Business stories of interest this week

Business stories from the past week, compiled by Jason Maywald:

1. Mastercard rolls out first debit rewards program

Mastercard is setting its sights on the millennial market with a new rewards program targeted at debit card customers, in what it says is an Australian first.

Growth in the number and value of debit card transactions continues to outpace growth in credit card transactions. Debit cards now making up 44.7 per cent of all non-cash payments, according to the RBA.

People aged 18 to 30 make up a significant chunk of that market. “Millennials are one of our largest growth segments,” said Sarah Pike, vice president of marketing at Mastercard Australasia.

“What we find is they’re on the beginning of their journey to financial independence, so don’t necessarily have credit cards yet, but also what we find with millennials is they’re quite wary of accruing debt.


2. Power bill relief forecast but not before summer spike

Household power bills are tipped to fall by more than 10 per cent in the next two years, but only after a spike this summer.

In its latest electricity trends report, the Australia Energy Market Commission (AEMC) predicts prices across the country will rise sharply in the first quarter of 2018. This is before falling by 6.2 per cent each year on average over the next two years from July thanks to falling wholesale energy costs.


3.  Lockheed to build new speedy business jet 

For 27 years, until its retirement in 2003, the Concorde was a flying symbol of glamour and speed. It was a sleek embodiment of technological prowess and supersonic power that ferried the wealthy from New York to London in 3 1/2 hours while dining on veal medallions and creme caramel.

Its excess, though, led to its demise. The plane was too expensive and carried too few passengers to be sustainable. And after a fatal crash, it ceased operation with one last flight from Charles de Gaulle to Dulles International Airport, as the pilot raised a glass of champagne and toasted his passengers: “To your first Mach 2 – and the last.”

On Friday, however, leaders of Lockheed Martin and the Aerion Corp announced a deal to build a speedy business jet.  They vowed it would “engineer a renaissance in supersonic travel.” Speaking at the National Press Club, the companies said they would build a civil jet, capable of flying as fast as Mach 1.4, or about 60 per cent faster than a typical commercial airliner.


4. Chadstone welcomes new hotel to its expanding malls

A $130 million MGallery by Sofitel hotel is to be constructed at Melbourne’s sprawling Chadstone super-size shopping centre. It is designed to cater for the expanding office and tourism trade in the area.

With its, almost, own eco-system, Chadstone shopping centre, has undergone a massive make-over and upgrade. It is now looking to expand with more office space, of which the Sofitel MGallery will help to provide the accommodation.


5. Meet Australia’s Amazon family

Matthew Burkitt may be Australia’s youngest Amazon seller. At just 10 years old, the Melbourne schoolkid has started selling his own line of flying rings and triangles on Amazon Marketplace. It is at the encouragement of his dad, who says Matthew “can’t wait to finish school because it just gets in the way” of making money.

Amazon launched its Australian website last week with thousands of local sellers signed up, among them Matthew. His brand, MOB9, is named after his initials and his age when he started planning.

“He listed the flying ring on the Saturday and sold one on Sunday,” said Dale Burkitt. “I said, ‘We’ll go out to dinner to celebrate your first sale,’ so we walked down to Hungry Jack’s. By the time we got back he’d sold two more.”