Business Beat for Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

SHARE Business Beat for Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

Using hands-free systems distracting too: studies say

What’s a driver to do? Two new studies have found that voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems may be making the distracted-driving problem worse.

Boeing, Airbus at odds on deployable black boxes

Airbus nearly ready to install the boxes. Boeing says the recorders are prone to ejecting accidentally and creating a safety risk.

McDonald’s Japan predicts loss after expired-food scandal

McDonald’s Corp.’s Japan business predicted a $157 million net loss this year after its chicken supplier said it mislabeled expired meat. [Bloomberg]

Chicago among ‘Most Innovative Cities’

CNNMoney ranked the city No. 4 on its list of 10 innovative cities, citing Chicago being the first to appoint a chief data officer and programs such as Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. The top three are New York at No. 1, followed by Boston and Portland, Oregon. [CNNMoney]

Pepsi selling ‘craft’ soda

Pepsi is hoping to keep up with the times with a soda called “Caleb’s Kola” that comes in glass bottles reminiscent of a bygone era.

‘Dear Mr. Human’

Chicago-based United Airlines sent an automated apology letter to a disgruntled passenger without filling in the blanks. [Entrepreneur]

Interest rate watch

New York Fed President Dudley says forecasts for higher interest rates in mid-2015 are “reasonable” [Bloomberg]

Consumer borrowing up $13.5 billion in August

U.S. consumers increased their borrowing in August in the category that covers auto loans and student loans but cut back on their credit cards.

Punch Bowl Social eyes Wicker Park

The Denver-based company plans to open four floors of food, drinks and games on Milwaukee Avenue late next year [Eater]

Will the Chicago Spire rise?

A New York lender has agreed to fund the Spire project’s exit from bankruptcy [Crain’s]

AT&T employee improperly viewed customer accounts

AT&T has informed about 1,600 customers a rogue employee accessed account information that might have included Social Security numbers.

Wal-Mart cuts health benefits for some part-timers

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week beginning Jan. 1.

Holiday sales seen rising 4.1 percent

Americans are expected to spend at the highest rate in three years during what’s traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, a retailer trade group say.

SodaStream’s run at Coke, Pepsi losing steam

SodaStream says it isn’t winning over enough customers in the U.S. and reported preliminary sales results that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

‘The Etsy for flowers’ raises $5.5M

BloomNation closed on a Series A round with backing from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Chicago Ventures.

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