MH17 tragedy, rebounding retailers and Parks Canada's new threads: the week in business

An eventful week in business news was punctuated by the story dominating headlines this week: the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Jacqueline Hansen gets you caught up with her recap of the week in business.
From the fallout for airlines from the MH17 tragedy to a busy week for retailers and the hospitals of tomorrow, the CBC's Jacqueline Hansen recaps the week in business 3:05

Airplane fears dominated the news cycle this week, and the financial world was no exception. After the tragedy in Ukraine when rebels reportedly shot down a commercial airliner, the outlook got worse for aviation after a rocket strike landing within a kilometre of Tel Aviv airport, grounding most international air travel in the area.

The global airline industry was finally getting back on its feet after years of uncertainty. But as the CBC's Peter Armstrong reported this week, the unease over air travel belies the actual reality — flying is safer today than it ever has been.

Globally, the industry is poised to double its profitability this year, to $18 billion and airline stocks are starting to pay dividends again — a development that would have seemed impossible just a few short years ago. Despite the optics of two once-in-a-lifetime disasters within months of each other, the truth is airlines are doing just fine.

It's just hard to believe after the week it's been.

Retail sales rebound

Another industry very much in the news this week was retail; specifically, some encouraging signs that shoppers are finally starting to spend again.

Statistics Canada reported this week that retail sales hit an all-time record of just under $42 billion last month. A closer look at the numbers shows that a rebound in car sales just managed to skew the total number higher. But it's still evidence of a rebound some people think is long overdue.

Then again, maybe retailers are finally starting to learn from Target's mistakes. In our most-read story this week, the CBC's John-Paul Tasker took a look at how Target missed the mark in their bumbled Canadian launch, and uncovered few cautionary tales for sellers. Certainly something for other struggling retailers like Sears and Indigo to take note of.

Parks Canada clothing

One agency that looks like it's keenly aware of the need to innovate in terms of selling itself is Parks Canada, which launched a line of garments this week aimed at raising the profile (and a little extra revenue) for national parks struggling with funding cutbacks.

The agency is selling a line of hoodies, hats and t-shirts emblazoned with the agency's 1970s logo — an iconic image of a Canadian beaver.

Early reviews appear to be positive, but the CBC's Dianne Buckner sought the answer to a question everyone was asking this week: why wasn't Roots involved?

With their brand deeply soaked in Canadiana and a long history of being the official clothier of Canadian-themed events such as the Olympics, the Toronto-based chain would seem to have been a natural fit for the job. As Buckner reported, a deal was on the table that ultimately fell apart. Read her exclusive report to find out why.

Modernizing hospitals

In health care news, the major story this week was a push to make Toronto home to the first all-digital hospital in North America.

The Humber River Hospital will soon be fully Wi-Fi connected, making patient care more interconnected than it's ever been. Every detail of the hospital is aimed at making communication between patients and caregivers easier. Things like video chats, mobile alerts, even GPS tracking for patients and equipment — everything has been designed to cut down on wasted time for doctors and nurses, and instead focus on patient care.

It's more than just a digital gimmick — it's an investment that will pay off for patients down the line, the hospital's COO told the CBC this week.

"We’ll be able to divert more health dollars to actual patient care, as opposed to hunting and gathering," Barb Collins told Amanda Lang this week.


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