Macy’s announces multiyear restructuring plan
By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO
AP Retail Writer
Tuesday, February 26
NEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s announced a multiyear money-saving restructuring program that it says will shrink its management structure and make the department store more nimble in a fiercely competitive environment.
The plan, unveiled Tuesday, would result in annual cost savings of $100 million and include the elimination of 100 vice president positions.
The latest moves to shrink the business come as the department store chain reported a drop in profits and total sales during the critical fourth quarter as well as meager growth in sales at established stores, a key measure for a retailer’s health. The company’s results only beat Wall Street expectations because they were lowered after the department store chain announced sluggish holiday sales last month. It also forecast on Tuesday that sales at stores opened at least a year would be anywhere from unchanged to up 1 percent for the current fiscal year.
A strong economy and Macy’s reinvention efforts have helped produce a string of quarterly increases at established stores after a three-year sales slump. But that momentum is fizzling.
Macy’s as well as several other department stores struggled through the holiday season after a strong start. That called into question whether such mall-based chains can compete in a changing landscape where shoppers are shifting more of their spending online. It also is putting pressure on Macy’s and others that they need to do more to compete in the age of Amazon.
“The problem for Macy’s is that if it cannot deliver a strong set of numbers against the backdrop of a good consumer economy, its fortunes for the upcoming year — when economic growth will cool — do not look good,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in a report. “In our view, this underlines the fact that Macy’s has still not successfully created a true destination status and has still not got to grips with many of the issues plaguing its stores.”
Macy’s, like many other mall-based stores, is under pressure to reinvent itself as shoppers increasingly buy online. Macy’s has been expanding its store labels and opening more off-price Backstage stores — it now has more than 120 new Backstage locations within Macy’s stores. It’s also rolled out technology that allows customers to skip the line at the register. It’s also expanding virtual reality technology in furniture and cosmetics sections. The company’s revamped loyalty card program has helped keep its best customers engaged. And after closing more than 100 stores over the past several years, it’s going to see how a cluster of smaller stores work with today’s customers.
Macy’s said Tuesday that it will add Backstage locations to 45 more stores. It also plans to renovate another 100 Macy’s stores with better lighting and other touches. It aims to enhance Macy’s app with new features to improve payment, shopping, and style advice. Mobile is Macy’s fastest growing channel, with more than $1 billion in sales through its apps alone in 2018, the retailer said. The company also plans to further invest in areas where it already has strong market share. That means dresses, fine jewelry, big ticket, men’s tailored clothing, women’s shoes and beauty.
“The steps we are announcing to further streamline our management structure will allow us to move faster, reduce costs and be more responsive to changing customer expectations,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s CEO, in a statement.
It still needs to do much more like making its stores more exciting, analysts say.
Macy’s earned net income of $740 million, or $2.37 per share, in the period ended Feb. 2. That compares with net income of $1.35 billion, or $4.38 per share, in the year-earlier period.
Adjusted results were $2.73 per share.
Revenue reached $8.46 billion, down 2.5 percent from $8.67 billion in the year-ago period.
Analysts expected profit of $2.53 per share on sales of $8.44 billion.
Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 0.7 percent in the quarter and 2 percent for the fiscal year. That figure includes business from licensed departments.
Macy’s Inc. shares rose 28 cents to $24.64 per share in early afternoon trading.
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Explore Prehistoric Oceans with Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure at the Southern March 31
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure is an immersive experience that invites you to jump in and explore unknown ocean depths where prehistoric marine reptiles lived eons ago – and maybe live still today. Erth shows are at the forefront of family entertainment, using actors, technology, puppets, science, and imagination to create an amazing visual experience that connects young audiences to the real science of paleontology.
