Retail’s Ups And Downs: Holiday Shopping, The Olympics And The Samsung Galaxy Note 7

America has met its newest hero.

During the second presidential debate on Sunday (Oct. 9) night, with possibly more than 100 million Americans watching, a mild-mannered man with a mustache, glasses and a bright red knit sweater named Ken Bone asked a question of both candidates about their energy policy.

And the internet fell in love with Bone, a 34-year-old St. Louis area resident, elevating him to a meme within minutes. Since, his bright red IZOD sweater has apparently sold out online, Esquire has posted stories on how to dress like him and Ken Bone even seems to be becoming a popular Halloween costume choice this season.

Here are some of the other big winners and losers of the retail game at the moment.



All signs seem to be pointing up this year for a big gain in holiday sales. Last week, the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales would climb 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion and that online sales alone would climb 7–10 percent this year to $117 billion.

And the NRF is not the only organization forecasting robust holiday sales this year. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) predicted more modest growth of 3.3 percent in holiday sales at physical stores this year and believes the average U.S. consumer will spend $683.90 this year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is probably most bullish of all on this year’s holiday shopping season potential, predicting a 10 percent growth in holiday sales and that the average shopper will spend $1,121 this holiday season.

Here’s hoping that holiday sales this year are as strong as everyone is predicting.

Retail jobs were also a big winner this week, as the number of retail jobs grew by 10,000 from August to September, according to the National Retail Federation. Based on figures by the U.S. Labor Department, retail jobs have grown by 194,000 positions over the past year, and those numbers are expected to rise even further as retailers staff up for the busy holiday shopping season.

Another benefit of playing the augmented reality game Pokémon GO game may have just been discovered (well, other than catching an ultra-rare Charizard), as a new study from Microsoft Research found that the most active Pokémon GO users were 26 percent more active than before they started using the app.

Pokémon GO users — no matter their age, gender, weight or lifestyle — took an extra 194 steps a day once they began using the app. That’s an extra 144 billion steps for U.S. physical activity, or roughly 143 trips to the moon and back if you count all of the game’s 25 million estimated users. Microsoft Research estimated that this increased physical activity could add about 2.83 million years to the life expectancy of Pokémon GO’s users.

Who knew that having to catch them all could also be good for your health?



The latest Olympics might be in the books after this summer’s games in Brazil, but according to a CNNMoney report, countries aren’t vying as heavily to host the once-coveted sporting event as much as they once did as more and more of them view the cost of hosting an Olympics as far too cost-prohibitive.

“An Olympic host city has to plan, pay for and construct massive infrastructure projects. Security costs can run into the billions of dollars. Thousands of hotel rooms must be built to house athletes and tourists,” according to the CNNMoney report. “Most of it happens on the taxpayer dime — with little discernible economic benefit.”

After several cities have already pulled out as potential host destinations for the 2024 Summer Games, only Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles remain as viable options. The International Olympic Committee will meet to select a host city for the 2024 games next year.

After coming out with a blazing IPO that put Facebook’s to shame a couple of years ago, Twitter has not had too much success since. And that pattern appears to be carrying over as the social media company tries to find a potential buyer. According to The New York Times, Twitter appears to be engaged in some serious, but private, talks with Salesforce over the acquisition of the company, but some of Salesforce’s biggest investors appear to be pushing back against such an acquisition since the news first broke.

Twitter’s stock currently sits at about $18 a share with a market cap of $12.58 billion. The company plans to announce its latest quarterly earnings on Oct. 27.

And the poor Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung announced on Tuesday (Oct. 11) that it was discontinuing production of the troubled Galaxy Note 7, after Samsung advised consumers to stop using the phone after several reports of the battery overheating and the phone catching fire. A planned recall didn’t go so well either.

Samsung’s stock took a big dive on Tuesday, falling more than 8 percent at one point and closing 7.5 percent down for the company’s biggest one-day decline in eight years, according to The Wall Street Journal.


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