FINANCE

Survey Gauges Consumers’ Economic Concerns

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and UBS Securities announced on Wednesday the results of their recent consumer survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., to assess how worried U.S. consumers are about widely publicized economic hardships such as housing-market weakness, stock-market tumult and drastic fluctuations in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The survey questioned a sample of 1,000 American consumers about how the financial problems would affect their financial habits.

Key findings included:

  • Of those consumers who said they were aware of the issues, nearly half (46%) said they had not changed their spending habits and were optimistic that the markets would settle down soon;
  • Thirteen percent of respondents who said they were aware of the situation also said that they do not rely on the stock market to predict their personal-spending habits;
  • Another 13% of respondents said that they are aware of the market activity and will “think twice before making major or non-essential purchases;”
  • Twenty-five percent of respondents said they were not following the situation; and
  • The remainder of the respondents did not know how the situation might affect them.
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    Wal-Mart offers MP3 downloads online

    BY CSA STAFF

    BRISBANE, Calif. Wal-Mart announced today that it is now offering DRM-free MP3 music downloads online at http://www.walmart.com. According to the company, Wal-Mart is one of the first major retailers to offer MP3 digital tracks with music content from record labels such as Universal and EMI Music. Each track costs 94 cents and each album costs $9.22.

    “As we consistently strive to help our customers shop smart at Wal-Mart, our new ‘DRM-free’ MP3 digital tracks give them the ease and flexibility to play music on virtually any device at a great value,” said Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart’s senior director and divisional manager for digital media. “Also, we’re excited to launch our MP3 catalog with major record labels such as Universal and EMI Music that includes music from popular artists like The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, KT Tunstall, Amy Winehouse, Maroon 5, George Strait and Nelly.”

    Wal-Mart will continue to offer its existing WMA-format music downloads. Thus, customers may select the option of MP3-format downloads at 256 kbps for 94 cents per track and/or WMA-format downloads at 128 kbps for 88 cents per track.

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    Time Warner names diversity head

    BY CSA STAFF

    NEW YORK T. Hudson Williams has been named vp of diversity and multicultural initiatives of Time Warner Inc. She will report to Lisa Quiroz, senior vp of corporate responsibility.

    In her new role, Hudson Williams will lead continuing efforts to promote a culture of inclusion at Time Warner, working with corporate and divisional leadership to implement strategies that support diversity across Time Warners businesses.

    Hudson Williams comes to Time Warner from Toyota, where she held several roles. Most recently, she was corporate diversity director, managing diversity programs, policies, and initiatives for Toyotas North American operations. She joined Toyota in 1996 to develop systems and procedures that monitor the companys supplier quality and delivery performance.

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