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Retailers sound the alarm on shoplifting...
November 24, 2021 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Two quick announcements before we let you begin memorizing your second cousins' names and birthdays.

  1. Our online store is in full holiday sales mode with new, limited-edition swag. Spend $75 to get free shipping and spend $100 to get a free Brew backpack. Shop here.
  2. It sounds so weird to say this, but...we're taking a short break? The Brew won't be sending out newsletters tomorrow, Saturday, or Sunday, but we will be in your inbox on Black Friday with a special edition.

Gonna miss you. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and see you on Friday .

Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, Jamie Wilde














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Tech stocks continued to stumble, while industrials and banks drove the Dow higher. As for Zoom, turns out that just because you become a verb doesn't mean you've got it all figured out. The software company's stock tumbled yesterday after it cut its revenue forecast.
  • International: Nothing to see here, just a small currency crisis in Turkey. The lira plunged yesterday to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his belief that cutting interest rates was the right policy to fight spiraling inflation (which is the opposite of what economists say).

Markets Sponsored by Fidelity Investments
Are you playing with FIRE? We talk through the phenomenon of people adopting extreme savings and investing habits to retire early in today's episode of Fresh Invest, our podcast with Fidelity. Listen now.


Hook 'Em, Samsung

Samsung's logo in the foreground set against a background of the Texas longhorn and the state capital

Mick McDougall; Sources: Samsung, Getty Images/DenisTangneyJr, Getty Images/ annestahl, Getty Images/P A Thompson

It feels like every week, another company is announcing a major project in Texas. Today's entry: The Korean tech giant Samsung said it'll build a $17 billion advanced chipmaking plant in Taylor, TX, about 30 miles from Austin.

In dollar amounts and symbolism, it's a huge deal. You might've heard there's a chip shortage going around? The US never wants to face another one, so it's going all-in to rebuild its chip industry on American soil.

That's because a booming chip sector isn't just a "nice to have." Given the critical role of chips in everything from cars to smartphones, having homegrown chips is considered a matter of national security.

But right now, the US' chip supply is as insecure as a person scrolling on Instagram.

  • In 1990, the US accounted for 37% of all semiconductor manufacturing. Last year it was down to 12%, after losing market share to Asian countries like Taiwan and China.

Good thing we have Austin

Lured by favorable taxes and a highly educated workforce, tech companies have descended on Texas's capital like a group of 26-year-old Lehigh grads for Pat's bachelor weekend.

  • Tesla is building a $1.1 billion factory in the area, and will also shift its HQ from Silicon Valley to Austin.
  • Oracle made the big move from CA → ATX.
  • Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon have all expanded in Central TX.

For Samsung, Taylor makes sense because the company already has a chip plant in Austin. Heaps of tax incentives (equivalent to property tax breaks of up to 92.5% for the first 10 years, according to the WSJ) also played a big role.

Big picture: With more manufacturing heft needed to support digital technologies, a chip factory could be coming to a city near you. Chipmakers Samsung, TSMC, and Intel will pour at least $100 billion each into semiconductor factories over the next few years.—NF



Oil Printer Go Blublublub

Game of Risk, played in oil barrels

Francis Scialabba

Like your bougie uncle trying to keep the NYE party going, President Biden is uncorking some of the private collection. On Tuesday, he announced the release of emergency oil reserves—50 million barrels worth—to combat high fuel prices.

According to the White House, the amount is the most released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in US history and equal to roughly what the US burns through in 2.5 days. China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the UK will join in the coordinated effort.

  • The SPR is a government complex consisting of four sites—two each in Texas and Louisiana—with deep underground caverns storing more than 600 million barrels of oil.

So will it help tame prices? Unclear. The release has been rumored for so long that some traders believe it's already been priced in. In fact, oil prices had been declining for weeks before yesterday's announcement.

Looking ahead...OPEC+, the group of large oil-producing nations targeted by Biden's move, could retaliate by holding back a planned output boost, which would offset the new supply released through the reserves.—MK



Retailers Have a Shoplifting Problem

In Best Buy's earnings call yesterday, CEO Corie Barry blamed stagnant sales in part on an uptick in theft, pointing to California as a particularly sticky-fingered state.

Retailers in CA have experienced a string of "smash-and-grabs." Last month, Walgreens announced plans to shut down five stores in San Francisco, claiming that rates of theft in the city had risen to 5x the national average.

What's going on?

Here are a few theories:

  • Facebook Marketplace and eBay have made it easier to resell stolen goods anonymously.
  • Home Depot connected the dots between the opioid crisis and an increase in thefts at its stores two years ago. Since then fentanyl, a drug that's 50x stronger than heroin, has pervaded California.
  • Rates of unemployment and homelessness rose sharply last year, and California is home to the largest population of unsheltered persons.

Some argue that Proposition 47, which raised the felony threshold for stolen goods, has increased rates of theft, but its impact is debated.

Zoom out: Organized crime costs retailers 0.07% of sales, according to the National Retail Federation, but the emotional toll it takes on retail workers who experience thefts is downright "traumatizing," Best Buy's CEO said.—JW



We Dreamed a Dream


It was a simple dream, one that involved saving money on Beam, everyone's favorite wellness company with premium products for sleep, calm, energy, hydration, and recovery. 

