Consumer confidence waned last week
Washington, D.C. — The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 34.4 in the seven days ended Jan. 6 from minus 31.8 the prior period, the biggest one-week drop since August. Jobless claims increased by 4,000 to 371,000 in the week ended Jan. 5, according to Labor Department figures.
“Consumers are coming to the realization that their take- home pay is going to get smaller,” said Richard Yamarone, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “That will translate into weaker spending. I expect the economy will spin its wheels for many months until the jobs picture and associated incomes improve.”
The Bloomberg index indicated those with less disposable income showed the biggest declines in confidence last week. Americans making between $25,000 and $39,999 were the most pessimistic in three months, and confidence among those earning $15,000 to $24,999 a year fell by the most in two months.
Consumers on the other end of the income scale remained more confident. The figures showed comfort among those earning $50,000 or more annually climbed to the highest level since November 2007. Sentiment among those making $100,000 or more was the highest since October 2010.
Walmart, Sam’s Club share vision
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart and Sam’s Club are introducing a new contact lens program for 2013, the retailers said.
The new program will allow customers to visit Walmart’s or Sam’s Club’s website or call a toll-free number to place contact lens orders and have them delivered to their homes, with free shipping available for orders of more than $50. In addition, the two are offering low prices for certain Acuvue, Air Optix and Biofinity lenses, while Walmart is planning to launch its private-label Equate brand in February.
"At Walmart and Sam’s Club, we are always looking for ways to make it easier and more affordable for our customers to live healthier lives," Walmart health and wellness division president John Agwunobi said. "This new contact lens program, coupled with our in-store Vision Centers and in-club Optical Centers, provides our customers with a true one-stop vision solution."
Report: Congressmen say Wal-Mart CEO was aware of Mexico bribery
New York — According to multiple reports on Thursday, congressmen Henry Waxman (D-Rep., Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Rep. Md.) have said that Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke and other senior-level officials at the retailer were informed about allegations of bribery in the retailer’s operations in Mexico in 2005.
The two congressmen cited documentation obtained by their staffs, which discussed allegations of corruption regarding a store in Teotihuacan.
However, a Wal-Mart spokesman said the information was nothing new. “This information has been part of the company’s ongoing investigation of potential violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for more than a year and has been the subject of two New York Times articles,” said spokesperson Brooke Buchanan in an e-mailed statement to wire services.
Wal-Mart is investigating allegations that executives in Mexico paid more than $24 million in bribes to speed the retailer’s expansion there.