from joe. >> i picked up the phone and got the guy live. i did not have the heart to say i don't care, goodbye. he said he wanted to meet me because he needed to tell me about his story. so i had a cup of coffee with him and he unravels this tale about how for five generations, , his family had known they have an incredible inheritance in switzerland and spain. because their great, great whatever had a boat and used to take mined gold and take it to spain as tribute and put the rest of the bank. -- rest in the bank. throughout generations, they have always known this.
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i helped him hook up with a lawyer. they investigated for a year and said there is no gold there. so they gave up for a couple of years. suddenly, he came back and says it's back on. jason: he has found a guy. or a guy has found him. his cousin moved to the dr and was looking up genealogical documents to help prove the claim. he somehow bumps into this lawyer who is looking for inheritance for another family, a bigger family about 20,000 people, the rosario's. he says i've connected to the guzman fortune and now the hunt is on. jason: you go to these places because this is where this lawyer has been going. and you discover that maybe even those trips are not exactly what
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they seem to be. >> just to be clear, when i started, i knew it was the longest of long shots. i did not know anything about inheritance or dormant accounts or anything like that. as i got into it i started to , think it could not be real, but the next thought became if it is not real, why is he doing this? i do not understand. he was going to get 30% of whatever he found, but in the u.s., you don't get any money until you crack the case, you win the case. so i am thinking this, i go to switzerland with them, spain with them. both times i realize they're supposed to have all of these meetings, don't have any meetings, they are touring the whole time there. they go to the bank a couple of times to drop off documents.
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when i come back, a interview -- i interview somebody who says i have to pay him to be a client. it came to about $200, and of money in the dr. i have to pay him to give him power of attorney and i had pay -- have to pay him when i turn in my documents for processing. the lightbulb goes on, now i understand. 5000e doesn't just want clients, he wants 30,000 clients. carol: up next, the true winners of donald trump's tax law. jason: and how his trade war is impacting what is most important -- one of his most important voter bases. carol: this is "bloomberg: businessweek." ♪
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jason: welcome back to "bloomberg: businessweek." carol: join us every day on the radio from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. wall street time. and also catch up on our daily show on itunes, soundcloud. jason: and through our mobile app. >> reporter joe did the math to find out just how trump's new tax law played out. is theook a look at who real winner of the tax law and it turns out, perhaps this is not a huge surprise, but it was very wealthy people, in particular chief executives. the owners of the world. people who benefited the most from the corporate tax cut and the reduction. to be clear, the tax law helped everybody, the vast majority of people got a tax cut. despite what people might be seeing with their tax refunds, but the biggest winners overall
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were the multimillionaires of the world. jason: why is that? broadest perspective, why are they winning? >> the biggest reason is the cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. the way to think about that is that the tax savings from something from that flow through to people who own those businesses. most of those businesses are owned by the very wealthy. so it is very difficult to have a cut in the corporate tax rate without that flowing through the wealthiest people in the country. i don't know if you remember, but back when trump named him as his nominee for treasury secretary, steve mnuchin said that he wanted whatever tax reform they came up with do not result in an absolute tax cut for the wealthy. but the experts i spoke to said the minute they heard that, they knew they would not be able to follow through. that is simply because of this corporate cut.
