European debt crisis
There's a glimmer of hope coming from Europe, where officials are gearing up for a summit later this week to make sure European countries stick to their budget cutting plans. If not, they want automatic penalties for countries that let their debt get out of control. It's all to show the world that they're serious about fighting the debt crisis.
Dollar stores booming
Dollar Stores are the new craze! They now outnumber national drug store chains as more consumers hunt for bargains. The four major dollar store chains, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and 99 Cents Only, now operate about 21,500 locations. That's more than Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid combined, according to a new study by Colliers International. By the way Dollar General just said it's opening more than 600 new stores next year.
Auto sales recovering
The economy may not be running on all cylinders but car sales are recovering faster than expected. Car makers are headed for their best annual performance in three years. The average vehicle on the road is over 10 and half years old and now drivers are finally replacing their cars after putting off purchases as long as possible. Also, gas prices are coming down, which Ford's senior U.S. economist says gives relief to consumers in terms of when and what they buy.
Credit card usage increasing
It looks like credit cards are making a comeback. Reports from a company called First Data show purchases made with credit cards consistently rose this year: 8.2% percent in the first quarter, 9% in the second, and 10.6% in the third. Debit card usage, on the other hand, which rose in popularity in 2008 when the recession first hit, consistently dropped in the same quarters.
1 in 11 shoplift
Unfortunately this season is not only for giving, it's for taking as well. According to Adweek, shoplifting is up 6%. The report says 1 out of every 11 people who walk into a store, walk out with something they didn't pay for. The number one theft item that is shoplifted: Filet Mignon.