Kit and Ace cuts more staff

JJ and Chip Wilson at Kit and Ace’s Kitsilano launch party in September 2015

Kit and Ace is laying off about 20 per cent of its head office employees. Owned by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his family, the Vancouver-based makers of “technical streetwear” cut 35 employees in February 2016. The company also plans to close about a quarter of its 60-odd outlets in the next two years as their short-term leases come up for renewal, although it is still looking for other pop-up shops in other locations. Chip Wilson and his son, JJ, who is leaving his executive role with Kit and Ace to join the board and work for the family holding company, told The Globe and Mail that they don’t want long-term leases as they expect rents to drop 20 to 40 per cent over the next three years. (The Globe and Mail/paywall

The Swedish government is introducing tax breaks on repairs to everything from bicycles to washing machines so it will no longer make sense to throw out old or broken items and buy new ones. The country’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition is set to submit proposals to parliament to slash the VAT rate on repairs to bicycles, clothes and shoes from 25 per cent to 12 per cent and allow people to claim back from income tax half of the labour cost on repairs to appliances such as fridges, ovens, dishwashers and washing machines. (The Guardian

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund is massive. Used to invest the proceeds of Norway’s oil and gas sales, the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund has amassed a bigger fortune than expected, thanks to previously high oil prices. As the direct benefits of oil decline—around 46 per cent of Norway’s expected total haul of oil and gas is gone—the relative importance of the fund will grow. Annual revenues from it now regularly exceed income from oil sales, and it owns over two per cent of all listed shares in Europe and over one per cent globally. (The Economist

Outsourcing municipal services isn’t always cheaper. A new report from the B.C.-based Columbia Institute, whose goal is to motivate working people to build progressive communities throughout Canada, found that 80 per cent of 15 Canadian communities that recently ended private sector contracts for municipal work saved money. It also revisits a nearly 20-year-old study that identified 13 communities that had decided to contract public services out of the municipality, 40 per cent of which have now brought the work fully back in house. (Columbia Institute)

B.C. is cutting interest rates charged on payday loans. The maximum allowable charge for a payday loan in B.C. will drop from $23 to $17 for every $100 borrowed, starting January 2017, making the province’s borrowing rates for the high-cost, short-term loans the second-lowest in Canada, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Before 2009, charges for payday loans in B.C. were as high as $30 for every $100 borrowed. (Vancouver Sun)