Archive for 'Christmas and holiday season'

‘Tis the Season for Credit Card Theft

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and freecreditscore.com™ wants to help shoppers stay off the financial “naughty” list — and avoid identity theft “grinches.”

“Understanding how shopping behavior can affect credit scores during the holiday season leads to better buying decisions,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for freecreditscore.com. “We offer a variety of articles and tools on freecreditscore.com that help educate people about credit information, which can help holiday shoppers stay on the financial ‘nice’ list this year.”

Here are a few guidelines to help consumers understand their score:

Before putting more purchases on those cards, know what you owe!
A credit score is directly linked to the number of credit cards a consumer possesses and the balance on those cards. The percentage of credit used on the cards weighs heavily on an individual’s credit score. If most cards are close to being maxed out, the credit score may suffer significantly. Before heading to stores, shoppers should assess the available balance on all cards to avoid maxing any out during the holidays.

Ho, ho, no! — Open new lines of credit with caution
During this time of year, many retail stores offer “instant” credit that promises discounts and rewards for shoppers. While these incentives may save a few dollars in the short term, the reality is that this kind of retail card can wreak havoc on your credit score in the long run.

Applying for a credit card initiates a “hard” credit inquiry by the card provider, which can cause a score to drop. In addition, the inquiry remains on a credit report for two years.

The holidays are a time to give, but don’t give your identity!

This is the time for celebration and counting blessings. However, there are “grinches” out there more interested in stealing personal identity information for their own gains. Saving physical and digital receipts can help to avoid being billed for what other people buy with stolen credit card information. As bills start to arrive, itemized expenses should be matched against actual receipts to make sure no one else is using the card for holiday shopping.

Shoppers also can watch for identity theft by monitoring their credit scores through enrolling in products such as freecreditscore.com. If cards are maxed out or if there’s an application for new credit lines, the score will change — and freecreditscore.com sends an alert noting the change. Consumers can access their score at no cost for seven days, also gaining access to additional finance tools and resources. After seven days, a monthly fee is charged for membership in freecreditscore.com.

Additional information about credit and credit scores is available at http://www.freecreditscore.com.

About freecreditscore.com

freecreditscore.com is part of a family of online consumer credit reporting sites belonging to ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. was founded in 1995 to give consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit profile. It is now the leading provider of online consumer credit reports, credit scores, credit monitoring and other credit-related information. ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. provides credit monitoring to its more than 3.1 million members and has delivered more than 20 million credit reports on the Web. As part of the Experian family, it continues to grow its membership base and develop innovative products to help consumers better understand and manage their credit.

About Experian

Experian® is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Contacts:

Corie Jackson
Edelman PR
1 323 202 1075 (office)
1 818 259 0631 (cell)
Corie.Jackson@edelman.com

Becky Frost
freecreditscore.com
1 949 567 7631 (office)
1 949 202 7296 (cell)
becky.frost@experianinteractive.com

Web Site: http://www.freecreditscore.com

Home Sales Continue Upward Trend – NAR

Home Sales Continue Upward Trend - NAR

Home Sales Continue Upward Trend - NAR-Image via Wikipedia

The uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.22 million in December, and are 5.3 percent above the 5.09 million level in January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement is good but could be better. “The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence,” Yun said. “The extremely favorable housing affordability conditions are a big factor, but buyers have been constrained by unnecessarily tight credit. As a result, there are abnormally high levels of all-cash purchases, along with rising investor activity.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey2 shows first-time buyers purchased 29 percent of homes in January, down from 33 percent in December and 40 percent in January 2010 when an extended tax credit was in place.

Investors accounted for 23 percent of purchases in January, up from 20 percent in December and 17 percent in January 2010; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales rose to 32 percent in January from 29 percent in December and 26 percent in January 2010.

“Increases in all-cash transactions, the investor market share and distressed home sales all go hand-in-hand. With tight credit standards, it’s not surprising to see so much activity where cash is king and investors are taking advantage of conditions to purchase undervalued homes,” Yun said.

All-cash purchases are at the highest level since NAR started measuring these purchases monthly in October 2008, when they accounted for 15 percent of the market. The average of all-cash deals was 20 percent in 2009, rising to 28 percent last year.

The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $158,800 in January, down 3.7 percent from January 2010. Distressed homes edged up to a 37 percent market share in January from 36 percent in December; it was 38 percent in January 2010.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said the median price is being dampened by unusual market factors. “Unprecedented levels of all-cash purchases, primarily of distressed homes sold at deep discounts, undoubtedly pulls the median price downward,” Phipps said. “Given the levels of inventory we see today, we believe that traditional homes in good condition have held their value.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 5.1 percent to 3.38 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.6-month supply4 at the current sales pace, down from an 8.2-month supply in December. The inventory supply is at the lowest level since December 2009 when there was a 7.3-month supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.76 percent in January from 4.71 percent in December; the rate was 5.03 percent in January 2010.

Single-family home sales rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.69 million in January from 4.58 million in December, and are 4.9 percent higher than the 4.47 million level in January 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $159,400 in January, down 2.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in January from 640,000 in December, and are 7.9 percent above the 621,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $154,900 in January, which is 10.2 percent below January 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 4.6 percent to an annual pace of 830,000 in January from a spike in December and are 1.2 percent below January 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $236,500, which is 4.0 percent below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.8 percent in January to a level of 1.14 million and are 3.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $126,300, which is 3.2 percent below January 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 3.6 percent to an annual pace of 2.02 million in January and are 8.0 percent higher than January 2010. The median price in the South was $136,600, down 2.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 1.37 million in January and are 7.0 percent above January 2010. The median price in the West was $193,200, down 5.7 percent from a year ago.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Economic Outlook: Americans Will Still Spend for the Holidays

Economic Outlook: Americans Will Still Spend for the Holidays -Image via Wikipedia

While uncertain about their 2011 money matters, Americans are more upbeat about the current direction of their finances as the holidays near. A survey conducted for the December COUNTRY Financial Security Index® found 15 percent say their level of financial security is improving, up two points from October and the largest number of people to feel this way all year.

Further, there was a three-point rise to 38 percent in those rating their financial security positively. Yet, this increase was offset by a slip in those able to save and a decline in the ability of younger age groups to pay off debts. The result caused a 0.3 point dip to 64.4 in the December COUNTRY Index. The slight decline comes as Americans are split on how their finances will shake out next year. Thirty-three percent think 2011 will be the same for them financially as 2010, 29 percent believe it will be better and 27 percent expect it to be worse.

“The contradictory sentiments we saw this month could be attributed to Americans loosening their purse strings for the holiday season to spread some holiday cheer,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning for COUNTRY Financial. “With proper planning throughout the year, many can afford to spend during the holidays. It will be interesting, however, to see if people have learned from previous years and avoid the financial hangover that tends to come post-holiday.”

Younger age groups gearing up for holidays?

Headed into the holiday spending season, those ages 18-39 appear less confident by as much as 4 percent since October in their ability to repay debt. And, their ability to save money has dropped 5 percent from two months ago.

All Adults 18-29 years old 30-39 years old
Oct Dec Oct Dec Oct Dec
Set aside money for savings or investments in the last two months? 45% 44% 38% 33% 50% 45%
Confident in your ability to pay debts as they come due? 76% 76% 65% 61% 75% 74%

Men grow more confident

  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) of men, compared to 26 percent of women, expect 2011 to be better for them financially than 2010.
  • Sixty percent of men say they are confident they will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement, up four points from October. In contrast, just half (50 percent) of women say the same, down three points this month.
  • Twenty-seven percent of men expect to receive a year-end bonus, while just 23 percent of women say the same.

2010 COUNTRY Index in Review

The COUNTRY Index on average achieved its lowest readings to date in 2010. It also experienced its largest single drop on record since the bi-monthly measure began in 2007 when it tumbled 3.2 points in February 2010.

  • 2010 Index Average: 64.2 (compared to 65.1 in 2009)
  • 2010 Index High: April (64.9)
  • 2010 Index Low: February (63.1)

Full data is available at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Individuals can learn more and compare their own results with the national COUNTRY Financial Security Index.  The next COUNTRY Financial Security Index will be released February 15, 2011 and subsequently every other month.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® is a bi-monthly measure of Americans’ sentiments toward their overall financial security.  It is an aggregate of various factors comprising financial security including savings and investments, financial planning, retirement, education and asset protection.

The COUNTRY Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm, based on a national telephone survey of at least 3,000 Americans.

The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY

COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States.  It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

Holiday Shoppers in Seattle: New Survey

Holiday Shoppers in Seattle: New Survey

Holiday Shoppers in Seattle: New Survey-Image via Wikipedia

Deloitte has released the results of its 25th Annual Holiday Survey of consumers’ spending intentions and trends for the 2010 holiday season. Among Deloitte’s findings for the Seattle area:

Seattleites intend to spend cautiously, but socializing remains a priority

* Consumers in Seattle say they plan to spend $979 on holiday shopping compared to $1,160 for all survey respondents nationally. Of the surveyed regions, only Minneapolis and Indiana respondents plan to spend less than Seattle consumers this holiday season.
* Seattle respondents indicate that one-quarter (25 percent) of their planned holiday spending will go toward “socializing away from home.”  As a percentage of total spending, this is higher than every other surveyed metro except Chicago.

Technology is a “Great Enabler” for Seattle consumers

* When asked how their shopping behavior has changed over their shopping lifetime, nearly half (45 percent) of Seattle respondents said that they shop more online.
* More than half (51 percent) say they are smarter about prices because they can comparison shop for the best price.
* Nearly one- third (29 percent) of Seattle consumers say they feel more confident about buying a product because they can check online to get recommendations from others first.
* More than one in 10 (13 percent) Seattle respondents indicate that they will turn to mobile phones for information about pricing and promotions, store locations, product information and reviews this holiday season.

Gift cards hold the top spot on shoppers’ lists, followed by clothing and books

* Gift cards land at the top of the list of gift items consumers in Seattle plan to purchase, followed by clothing, books, CDs and DVDs, and toys.
* Books are more popular than in other surveyed metros, with 39 percent of Seattle respondents saying they plan to buy books, compared to 31 percent of national respondents.
* Toys are less popular, with less than one-third (28 percent) saying they plan to buy toys, compared to 35 percent of national respondents.

Seattleites seem more optimistic about the economy than the national average, but still appear concerned about their household financial situations

* Nearly half (48 percent) of Seattle respondents think the economy will improve next year compared to 39 percent of all survey respondents in the U.S.
* In line with the national results, many Seattleites (82 percent) feel secure about their jobs through 2011.
* On the other hand, only one in five Seattleites (22 percent) think their household financial situation is better than last year. Seattleites are more likely to say that their financial situation is worse (38 percent compared to 34 percent nationally).

For more information about Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/2010HolidaySurvey.

About the Survey

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between September 23 and October 10, 2010. The survey polled a sample of 12,418 consumers nationwide, with a Seattle sample size of 519, and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus one percentage point.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

NOTE TO EDITORS:  Please contact Jessica Heine at +1 415 783 5007 to schedule an interview.

CONTACT: Jessica Heine, Public Relations, Deloitte, +1-415-783-5007, jheine@deloitte.com

Web Site: http://www.deloitte.com/us

Employment Statistics: Back to Slow and Uninspiring

Employment Statistics: Back to Slow and Uninspiring-Image via Wikipedia

Today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report of a 39,000 increase in jobs shows we’ve returned to anemic employment growth after October’s bump. U.S. business clearly remains cautious in this – so far – weak recovery. Heavily discounted holiday sales and limited pricing power appear to be cutting into the revenues that would be needed to sustain faster employment growth. We don’t see any signs that this holiday season will jump-start 2011 employment.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

CONTACT: Carol Courter, The Conference Board, +1-212-339-0232, courter@conference-board.org

Web Site: http://www.conference-board.org

comScore (Nasdaq: SCOR) Reports Holiday Spending Up 13%

comScore (Nasdaq: SCOR) Reports Holiday Spending Up 13%-Image via CrunchBase

comScore (Nasdaq: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 21 days of the November – December 2010 holiday season, as well as its official spending forecast for the season. For the holiday season-to-date, $9.01 billion has been spent online, marking a 13-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.

2010 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2009

Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore, Inc.

Holiday Season to Date Billions ($)
2009 2010 Percent

Change

November 1 – 21 $7.95 $9.01 13%
*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru November 22, 2009)

“The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to an extremely positive start, outperforming our earlier expectations,” said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. “Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last. While this early spending surge reflects, in part, heavy promotional activity on the part of retailers occurring earlier this season, it is nevertheless a very encouraging sign.”

comScore 2010 Holiday Online Retail Spending Forecast

The official comScore 2009 holiday season forecast is that online retail spending for the November – December period will reach $32.4 billion, representing an 11-percent gain versus year ago. This strong growth rate represents an improvement compared to last season’s 4-percent increase.

Online Non-Travel (Retail) Holiday Consumer Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore, Inc.

Billions ($)
2009 2010 Pct

Change

January – October Actual $100.7 $109.9 9%
Holiday Season Forecast (Nov-Dec) $29.1* $32.4** 11%**
* Actual  **Forecast

“After a year in which we already saw growth rates return to solid positive territory, the recent strength in holiday spending has led us to raise our official forecast to 11 percent from the 7 to 9 percent we were initially expecting,” added Fulgoni. “We are seeing online spending surpass the totals we saw in 2007 prior to the recession and expect sales this holiday season to be the highest on record with more than $32 billion being spent during the November and December period.”

comScore 2010 Holiday Shopping Survey

Alongside its reporting of behaviorally monitored e-commerce spending, comScore is also conducting weekly surveys of approximately 500 consumers to determine attitudes and sentiment in regard to the holiday shopping season. In the most recent survey, conducted on November 11-15, 2010, consumers indicated that they believe retailers’ promotional activity for the early part of the season has increased in relation to last year. Specifically, 36 percent of respondents indicated that they are seeing more discounts, sales and promotions vs. last year compared to just 11 percent who said there were fewer.

