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Report: More Americans Have Discretionary Income

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, About 73 million U.S. households now have discretionary income, up from about 57 million in 2002, according to a report by The Conference Board. The percent of the U.S. population with discretionary income has increased to nearly 64%, up from 52% in 2002.

Total discretionary income in the U.S. topped $1.7 trillion in 2006, with the household average at $24,335. Per capita income stood at $9,148.

Households with discretionary income, as defined by the study, are those whose spendable income exceeds that held by households with similar demographic features.

The top end of the affluent group (households with earnings of $200,000 and over) accounts for only 3% of total households and 5% of households with discretionary income. This group, however, has 38% of total discretionary income with an average of $173,613, more than seven times the national average.

Households with earnings of less than $50,000 represent nearly 60% of all households and 29% of households with discretionary income. However, they account for only 3% of aggregate discretionary income. Average discretionary income among this market is about $1,900.

In terms of generations, the baby-boomer generation (born 1946 to 1964) has the highest discretionary income, at $29,754.

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Whole Foods execs barred from online forums

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods has update its code of business conduct, barring senior officers from speaking about the company on online forums that are not sponsored by Whole Foods.

The company said that the change was made to prevent improper use of company information, and to avoid giving the impression that statements made in an internet chat room, message board or blog are on Whole Foods behalf. Whole Foods added that postings can not involve any matter related to the company or its competitors or vendors, nor can they be made under the person’s name, anonymously, under a screen name or through another person.

Whole Foods said that anyone who violates this policy may be dismissed from the company.

Whole Foods policy change comes not so far after ceo John Mackey admitted to posting messages on an online message board under the alias “rahodeb.”

In July, right in the middle of Whole Foods battle with the FTC over its merger with Wild Oats, Mackey confirmed that he submitted postings to a Yahoo! forum regarding Wild Oats from 1999 to 2006, saying that its stock was too high and the company would go bankrupt. He later apologized for his participation, saying that it was an error in judgment.

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Eagles Wal-Mart-only album tops the charts

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Selling its first new album in 28 years exclusively through Wal-Mart Stores has proven successful for the Eagles, with the band capturing the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart, Billboard announced Tuesday.

In a separate announcement, Wal-Mart reported that the Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden,” released on Oct. 30 at Wal-Mart, Walmart.com, Sam’s Clubs and Samsclub.com, has sold more than 700,000 units in its first week of release, representing the largest first week sales of any music product at Wal-Mart in the last two years.

Despite the success of the album, at first it was not eligible to appear on the Billboard chart, because it was only sold at Wal-Mart. However, thanks to a policy change announced by Billboard Tuesday, exclusive album titles that are only available through one retailer are now able to appear on The Billboard 200 and other charts, effective with this week’s charts.

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