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PRSM Weekly
Dec. 19, 2008  
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Feds Adopt Rules on Credit Card Abuses
from USA Today
In the most sweeping changes to credit cards in decades, federal regulators yesterday approved new rules to crack down on so-called unfair and deceptive practices by card issuers, such as raising interest rates on existing debt. The rules were approved Thursday morning by the Office of Thrift Supervision, a Treasury Department division. John Reich, the agency's director, says the rules "will enhance public confidence in financial institutions and establish a level playing field for institutions that want to do business fairly without suffering competitive disadvantages." More

US Maintenance

General Growth to Sell Retail Centers in Three Cities
from The Associated Press via Yahoo!
Chicago-based General Growth Properties says it is putting retail centers in three major cities up for sale. New York brokerage DTZ Rockwood LLC said on its Web site Thursday it has been retained to market the Festival Marketplace portfolio, which includes Baltimore's Harborplace & The Gallery, New York's South Street Seaport and Boston's Faneuil Hall. More

Late Shoppers May Fill Stores, but Retail Outlook is Still Bleak
from Yahoo! News
Shoppers might pick up their pace as they approach the home stretch of the holiday season. But any last-minute sales surge likely won't save retailers from a weak finish. Stores usually get a boost on the last Saturday before Christmas, known as Super Saturday, as late gift buyers scramble to get in under the wire. More

Retail Losing Streak Despite Holiday Blitz
from CNN Money
When the 2008 holiday shopping season wraps up next week, analysts expect to see far more retail losers than winners this year. The recession has spooked consumer spending to such an extent that some industry experts have renamed their usual holiday "winners and losers" tally to "survivors and losers." More

Web Deals Create Procrastinators' Paradise
from The Associated Press
'Twas the week before Christmas and despite all the sales, fewer presents were shipping to shoppers by mail. This year's dismal holiday shopping season is producing more peril than poetry for merchants hoping to eke out a profit, even for online retailers, who'd grown accustomed to seeing sales grow 25 percent or more each year. More

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  • Restaurants Hold Gains After Fed Move
    from The Associated Press via Forbes
    Restaurant shares held their gains this week after the Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate in a bid to bolster the sagging economy. The Fed lowered the benchmark target rate to a range of zero to 0.25 percent, the lowest level on record. More

    Five Ways to Reduce Product Returns
    from Retail Customer Experience
    In a recent study conducted by consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture, the product return rate for consumer electronics averaged between 11 and 12 percent during 2007. The cost to manage that returned merchandise reached $13.8 billion. But 95 percent of the merchandise returned had nothing wrong with it. Looking at the possible reasons for these types of returns and how those causes can be remedied can help retailers avoid a dip in the bottom line. More

    Deflation and the Economy: Lower Prices and Stimulus Could Create Rebound
    from BusinessWeek
    Is price deflation a sign of an accelerating economic downturn? History is not encouraging. Periods with falling prices - consider Japan in the 1990s and the Great Depression - have been unhappy times, economically. But there's another possibility: The fall in some consumer prices could be part of the "normal" adjustment to unprecedented economic circumstances. These price declines, combined with the coming "wall of money" - the enormous monetary and fiscal stimulus on the way in 2009 - could actually accelerate an economic rebound. More

    Canada's Retail Sales in October
    from Reuters
    Lower prices for gas, cars and other items led to a 0.9 percent cut in the nominal value of Canada's retail sales in October, erasing September's gain, Statistics Canada said recently. In volume terms, sales held up well, rising by 0.1 percent. More

    Hawaii Retail Services

    Urban Areas Struggle to Find Grocers, Fresh Food
    from The Associated Press
    Between the three major Southern California grocery chains ó Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons ó there are six supermarkets in South Los Angeles, serving a population of about 688,000. By comparison, 19 supermarkets serve West Los Angeles' population of about 395,000. Retailers blame theft in urban supermarkets, high employment turnover and lack of space for choosing to locate their stores elsewhere. More

    Circuit City says Not Closing More Stores
    from Reuters
    Consumer electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc., which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said it has not announced plans to close more stores. The company, which is currently closing 155 of its 722 stores, issued a statement responding to a Credit Suisse research note that said it planned to shutter more outlets. More

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    Music Retailers Singing the Blues as Sales Decline
    from Reuters
    'Blue Christmas' may turn out to be the music business's theme song for this holiday season. U.S. album sales were down 21.7 percent during the first week of December compared with the same period last year, accelerating from the 17.4 percent decline recorded during the last two weeks of November, according to Nielsen SoundScan. More

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