One of the more prominent promotions for online purchases is free shipping. When asked how important free shipping is for making an online purchase this holiday season, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers indicated it was important. Recent comScore behavioral data indicated that 41 percent of retail e-commerce purchases in Q3 2010 included free shipping.

U.S. Consumer Outlook on Holiday Shopping Deals and Promotions

November 11-15, 2010

Total U.S.

Source: comScore 2010 Holiday Shopping Survey

Percent of Respondents
Q: Compared to last year, how would you rate the number of discounts, sales, or promotions that are currently available?
More discounts, sales, or promotions 36 %
About the same 40 %
Fewer discounts, sales, or promotions 11 %
Not sure 13 %
Q: When making a purchase online this holiday season, which of the following statements best describes how important free shipping is to you?
Very important – I won’t make a purchase without it 33%
Somewhat important – I actively seek out free shipping deals 44%
Neither important nor unimportant – I’d like to find it, but it’s not necessary 12%
Somewhat unimportant – Free shipping has very little effect 2%
Very unimportant – I’ll make my purchase regardless of shipping offers 1%
Don’t know/not sure 8%

Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales

Please follow this link to view image: http://comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/11/comScore_Forecasts_11_Percent_Growth_for_2010_Holiday_E-Commerce_Spending

About comScore

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.

Holiday Shopping at Work-New Details

Holiday Shopping at Work-New Details

Holiday Shopping at Work-New Details-Image via Wikipedia

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, workers who plan to bargain hunt while on the clock should do so with caution. Nearly half (48 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed by Robert Half Technology said they block access to online shopping sites; another one-third (34 percent) said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. The CIOs whose companies allow shopping said they expect employees to spend three hours per week, on average, bagging online deals while at work this holiday season.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “What is your company’s policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?” Their responses:

Block access to online shopping sites 48%
Allow access but monitor for excessive use 34%
Allow unrestricted access 14%
Other/don’t know 4%
100%

CIOs whose companies allow access to online shopping sites also asked, “How many hours per week do you think the average employees in your organization spends shopping online during the holiday season?” The mean response was three hours.

“Many companies monitor computer use, and excessive shopping is a red flag that could put someone’s job at risk,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Even if employers allow online shopping, employees should use good judgment and not abuse the privilege.”

Robert Half Technology offers four tips to shop wisely in cyberspace this holiday season:

  1. Know your limits. Some employers permit online shopping, within reason. Know your company’s policy, including sites or hours to avoid, before bargain-hunting on the Web.
  2. Prevent personal information from being ‘shoplifted.’ If a holiday offer looks too good to be true, it likely is. Avoid clicking on links or sites that could infect your company’s network with phishing attacks or viruses.
  3. Buy rather than browse. Your employer may allow online shopping, but not at the expense of your job duties. A liberal computer use policy is not a license to spend all day filling your shopping cart.
  4. Score some deals after work. If you have projects that require immediate attention, save your holiday shopping for the evening or weekend. No online promotion is worth putting your career at risk.

About the Survey

The national survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. In order for the survey to be statistically representative, the sample was stratified by geographic region, industry and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.

About Robert Half Technology

With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com. Follow Robert Half Technology on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RobertHalfTech.

Holiday Sales Projections Expected to be Flat-New Survey

Holiday Sales Projections Expected to be Flat-New Survey-Image via Wikipedia

The holiday shopping season arrived early as the economy pulls from the recession doldrums, but turnaround professionals see little evidence that optimistic sales projections will cheer U.S. manufacturers.

About 80 percent of respondents to a Turnaround Management Association poll said increased holiday sales projections by the National Retail Federation are insufficient to lift domestic manufacturing orders.

“That demand increase will be filled by existing supply,” said Thomas Kim, CTP, senior managing director of turnaround firm r2 advisors llc. “There will not need to be an increase in supply.  So a net increase in U.S. manufacturing resulting from the holiday season is unlikely.”

In 2008, retailers slashed prices to encourage shoppers to little avail as the year came to a close, taking with it brand-name retailers that filed for bankruptcy.

“Retailing, more than any other sector of the American economy, is unique to the extent it is driven by performance in the so-called Christmas selling season,” said Ronald Sussman, partner with law firm Cooley LLP. “The indicators to date do not bode well for the kind of Christmas sales needed to save the year for retailers in 2010.”

