Retail sales slip, but not for NAICS 444
The U.S. Census Bureau announced this morning that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May were $387.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s down 0.2% from the previous month, and up 7.7 % compared with May 2010.
Total sales for March, April and May were up 7.5% from the same period a year ago.
Looking specifically at NAICS classification 444 — Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers — the adjusted advance estimate for sales in May were $25.017 billion, up 1.2% from last month and up 7.0% from last year.
The Advance Monthly Sales report also revealed general retail trade sales were down 0.3% from April 2011, but 8.0% above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 22.3% from May 2010, and nonstore retailers’ sales were up 15.9% from last year.
All the figures above are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.
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Survey says green definitions vary
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat for Humanity International by the NAHB Research Center showed that 74% of consumers believe that less than a quarter of their home can be categorized as “green.” The complete study reported opinions from consumers and builders on various topics related to green home building.
In response to a related question, 34% of consumers felt that the most common definition for a green home is that it reduces energy and/or water consumption by a significant percentage. Another 23% felt that a home could be considered green when the entire home is green. Responses for this question were similar across all income levels.
Builders who participated in the survey had similar feelings about the definition of green homes — 35% preferred the definition of reducing energy and/or water consumption. However, an additional 35% defined homes as green if they are built to certification standards.
“These survey results demonstrate that many consumers recognize their homes can be more environmentally sound,” said Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corp. “Whirlpool Corp. remains committed to understanding our customers in order to develop information they need to become greener and to make energy-efficient appliances to address the needs suggested in these survey results.”
With regard to green certification programs, consumers overwhelmingly responded that Energy Star qualification is important for residential builds (78%). The National Green Building Standard was also considered important by shares of respondents (44%), as well as state certification programs (40%).
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Readers respond to debit card swipe fees
Are banks and credit card companies charging too much for debit transactions? Here’s what we heard:
"The Washington lawmakers should allow retailers to add the swipe fee to their sale total. This would put consumer pressure on the banks to compete for which card the consumer will use and thereby create competition. As it is, the retailer is required to absorb the fee. And the retailer, of course, is going to accept whatever card the customer wants to use. There is no competitive pressure here on the banks because the decision is made by a consumer who has no skin in the game.
“There are simple solutions to most problems. And since the consumer is going to cover the cost anyway, it is best to have the banks fighting for the consumer’s preference.
“No bureaucracies, no government pricing forced on anyone. It’s amazing how well the free market can work.”
— Charles Hildreth
The Emery-Waterhouse Co.
“Why should a swipe fee even exist for a debit card? If a retailer is paid with a manual check, there is no fee to the consumer or the retailer when depositing the check in the retailer’s bank, or when the check is presented to the issuing bank for payment. Banks have much lower handling costs on an electronic transaction than on handling a manual check, which has no fees. And a debit card is simply an electronic check.”
— Jeff Barnes
“Card companies are charging too much for swipe fees. They are also charging too much for credit through their card programs, including outrageous amounts if you happen to be late with a payment. The card industry deserves all the heat they get — and more.”
— Al Drinkwater
“I recall the onset of ATM/debit cards, and all the hoopla of ‘convenience’ for the customer. I knew then, and in the future, the banking industry will do anything to the public for profit. This country needs to address excessive fees and such, either by shaming the industry (which is impossible), but more likely by installing strict regulation.”
— Name withheld
We've seen this before - the
We've seen this before - the great "financial reform" legislation already passed has made it much harder for financially responsible people to get or to refinance mortgages, while jamming through "loan modifications" for the benefit of not just the deserving who have fallen on hard times and are sparing no effort to get back on track but of the reckless deadbeats as well, who bought far more home than they could afford and go on to default on the modified mortgage just like they did on the original one. Or the wonderful protective measures that prevent banks from imposing fees on spendthrifts who can't be bothered with balancing their checkbooks or reining in their impulse spending at their credit card limits, while causing banks to make up that income by eliminating free checking accounts and jacking up annual credit card fees for the rest of us. Forgive me if I and a growing number of others are a bit peeved that our elected representatives seem more concerned with protecting the lawbreakers from the negative consequences of their illegal activities, and insulating the careless and irresponsible from the natural by-products of their own reckless or heedless behavior, and instead prefer to stick the law-abiding, hard-working, tax-paying rest of us with the bill. This is the very type of legislation that gives force to the arguments for "less government" - it is doing something for the benefit of one undeserving interest group rather than for another undeserving interest group, and ignoring the probable lack of benefit to the public at large in the process.
Thanks for sharing your
Thanks for sharing your insights and explaining the possible situation about this issue. I think no one will ever stop all those people in using credit card because somehow it is helpful while having a possible short income in your family. As you can see, it is too much needed because of the economic recession. However, if you are the type of person who pays for everything in cash, understanding tips on how to discover the best charge card is probably not for you. With some research, you are able to discover how to find the best credit card rather easily. Save cash with these ideas. You are able to get installment loans for whatever you cannot pay for though.
I don't understand all the
I don't understand all the complaining. My wife owned a business where she accepted credit cards, check cards and debit cards. The fees charged by banks for the card processing were eventually passed on to the consumer via product and service pricing. The fees were an operating expense just like payroll. If fees would increase significantly, trust me, prices would increase.
I agree. Why should fees be
I agree. Why should fees be charged for a debit card. The retailer knows in advance if funds are available. Mr Hildreth makes the statement that "we" do not have skin in the game. We are the one paying the bill. I ask before hand if they charge a fee. If they say yes, I leave! R Deitrich Wrightsville, GA