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you cannot do a huge cut without -- to the corporate tax rate without those benefits accruing to rich people. jason: and in the economics section, trump's trade policies have been challenging for american farmers. carol: that's right, from lost markets to unsold grain, the agricultural industry says it will be dealing with the consequences of the trade spat for years to come. >> one of the things we always forget with trade is that they are happening in a context and there is a broader economy. if you are a farmer or manufacturer, you have a reality you are dealing with. and in the farming industry, the biggest exporter or producer of apples, they're going to this -- going through this amazing transformation which all hangs on this wonder apple. they are ripping out old orchards of red delicious the , kind that you don't buy in the supermarket anymore
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because you like american , consumers, don't like those apples anymore. they're putting in new orchards to the point where, a few years from now, one in six apples will be these cosmic crisps. consumeris addressing taste. but this is all gotten hung up in the trade wars. exports from washington state, which is a big business they , export to india, china, mexico is the biggest market, they've all been hit by tariffs, meaning less revenues. and for a lot of these family-owned businesses, that means less capital to invest in new orchards. and the cosmic crisps. jason: what are the farmers saying to you? when you get down to brass tacks, are they having to spend less on these new investments? what are the ramifications? >> i sat down with a guy named sean gilbert, a 38-year-old former college baseball pitcher who took over the family business. a 100 plus year old family
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business called gilbert orchard's. last year, they were planning to renovate 180 orchards, instead -- acres of orchards, instead they went 120, a third less than planned, one third less productive orchards two or three years from now that will generate higher value of higher-margin apples and more revenue. jason: as you say, this is not just flipping a switch, these are decisions that have to be made that have implications years in the making. >> yeah, and this is one of the biggest impacts we're seeing. and it is hard to quantify, have -- how do you quantify a factory that has not been dealt or -- built or people who have not been hired? we hear a lot of this in earnings calls, big ceos talk about all the time. and when you get right down to it, it is about the new orchard. or i was in louisiana talking to a soybean farmer, and he is not
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going to spend $300,000 this year on a new combine for this farm because he lost $300,000 last year in the form of 1000 acres of soybeans he believe in -- he had to leave in the field. jason: how does this all come together in the aggregate politically? are we seeing an inflection point in this trade war? >> one of the fascinating things is the way farmers have reacted to the trade wars politically. a lot of them voted for trump and a lot of them are sticking with him. het is a function of what has done on tax reform, deregulation, things like the use of water he has loosened up the regulations for that. all of that means there is residual support, but there's a time limit and that gets to the
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economic impact. it feels like we've been talking about trade wars forever, but economically we are only just starting to see a lot and understand a lot of the consequences and impact. that is true on the farm. you talk to the farmers and they say last year was the worst i've had in a long time. i'm still with him now but i have another year like this, i'm not sure i will stick around. carol: up next, the top supermarket chain in the u.s. is expanding, but don't expect it to be a household name. jason: and what happened when an -- what happens when an economist walks into a brothel? carol: is this a joke? jason: it is not, and we will talk to the author of a book about just that. carol: and latest trend in bars that is not the taste buds but earbuds. jason: this is "bloomberg: businessweek." ♪
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carol: welcome back to
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"bloomberg: businessweek." jason: you can also listen to us on the radio on sirius xm channel 119, and on a.m. 1130 in new york, 106.1 in boston, 99.1 f.m. in washington, d.c. carol: a.m. 960 in the bay area, london on dab digital, and through the bloomberg business app. our podcast this week is with allison schrager. something of a risky title "what happens when an , economist walks into a brothel?" >> i always had the idea that financial economics was an unexplored area of economics. you would not think so, but i felt like it applied to all areas of economics, not just financial markets. i was flirting with this idea and it was businessweek who called me and said we want to do a column to exploit different -- to explore different ways to export risk in unconventional -- explore risk in unconventional places.
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finances the study of risk, and that is what got me to the idea. jason: this is a few years in the making. how long does it take to assess risk through this lens? >> assessing the risk of writing a book? jason: [laughter] yeah. >> terrible, it has to truly be a creative endeavor. that was 2014 and it was me starting to think about how risk could be reported, rather than just be in a financial model. models always have this rough idea that financial models are just little parables, told with. -- told with math. it was businessweek when i started exploring if i can take that same parable and reported -- report it and find stories that match. jason: how did you find your footing back then as a journalist versus an academic? you climb out of the ivory tower. [laughter] >> what is hard to do is that as
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-- what is hard is it's not your opinion anymore. as academics, we don't really talk to people. sometimes it's for good reasons. partially you don't want anecdotes to bias your analysis, but it's not an effective way to tell your story and talk to people. how to write for your audience and find people off the beaten path and learn to get them to open up to you. >> why did you become an economist in the first place? >> like a lot of economists, i grew up with a lot of questions in a community where there was bimodal income distribution. jason: where was this? >> northeastern connecticut, there is a lot of declining industry but also the university. i think those income differences -- i was actually the fourth generation to grow up there.
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i was felt really connected to lower income people even though i have professional parents. i could not figure out why this was happening generation after generation. i started getting answers and i remember even when i was 15, i just wanted to know more. there was never enough. i think that is why i knew early i would go all the way and get a phd because every time i learned an answer i had to question. -- i had a new question. jason: for our full interview, check out our extra podcast wherever you download podcasts and carol: in the business section, how a small family run grocery chain in rochester, new york has found a cultlike following. jason: and you never would have heard of wegmans if you live outside the northeast or mid-atlantic. and check this out, we've heard of it, if you are not inside his -- geographic concentration, maybe you haven't. carol: and it how they are trying to slowly expand.