CAPA presents Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.) on Sunday, March 31, at 8 pm. Tickets are $38.50-$53.50 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure was created in Australia by Erth Visual & Physical, who spent years scouring the seven seas, collecting playful prehistoric creatures of the deep for their giant theatrical aquarium. Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure follows the enormously successful Erth’S Dinosaur Zoo Live, which introduced a menagerie of insects, mammals, and dinosaurs that roamed the planet 65 million years ago. Both shows feature a large-scale cast of creatures brought to life by sophisticated design, theatrical presentation, and puppet mastery. Prehistoric Aquarium is a real adventure taking place at the bottom of the ocean; the audience experience is enriched via immersive techniques that make them feel as though they are sometimes swimming with the creatures in the tank.
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure and Dinosaur Zoo Live are produced in North America by Red Tail Entertainment; the Erth/Red Tail collaboration is dedicated to offering entertaining family shows that are based in the real science of paleontology. Children can watch and learn, while interacting with the creatures in a fun, educational, and unique presentation. Erth shows use actors, technology, puppets, science and imagination to create an amazing visual experience that connects young audiences to science.
CAPA presents ERTH’S PREHISTORIC AQUARIUM ADVENTURE
Sunday, March 31, 8 pm
Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.)
The creators of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live want to take your family on an all new adventure – this time to the bottom of the ocean. Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure is an immersive experience that invites you to jump in and explore unknown ocean depths where prehistoric marine reptiles lived eons ago – and maybe live still today. Erth shows are at the forefront of family entertainment, using actors, technology, puppets, science, and imagination to create an amazing visual experience that connects young audiences to the real science of paleontology. Tickets are $38.50 and $53.50 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. www.capa.com
The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of the Barbara B. Coons and Robert Bartels Funds of The Columbus Foundation and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Drexel Theatre, Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts (New Albany, OH), and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.
Cancer survivors see mostly positives in how they have changed
Study: Intervention program further boosted positive thoughts
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two years after diagnosis, breast cancer survivors have four times more positive than negative thoughts about changes they experienced because of their illness, a new study found.
And patients who went through a psychological intervention program designed for them reported even more positive life changes than others.
The results show the resiliency of most people who have had cancer, said Barbara Andersen, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.
“Some people want to label cancer survivors as being traumatized for life. That’s just not accurate. Instead, individuals are resilient,” Andersen said.
“We found that most patients in our study found a way to make lemonade out of lemons, especially those who participated in our intervention program.”
Andersen conducted the study with Claire Conley, a former Ohio State graduate student now at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Their results appear in the March 2019 issue of the journal Health Psychology.
The study involved 160 women who were diagnosed with Stage II or III breast cancer and were being treated at Ohio State’s Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital or by other physicians in the Columbus area.
All participants were part of the Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project that examined the effectiveness of a psychological intervention program designed at Ohio State to help breast cancer patients better cope with the challenges of the disease and test if the intervention reduced the risk for recurrence.
Previously published research by Andersen and her colleagues showed that the intervention did indeed reduce the risk for cancer recurence.
In this study, 85 women who had received the psychological intervention were studied, along with 75 women in the control group who were followed and assessed.
Data for this study were collected two years after the patients were diagnosed and about one year after they completed cancer treatment. Most had received chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy and hormonal therapy.
The researchers had the survivors do something that had never been used before in a cancer study. Participants completed a “thought list” in which they wrote down ways their life had changed as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. They wrote down changes in seven categories, including “close relationships” and “balance in life.” They then labeled each change as positive, negative or neutral.
For example, under the “close relationships” category, they could say that a positive change was that their relationship with their husband was closer as a result of going through cancer diagnosis and treatment. Or they could say a negative change was that some individuals they anticipated would be supportive were not.
Overall, the 160 participants listed 998 life changes, and four times as many of those changes were labeled as positive than negative, findings showed.
Cancer survivors who went through the intervention program were especially positive: On average, they listed 13 positive changes that occurred to them, compared to 10 positive changes for women in the control group.
There were no significant differences between the two groups in the number of negative or neutral changes that they listed.
Why did intervention patients have greater positivity in their thinking than others?
