Report: Economy still shaky with declining job outlook
Yonkers, N.Y. The Consumer Reports Index for September, released on Tuesday, suggested that while consumer difficulties may be declining, the economy continues to waiver, citing a worsening job picture and declining retail activity.
The September results for the Consumer Reports Employment Index marks a two-month decline, down in September to 49.1 from 50.2 in August. The share of Americans claiming to have started a new job in the past 30 days is 5%, compared with 5.9% in August, and down from July’s recent high of 7.8%.
The Consumer Reports Retail Index for August continues to decline. The Past 30-Day Retail Index for September is at 9.8, down from last month’s 11.4. September marks an overall decline from a year ago when the Past 30-Day Retail Index was at 11.0, and is at its lowest level since November 2009 (9.0).
September’s Next 30-Day Retail Index is at 7.6, down from 8.1 in August and 8.8 a year ago. Per capita spending in the past 30 days is down to $185, from $286 in August.
The Consumer Sentiment Index has gradually slipped over the past two months and is currently at 44.1, continuing a slide from July’s 45.2. This index has changed little since October 2008 when it stood at 45.3.
“The recovery faces serious challenges and is at risk of stalling,” said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. “Job creation remains the greatest challenge. The growth in the ranks of the employed remains anemic and will dampen consumer outlook moving forward. Americans have not seen any real improvement in their financial situation since the recession hit and this is reflected in our Sentiment Index, which has been in negative territory for the last two years.”
Sears looks to re-brand image with women
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears announced that it has launched “The Many Sides of Me” campaign in order to re-engage women in the Sears brand.
“We have executed against a range of initiatives tied to our strategic pillars that have improved our relevance to customers, including engaging them on a personal level,” said Scott Freidheim, EVP operating and support businesses for Sears Holdings. “With this launch, we’re on a path to ‘Feminize, Energize and Digitize’ the Sears soft side brand positioning.”
As an extension of “The Many Sides of Me” print campaign in key September fashion issues, the brand is also collaborating with leading titles Vogue and Lucky and will be featured on their digital shopping platforms, the company reported. The collaboration will enable customers to shop and buy Sears Fall fashion merchandise on the Vogue Stylist and Lucky at Your Service apps for the Apple iPhone.
Additionally, as part of the ongoing Sears brand strategy of developing personal digital relationships with customers, the campaign features a new digital destination to engage women in the multi-channel “The Many Sides of Me” experience. At TheManySidesOfMe.com, customers can browse the collection, as well as participate in a digital contest that invites women to share their multi-faceted lives and how they make their personal, versatile style work.
Whole Foods launches color-coded seafood rating system
AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market announced that it has launched the first in-store color-coded sustainability-rating program for wild-caught seafood and commits to phasing out all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013.
The company worked with Blue Ocean and Monterey Bay Aquarium to develop an easy-to-follow system to help customers choose sustainable seafood. Species given green ratings are considered relatively abundant and caught in environmentally-friendly ways; those with yellow ratings are considered good alternatives, though some concerns exist with the species’ status or catch methods; red or “avoid” means that for now, the species is suffering from overfishing, or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats.
“At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. Our customers, buyers, fishermen, and fishery managers can all make smart decisions that move us in the direction of greater sustainability. The new color-coded rating system is a transparent way to provide sustainability status information. This new program, along with our promise to phase out red-rated species, deepens our commitment to having fully sustainable seafood departments,” said Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market seafood quality standards coordinator.