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Monday
Dec272010

The Season Was Very Good for Online Sales

Photo Courtesy - ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- E-commerce enjoyed its best holiday season yet, as consumers spent an estimated $36.4 billion, according to a report from MasterCard research firm SpendingPulse. Overall, spending rose 15.4 percent during the shopping season that lasted from October 31-December 24, compared to the same period in 2009.

SpendingPulse Vice President Michael McNamara said “e-commerce accounts for a much larger share of overall retail sales compared to a few years ago. And during this holiday season, it registered double-digit growth for six out of seven weeks.”

There were six days over the past two months that spending exceeded $1 billion. Last year, the billion dollar threshold was only reached three times. Meanwhile, clothing was the biggest seller this year, accounting for 18.8 percent of all sales. Electronics also saw purchases up more than 12 percent from 2009 and there was an 11 percent increase in online department stores sales.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec272010

Where to Look for a Job in 2011

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The job market has been of the biggest stories of 2010. There are 15 million people unemployed, but when you add up people who are discouraged, have stopped looking or are underemployed, that number jumps to more than 26 million. It's safe to say that job seekers won't be sorry to see the ball drop on 2010.

Construction, financial services, local/state government, traditional publishing and printing, and even the US Postal Service took some of the hits this year. Yet, on the bright side, 1.2 million jobs were added in the private sector, but we're still down more than 6 million jobs since the recession began, so we have a ways to go.

As we look ahead to 2011, there are a few key areas to focus our attention: Temps: More than 300,000 temporary jobs were added this year. There was a time when being a temp meant you couldn't get a fulltime job; today there's no stigma attached to it. Some people even prefer it because of the flexibility that comes along with it. Experts predict that in a few years, more than 25% of all workers will be temps. And it's still one of the best ways to get your foot in the door for a permanent position.

Health care: No matter what becomes of President Obama's health care law, health care is one of the very few industries where there are more jobs than prior to the recession. In 2010, more than 400,000 jobs were added in health care.

The opportunities are diverse: from trainers to therapists to nurses, all of which require specialized training.

Retail: Retail has been coming back. Even with seasonal workers ending their positions after the holidays, more than 55,000 jobs were added this year. Demand is up a bit for sales and customer service after severely slashing those positions when people and companies weren't spending. That need is expected to grow as long as consumer confidence grows too. Hospitality and restaurants: The leisure and hospitality industry added 150,000 workers as tried and true establishments that offer good value saw a healthy gain in business.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec262010

Chaos at the Mall as Post-Holiday Shopping Season Begins

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Even before Christmas Day was over, the post-holiday push was under way. Retailers spent Christmas blitzing shoppers with email, desperate to keep a good thing going.

If sales continue to be strong over the next week, this holiday shopping season could be the best ever, despite the bad economy. Americans in 2007 spent a record $453 billion on holiday shopping. After a two-year dip, the numbers this year are creeping back.

The National Retail Federation predicts seasonal sales will top $451 billion dollars – a jump of more than 3 percent over last year.

So what’s the best strategy for post-Christmas shopping? Experts say consumers should check the web before checking the stores. Shoppers have spent more than $36 billion buying online this season, driven by discounts and free shipping – offers that continue this week, meaning you may not even have to brave the stores to get the best deal.

Getting people into the stores over the next few days is a big concern for retailers. Analysts are worried that bad weather across the country could keep people away and seriously impact stores’ bottom lines as retailers close out their holiday shopping seasons.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec252010

After Christmas Sales Could Lure Shoppers Back

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  With Christmas Day having finally arrived, the time will soon come for those who received to hit the stores to spend those gift cards and deftly return those unwanted items.

One of the major advantages of the season is the deals, discounts and bargains that stores offer to shoppers who flood in after the biggest gift-giving day of the year.

Some of the country's biggest retailers are prepared for the onslaught of customers. Best Buy and Sears have both announced sales that will begin on Dec. 26, while many stores are lengthening their operating hours to accommodate as many customers as possible.

After two down years, this year's Christmas season will go down as the holiday Americans decided to shop again. A strong Christmas Eve helped bolster spectacular sales for retailers, and the National Retail Federation predicts spending this holiday season will reach $451.5 billion, which is 3.3 percent up from last year.

This holiday season marks the biggest bump since 2006, and the largest total since a record $452 billion was spent in 2007. The holiday season runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, so a strong week after Christmas could still make this the biggest of all time.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec252010

Record Season for Holiday Shopping?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Believe it or not, this holiday shopping season could be one for the record books.

"We're seeing that the consumer really has a bit of strength left,” said Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse. “People are still going still out and spending on discretionary things.  On things they don't necessarily need.”