Andersen said many of the positive changes listed by cancer patients in this study lined up with what participants learned in the program.
“The intervention included components on improving stress management, getting social support from friends and family and making behavioral changes in their diet or activity levels,” Andersen said.
“These components are closely related to the most frequent and most positive thoughts about change reported by the patients.”
The survivors who had the most negative thoughts were generally those who reported the highest levels of stress and depressive symptoms when they were first diagnosed.
The finding underscores the importance of identifying and treating people with depression early, Andersen said.
“Some may have a very low mood because of their cancer diagnosis. Others may have a vulnerability to experience stress with depression. For them, cancer may be a more toxic experience,” she said.
Data for this study were collected between 1996 and 2002. Andersen said she believes the results would be the same today, because many treatments and challenges faced by these cancer patients were similar to those of patients today.
In fact, the data reveal one of the biggest issues of cancer patients back then is one that hadn’t been recognized until recently. Financial and job concerns was one of the few categories of changes listed by the patients that had more negative than positive responses.
“Financial concerns received relatively little attention in the 1990s. Only within the last ten years has the financial burden of cancer received the attention it needs,” Andersen said.
The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity Breast Cancer Research Program and the Walther Cancer Institute.
URL : http://news.osu.edu/cancer-survivors-see-mostly-positives-in-how-they-have-changed/
A disconnect between migrants’ stories and their health
Happy narratives belie health markers of stress in study
COLUMBUS, Ohio — While some Mexican immigrants give positive accounts about migrating to and living in the United States, their health status tells a different story.
In a small study in Columbus, anthropology professors Jeffrey Cohen, Douglas Crews and their student Alexandra Tuggle, all from The Ohio State University, found that many migrants celebrated living in Columbus. However, they also experienced discrimination and exhibited physical signs of stress, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity.
“There was a real disconnect between the positive narratives they told and the discrimination they felt and the stress revealed by their health measures,” Tuggle said.
The researchers believe the positive narratives were a coping mechanism.
“These migrants are creating their own mental constructs so they can be happy and survive in what can be a difficult, stressful environment,” Crews said.
The study was published online recently in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.
The study involved 34 Mexican migrants who had lived in Columbus between five and 30 years. Several were undocumented. Nearly all said they moved to the United States for economic reasons.
The participants were interviewed about their experiences of migration and settlement in the United States, their life in Columbus and discrimination they faced.
In addition, 28 of the participants underwent a variety of health tests and completed self-assessments of their health.
The narratives and the health measures didn’t match up, Cohen said.
Most participants focused on the positives of living in Columbus. Some mentioned the ability to buy a house and to live near schools for their children among the reasons they were happy.
“Although the narratives were overwhelmingly positive, discrimination showed up in a lot of them. Some people reported physical attacks, there were cases of participants and their children being harassed for speaking Spanish, and there were cases where doctors refused to treat them,” Cohen said.
In addition, the health measures for many migrants suggested they were under a lot of stress.
Nearly 80 percent were overweight or obese, according to their body mass index scores. Findings showed 21 percent had hypertension and 25 percent were hyperglycemic.
Nearly half of the sample (46 percent) rated their health as only fair or poor.
“Many of the migrants attributed their poor health to economic changes in the U.S., living in the cold Midwest, job loss and limited access to health services,” Tuggle said.
With the challenges that migrants face in the United States, the positive outlook found in the narratives might be necessary to survive and thrive, according to Crews.
“There’s been plenty of research that suggests that our attitudes have an influence on physical health. Migrants may be constructing these positive narratives to deal with their elevated stress and help themselves cope,” Crews said.
The researchers noted that this was a small study done only with Mexican migrants in Columbus. The experiences of other migrant groups in other places may be different.
To get a better understanding of the Mexican migrant experience in the United States, the Ohio State research team is going to Mexico to learn more about the context for future U.S. immigrants. They will interview people there who are planning to migrate, those who have no intention of migrating and those who left Mexico but then returned.