Well, wouldn't you know it, when we woke up this morning we learned that Beam is having their best sale of the year: 40% off sitewide. It includes their new, limited edition flavor of Dream Powder: White Chocolate Peppermint—right in time for winter. Dream Powder is Beam's delicious bedtime cup of healthy hot cocoa with powerful zzz-promoting ingredients for your best sleep, literally ever.

But Beam's sale is not limited to Dream Powder—you can get 40% off on Beam's entire site. Whether you're looking to sleep, chill, focus, hydrate, or give your body some post-workout love, Beam's products are uniquely qualified to provide the TLC you desperately need this holiday season. And we'll repeat, they're all 40% off now.

Don't sleep on this dreamy sale. Get 40% off Beam's entire site here.


Key Performance Indicators

A Dollar Tree store

Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Stat: Dollar Tree said it would raise prices on most items from $1 to $1.25, a move it argued was not a result of higher inflation but instead a strategic business decision. Dollar Tree had offered products for $1 for the past 35 years.

Quote: "The community has taken all actions that it was organized to accomplish."

ConstitutionDAO is shutting down after a failed attempt to buy a copy of the US Constitution, but the fun is just beginning. The DAO's donors will be on the hook for 3% of the $47 million raised in transaction fees, aka "gas fees"—which could total more than $1.5 million. When Nic Cage did this it was free.

Read: How the "shortage of everything" is driving a boom in gift cards. (Morning Brew)



The DOJ Gets a Sugar Rush

The Justice Department says it doesn't matter if you're related to Elaine Benes or not, you can't go around making anti-competitive deals. Antitrust officials filed a suit to block Louis Dreyfus Co.'s sale of Imperial Sugar to US Sugar on Tuesday.

According to the DOJ, if the ~$315 million acquisition were to go through, 75% of sugar sales across the Southeast US would be left in the hands of just two firms—a reduction in competition that it argues would increase costs for consumers.

  • US Sugar responded by claiming that the sale would increase sugar supply and production, and ease supply chain issues.

Antitrust DOJ: This marks the fourth major deal challenge from the DOJ in recent months, making good on the Biden administration's pledge to combat industry consolidation. Recent highlights include:

  • Successfully preventing a $30 billion insurance industry merger in July
  • A lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue's growing alliance
  • A lawsuit to stop the merger of publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster

Fun fact: Seinfeld and Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the great-great-granddaughter of Léopold Louis-Dreyfus, who founded the Louis Dreyfus Group in 1851.—MK



  • Apple sued Israeli spyware giant NSO Group, accusing it of illegally surveilling and targeting Apple users.
  • Niantic, the maker of Pokémon GO, raised fresh funds at a $9 billion valuation. Its goal is to build the "real-world metaverse."
  • Michael Strahan, co-host of Good Morning America and persistent thorn in the Philadelphia Eagles' side, is going to space next month on a Blue Origin rocket, along with five others.
  • The 2022 Grammy Award nominees are out. Jazz musician Jon Batiste had the most nominations, with 11.


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Black Friday never felt so good. Why? Because Sakara's offering 25% off sitewide, and you can snag their Metabolism Super Powder. Say bye-bye to bloat with this delicious, metabolism-boosting blend. New year, new you? More like: new you, right now. Shop it here.*

Fun OOO messages: Stand out from the crowd with these creative OOO templates for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Get planning: We know it's crazy to consider, but 2022 is just over a month away. On December 9, Marketing Brew is hosting an event that'll recap the biggest trends of 2021 and help you set your organization up for success next year. Register here.

Thanksgiving weekend recs: 1) This new book on the history of HBO 2) 24 hours with Squid Game's HoYeon Jung 3) King Richard

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The Puzzle Section

Word Search: Pies. That is all.

Three Headlines and a Lie (Special Wednesday Edition)

Three of these news headlines are real and one is faker than telling your high school bully it's "so great to see them" tonight. Can you guess the odd one out?

  1. CEO of Ocean Spray says his $16,000 watch is in a can of cranberry sauce somewhere in Malaysia
  2. Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters to be recognized as sentient beings under UK law following LSE report findings
  3. Chris Pratt will not say "It's-a me, Mario" in new Mario film
  4. A Michigan woman tried to hire an assassin online at RentAHitman.com


The Newsletter for People People

HR Brew

Your eyes are glazing over after endless Zoom calls, your work BFF just left for a new job, and your Tuesday sweatpants are suddenly a bit too snug. Also, when did all of the plants die?

Okay cool—that's not just us.

The past year has wreaked havoc on the business world and the people powering those businesses. With the transition from IRL happy hours to Zoom karaoke, HR is fast becoming the center of gravity holding all aspects of a company together.

That's why we launched our newest newsletter. HR Brew delivers the most essential stories for people in the people profession. Expect generous portions of insight, side orders of L&D, plus a chance at some sweet, sweet swag.

Sign up today to get HR Brew.

This editorial content is supported by Justworks.


We made up the Ocean Spray one. Cranberry sauce on the brain.

✢ A Note From Fidelity

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917


Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Jamie Wilde

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