Struggling since the record 2007 shopping season, holiday sales shot back this year.  Americans spent more than $451 billion this year, a number that continued to grow late Friday night.

The biggest boost to sales totals this year came from online shopping. Consumers spent $36 billion online this year, as more shoppers stayed at home to buy.

The National Retail Federation upped its holiday forecast from a 2.3 percent rise in spending to 3.3 percent earlier this month, citing a strong start to the season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec252010

Christmas Getaway: $3 Gas, More Travelers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- National prices at the gas pump are now averaging $3 a gallon for the first time since October 2008, according to a survey commissioned by AAA. That's nearly 40 cents a gallon higher than last year at this time, or around $3 extra for a 100-mile trip each way to visit grandma.

No matter how you are traveling -- car, train, bus, plane or ferry -- expect more company on your trip. AAA projects 92.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 3.1 percent from last year. As on every major holiday, the vast majority of travelers -- 93 percent -- will be drivers.

Winter weather is not going to cooperate for all travelers. Flights in and out of Europe have been delayed or canceled all week by bad weather. Those who did make it didn't always make it with their bags. In the U.S., meanwhile, a separate storm front is threatening to cause delays in the Southeast and the East Coast over the weekend.

Delta Air Lines is allowing travelers to and from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Newark, New York and Washington to make changes to flights at no cost.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec242010

Holiday Tipping Guide: Don't Forget the Mailman and Babysitter

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- 'Tis the season to show your appreciation to everyone that makes life easier.

"Tipping is for the services you received through the year and a way to guarantee good service throughout the year," says Laura Rowley, a Yahoo! Finance columnist.

Despite an economic climate that has sent the real estate and job markets spiraling downward, holiday tipping is recession-proof. Tipping the babysitter or newspaper carrier is a way of showing your appreciation for services received. It's an act of appreciation that does not depreciate because of economic stressors.

"There's no one more important in a parent's life than the person taking care of a child when they're not home. You don't want to be a Scrooge when it comes to holiday tipping," says Wendy Sachs, editor-in-chief of Care.com, a family care organization. And that's even if you don't celebrate Christmas.

So who do Sachs and Rowley advise you tip this time of year?

The nanny, the babysitter, the teacher, daycare provider, hair stylist, newspaper carrier, the doorman, the office assistant, the mailman, the dog walker, housekeeper or cleaning lady, senior citizen care giver, and the garbage collector should all be on your ‘approved’ list.

Who don’t you need to tip, according to the experts? First, there’s the dry cleaner. "That's their business,” Rowley said. “If you want to give a gift, then give a card."

And then, of course, there’s your boss who Rowley says you should avoid giving a gift. She says it could look too much like a bribe.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec242010

Sony to Buy Toshiba Chip Factory

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Toshiba and Sony corporations have announced that they have signed a memorandum that will see the transfer of semiconductor fabrication facilities from Toshiba over to Sony.

The facilities’ operations were handled by Nagasaki Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (NSM), a joint venture among Toshiba, Sony and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., but according to a press release issued by Toshiba, once the transfer is completed that NSM partnership will be terminated. NSM has been responsible for manufacturing semiconductors and system-on-a-chip for applications in Toshiba and Sony digital products.

The transfer is expected to be completed sometime early in the fiscal year ending March 2012.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec232010

Mall of America Developers Take on Meadowlands

Photo Courtesy - Office of Governor Chris Christie | Tim Larsen(EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.) – The developers of the Mall of America, the most visited mall in the world, signed a letter of intent Thursday to revitalize the Meadowlands complex.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that Triple Five will work to transform the space into a successful tourism and retail destination.

"This administration fully supports the progress being made and will be a true partner at every step in transforming the Meadowlands from a financial and economic drain into a vibrant destination so that New Jerseyans can begin to reap the benefits of the job creation and much-needed tax revenues this project will provide,” said Christie. "We're glad to have Triple Five's long-term investment in New Jersey and I am confident that the developers who created the most visited mall in the world, due to their vision and innovation, will transform the Meadowlands into New Jersey's very own Mall of America.”

Triple Five will unveil its plan for the project in 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec232010

GM Recalls CTS Models, Potential Problems with Airbag Deployment

Photo Courtesy -- General Motors(DETROIT) – General Motors has announced the recall of around 190,000 Cadillac CTS models due to a manufacturing issue that could keep the passenger airbag from deploying.

GM said the problem is with a sensor in the front passenger presence system in the 2005-2007 CTS models. The sensor is meant to tell the airbag when to deploy.

Dealers will replace the system in affected vehicles for free. No injuries have been reported as a result of the issue.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio