Crowd Outside Macy’s on Black Friday 2013
For the first time in seven years post-Thanksgiving Day weekend, pre-holiday retail sales dropped in what analysts say is a reflection of lack of confidence by consumers in the US economy and wages that are going nowhere.
Black Friday sales were only able to reach $57.4 billion for the weekend, about $1.7 billion short of Black Friday sales for 2012. The average shopper spent $407.02 this year, compared to $423.55 last year.
ShopperTrak, a market research company, says that, despite many stores being open on Thursday, including Macy’s for the first time, actual foot traffic to stores was down by 11 percent while sales fell by 13 percent on Thursday.
Now retailers have set their sights on Cyber Monday, the big online shopping day, hoping that shopping on that day will make up for the anemic shopping on Thursday.
“We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever,” said National Retail Federation’s Matthew Shay.
The Alabama-based but German-owned steel plant ThyssenKrupp Steel USA will be sold to two competing buyers for $1.55 billion.
The sale was finalized after an extended period of competition for the purchase between ArceloMittal, headquartered in Luxembourg; and Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. In the end ThyssenKrupp Steel, the German owner of the plant, agreed to sell to both companies.
The sale is expected to benefit Nippon and ArceloMittal by expanding their energy and car manufacturing businesses.
ThyssenKrupp decided to on-load their US steel plant when the price of steel fell, leading to financial loss for the company as well as large write-downs for the lowered value of the plant.
In a joint announcement by the mayor of Bayamon in Puerto Rico and Doral Bank, 25 women will be sponsored for 3 months to participate in an art education program of the Art Workshop (“Taller de Arte del Municipio de Bayamon”).
The program is scheduled to commence in January 2014 and is designed to support Doral Bank’s “Mujeres d Éxito” inititative which encourages women entrepreneurship.
“The idea is to open up avenues for self-employment for women with artistic interests. Women represent an important but often underutilized force in an economy. In Puerto Rico, where we all are trying to create a stronger economy, women can and should play a vibrant role. Entrepreneurship offers the potential of capital creation and jobs – all of which enhance the well-being of the community. ‘Taller de Arte del Municipio de Bayamon’ is being undertaken to help women realize their economic potential through their artistic capabilities, including the possibility of establishing their own business in a related work field,” the mayor said.
Participants with small businesses will be exempt from their registration fee in Bayamon for one year. This benefit is to help the businesses to promote economic development in the city.
“With this unique program, Doral is adding a further important dimension to its community Mujeres d Éxito initiative. Doral is committed to encouraging entrepreneurial development among women in the island by providing important business development tools. As women receive more opportunities to become entrepreneurs, Puerto Rico’s economy increases its potential,” said Jesus Mendez EVP for Doral Bank Puerto Rico Operations.
Marijuana about to become legal in Colorado
Colorado is gearing up to make the switch from merely allowing the use of marijuana for only medical applications to allowing the mild intoxicant for purchase for recreational use. As of January 1st stores will be able to legally sell marijuana to anyone older than 21. Only stores already selling medical marijuana and who are “in good standing” will be eligible to apply for a retail sale business license to sell marijuana.
The application process was initiated as of October 1, 2013, and Annie’s, a shop in the Colorado mountain town of Central City, has the honor of being the country’s first store awarded a retail license to sell cannabis.
To mark this special occasion Central City’s police chief personally delivered the license to Annie’s.
“This is a historic occasion, and at each milestone I am reminded of what we have achieved here,” said Major Neill Franklin.
Franklin is a former police officer and is now the head of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP is an organization of law enforcement agents against the war on drugs.
“For the first time in history, those who sell marijuana are receiving licenses from the state instead of rap sheets,” said Mason Tvert, who co-lead the campaign to legalize pot in Colorado last year.
Erin Phillips, the dispensary representative at Annie’s, part of a local chain of eight stores called Strainwise, was excited to receive the new license.
“It’s the same old bureaucratic piece of paper,” said Phillips of the license. “But we might put it in a fancy frame.”
It should be a very happy New Year for Coloradoans.
No longer necessary to visit Atlantic City. Just turn on your computer and gamble!
As of midnight on November 26 New Jersey gamblers will be able to bet the farm by logging onto their choice of 13 internet gaming websites run by six of Atlantic City’s casinos.
Gamblers can thank state regulators who gave the go ahead on the websites in the wake of a 5-day testing period in which they found “no significant, widespread regulatory problems or technical barriers for going live.” That assessment was according to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
New Jersey will become the country’s third state to make online gambling legal, but it is by far the most populated with 9 million residents. During the 5-day test phase the total number of players entering the websites reached 10,000 during the initial three days of 24-hour testing.
Casinos had to limit the number of players to only 500 at any one time on each website during the testing time, and they were also limited in how much they could advertise the sites. Tonight, when the sites go live, these restrictions will be lifted for the sites that have been approved. Officials are optimistic that the new online gambling venue will help give the state’s casinos an economic boost that they sorely need.
“You have to be gradual. You have to be cautious. You have to be measured,” Rebuck said.
He added that casinos wanted to be sure the sites were capable of handling the traffic before they invited large numbers of players.
“You’re going to see accelerating efforts by them to be much more aggressive” about marketing, he said.