Suggestions for a Less Stressful Shopping Season
The 2013 holiday shopping season is set to be the shortest on record. With just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year’s 32 days, consumers will undoubtedly be seeking easy and efficient ways to still get their shopping done. In order to make the most of your shopping trips, here are a few simple tips from the professional at Hamilton Place Mall:
Have a shopping list. Taking a few minutes to actually write out what you need and who you’re shopping for can save both stress and over-spending. It will also save you time, especially if you’ve written down information such as sizes and color preferences. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips such as the babysitter, dog groomer, mail and newspaper carriers or hair stylist. This will also help you manage your holiday budget. But you may also want to have a few “surprise” gifts that are generic in case you forget anyone or someone drops by with a gift for you during the holidays.
Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy during your shopping trip. If possible, leave your bulky winter coat in the car.
Shop during the week rather than on the weekend. Generally, fewer people shop during the week as compared to the weekend. Also, malls are places where people socialize as well as shop. With school in session during the week, you’ll find fewer families in the mall at that time.
Shop early in the day rather than later in the day or evening. Remember the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” The same applies to shopping. In the mornings there are generally fewer people out. That means fewer crowds, faster service and time to browse a bit more when making gift selections.
Shop with somebody. This is a good idea unless the person you’re shopping with is the person you’re shopping for! Nevertheless, time goes by faster when you’re shopping with someone. Plus, you have somebody to talk to, to share gift ideas with and to help make color and size decisions.
Make multiple shopping trips rather than an all-day shopping marathon. This will require a bit more planning, but can help preserve your strength, stamina and sanity in the long run. There are numerous methods to use in following this suggestion such as shopping for all the members of a particular family or purchasing children’s presents on one trip and adult’s presents on another trip.
Map out your shopping trip. When planning a trip, you wouldn’t dream of driving off without having looked up directions on your phone or the internet. Why should shopping be any different? If you know what you want to purchase and where you can find it, half your battle is won.
Don’t forget the gift receipt and gift wrapping. In order to ensure that the recipient can return or exchange an item, make sure the sales associate includes a gift receipt with your purchase. At Hamilton Place Mall you will find Kids on the Block gift wrap stations located on the upper level by Customer Service and on the lower level by JCPenney.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or directions. In order to make room for holiday and seasonal merchandise, stores sometimes have to reconfigure departments or sections. This can be confusing to a customer who regularly shops that store. As a result, a great deal of time can be spent “searching” for merchandise and the searching can lead to frustration. Why not simply ask a sales associate for assistance?
THINK SAFETY - One final suggestion regarding shopping – at any time – but particularly during the holidays, is to keep safety in mind at all times. Know where you place your credit card or checkbook after a purchase. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your wallet or purse. Take in just want you need to spend and come back later. When getting money from an ATM, don’t let people crowd you too closely. When taking purchases to your car, lock them out of sight in the trunk rather than exposed in the back seat. Finally, let somebody at home know you’re going to be shopping, your destination, route and estimated time of return.
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Last Update on April 01, 2015 17:40 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. businesses slowed their pace of hiring in March, a private survey found. The modest gains suggest that harsh winter weather has generated a broader slowdown that caused the survey to report gains of less than 200,000 jobs for the first time in 13 months.
Payroll processor ADP says companies added 189,000 jobs last month.
The figures come just before Friday's government report, which economists forecast will show an increase of 250,000 jobs.
The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.
A burst of hiring in the past year has lifted the number of Americans earning paychecks, yet average hourly wages have risen at a sluggish 2 percent pace.
DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. auto sales slowed down a bit in March, but the industry remains optimistic about the market.
General Motors' sales fell 2 percent and Ford and Nissan both saw 3 percent declines compared with last March. FCA -- the parent of Chrysler and Fiat -- says its U.S. sales rose 2 percent, though sales of its top seller, the Ram pickup, were down 2 percent.
The March gains pale in comparison with January's 14 percent increase in and even the 5 percent gain in February.
But analysts point to several contributing factors. Last March saw a surge in sales after an unusually cold February; while this year snow lingered into March and the month had one less weekend than last year.
Analysts say sales remain on track to reach 17 million this year, their best performance since 2005. Low interest rates, low gas prices, the improving economy and hot new SUVs like the Subaru Outback and the Jeep Cherokee are all drawing buyers to dealerships.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department says construction spending slipped 0.1 percent in February, following a revised 1.7 percent drop in January.
A drop in single-family home building dragged the overall figure down, as spending on apartments and nonresidential construction rose. Economists say the bitter winter weather likely constrained construction, and activity should pick up in the spring and summer.
Last month, the government said that the pace of housing starts plummeted 17 percent in February from January's rate. Home construction slid 56.5 percent in the Northeast and 37 percent in the Midwest, the two regions that endured the brunt of the winter storms.
