tv Taking Stock With Pimm Fox Bloomberg December 26, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm EST
quakes this is taking stock for 2013.er 26, today's theme is wishful thinking. retailers hoping to cash in on after christmas sales. the spotlight is on exchanges and gift card shopping. our store is really doing any better than last year? we will find out. plus, the japanese prime minister stirs up bitter feelings in china. it wishful thinking that money could smooth historic the two between
nations? and how a nonprofit named lifevest is encouraging kindness all around the world. but first, headlines. >> twitter shares lows up more -- closed up more than three percent. the company has room to run in digital advertising. , amazon prime had a record-setting holiday season. amazon shopping jumped 20% during the holiday season. however, ups packages were not delivered on time. ups blames backup, but says that everything is getting out. the stock is trading flat today.
>> retailers are hoping that the day after christmas will get , may beack in stores gift cards or exchanging purchases. in the senior vice president of mastercard advisors and the chief executive of the national retail federation. what does all the information tell you about shopping from now until new year's? >> what is very interesting is that first of all, the shopper came and shopped over the holiday. 2.3%, which we were very excited about. shopper willt the continue because they understand that there are promotions. they have learned that this is a culture, so they will
continue the trend. fromt's get some details matt shay. can you tell us about different areas of retail, who is doing well and who has challenges? >> we started off the season to blackng back friday. there were promotions on electronics items. picked up through the weekend. as we make the push to the end of the year, we will see what happens. apparel and toys do well. jewelry and gift cards are the sleeper big number, every year one of the biggest categories is gift cards. >> i noticed your eyebrows go up when matt mentioned jewelry. i'm wondering if you could give us some details about the winners. >> jewelry was the big winner
for the season. it was the only category that stood out as far as sales. electronics were flat year-over- year. while there has been a huge push for electronics and game consoles, electronics dropped over 15% in the price index. that is a big problem. but overall sales -- why is the actual cost of the item or the actual price, rather, i should say, why is that falling? is it the commission? >> and xbox is an xbox or an iphone is an iphone. where you get it is a function of the price, whereas jewelry is unique. >> it is also the function of the designer. there is kind of a push poll. >> exactly. what is interesting in jewelry, in october.ck up
we saw the first increase in terms of jewelry sales, and it has been dominating sense. startedumer discretionary spending ahead of that. >> matt, i want to bring you in and ask you about home wares. anything about housing and adding to the nest? is that all ocular now? popularthat was a category throughout the year. we saw that throughout the spring and summer. andnterest rates picked up everybody started to pull their money out of some discretionary categories, a disproportionate amount went back into home improvement activity, investment in home goods, that sort of thing. that category has been strong throughout the season.
the apparel category really stands out. always high on everyone's list. it is too soon to make the call. we still have the rest of this week. for a number of retailers, as you pointed out on the way and, today is one of the busiest days of the year if not the busiest day. somethingtioned interesting, which is the idea that you have commodity style one place is xbox similar to xbox somewhere else. for technology, there are a lot of those things. is there a difference between products you see moving quickly and a commodity product like a t-shirt? i mean, a t-shirt is a t-shirt is a t-shirt, right? >> not necessarily. when you look at apparel, and
the only apparel sold was children's over the holiday season, really, we have to see if the adults catch up. but they have not caught up all year. apparel has been the weak link. it has become a discretionary good rather than a need, and that is an interesting thing. what people are doing our social things. saw a lot of people in restaurants this holiday season. it is up significantly. people wanted to spend time with each other and be social. mortars why brick-and- won't die. while online is having a good low double digit year, bricks and mortar are still keeping the social experience for the shopper. >> mastercard -- and this is where the data comes from -- explain how mastercard is able to put together this profile. >> we look at our transactions and add other data to bring it up to all total retail spends
including cash, check and all forms of tender. when we are quoting a number, we are quoting something similar to what the department of commerce releases. >> matt, do you see anything that would lead us to regional conclusions about what is selling? >> in the apparel category, that is going to make a difference. in parts of the country where there is cool weather that stays cool, that category did well. i think across the board, our season, of 3.9% for the we feel comfortable is going to reflect growth in pretty much every category. again, there are always winners and losers just depending on some of the presentations that gets made at different retailers, the price point, and the way this gets marketed. i think the big winner is going to be apparel. we already heard about jewelry.
electronics are going to be strong. and then home categories are strong as well. >> don't count how bricks and mortar, you said, sarah. >> absolutely not. -- it's interesting to doing and it's interesting to look at housing numbers. what is interesting is it was furnishings more than furniture. throw pillows and the like. accoutrements. i think that reflects people buying for themselves and not necessarily gift buying. that is something that continues through the holiday season. >> because that is not necessarily a seasonal selling point. >>) it is not necessarily a gift for someone else. we are seeing people back in the money who are willing to now spend on their homes, and that is positive. >> thank you very much for joining us.
>> comedian steve coogan describes his latest role as a dream. he is playing and out of four journalist opposite dame judi dench in philomena. the film -- out of work dame judi opposite dench in philomena. the film has been nominated for three golden globes. recently, i spoke to steve coogan about why he got involved in the project. >> i read a newspaper article
it was about an old irish lady looking for her son that had been forcibly adopted 40 years before. it was her quest looking for him. to help in that quest, she alisted the help of journalist from the u.k. on this, they embarked journey of discovery. it moved me. it was a moving story and i wanted to tell it as a film. that was about four years ago and here we are today. it is done and dusted and seems to be getting a lot of positive attention. >> tell us about working with judi dench and how you came to work together on this project. >> the film has a lot of comedy in it. i went to judy's house, having gotten in touch with her agent, and told her the story.
she responded to it exactly the same way i did when i read about it in the newspaper. and she said i am in. >> did you always want to play the role of the investigative journalist? >> not a first. at first, i just wanted to produce it and get the film made and get a good direct her. i toyed with the idea of direct on,-- of directing it early but when judi dench came on board i got cold feet. i did not want to be pushing around a dame. i decided to leave that to stephen frears, someone more experienced. and then when we were writing martin's character, the way i was writing it, i was putting a lot of myself into it. therefore, i thought if anyone can play this part, i can. also, i knew of this film was not being produced by me, i would be way down the casting list, so i figured, im producing
it, i will give the best part to myself as an early christmas present. >> did you ever think when you started your career in comedy that you would play such a character? on inl, i trained early drama school to do serious acting, but it was easier for me to be funny and it was a quick way to make a buck, so that's the direction i went in. you areople think if involved in comedy you are not serious minded. you put on clown costumes everyday and are an idiot. but i do have a brain. in some ways -- no, did i think i would be doing a movie with judi dench that i wrote and produced? that would be pie-in-the-sky. i figured i would be lucky to pay the rent. in that respect, i am delighted. characters,comedy it's kind of a trashcan for all
the negative, dysfunctional parts of my personality. in that way, it is quite useful, cathartic because anything that might be regarded as a character deficiency is gas in the tank. >> negativity, dysfunction, could that also be used to describe some of the press in the u.k. related to the hacking scandal, breaking into people's mobile phones and such? any thoughts about that after playing a journalist? >> of course. of course. i played a journalist and i have had my phone hacked. whatk legal action against used to because news international before they changed their name to lead people to believe they had changed their character and become perfect gentleman. yes. there are good journalists and bad journalists. for every woodward and bernstein, there is a lowlife
trying to turn someone over for a buck and to shift a few newspapers. a lot of journalists sometimes tow a fine line. i am very empathetic with those journalists who sometimes have to walk that line between staying close to the wind, legally. i'll journalists who are trying to genuinely pursue who areournalists trying to genuinely pursue a public interest should be protected. but some journalists only want the freedom to sell as many newspapers as possible and to hell with the victims who get in the way. >> what is it like to be behind an animated character? you do not show yourself, but in despicable me 2, there is steve coogan, the character. connect with that?
>> it is fun when you do animation because in some ways it is a blank canvas. you get sent suggested animation pictures of what your character dig aroundd then i in the attic of my mind for all --these kind of the areas kind of various voices. it is kind of like an attic of junk where you route around and think, will this do? will this work? i am notat, because fat. i could do with using an inch or two of my waist. but the character in despicable me is very fat. the character is called silas round bottom and he has a very fat larynx. way he hear that in the speaks. >> my thanks to steve coogan.
detroit. what has been going on in the hall bankruptcy issue? it is not only the negotiation negotiation. there is a legal wrangling going on because of all of the appeals to different circuit courts. what is going on? >> the issues are extremely important. an opinion ford eligibility for chapter nine and to seek chapter nine. >> they said ok, you guys can go .nto chapter nine protection >> right. immediately, the pensioners were not happy with that ruling. they immediately said we are going to go ahead and appeal. what was most important about the judges decision in the bankruptcy court was that he weighed some parameters down with regard to how certain
issues would be decided during the course of the case. he directed certain parties how to reach a deal that would be best for everybody. i think everybody agrees that the only parties who win when there is a lot of litigation and appeals are the lawyers. the best thing would be to reach some sort of compromise as quickly as possible so the city could go ahead and get back on its feet. >> having said that, if you set a precedent and no one challenges it, then other pension funds are going to say, you know what? it says in the constitution that our pensions are saved now they are not and no one is challenging this ruling. >> at the end of the day, that did not come as a major surprise to anybody. when it does get appealed, if it does get appealed elsewhere at some
point, the appeals court could go ahead and overrule it. it may not be the worst thing in the world. i would rather sacrifice that than sacrifice a robust negotiation. >> the judge put together a report that was almost a guideline for this. let's talk about the banks. the city has to figure out a way to negotiate with ubs, bank of america. they had to cut payments for these swap deals. >> correct. separate and apart from the chief until now, restructuring officer for the city did what he thought was best and reached a deal with the banks. the judge did not think that deal was good enough and told the parties to go back and re- cut the deal. they came back with a deal that
>> this is taking stock on bloomberg. i'm pimm fox. for headlines, we go to olivia sterns. malls oniscounts at children's items helped retailers like gap. other stores stayed open around the clock. president obama said today he will nominate max baucus to become ambassador to china. the montana democrat would
replace gary lot. the senator created bipartisan momentum for changes to the tax code. minister became the first japanese prime minister to visit a controversial shrine since 2006. china has long criticized japanese politicians who visit the shrine. abe said he did not mean to offend anyone. >> carmakers are bracing for from china due to that visit. how is this going to affect business? we are joined by the author of "the coming crash of china."
>> right now, the problem is minister'sse prime feel they have to go there for domestic and political reasons, and yet you have the rest of the region really upset about this because of historical memories going back to world war ii and even before that. this is a problem for japan. japanese prime ministers have not gone there for a very long time, but beijing has continuously pitched -- push tokyo. i am notbly figured, going to lose anything, china is going to give me a hard time anyway. >> is china also giving the japanese hard time over airspace? >> over everything. the zone include sovereign
japanese airspace. this is not just china and japan. this is also china and south korea. what the south koreans did was expand their zone to overlap with china. this is not so much japan's story. this is china's story pushing out from its borders. >> will this affect japanese companies? >> no doubt. they have done this so many times in the past. essentially, what china does is it ferments a lot of nationalist among youth. they are allowed to protest -- they are not allowed to protest other things, but they are allowed to go to the streets against japan. we have seen disastrous effects on japanese businesses, especially carmakers. every three or four years, this
-- three or four years this happens. economic set your clock by it. theisplay in -- explain confrontation between chinese leaders, japanese leaders and those in korea. theyople in china feel have not apologized enough or been contrite enough because of world war ii. essentially, you have problems that tokyo has with china and also with south korea, and to a lesser extent with singapore and some of the other countries. but what has happened recently, southeast asian nations have started to work more closely with japan because they all feel they have a common adversary, which is china. it is not just japan china is pushing against. it is nations from india south and north. for commonarching cause and working with the united states more closely. that is why we have president obama's visit to asia.
