BizFeed: Wawa Rushing to Open Center City Flagship For Pope Visit

Plus: U.S. economy takes scary tumble; millennials top stock holdings.

Photo credit: Lauren Siegert via Flickr.

Photo credit: Lauren Siegert via Flickr.

1. Wawa Rushing to Open Center City Flagship

The News: Wawa is reportedly moving full-speed ahead to build its flagship location in Center City, hoping it will be completed by the Pope Francis visit in late September. The 5,300 square-foot store (with indoor seating!) will replace the Robinson Luggage store at Broad and Walnut Streets.

The Philadelphia Business Journal spoke to Larry Steinberg, senior vice president of Wawa’s retail brokerage firm CBRE, who said the retailer is “rushing to open prior to the Pope’s visit.”

Why it Matters: With approximately 1.5 million people descending on Philly, the World Meeting of Families will undoubtedly bring serious economic impact to the region. The Business Journal says it could be as much as $417.8 million. Wawa’s rush to build is yet another (albeit indirect) example of economic growth from the event.

2. U.S. Recovery Takes Scary Stumble

The News: The fragile recovery of the United States economy suffered a setback last quarter. Gross domestic product shrank 0.7 percent in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department. That’s much worse than its initial estimate of 0.2 percent growth.

Sure, Old Man Winter was a key factor but Bloomberg cites other reasons:

While bad weather once again probably contributed to last quarter’s slump, other impediments were also at work — including a swelling trade deficit caused by a strong dollar and plunging investment in oil exploration following the drop in fuel prices. Federal Reserve officials are among those who believe the slowdown will be temporary, helping explain why they are considering raising interest rates later this year.

The Wall Street Journal offers this assessment:

Harsh weather, a strong dollar and a labor dispute at West Coast ports appeared to be the biggest culprits this time, all sapping demand for American goods at home and abroad.

 Why it Matters: The economy is still in recovery mode and is supposed to be climbing, not faltering. But this recovery has been strange to say the least. In the six years since the recovery started, the economy has contracted in three separate quarters. Thankfully, it shouldn’t last, says the WSJ:

Economists generally expect the economy to bounce back this spring, as it did after first-quarter contractions in 2011 and 2014. But they warned growth will likely remain modest, in line with the roughly 2% overall pace of recent years. The first half of 2015 is shaping up to be one of the weakest six-month stretches of the expansion, with economists predicting annualized growth of between 2% and 3% during the current quarter. By comparison, the economy grew more than 3% a year on average between 1983 and 2007.

3. Millennials Top 5 Stock Holdings Shouldn’t Surprise You

The News: The list of which stocks millennials invest in most shouldn’t shock anybody. Forbes offers the following list:

1. Apple: 12.3 percent of millennials’ stock portfolio.

2. Facebook: 2.1 percent

3. GE: 1.7 percent

4. Berkshire Hathaway: 1.7 percent

5. Bank of America: 1.6 percent.

Why it Matters: Like it or not, millennials will soon be the controlling force in the economy — and the stock market. The group is already the largest portion of the U.S. workforce with 53.5 million people. And they’re investing in companies they think are smart, tech savvy and forward-thinking — that’s why Apple and Facebook are at the top of their portfolios.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the estimated number of people that the World Meeting of Families will bring to Philadelphia.