In today's report, private spending on construction of single-family homes declined 1.4 percent, while spending on apartments was up 4.1 percent. Nonresidential construction spending rose 0.5 percent, led by a 5.5 percent jump in hotel construction and a 6.8 percent surge in factory construction.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. factories expanded last month at a weaker pace, with orders growing more slowly and hiring essentially flat.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says its manufacturing index slipped to 51.5 in March from 52.9 in February.
It was the fifth straight drop. Still, any reading above 50 signals expansion.
U.S. manufacturers have faced a drag in recent months from falling oil prices and a rising dollar.
Some drilling rigs have stopped as oil prices have fallen more than 50 percent since June to below $50 a barrel, curbing demand for pipelines and machinery from factories. Simultaneously, the dollar has risen in value against the euro and other currencies, making American-made goods more expensive abroad and cutting into exports.
LONDON (AP) -- A closely watched survey is showing that manufacturers across the 19-country eurozone are getting more optimistic about the future and are boosting hiring.
Financial information company Markit says its purchasing managers' index -- a broad gauge of business activity -- for the eurozone's manufacturing sector rose to 52.2 in March from 51.0 the previous month.
The so-called PMI now stands at a 10-month high, the latest in a string of indicators to point to a step-change in the eurozone's economic recovery.
Markit says Wednesday that growth accelerated across the eurozone, including Spain and Italy, two countries at the forefront of the region's debt crisis over the past few years.
Greece was a laggard as its manufacturers struggle to compete amid the uncertainty surrounding the country's bailout.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- It was just a day ago that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said he would sign a bill passed by the Legislature to keep state and local governments from infringing upon someone's religious beliefs without a compelling interest.
But now, Hutchinson says he wants the Legislature to recall the bill -- or pass a follow-up measure.
He told reporters that Arkansas is "not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future."
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar measure into law last week. Pence now says he wants follow-up legislation to address concerns that the law lets businesses discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Hutchinson didn't specifically call for changes that would prohibit the Arkansas law from being used to deny services to someone, but he said he doesn't think that's what it was intended to do.
Hutchinson is facing pressure from the state's top employers, including retailer Wal-Mart, which said the measure is discriminatory and would stifle economic development. Indiana has faced protests and boycotts over its version of the law.
Hutchinson said the issue has become so divisive -- even his son Seth was among those signing a petition asking him to veto the bill.
NEW YORK (AP) -- McDonald's says it's simplifying its grilled chicken recipe to remove ingredients people might not recognize, the latest sign the company is rethinking its menu to keep up with changing tastes.
The company says it expects the new "Artisan Grilled Chicken" to be in its more than 14,300 U.S. stores by the end of next week, in products including sandwiches, wraps and salads.
McDonald's is fighting to hold onto customers amid the growing popularity of places like Chipotle that position themselves as more wholesome alternatives.
As ingredients become a marketing advantage, McDonald's has been trying to shake perceptions that it serves junk food packed with artificial ingredients.
McDonald's representative Terri Hickey said the new chicken will have 12 ingredients, down from 18. It will no longer use sodium phosphates or maltodextrin.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart is asking suppliers to cut back on advertising spending in its stores as it seeks better prices on goods that it sells to its own customers.
The request comes as the world's largest retailer looks to reclaim its position as the low-price leader and perk up sluggish sales in the U.S.
Historically, makers of consumer products like laundry detergent devote a portion of their budget to market their products at Wal-Mart whether it's online advertising on social media or store displays. Wal-Mart executives told suppliers in February they would rather have them reinvest some of that money.
Wal-Mart's actions were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Deisha Barnett, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, confirmed the strategy and described it as more of a "reinvigorated focus."
NEW YORK (AP) -- GoDaddy shares are jumping in their market debut after the Web hosting company known for racy TV commercials priced its initial public offering of stock above expectations.
The stock rose $6.15, or 31 percent, to $26.06, well above the IPO price of $20 per share. That marked an increase from the prior high estimate of $19 per share.
Overall, the Scottsdale, Arizona, company is offering 23 million shares and hopes to raise up to $460 million in the offering.
Underwriters have a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 3 million shares.
The lead underwriters are Morgan Stanley & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
FRANCE-PLANE CRASH: LUFTHANSA
SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) -- The chief executive of Lufthansa says it will take a "long, long time" to understand what led to last week's deadly crash in the French Alps.
But Carsten Spohr is refusing to say what the airline knew about the mental health of the co-pilot who's suspected of deliberately destroying the plane.
Spohr and the head of Lufthansa's low-cost airline Germanwings visited the crash area today. They laid flowers and then stood silently facing a stone monument to the 150 people who died. The monument looks toward the mountains where the plane crashed. It bears a memorial message in German, Spanish, French and English.
Spohr says the airline is "learning more every day" about what might have led to the crash.
The airline acknowledged yesterday that it knew six years ago that Andreas Lubitz had suffered from an episode of "severe depression" before he finished his flight training. But it said he had passed all of his medical checks since then.
The airline didn't mention the depression episode when questions were raised last week about Lubitz's medical history.
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