Almost 70 percent of respondents expect restructuring in the retail industry to continue through:

  • store closings, 40 percent
  • Chapter 11 or 7 filings, 26 percent

Another 30 percent think lenders will proffer reprieves through “amend and extend” actions that postpone loan maturities.

“The survey results reflect the business community’s uncertainty about the direction of the economy,” said TMA President Lisa Poulin, CTP, partner with turnaround firm CRG Partners. “That’s balanced against making conservative buying decisions while working through the blocking and tackling of improving profits through operational improvements such as store closings.”

Nearly half think that holiday sales will increase at least two percent, but a third see a holiday season much like 2009, when sales catapulted from a 3.9 percent decline in 2008 to a 0.4 percent increase.  The 13 percent of respondents doubtful about a recovery expect a two percent decrease in sales.

“While economic conditions may be improving, the recovery itself will be a slow process,” said Thomas Pabst, president of HYPERAMS, LLC.  “Until unemployment rates begin to fall, it is hard to foresee us returning to a consumer-driven economic growth cycle.”

Chicago-based TMA, www.turnaround.org, is the only international non-profit association dedicated to corporate restructuring and turnaround management.

CONTACT: Michele Drayton, TMA Communications Manager, +1-312-578-2043, mdrayton@turnaround.org

Web Site: http://www.turnaround.org

Retail Sales Figures Up for 4 Consecutive Months

Retail Sales Figures Up for 4 Consecutive Months

Retail Sales Figures Up for 4 Consecutive Months-Image via Wikipedia

Retail sales climbed again in October marking four consecutive months of gains, noted the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Monthly retail sales figures for October released today by the Department of Commerce reported an increase of 1.2 percent over September sales and 7.3 percent over October 2009.  Retail sales excluding auto sales were up 0.4 percent over the previous month and 6.0 percent over October 2009.

Overall retail sales gains in October were bolstered by strong auto and auto parts sales.  Among non-auto segments, building supply sales led the way in October with sales up 1.9 percent over September and an impressive 12.2 percent increase over October 2009.  Although up only slightly in October, clothing and sporting goods sales rose substantially over October 2009, with gains of 3.5 and 6.7 percent respectively.

“Although still cautious and in search of value, the American consumer has returned,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.  “With four consecutive months of sales gains, retailers are happy to turn the page on the last three years and embrace a more optimistic future. As the holiday shopping season arrives, retailers are eager to attract these shoppers back to their stores with attractive product assortments and great deals.”

Unemployment, which has been the single largest drag on consumer spending, showed some easing in October with total job gains of 151,000, with 159,000 coming from the private sector.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Job Hunting During Holidays Offers a Signicant Advantage

Job Hunting During Holidays Offers a Signicant Advantage-Image via Wikipedia

Job seekers often suspend their job searches during the holidays, on the mistaken assumption that companies don’t interview or hire during this period. However, the holiday season – from mid-November through New Year’s Day – actually is the perfect time to network your way to a new job, reports CareerCast.com, a national job-search portal.

“Many organizations will interview candidates at the end of the year for positions that will start at the beginning of 2011,” says Tony Lee, CareerCast.com publisher. “Job seekers who ramp up their search during the holidays gain a significant advantage over their counterparts who take time off, since the holidays offer reduced competition, more opportunities to network and easier access to decision makers.”

Here are tips from CareerCast.com to enhance your holiday job search:

  • Let everyone you meet at holiday events – family, friends, former co-workers and acquaintances – know that you are on the lookout for a new job. Many job leads come from word of mouth.
  • Attend as many events as you can reasonably fit into your calendar and remain upbeat about. Remember, you need to use these events to make a good impression.
  • Create a personal elevator pitch about you and the type of job you seek so you’re prepared if anyone asks you what you’re looking for.
  • Send holiday cards with your business card enclosed to hiring managers, recruiters, potential employers and key friends with connections. Ask for their guidance during this holiday season.
  • Re-connect. The holidays are a great excuse to get back in touch with former bosses and co-workers, college roommates and high school buddies who may be able to help you in your job search.
  • Use social networks to reinforce and expand your reach. Use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections at your target companies. Use Facebook and/or Twitter to get the word out about your job search. However, if you’re currently employed, err on the side of caution to keep your current job intact.
  • Stick to a schedule so you have daily action items you can accomplish during the holiday season to keep your job search on track.

To read the full report and get more information on holiday job hunting, visit www.careercast.com/jobs/content/job-search-success-during-holidays

SOURCE CareerCast.com

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