Holiday in Austerity Land: 1.3 Million Americans Lose Jobless Benefits | The Nation
Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri (Reuters) – Sales during the 2013 U.S. holiday season grew from a year earlier as deep discounting and increased promotions encouraged consumers to buy more. Holiday sales between November 1 and December 24 rose 2.3 percent, compared with 0.7 percent a year earlier, according to data published in the MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report. This sales growth was the highest in three years. “It was actually a Merry Christmas for retailers,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters, adding that jewelry was the best-performing category. SpendingPulse tracks customer spending on apparel, electronics, jewelry, luxury and home furniture & furnishings categories during the holiday season.
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UPS still staggering under holiday crush
UPS, which delivers more than 16 million packages a day to 220 countries, had expected an 8% increase in volume for the peak holiday season. “Demand was much greater than forecast,” Godwin said. She did not say how many packages were affected by the delay. UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford said some customers who paid for two-day delivery or faster may get refunds of the shipping charges. Tom Boyer, 45, of Daly City, Calif., was among those with delayed packages who reached the company via Twitter and sent his tracking number.
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Amazon: A Great Holiday Buy
However, the company is ramping up its selection for customers by constantly adding to its digital media collection. Amazon now offers more than 27 million movies, TV shows, books, apps, songs, magazines, and games. Last quarter, media revenue increased 9% year-over-year to $5.03 billion. Electronics, general, and merchandise revenue went up 29% to $11.1 billion. Amazon’s revenue from other avenues, including higher-margins businesses like Amazon Web Services and display advertising, are growing at a rapid rate.
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And it was signed by the president on December 26. Then they hightailed it home for the Holidays. So it was that a Congress that could easily have cared for the poor took actions that suggested the sentiment similar to that of old Scrooge, who replied to a request for a donation for the destitute, with a growl of: Its not my business. Politicians are rarely so crass in their language. Yet the budget deal Paul Ryan did so much to shape, and that too many Republicans and Democrats endorsed, contains precisely nothing for those whose want is keenly felt. The question now is whether Congress will be shamed sufficiently to act. There are certainly those who are ready to respond. On January 6, when the Senate reconvenes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, says the first measure up for consideration will be a plan to restore long-term unemployment benefits. The measure is backed by Nevada Republican Dean Helle r and 21 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
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