Coroanvirus update for business: Target on the rocks, Coles and Atlassian see historic highs and Musk dubs stay-at-home rules “fascist”

Elon Musk

Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Source: YouTube.

Target drawing final breathes?

Wesfarmers problem-child department store Target could be placed on the chopping block under a strategic review set to consider all options for the future of the veteran retail brand.

Target hasn’t had a good year, or even a good few years. And reporting in the AFR this week suggests parent conglomerate Wesfarmers is running out of patience.

Target could be rebranded to Kmart, sold off or closed altogether as department stores trade through some of the toughest conditions in the last decade.

Coles books historic figures

Pwoah. It’s a good time to be in the supermarket business. Coles has just booked the highest quarterly comparable sales growth in its history, up a whopping 13.1%.

That’s a whole lot of toilet paper folks. Coles boss Steven Cain said the spike has been relatively short lived though.

“Sales at supermarkets in April have returned to pre-COVID levels as consumers, working and staying at home, do more home cooking and baking from scratch,” he said.

Atlassian soars

Turns out it’s also a great time to be a tech company (go figure).

Atlassian has seen its NASDAQ share price hit a record high of $158 this week as investors flock to stocks insulated from COVID-19 related pain.

It’s a pretty easy equation. Everyone is working remotely, so surely demand for productivity and workflow software solutions like Jira and Confluence will spike?

Atlassian shares are now up more than 25% on the start of the year, with the latest rise capping off an extremely positive run for founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, who both have sizeable stakes in the company.

Elon: Open the gates!

Elon Musk is also having a fairly good run after reporting the third quarterly profit run in a row for Tesla this week. But the outspoken entrepreneur is making headlines for other reasons — as per usual.

Speaking on an earnings call, which would have otherwise been a pretty nondescript story about an innovative car company doing fairly well during a pandemic, Musk blew up the stage, calling the United States’ stay-at-home orders “fascist”.

Now the story is about a billionaire with a financial interest in deregulation spitting in the face of public health advice. So you know, typical Elon.

Musk says state governors in the United States are “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights,” CNBC reports.

“I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry. It’s like somebody should be, if somebody wants to stay in the house that’s great, they should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave.

But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom,” Elon ranted.

Their God. Damn. Freedom. Thanks for that, Elon. Very helpful.

NOW READ: “They come here to talk shit and hang out”: Local community rallies around small business that’s more than a store

NOW READ: “A life-or-death moment”: As pre-revenue startups fall through the JobKeeper cracks, how will they survive COVID-19?

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