Consumer Nation


  Sunday, 8 Aug 2010 | 8:35 AM ET

Purchase Power: Will It Make You Happy?

Posted By: Stephanie Rosenbloom|The New York Times

She had so much.

A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china toserve two dozen people.

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  Friday, 6 Aug 2010 | 12:09 PM ET

Students Trim Budgets, but Won't Give Up Their iPhones

Posted By: Crystal Kang

If you think of college students as impulsive, you may need to rethink your view, at least when it comes to making back-to-school purchases.

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  Thursday, 5 Aug 2010 | 1:35 PM ET

High Airfares Slowing Rebound in Consumer Travel: Orbitz CEO

The corporate traveler is back, but high airfares are continuing to constrain consumer travel, according to OrbitzWorldwide President and CEO Barney Harford.

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  Wednesday, 4 Aug 2010 | 3:24 PM ET

Can Back-to-School Shoppers Give July Sales a Boost?

With signs that the economic recovery is slowing, the latest reads on consumer confidence and personal spendinghave provided little encouragement that shoppers are starting to spend again. However, July marks the start of back-to-school shopping, and since parents have to buy clothing for their growing children, it may give a much-needed boost to retail sales.

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  Monday, 2 Aug 2010 | 3:39 PM ET

Retailers' Big Test: Picking the Right Price

Posted By: Julia La Roche

As summer comes to an end and students go back to school, the retail industry is preparing for its first big test of the fall semester—picking the right price.

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  Friday, 30 Jul 2010 | 12:26 PM ET

Will Internet Sales Tax Become Law?

Posted By: Michelle Lodge|Special to CNBC.com

Here’s a routine the online shopper knows well. Skim a book, try on a watch or compare refrigerators at a local store.

Then head home with the specs in hand and find the item on the Internet —cheaper, and often with no state sales tax. Of course, you buy it for less—at times, a lot less.

Dueling pieces of legislation, both of which were introduced in Congress in July, address the issue of whether to close the loophole that allows online shoppers in most states to avoid paying sales tax.

As it stands now, you only pay sales tax for Internet purchases if the retailer has a physical presence, or "nexus," in the state where you live.

The first legislation introduced July 1 was the Main Street Fairness Act by Rep. William Delahunt , (D-Mass.), which attempts to put e-commerce retailers on equal footing with brick-and-mortar businesses by imposing a state sales tax on consumers who shop online.

As a counter to Delahunt's bill, is a resolution, introduced Thursday by a bipartisan delegation led by Rep. Paul W. Hodes , (D-N.H.), which would maintain the status quo. It contains language that says “Congress should not impose any new burdensome or unfair tax collecting requirements on small online businesses, which would ultimately hurt the economy and consumers.”

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  Thursday, 29 Jul 2010 | 11:15 AM ET

Economic Signals From Cereal, Toothpaste and Pet Food

Posted By: Brian A. Shactman

There has been a great deal of talk about a consumer slowdown this summer. We've seen it in consumer sentiment and confidence, but has it translated into behavior and spending?

Based on Wednesday's earnings news, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Let's start with Kellogg , the world's largest cereal maker. The company basically had a worst-case scenario:

Revenue and profits missed estimates, and the maker of Fruit Loops and Corn Flakes lowered its full-year guidance.

In fact, profits were 15 percent lower than a year ago.

That's a departure from the general pattern of growth in earnings if not in revenue. Kellogg dropped in both categories.

Some of the drag involved a voluntary recall of 28 million boxes of cereal, which translated into 10 cents a share of lost profit, but overall, there was a weakness in cereal sales.

In North America, sales were down double-digits. Latin America and Asia did grow, but not enough to offset domestic weakness.

Another key measurement to guage growth is pricing. CEO David MacKay called it a "deflationary environment", which is not good for profits moving forward.

The news from Colgate-Palmolive was even more troubling when it comes to pricing. For the company that has more than 44 percent of the global toothpaste market, pricing was down in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. If not for growth in Latin America, the global number would have been negative.

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  Wednesday, 28 Jul 2010 | 2:16 PM ET

Uniforms Making the Grade at More Schools

Back-to-school fashion is getting a makeover as more school districts adopt uniform dress codes.

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  Tuesday, 27 Jul 2010 | 12:33 PM ET

Consumers to Stay 'Gloomy' Till December: Economist

Posted By: Michelle Lodge

Consumer spending is likely to remain depressed possibly into December, as worries persist about jobs and income , Ken Goldstein, chief economist of the Conference Board told CNBC Tuesday.

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  Friday, 23 Jul 2010 | 11:45 AM ET

Wal-Mart's Privacy Invasion—Not!

Posted By: Dennis Kneale, Tech HKSCKPVIamp; Media Editor, CNBC

Horrors! Wal-mart, that world-whipping Darth Vader of retailers, is ushering in the next great chip revolution, and the Cassandras of the privacy movement already are arming to fight against it. \(How’s that for mixing movie and mythology metaphors?\)

Their biggest fear: Wal-mart wants to track your panties purchases.

A prescient story on Page One of the Wall Street Journal this morning sets the stage for the next great privacy fight. Wal-Mart is rolling out item-level RFID tags—radio-frequency identification chips attached to individual product packages which emit wireless signals to let retailers track delivery schedules, volumes, inventory replacement, in-store theft and a plethora of other real-time data points.

One day RFID tags will permeate the U.S. and global economies, cutting costs for manufacturers and retailers and letting them better respond to consumer tastes. A whole new stock-sector boom could loom as well, in companies that cash in on this inevitable tech trend.

»Read more

About Consumer Nation

  • From the products to the pitches to the people who buy them, we are a Consumer Nation. This blog focuses on all things consumer, taking the pulse of the attitudes that shape purchasing decisions, and providing insights that will help keep marketers, entrepreneurs and investors up-to-date on where trends are heading.



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