in the because nations region have been harassing us to get involved and restore peace and security in the region because everybody is very concerned about what is happening in beijing. >> does this make it more difficult for south korean leadership because their historical connections with japan have not always been positive? they were very critical today of the visit. the south koreans feel the antagonism almost as much as the chinese. a monopoly party has on education. in south korea, it really is homegrown because japan obliterated the south korean nation at beginning of the 20th century. it is a problem because both south korea and japan are our critical allies in that part of the world. and they're sort of pulling themselves apart.
that is a problem for us as well as the japanese and the south koreans. >> you mentioned the blocks that may be aligning. much a trade war as it is a political confrontation? >> the regions are getting closer and closer together all the time. at the other end of that, you see geopolitical conflicts getting worse. this sort of puts the lie to that notion, oh, you know, we will just trade more. we will have prosperity. >> you don't buy that. you don't think rockets can smooth disagreements. >> they certainly haven't. smoothits can disagreements. >> they haven't. they have become more prideful, more arrogant. you see these historical antagonisms which were not very ii arent after world war now starting to affect geopolitics in the region. >> has it been possible to use
taiwan as a model for how to do business with china but not necessarily be absorbed by their political power? >> i think that is very perceptive. as taiwan's economy has become much closer to china's, you see on the island a much more self identification of being taiwanese, not being chinese. have a political establishment in taipei trying to establish political ties with beijing, most people on the island don't want that. they believe they are not chinese and they don't want to be part of the people's republic. we see closer economic integration, but at the same time, we see geopolitics. they are probably owing apart and will probably do that more so because of these economic ties. >> in china, the political winds seem to favor the president over their premiere. can you explain that? >> normally, the premier is the economic czar. users possible for implementing
policy -- he is responsible for implementing policy and setting it. what we're starting to see is the general secretary of the party and president of the economically taking reins and the premier, who is a reformist, is being marginalized. if this continues, this is not a good sign because he is consolidating much too much power. he is an nationalist and that is causing some problems. political disarray in china is leading the country into directions that are troubling. >> thank you very much for joining me. gordon chang is the author of the coming collapse of china. much appreciated. thank you. >> coming up, what does it take to organize a global flash mob? a flash mob is? my next guest is going to
>> 3500 people in dozens of cities around the world. try getting them to do the same thing at the same time. my next guest did. chief executive and vest and thefe executor of the world kindness movement. first, describe what is a flash mob and getting 3500 people to do the same thing at the same time. >> flash mobs are really fun. happeningontaneous where people come together and put on a dance out of nowhere. it is obviously organized.
there is a level of organization but it is premature out of nowhere. much out of nowhere. flash mobs possible because of electronic communication? you can give people a secret signal and they start to dance at the same moment. absolutely. without social media, this would not be possible. we had the first one last year. this is all done through social media. group leaders put together this event. each of them individually and each of them organize their own group. website. through the once people registered, they got the choreography of the dance steps. >> are you an organized person? >> im. i definitely love organization. it makes me very happy. connect the idea
of organizing a dance with acts of kindness? >> actually, world kindness day is on november 13. did you know that? >> now i do. >> so to kick off world kindness, we organized this event. something everybody can understand. the same thing is true of dance. you do not need to know the same language to express yourself with dance. to kick off world kindness week, we had a flash mob. a combination where people froze in kindness for three minutes and then it turned into a flash mob. people gave out acts of kindness cards with different acts of kindness. >> as far as the 3500 people who participated in this all over the world, how did they sign up? how did you know they would really sign -- really show up?
