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James Leggate

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Could McDonald’s be the next fast-food chain to seek viral success for its chicken?

Following McDonald’s first profit miss in two years this week, analysts said they expect the company will launch a version of its chicken offerings in the coming year, MarketWatch reported.

The analysts said they believe McDonald’s is testing versions of its chicken sandwich for a rollout in 2020 that “will better compete on quality and ideally win on speed, value and convenience,” according to the report. Eric Gonzalez of KeyBanc Capital Markets wrote that McDonald’s “saw increased competitive pressure in chicken, particularly in mid-August.”

August is when Wendy’s brought back its spicy chicken nuggets in response to a viral tweet by Chance the Rapper earlier in the year. It’s also when Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen launched its tremendously popular chicken sandwich, which sold out within two weeks after the chain got into a Twitter feud with Chick-fil-A.

Popeye’s sandwich was a huge hit and about 5 percent of its customers during the last two weeks of August were new to the chain, according to analytics firm Second Measure. And even though Popeyes temporarily ran out of the sandwiches, its sales were still higher than average.

Popeyes is planning to bring the hit sandwich back in November, and 150-location franchisee Sun Holdings said it’s planning to hire 400 more workers to deal with the crowds, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s had walked back its chicken offerings during late-night hours since April. The chain’s simplified night menu includes staples like Big Macs and Quarter Pounders, but its only chicken product is McNuggets. Other chicken dishes like salads, sandwiches and wraps are unavailable overnight.

McDonald’s reported this week that its profits fell 4 percent compared to a year ago, to $1.6 billion. But revenue was up 1 percent to $5.43 billion.

Breakfast and burgers were bright spots for McDonald’s business for the quarter. However, the KeyBanc analysts expect McDonald’s will also face more competition for breakfast, as Wendy’s is also preparing to roll out an 18-item breakfast menu next year.

Author: James Leggate

Source: Fox Business: Can a chicken sandwich help McDonald’s turn stock drop around?

Want a long retirement? Maybe you should look for a job that pays less.

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people who worked in “unskilled” jobs retired earlier than other workers and lived the longest after retiring. Meanwhile, “professional” workers had the shortest retirements on average.

Unskilled workers had an average of three more years of retirement than professional workers in poor health, and five more years than professional workers who reported good health and continued working longer, according to the study.

Don’t quit your job just yet.

While those unskilled workers enjoyed a longer retirement, they often retired earlier due to health issues and also had an overall shorter life expectancy, the study found. Their average life expectancy was four years shorter for men and three years for women.

The U.K.-based authors of the study looked at data from 76,485 people in England and Wales who were between 50 and 75 in 2001, and followed them for 10 years. The study divided the participants into six social classes based on their occupations, including professional, managerial/technical, skilled non-manual, skilled manual, partly skilled and unskilled.

Depending on birth year, the age to collect full Social Security benefits in the U.S. ranges from 65 to 67. The U.K.’s “state pension” age has similarly been 65 for men and women since 2011, and is expected to go up to 67 by 2028.

However, the authors of the study said unskilled workers lose out on pension money by retiring earlier.

“This is despite the fact that they are likely to have started work younger and thus paid contributions for just as many years as their better-off peers,” said Emily Murray of University College London, the lead author of the study.

Professor Jenny Head, a co-author and a London college professor, said they believe it would be better to start pensions two years earlier for those who work in manual labor.

Author: James Leggate

Source: Fox Business: These workers are retiring earliest, and it might not be who you’d expect: Study

More and more people are ditching hip urban neighborhoods and heading for the ‘burbs, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to give up their “live/work/play” lifestyles.”

The latest annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report from the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers identified a growing trend called “hipsturbia”— “cool” suburbs with vibrant downtowns that offer walkability, public transit and a variety of restaurants, retail and recreation.

Lindsay Rothman, a real estate agent in Westchester County, New York — just north of New York City — said she’s been seeing the trend for a while, but the number of millennials moving out of the city for suburban communities has been increasing recently.

“It used to be people were holding onto their city or Brooklyn lifestyle as long as they possibly could, until their walls were going to burst, and then making the migration up here” Rothman said. “But now I’m seeing more and more young people who just are looking for a different lifestyle that’s a little quieter, yet has that city feel.”

The New York Times reported on the “hipsturbia” trend back in 2013, noting that people were moving to near-the-city-yet-vibrant communities like those in Westchester. But now the trend has expanded to other major metro areas, according to the new report. Communities along Silicon Valley, like Santa Clara, California, have moved to add space for passive recreation along with new developments. Outside Chicago, communities like Evanston, Illinois offer rooftop bars, shopping and access to Chicago via public transit. Near Atlanta, the report found that suburban communities were using walkable, mixed-use developments in a bid to attract a pool of young workers.

The trend has even been growing in smaller markets like Charleston and college towns like Tempe, Arizona, according to the report.

People are discovering that those smaller communities can have all the same charms as a big city, the report found. It predicts that some millennials will continue moving to those suburban communities that present “hip” offerings.

Rothman said many people move up to Westchester looking for a home in walking distance to a train. But once they get there, it ends up not being so important.

“I’m seeing less and less of people who are moving to our area because of the short commute to the city,” Rothman said. “A lot of people are moving here and not really looking to commute, or they’re going in one day a week. And they’re finding this area as an area where their businesses can thrive as well.”

Harwood Court in Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York.

It’s not just millennials who are fueling growth in “hipsturbia,” according to Rothman. She said empty-nesters looking to downsize are also opting to stay in their towns instead of moving into the city.

“We’re seeing more and more people wanting to stay, because the communities are awesome and they have everything they need right here,” Rothman said.

Author: James Leggate

Source: Fox Business: Hipsturbia: Real estate trend has millennials ditching cities for small-town life

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