FINANCE

Deloitte Consumer Spending Index continues downward

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Deloitte said Tuesday that its Consumer Spending Index experienced a third straight month of decline in July, due in large part to weakness in the housing market.

The Index attempts to track consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“Real home prices had briefly picked up due to demand fueled by tax credits for home buyers, but prices have resumed their downward trend following the expiration of those credits and the housing market is now the biggest drag on the Index,” said Carl Steidtmann, chief economist with Deloitte Research, a part of Deloitte Services LP, and author of the monthly Index.

“Looking at other components of the Index in July, we see that tax rates, which had declined sharply during the recession, have basically held steady since the start of this year. Real earnings ticked up slightly, following five consecutive declines,” said Steidtmann.

The Index, comprising four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 4.45%, from an upwardly revised gain of 4.63% a month ago.

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Polo Ralph Lauren to sponsor interactive clinic with Venus Williams

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Polo Ralph Lauren announced that it is presenting the Legends Clinic with Venus Williams as part of its sponsorship of the U.S. Open.

On Aug. 26, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Polo Ralph Lauren will offer an interactive tennis clinic with Williams on Randall’s Island in New York. Williams will answer questions, demonstrate technique and offer hints and tips on how to improve your game during this live one-hour interactive clinic, the company reported. The clinic will reach a global audience as it will be streamed live online exclusively at RalphLauren.com and accessible on mobile devices at m.ralphlauren.com/USOpen.

“It is truly exciting to partner with Polo Ralph Lauren in this unique endeavor and to bring my professional expertise and personal experiences to tennis fans around the world,” said Williams.

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Best Buy launches mobile rewards app

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy has announced it plans to bring a location-based retail experiment, using the “shopkick” mobile application rewards system, to 257 U.S. stores by Oct. 1.

Beginning Aug. 17, shoppers can download the free shopkick application to their smart phone. Customers who have the app open when they enter a participating Best Buy store with shopkick signal technology installed will receive instant rewards, or “kickbucks,” that can be redeemed in the store or converted into Best Buy certificates through a user’s shopkick account.

 

Additionally, Best Buy said it has integrated shopkick directly into its point of sale system to streamline the redemption of special in-store offers and/or added bonuses for scanning barcodes of specific products, all of which will be sent to the user’s phone. Customers may walk up to the cashier, provide the mobile phone number connected to their shopkick account, and any applicable personalized discounts immediately appear on their receipt.

“We think consumers have more opportunities than ever to bridge their digital and physical shopping experiences, particularly through smart phones and mobile technology,” said Matthew Smith, VP marketing services, Best Buy. “We intend to explore ways we can use the power of location-based technology to personalize a Best Buy shopping experience, from check-in to check-out, with rewards and offers delivered right on a customer’s smart phone.”

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