Here are the highlights of some of the stories you might have missed today.
Crumbs to Shut All of its Cupcake Shops, Cease Operations
Crumbs Bake Shop Inc., the New York-based cupcake shop operator that went public in 2011, will close all of its stores a week after being delisted from Nasdaq.
“Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said. That will include filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, the Associated Press reported.
The company’s website listed 65 sites in 12 states and Washington, D.C. as of March. The New York Daily News reports that the company had reduced the number of stores to 48 since then.
Crumbs was founded in 2003. It had been hit by a steep decline in sales. For the quarter ended March 31, Crumbs reported a loss of $3.8 million, wider than the loss of $2 million a year earlier.
The company was known for its 600-calorie, 4-inch cupcakes. But its earlier sweet smell of success appears to have been illusionary.
A Smooth Ride for Rolls as Luxury Car Sales Surge
Rolls-Royce, the British-based maker of luxury automobiles, said first-half global sales surged 33 percent from the same period a year ago. It said that sales grew 60 percent in Europe, nearly 40 percent in Asia Pacific. It posted double-digit sales increases in the U.S. and China.
It said it sold 1,968 cars in the first half. Prices can reach near $600,000 for some models.
“This is an excellent half-year result and demonstrates the continued confidence that our customers have in our company and our fine cars. We are on target for another record year in 2014,” Chief Executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös said.
Rolls-Royce, which is owned by German automaker BMW, said demand had been strong for its Wraith model, which prices at more than $350,000.
Germany’s Commerzbank Becomes Latest to Face US Scrutiny
U.S. regulators have begun settlement talks with, Germany’s second-largest bank, in regard to the bank’s alleged dealings with Iran and other countries blacklisted by the U.S., the New York Times reports.
The report says that the settlement is expected to include at least $500 million in penalties for the German bank.
“Although prosecutors were still weighing punishments, people briefed on the matter said the bank would most likely face a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which would suspend criminal charges in exchange for the financial penalty and other concessions,” the Times report says.
The German government owns 17% of Commerzbank, a stake it acquired during the global financial crisis, perhaps creating another item of contention between Germany and the U.S. after reports of American spying on one of its closest NATO allies.
Washington State Goes to Pot, Eyes New Tax Revenue
A new business sector has opened up, as Washington becomes only the second state to allow people to buy recreational marijuana, a move it hopes will lead to additional millions in tax revenue. Colorado allowed sales starting Jan. 1.
Washington state officials issued 24 retail licenses to sell marijuana. Washington and Colorado officials say they have been in contact to consult on various issues related to the new industry.
USA Today said that prices in Colorado have fallen since the initial rush to buy at the beginning of the year. The paper reports that prices an ounce of high-grade marijuana were above $300 in the first few days, but they have dipped to about $85 an ounce, plus tax. Colorado says it has already collected more than $24 million in taxes and fees. Washington officials expect to college $190 million over the next four years, USA Today reports.
The Money and Markets Team