Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Dec 1, 2009

Good morning. Hope you had an enjoyable holiday. Among our starter topics today — Dubai, Scottish beer and ridiculousness at Wal-Mart.

Dubai is the Lehman Bros. of the Persian Gulf (Slate):

Like so many other blue-chips that garnered headlines during the boom years, it was held aloft by loans and a global bubble heavily concentrated in commercial real estate. Now that it has stopped paying debts owned by government-controlled companies, Dubai looks less like Singapore and more like an institution whose epic fail in 2008 helped paralyze the global financial system: Lehman Bros.

Dubai is one of many ticking time bombs (The American):

If nothing else, last week’s events in Dubai should remind us that the global economy is far from out of the woods. It should also remind us how premature it is for policy makers to start implementing exit strategies from the past year’s extraordinary global monetary and fiscal policy easing.

Holiday retail numbers are a mirage (Clusterstock):

Davidowitz predicts “the noise will be taken out” about “strong” Black Friday sales in the coming weeks and a sobering reality will settle in: “People will look a stores closing and a rash of bankruptcies after Christmas. People will start to look at this and say ‘wow, this is terrible,'” he says.

This business owner would agree with that (NPR)

Last year at this time, they managed 55 full-time employees.

Today, the nine workers left are trying to keep busy inside this lonely machine shop in a gritty corner of the San Gabriel Valley, a metropolitan area east of Los Angeles.

“We’re a high-profit, low-output operation here,” Albert Ceja says. “People just stopped purchasing stuff, and that really hit us hard.”

But some things never change (LA Times) A Wal-Mart on Black Friday:

But in Upland, employees said, customers began tearing into merchandise that had been shrink-wrapped and were supposed to be opened at 5 a.m.

“This was without a doubt the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said one employee, who said she has worked a dozen Black Fridays.

“They wouldn’t let people line up,” she added. “They were belligerent. They just bombarded the store.”

The World’s Strongest Beer (Asylum UK) 32% abv. Love the name:

Tactical Nuclear Penguin will be available to buy online and from two off licenses one in London and one in Edinburgh, at £30 and £250 which also buys you a share in the company and will go towards building a £2.3m “eco-friendly, carbon neutral brewery in Aberdeen”. Strong beers and green credentials.

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