registration that is open for anyone connected with us to come on board and be a group leader. we had 140 applications in a week and a half. i had to close them down. i met with each individual group leader. i gave them all the steps necessary. people who registered through our website shows which location they were signing up for. then there was a follow-up with the group leaders and the participants to make sure they would actually show up. there is obviously a level who sign up but do not show up, but it was phenomenal. >> what does boomerang have to do with this? kindness boomerang. >> kindness boomerang is how this got started. i taught for seven years. this film shows how kindness
goes from one person to the left -- to the next and a boomerang sets in motion. up. shot this film, put it all my savings. the film went viral on youtube. we reached 30 million people globally, inspiring people to really recognize their value. i think that is the biggest issue for this time. people lack self-esteem and self value. if only they realize how awesome and how much potential they have. wrecks what's next? >> one of our big angst coming is our acts of kindness card campaign. each card has a different act of kindness and props the person to perform the act and then pass the card onto someone else. we are hoping various musical artists and athletes will come on board as card-carrying
factory, a product design dump any we run out of brooklyn. most of the people -- chronic design company we run out of brooklyn. most of the people we know know that we know how to design. >> people come to you with a lot of ideas, right? the million-dollar idea before breakfast. when did you know this was going to work? >> it took a little while. we sat on the idea of for nearly a year before going back and saying you know what? maybe we can do something with this. it took another two and a half years to go through the design. made.t models those go to the factory. we spent months perfecting it. >> did you get any reaction along the way from people who said what are you talking about? a pacifier with a plastic mustache? we know, it was all positive.
we had a tough time finding factories to work with us because they take themselves very seriously. we take ourselves safety -- ourselves seriously in terms of safety and design, but it took a while to find someone to work with us. >> it is successful. it is the number one pacifier sold on amazon. how does that feel? >> it feels awesome. it feels amazing. >> did you think this was going amazon'sm an idea to top seller in a category? >> it has been a pleasant surprise. it is clearly something that entertains a lot of people. to get theyou manage pacifier approved and all the things that are necessary? >> we did preproduction testing. did the prototype, we sent them to labs for approval.
there are standards they have to meet in the labs. >> what about funding for all of this? it sounds like a grand idea, but you don't have an unlimited checkbook. >> it's true. that is why you start with smaller runs and then grow as things become more successful. >> how did you decide how much this would cost? >> it depends on the cost of the actual product and then, this is a novelty pacifier. -- there are other meet thisthat do not .evel of fun and gifty >> part of the appeal is being able to take photographs of your babies using these pacifiers. what role has that played in getting the word out? >> a lot. people love to tag it on instagram and facebook. everybody likes sharing photos of their kids. that's not hard.
you decide on the various types of pacifiers? thehave the cowboy and ladies man. >> initially, we had a bunch of different types. thead the poet, the artist, director. these were the strongest a statically and brought all of them -- a statically. -- aestheticly. as a creator, everything in your life goes into what you do. everything you are aware of influences the designs you produce. there are definitely hollywood influences, political influences. >> is there any limit to where this can go now that it has taken off? >> there is no limit. >> what's next?
>> we plan to expand into a broader baby accessory brand. >> is this a situation where you find what works and run with it rather than trying to force feed the consumer? >> yes. i think what this has told us is that people want something fun, something that may be is not always cute and kid like but is also entertaining for adults as well. that will probably be a running theme. >> what was it like having to deal with amazon? >> it took a while to get the setup going. but obviously the payoff is, you know. already at 200,000 items. is there any estimate for how many you think you are going to sell this holiday season? well, the holiday season is over now, but we hope to double
sales next year. bottom line are you doing? >> we have placed ads in various spots. >> are there any that are more successful than others? haveelyn and brownstoneer been successful markets for us. orare you a family business do you want to be licensed out? -- nore is no question knowing what the future could bring, but right now we are a family business. >> think you for joining us. it's time for on the markets. the dow jones industrial average had a rally of 122 points. the nasdaq added more than 11 points.
>> live from pier 3 in san francisco, welcome to the late edition of "bloomberg west," where we cover the global technology and media companies that are reshaping our world. i'm emily chang. our focus is on innovation, technology, and the future of business. let's get straight to "the rundown." twitter is on a tear, soaring more than 25% in just the past week and topping 75 -- $75 a share or the first time, all of this for a company that has not yet turned a profit.
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