Category Archives: The Big Story

When the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 resulted in government-mandated shutdowns, consumer spending for things other than essential grocery items fell off a cliff. Because of the lack of spending, coupled with federal stimulus payments and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, and despite growing unemployment, personal savings rates increased dramatically. The author of […]

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Growing up, it seemed that my parents never returned a gift.  Later, it became apparent that maybe half the gifts were put to use and the other half were put in a drawer – permanently. Well, brick and mortar retailers and e-commerce retailers today wistfully long for such simple consumer behavior.  However, the purchase-return – […]

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In the first major post-holiday report, Mastercard projected U.S. retail sales grew 3.0 percent in the expanded selling season from Oct. 11 through Dec. 24, short of 2019’s four percent gain, but ahead of a forecast for 2.4 percent growth. Mastercard SpendingPulse tracks online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. The Wall Street […]

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What a year. A crippling pandemic. Protests and riots. A bitterly fought election. At some point in 2020, so many things had gone wrong that it became a cliché (and even felt a little naive) to express optimism for 2021. But we are almost there, and now as newly approved COVID-19 vaccines begin to roll […]

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On December 11th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine (and others nearing approval) are expected to reach hundreds of millions of Americans by the end of 2021. These efforts should bring an end to the most devastating global pandemic in a century. Amid […]

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