“We hope to learn more about what led to the findings we had in this study, about where it all started,” Crews said.
URL : http://news.osu.edu/a-disconnect-between-migrants-stories-and-their-health/
Promising new drug for treatment-resistant depression – esketamine
February 21, 2019
Author: Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University
Disclosure statement: Lee Hoffer receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, to fund his research.
Partners: Case Western Reserve University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Treatment-resistant depression affects 1 in 3 of the estimated 16.2 million adults in the U.S. who have suffered at least one major depressive episode. For them, two or more therapies have failed and the risk of suicide is much greater. It’s a grim prognosis.
As there are few therapies for depression that resists treatment, the Food and Drug Administration has been considering a new treatment called esketamine. On Feb. 12, 2019, I participated in the FDA review of this drug. Practically speaking, esketamine is essentially the same as ketamine, which is a pain killer with hallucinogenic effects and used illegally. As a member of the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA, I voted with the majority of that panel 14-2, to approve esketamine only for people who have treatment-resistant depression.
For more than 20 years, I have researched illegal drug use and addiction. As a medical anthropologist, my work is oriented to understanding the perspectives and behaviors of people actively using illegal drugs. My research often involves fieldwork, which means participating in the lives of people as they go about their everyday routines. This has given me a personalized and practical outlook on illegal drug use. Many of the people I currently interview are heroin injectors who first started opioid use by misusing prescription drugs.
Not a street drug
But many drugs, especially those for the treatment of mental illness, have powerful effects on the central nervous system. How the drug is distributed and administered must minimize risk. What if the drug is addicting?
Some reports about esketamine have sensationalized this issue by referring to ketamine as a highly addictive street drug. In my research, this is not true. First, ketamine use is rare. The last time I interviewed a ketamine users was nearly 20 years ago and since its introduction in 1964, there have been no significant trends or outbreaks in its diversion or use.
Not all illegal drugs are sold “on the street.” Street drugs are staples of the illegal drug economy, which is run by drug trafficking organizations. Prescription opioids, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana are street drugs sold in open-air drug markets, where such markets exist. Hallucinogens and exotic, designer and other less popular drugs are rarely available in these settings. They simply do no appeal to enough users to make them profitable for drug traffickers to supply. Ketamine has always been in this second group. Why?
Is it addictive?
Ketamine is short-acting – between two and four hours – and produces euphoria, sustained pain relief and sedation mixed with powerful hallucinogenic effects. Taking this drug can be very unpleasant. Out-of-body experiences, time perception distortions, tunnel vision and dissociation are common. These effects limit the popularity of ketamine and make it difficult to use habitually.
A person can take heroin everyday and function. Ketamine is disruptive.
Another reason that ketamine isn’t popular on the street is that users do not have to keep using it to avoid withdrawal. There is no withdrawal syndrome associated with ketamine; when people stop using it, they do not get sick. This is actually a benefit, because fear of withdrawal is often a major motivation for the continuation of drug use. Unlike street drugs, its appeal is limited and its addiction liability is comparatively low.
On balance, the profile of ketamine is more like LSD than cocaine or opioids. People do not get addicted. This does not mean that ketamine or esketamine is safe. Its access should be restricted and use monitored by a physician. The manufacturer is placing important restrictions on the drug. It will not be available at local pharmacies and never for take-home use. A person receiving the treatment, which was developed by Johnson & Johnson and delivered as a nasal spray, will be under observation and care of a health professional trained in the therapy. The drug will be given in an office or approved health center, and the patient will not be allowed to drive until the day after treatment.
Given its effectiveness and the proposed risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, the benefits outweigh the risks of esketamine for the treatment of depression that has not responded to other treatments. Like any new treatment, as manufacturers make this product available, monitoring it will be important to make sure the benefits outweigh the costs. People living with the misery of treatment-resistant depression need more options, and this drug should help.