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the red are their existing locations, yellow is planned, including one opening here in the brooklyn navy yard market. but it shows you they have been so concentrated and they are slowly spreading out. jason: moving south into publix territory. >> they are now trying to conquer new york. we got more details from our reporter. >> imagine you combine the breadth and size of a walmart, the product quality of a whole foods, and the quirky kooky appeal of trader joe's. you put all that in a blender, you get wegmans. carol: triple threat. >> exactly. i was looking at what companies are, you never want to say immune, but who are the most resistant. and wegmans is that more than anyone else because of the experience they deliver.
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carol: we know the big chains many are publicly held, this is , not. >> blink and you miss it, nine billion in sales, 98 stores, private, family run for four generations. fewer stores than walmart has in new york alone. so when wegmans comes to town, people are like what is a wegmans? why are people camping out the night before they open a store? like waiting for an iphone. but you really do have to experience it, you have to be in the store, interact with the employees who are so well-trained, look at the food displays, and then look at the prices, which are no higher than your average supermarket. that is what is so special, it is not like some haute cuisine. place for only the 1%. carol: $30 watermelon. >> you can get your coke and your cocoa puffs but you can
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, also sit down and have a restaurant quality meal. >> the news hook here is coming to brooklyn. part of a bold expansion for the navy yard. >> a lot of new yorkers don't even know where that is. carol: where? >> the northwest corner of brooklyn, the uss missouri was built there. but it was decommissioned as we no longer need it, and then it just sort of laid vacant. the city took it over, bore the wegmans is going is one area in a corner of the navy yard called admiral's row. that had been completely desolated, it was an eyesore. people were afraid to walk past it. it was overgrown. eventually, in 2015, the city entity that manages the navy yard awarded the development
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contract to doug steiner, you might know him from steiner studios, the massive film production studio also in the navy yard. he had worked with wegmans once or twice, so he knew that, new -- knew they would be a great tenant. but the challenge is wegmans has never been in a major metro area. they have stores on the outskirts of boston, stores in rochester. but rochester is not brooklyn. >> in pursuits, a new kind of cocktail. jason: they call them listening bars. carol: let's get all the facts from our editor. >> the opener in this section is about listening bars. you have drinks and food, but the primary purchase is to -- purpose is to listen to music. and if you want to try one out, you can. they just build public records, a new place.
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bright and airy, you go and check just chat quietly with friends and listen to vinyl. >> one of the things you talk about is this notion of the volume of voices versus the volume of the music. there needs to be a balance there in a way that is refreshing to those of us of a certain age who are tired of yelling at dining companions. critic wenturant into restaurants with a decibel meter, because restaurants are getting loud. they played music loud to get over the din, then you have to shout over the music. when we did this story this is , the first time i have learned about listening bars, but a lot of people on my team are cooler and had known about it. you go to the bar, it has a great hi-fi system, are you not allowed to talk? the answer is you can talk. because of the panels and sound
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system, it is a pleasure. as ay do you think consumer and connoisseur of so many of these new trends, why now? >> it is one of those things we learned from the japanese, actually. it is why it came here. there is a bar in oakland where the owners were in tokyo and saw these kind of bars. it is in -- can't believe i it does not exist in new york or in america. it should be a place to go and really get a break, which is what bars sort of are. this is a different way of catching a break. and they areound not super expensive rebar to invest in. it is another way to appreciate
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music. carol: "bloomberg: businessweek." is available on newsstands now. jason: and on our mobile app. what is your must-read? >> i have so much fun reading this story on wegmans. i knew it from visiting my mother-in-law, but most people don't know this chain. they have figured out how to do it well. jason: their customers love it, the employees love it, it is an amazing tale. carol: i know your favorite story. jason: the cover story for the search for gold. joe is one of my all-time favorite journalists full stop. story and thought this seems daunting but than i did not want to do and. it is a story about hope, technology and ultimately a story about human nature. carol: it ain't over either. you can find more stories on check it out over the weekend. jason: and check out our daily podcast available in itunes,
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soundcloud, and carol: more bloomberg television starts now. ♪
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scarlet: i am scarlet fu. this is "bloomberg etf iq," where we focus on the access, risks and rewards offered by exchange traded funds. ♪ all hail saudi aramco. the kingdom's oil company is just the latest example of corporate seeing more demand for their debt then sovereign government. active may be losing ground to passive products, but smart beta funds are catching some of the assets. we take a look at how china fits into this global trend. and are the reports of the death of the mall greatly exaggerated? an etf that goes long e-commerce and short physical stores makes


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