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NEWS BRIEF: Week of April 24, 2017

Catch up on current events with these news highlights from last week.

BUSINESS

The latest casualty in the decline of brick-and-mortar retailers is Bebe which plans to close 28 stores and is “exploring strategic alternatives.” Credit Suisse reported this month that “[possibly] more than 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores will close their doors in 2017” which amounts to a loss of 147 million square feet of retail space.

HEALTH

Howard County, Maryland launched a three-year campaign against sugar-sweetened beverages aimed to reduce the consumption of sodas. Accompanied by a policy change and community outreach, the campaign resulted in a 20% decrease in soda sales and 15% decrease in fruit drinks in the area.

DESIGN

Barcelona is pilot-testing “superblocks” (superilles in Catalan), a new urban design concept that closes off nine square blocks to “through traffic, freight, and city buses.” Within the superblock, local vehicles travel less than 10 mph along one-way streets. The concept redesigns space previously dedicated to roads and cars into mixed-use space available for pedestrians and community activities.

TECHNOLOGY

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, profits from the search engine’s ad revenue which offers even more motivation to maximize the real estate highest on the page. Product ads purchased by retailers account for 52% of all Google search ad spending, and as smartphone use increases, so does Google’s focus on mobile ads.

WORLD

Frontrunners Le Pen and Macron move to the second round of the French election, leaving behind the country’s two mainstream parties–the Socialists and Republicans. With immigration, xenophobia, and “Frexit” on the minds of voters, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the platforms on which the candidates are campaigning.

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